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What is Build-Up?

Build-upBuild-up refers to the hidden strips of wood that give a laminated counter top the visual illusion of being 1 ½ inch thick. When one purchases a prefabricated countertop, the underside reveals that the laminate is actually glued to a board that is only ¾ inch thick. This is typical of the most common countertops. When these countertops are installed, build-up pieces of wood must be attached to the tops of the base cabinets underneath. Build-ups are typically ¾ inch strips of wood attached with screws to the cabinet tops. Most manufacturers will include the build-up strips with a prefabricated countertop, but one can make their own from scrap plywood or pine.

The build-up strips do add support to the countertop at key points but that is not necessarily their primary function. Countertops are made of thick material for a relatively short run, so heavy bracing is not necessary to support common countertop appliances and daily uses. The primary function of build-up strips is to provide clearance for the overhanging edge of the countertops so that cabinet draws can be opened without interference. It is common for build ups to not be needed for rounded or finished end pieces that have been provided by manufacturers. However, that will only occur when the entire end of a countertop is exposed.

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