This blog entry will deal with solutions to compression on sheetrock material when it is the finished surface on a countertop support structure.
Regardless of the material used as the finishing surface on the support structure you will want to make sure that the supporting brackets are tied directly into a substantial (at least 3/4" thick)structure made of solid materials like wood. Fastening a countertop support bracket to material that will easily fail (such as thin chip board or thin fascia on the back of a cabinet) is sure to promote application failure. So when fastening your countertop brackets in place make sure that you hit the studs or use a thick plyboard to tie into for maximum stability.
When the finished surface of a support structure is composed of sheetrock (such as a stud half wall cover in sheetrock) the pressure exerted by the countertop and support bracket can cause compression of the sheetrock. The sheetrock will be imprinted or even get crushed by the pressure placed on it from the bracket down flange with the weight of the granite or solid surface material of the countertop.
The solution to resolve this compression is to use a material that will resist compression between the bracket flange and the sheetrock wall. This material would be in the form of a board or panel and it has to be of a density so that it will not compress under the weight of the countertop and bracket. Examples of this appropriate materials are wood, metal and densely packed composite materials such as fiber board (MDF and HDF). All of these have a higher density than the particles in sheetrock, which easily makes way for impression, crushing, and breakage under heavy weight. Dense materials will resist the compression and disperse the force of the weight along the length of the board thus protecting the sheetrock from impressions and crushing. These are commonly called backer boards.
Federal Brace has developed a new economical product that employs this idea of a force absorber called the Bracket Backer (tm). The use of Federal Brace's Bracket Backers (tm) will protect your sheetrock finish while enhancing the look of your support brackets and countertop. The Bracket Backer (tm) is made of high density fiber board and is specially designed in shape an appearance to match your support brackets with a variety of styles from which to choose. Just insert the backer between the sheetrock and the bracket or brace and stop any potential of crushing on your sheetrock.
In order to apply the Bracket Backer (TM) you will need to identify where the studs are behind your sheetrock. Then use a self drilling woodscrew or a drill and screw to fasten the Bracket Backer (TM) through the sheetrock and into the stud Make sure that the stud is securely gripping the screw. Then place the bracket or brace on top of the Bracket Backer (TM) and drill it through the backer, the sheetrock and into the stud, ensuring that it is also securely applied.
The Bracket Backer (tm) are excellent solutions in renovations or upfits when your sheetrock is already finished. However, do not use Bracket Backers or any other backing material as a sole support solution. Backers should not be consider a reenforcement of the support structure but rather a solution that prevent crushing on weaker materials.
Check out the Federal Brace Website for details on Bracket Backers and other countertop support products. Click Here for Federal Brace website.