Countertop brackets are very important when you have a granite countertop with a considerable overhang. The weight of the granite countertop itself would be so huge that an unsupported overhang would mean disaster without these weight supports.
A cabinet underneath the granite countertop provides the main countertop support. But to prevent the overhang from chipping, cracking or even breaking off from the main countertop body, you need to install brackets along the length of the overhang. This is specially required for granite countertops that are less than 3 inches thick, with an overhang that is 11 inches protruding from the top of the cabinet.
Function and Aesthetics Combined
Owing to the different countertop designs, steel and wood manufacturers have come up with many designs of countertop brackets. Their styles and designs are varied and are usually blended with the overall design of the room and the countertop where they will be installed. The designs range from the simplest forms to the more artistically made ‘fine hardware’ types. They are not just chosen simply out of preference but there are factors that need to be considered. You have to get the right mix of function and aesthetics in order that the countertop brackets that you will install will harmonize well with their surroundings. The right combination is necessary so that as they are functional, they will also enhance and not degrade the beauty of your countertop.
Types of Countertop Brackets
Many manufacturers are offering a wide variety of brackets for heavy countertops. Most of them are selling brackets made of steel and some are offering wood brackets known as corbels. Steel brackets are recommended for heavy countertops because of their capacity to carry huge weight. You can also use wood corbels but they have to be bigger to carry comparable weights. Here are the common types of countertop brackets being used today.
• Standard Countertop Bracket – with 16 variations. An example is the Angeln Metal Countertop Support; with gusset angled inward to avoid knee contact; costs $93.60 for an 8”x8” bracket.
• Oxford Granite Support – with enhanced elegant design features; has a wavy cross brace that simulates movement; an 8”x8” bracket costs $88.50 per piece.
• Floating Countertop Support – this is considered ‘fine hardware’ with 8 variations; an example is the Alpine Elevated Counter Support which is priced at $159.34 for its 10”x10” model. Another one is the Lindi Arc Metal Countertop Corbel which costs $81.83 for its 8”x8” model. If you want to enhance the beauty of your bathroom or kitchen countertops this type of support will do it.
• Iron Artistica Small Birds – an artful countertop bracket in matte black finish; costs $29.00 a pair.
• Iron Artistica Large Scroll Brackets – an artsy bracket in bronze rust finish; costs $90.00 a pair
• Irons Artistica Flowing Leaf Brackets – another artful bracket in bronze rust finish; costs $49.00 per pair.
• Wood Corbels – wood countertop brackets made of hard maple, red oak, alder and cherry; very artistically designed with intricate curves and shapes; sizes range from small to large depending on your needs; costs range from $43 to $82.
Type of Steel Used
The type of steel that can be safely used in the manufacture of countertop brackets is A36 steel. It is allowable to use weaker types of steel if you have financial issues but then you must offset it by installing additional brackets for adequate overhang support. Whatever type of steel you use, its minimum thickness should be 7 gauge or about ¼ inch. The top flange of the bracket installed directly underneath the overhang should be no less than 1.5 inches wide. Also, the outer tip of the top flange should be able to extend at least 4 inches from the countertop edge.
Distances between Countertop Brackets
The overall effectiveness of the brackets will depend on the distances between them. The more the brackets, the stronger is the support. There should be a minimum distance of 12 inches between each hole of the brackets. Each supporting flange must have a minimum of 2 holes. You can flex this distance to 24 inches between each flange, but only if the countertop does not carry heavy weight and is not frequently used. It is safer to have more of these brackets than to have a few of them.
Your countertop builder is the best judge on the correct type of brackets and the adequate number of pieces to install. But you need to have a working knowledge of these countertop brackets so that you can have your proper input as far as the right choice of brackets is concerned.