Thursday, May 26, 2011

How To Change Out Your Corbels

At Federal Brace we believe in presenting solutions to problems faced in common countertop support applications. In this blog we will discuss the issues faced when attempting to replace wooden corbels with metal supports. So if you want to change out your wood corbels for decorative steel brackets we’re going to tell you how to do that successfully. Before getting into any corbel change out you will want to take the time to investigate your countertop. Make sure you are removing decorative pieces only. In Load-bearing installations the supporting brackets must be attached to solidly fixed material that is capable of holding the weight of the bracket and countertop. When replacing wooden brackets that are in a load bearing application you will want to remove them individually and replace immediately with the metal countertop supports.

The tools that you will need include a Cordless drill, a pry bar, a flat and heavy scraping blade and a reciprocating saw. First things first, you need to remove all the bolts, nails and/or screws used to fix the decorative corbel to your support structure. Look for small patches of mismatched grain. This will help you identify any wood plugs used in the fascia. Also, examine the inside of the cabinet or back wall for screws and washers. If your corbel happens to be secured to the support structure with fasteners screwed in from the cabinet or backside of the support structure this will make your corbel removing easier.

Once you have removed all metal fasteners and exterior “trim” pieces, you can take a pry bar or scraper and gently pry the corbel away from the support structure surface. Use the scraper to loosen any glued areas. In some cases you might have to use a saw for hard to remove corbels. Wood corbels have Keyholes that slide over bolts that are attached to the support structure. In instances where the countertop will not be removed but you want to replace the corbel a saw is likely needed to cut the bolts. You apply layers of painter’s tape on both sides of the corbel in order to protect the fascia next to the corbel. Once you have covered the area around the corbel you will need to get a saw blade behind it. Use a reciprocal blade to cut any nails or screws, but not the wood. If you only have a hacksaw blade, you can get the blade under the corbel and manually cut the screws. Be careful to not harm the fascia on the load bearing structure.

Once the wood corbel is removed the hard part is over. To install your Federal Brace countertop support brackets you can simply place your brackets in the desired location making sure they are snug against the under counter and over a supporting stud in the support structure. Mark your hole locations and drill a pilot hole for fastening the bracket to the structure. Make sure that your pilot hole is not larger than the fastener used (generally ¼”). You will want to space corbels every 12 to 18 inches if it is a un-gusseted bracket, and every 24 to 30 inches for a Federal Brace gusseted bracket. That is what Federal Brace recommends, which is dependent on not only the gusset but also the load weight of the countertop. The great thing about Federal Brace brackets compared to wood corbels is that you are able to remove the brackets very easily. Putting them on is easy and taking them off is just as easy. Also, there is the stainless steel and steel look of the brackets and the weight carrying nature of these brackets to consider.

If your particular application will require significant weight carrying capacity or there are special features in your countertop application we suggest consultation with a design engineer on site. Always make sure that the support structure of any countertop overhang is substantial and can support the weight of the counter being supported. For more information about the Federal Brace brackets please contact them at or call them at 877-353-8899.