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Old 07-20-2010, 09:36 PM   #1
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knee-friendly brackets for overhanging countertop


I'm going to install a tile countertop over a kitchen island. On one side, the island top will overhang the cabinets by about 12" and on one end the overhang will be 22". The base for the tile consists of 1 1/2" thick plywood (two 3/4" sheets glued together). I'd like to use brackets attached to the cabinet base to support the overhang. The overhanging areas will be used as a table and I don't want to bump my knees on the brackets when I sit down at the "table". So... are there any brackets out there that will work, that is, they'll provide enough support without being a danger to my sensitive knees? Thanks.

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Old 07-20-2010, 11:05 PM   #2
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knee-friendly brackets for overhanging countertop


It's going to be difficult to produce a 22" overhang rigid enough to tile, especially the first time someone sits or stands on it.

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Old 07-21-2010, 12:04 AM   #3
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It's going to be difficult to produce a 22" overhang rigid enough to tile, especially the first time someone sits or stands on it.
Well, I've seen brackets that extend 19.5" and appear to be very rigid. The width is only 36" and I could put in 2 of those. If that's not good enough, I could cut it back some (I'm trying to avoid putting a support/leg down to the floor). What would you say would be the maximum safe overhang?
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Old 07-21-2010, 07:18 AM   #4
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knee-friendly brackets for overhanging countertop


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Originally Posted by Jeremy Hillary Boob, PhD View Post
Well, I've seen brackets that extend 19.5" and appear to be very rigid. The width is only 36" and I could put in 2 of those. If that's not good enough, I could cut it back some (I'm trying to avoid putting a support/leg down to the floor). What would you say would be the maximum safe overhang?
As noted above, a large part of the question is "will it be abused"? (I have a picture around here somewhere of the 12 inch overhang from a new-construction stone counter-top laying on the floor after the painter stepped on it.)

22" is a pretty wide overhang, think about the overhang on a typical commercial bar-top. The 12" overhang on my kitchen counter is comfortable for most users sitting on a stool with a back - an additional 2" would likely accomidate long-legged users up to 6' 8" (the big issue is protecting the lower portion of the base cabinet from foot damage).

Whatever the overhang, everything you can do to reduce grout cracks helps: seal the entire substrate (both sides and all edges) to minimize changes in moisture content, use smaller rather than larger tiles, use latex-modified thinset and latex-based grout additive to increase flexibility. (Have you considered epoxy grout? It's messy and time sensitive to work with, but its flexible and extremely stain resistant, that's why its used for tiled commercial food-service counters.)
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Old 07-21-2010, 09:59 AM   #5
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knee-friendly brackets for overhanging countertop


Made of 3/8" steel, this should work. The bottoms fit down over doubled 2x4's.

Those angled brackets could be left out, and decorative corbels used in their stead. Either way, they are far enough back in to avoid knee contact for people with average legs.

I drew them at full length. The actual brackets would be about 2" shorter.
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Old 07-22-2010, 12:30 AM   #6
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This may work......You could make a base out of say 2"x2"x1/16" steel tube on 16"-24" centers and then sit the ply on top of that. You would have to block out the island walls to fit the frame and them screw it down. That should be pretty stout. You would have to make sure the block out for the tube doesn't interfere with drawers and you could epoxy caps over the ends of the tube to close them off.
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Old 07-23-2010, 01:10 PM   #7
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This may work......You could make a base out of say 2"x2"x1/16" steel tube on 16"-24" centers and then sit the ply on top of that. You would have to block out the island walls to fit the frame and them screw it down. That should be pretty stout. You would have to make sure the block out for the tube doesn't interfere with drawers and you could epoxy caps over the ends of the tube to close them off.
As they say in the commercial... Brilliant!

Actually, I'd just given up and purchased wood to make a couple of legs, but I'd prefer not to do that. In my case, there are no drawers to worry about, so it should work. There are a few little spacing issues, but no major obstacles, and it'll look pretty cool---like half of the countertop is floating in space. I'm off to Home Despot to see what I can find.
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Old 07-23-2010, 05:09 PM   #8
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I took a look at the tubing at HD and I'm thinking square would be better than round. Maybe even angle irons would work. Of course, I only thought about that after leaving the store. Anyways, does anybody know of a good source for heavy duty square tubing? I doubt most hardware stores will have what I'm looking for. Thanks.
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Old 07-23-2010, 07:40 PM   #9
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knee-friendly brackets for overhanging countertop


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I took a look at the tubing at HD and I'm thinking square would be better than round. Maybe even angle irons would work. Of course, I only thought about that after leaving the store. Anyways, does anybody know of a good source for heavy duty square tubing? I doubt most hardware stores will have what I'm looking for. Thanks.
Square will be easier to work with and it's stiffer than round. Angle iron won't be as stiff, but it'll work. You should be able to get away with

Your best bet would be to check with a local fabricator. It'll be hit and miss because most of them want $1M orders, not $100 orders. However, there should be one or two that will sell to you and the ones you strike out with should be able to point you in the right direction. Lowes and Home Depot rape you on the price per pound. A fab shop will probably sell the material for cost plus say 20% with a $50 handling fee. If you want them to cut it to length, there may be an additional fee. And if you want, you can have the fabricator cap the ends for you with steel plate and grind the welds flush. Since you would be buying a small qty, the $50 will jump the cost per pound, but I can't imagine it will total as much as what HD charges. And you are not looking for heavy duty tube - you're looking for light duty tube. To a fabricator heavy tube would be 12x12x3/4. I tell you this to avoid confusion with the fab shop. Whatever you end up getting the fabricator to do, make you explain to them what you are using it for and what the end result needs to be (in structural work, welds are not routinely ground flush, so if they were to cap the ends, they would not grind the welds flush).

Thinking about it more, you should only block out the cantilever side and use brackets to the mount the end of the other tube to the island. You may also want to get the baricator to make it into a frame so that you only have one piece to fit and level rather than 6, but either way should work.
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Old 07-23-2010, 07:45 PM   #10
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knee-friendly brackets for overhanging countertop


I forgot to tell you to make sure you wipe down the tube with MEK before painting it - it'll have an oil residue on it. And if you want, you can have me make the frame and freight it to you (although the freight would probably amount to half of what the local fabricator would charge you :/)...see the link below....

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Old 07-24-2010, 01:51 PM   #11
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Most (real) fencing companies (chain link type companies) use and stock square tubing. They could also fabricate it for you to your specifications.
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Old 07-25-2010, 02:01 PM   #12
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How about this for a layout? The red line is the wall, the dashed lines are the cabinets underneath, and the green lines are the square tubing, where it's all 16" spacing. I'm thinking 1.25" outside diameter for the tubing. I'm going to put a 1.5" trim around the edge, so that would hide it pretty well. Finally, the tubing can't extend out any closer to the wall (on the long edge, that is), because it would interfere with a cabinet door.

Let me know what you think.
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Old 07-27-2010, 09:33 AM   #13
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knee-friendly brackets for overhanging countertop


If you wanted to support the the end of the end of the counter top at the wall you could hold ply back at the wall and weld a flat bar (say 1/8 x 3) to the underside of the tube. The flat bar would be a land for the ply and it would put the top of tube at the same elevation of the top of ply and you would simply tile over top of the two. I don't know that this is necessary...just an option.


You're going to need to be careful how you set the frame. Firm contact between the frame and the ply will be necessary in order to avoid loading the ply before loading the frame. You could notch for the tubes and then secure them to the cabinet walls, shim the notch, or grout between the frame and the ply.

had another comment, but realized it was stoopid.
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Old 08-04-2010, 12:24 AM   #14
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I got some 1 1/4" square steel tubing, 0.095" wall thickness. I'm going to support the countertop a little differently than in the diagram---I'll post some pictures in a couple of days. In the interim, I did have one question... Is it OK to leave the tubing unpainted? It's not going to be too visible, and with the grease cleaned off it looks OK, so I'd like to use it as is. Thanks.
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Old 08-04-2010, 09:25 PM   #15
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knee-friendly brackets for overhanging countertop


Your best bet is to spray them with primer, but you don't have to. As long as you keep your AC on, they will only rust a small amount. Should you splash with water from time to time, the rust may make it's way to your cabinet and run down the walls.

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