Office Counter Tops

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Old 01-30-09, 08:22 AM
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Office Counter Tops

My wife and I are converting part of our basement to an office. Part of this includes a 20'-ish cinder block wall (sealed and painted) that we want to attach a counter top to that will be our all-purpose work space. This is the space in question (taken before I installed carpeting and additional lighting):



The wall on the left is the wall we want to attach the counter top to. It needs to be strong enough to hold several computers as well as a standard array of extras (two printers, two scanners, monitors, etc) and general office-type stuff (papers, etc). There will be a half-height wall built and installed in the opening of the office to separate the office from the rest of the basement; the counter top would run from that half-wall to approximately 5' from the rear wall, so the counter needs to be about 15' long.

As a starting point (gotta start somewhere, right?) I was thinking of screwing in a steel L-bracket the length of the counter top, then screwing the counter top to the L-bracket, then installing legs under the counter every "x" feet. Does this sound right? Should I consider something else?

Materials is my biggest question. For the counter, I need something that's strong enough to support a few hundred pounds without sagging, look decent, and be cheap. The office in a previous job I held used 1" Russian Birch plywood with a laminated top, and after about a year of use they were sagging by as much as an inch so that's no good. I walked around Home Depot and Lowes and they had precious little in the way of finished countertops, other than stone and manufactured kitchen tops. I am assuming that given the length of counter I'd need it would be less expensive to buy sheets of material, cut them to size, and apply a laminate myself. I am open to other ideas, of course.

For the legs I was thinking of using just iron pipes with flanges attached to the underside of the counter. Cheap and strong, and I can paint it whatever color I want.

Any ideas, suggestions, or pointing out any obvious flaws in my preliminary plan would be appreciated.
 
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Old 01-30-09, 09:21 AM
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The sagging problem is caused by too big a gap between supports. So you either need to only have 4 feet between supports or you could build a base for the counter out of 2x4 to span up to 6 feet. This would make the top over 4 inches tall though. You could install regular laminate counters on this base.
Another option would be to use upper kitchen cabinets for the base. Three cabinets 2 feet wide in 15 feet would support the laminate counter. Attach the counter to the half wall then 3 feet from there put the 1st cabinet, 3 foot space, 2nd cabinet then the last cabinet at the end. The cabinets are at the front of the counter so you still need a 2x4 across the back wall to support the back of the counter. Then some of the extra stuff could be placed in the cabinets. I have a similar set-up 10 feet long. It has 3 cabinets, 2 24 inch on the ends and an 18 inch in the middle. It has been 6 years since I set it up and I have no sagging even with the desktop tower on top. Depends on how much weight you need to support.
It is a little taller than most desk though as the cabinets are 30 inches tall and the counter is another inch.
 
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Old 01-30-09, 10:44 AM
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Check with a local cabinet supplier or cabinet retailer (not a big box). They should be able to order for you angle shelf/counter supports. I used to sell these for applications for computer bars in schools and offices.


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The above demonstrates the type of bracket. I can not remember the manufacturer of the ones I sold. The steel brackets supported 100#. When spaced along a wall beneath the 25" deep plastic laminate counter, there was more than enough support for multiple computers and work stations. The ones I sold were considerably less than the ones available at HD Shelf Support Bracket 56889
 
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Old 01-31-09, 01:01 AM
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Since this will be an office how about using some strategically placed file and storage cabinets for supports? As far as the top is concerned you should be able to order a 15' top in your choice of laminates from your local HD or Lowes.
 
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Old 01-31-09, 05:46 AM
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Office

I agree with Bill. Look for cabinets that are desk height. You will most likely want to install them with spaces between, in which case you need to level each unit to the others so that the tops of the cabinets will provide a uniform, level support for the counter top.
 
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Old 01-31-09, 02:24 PM
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If you're wanting to support the top without legs or cabinets, check out supportbrackets.com for brackets which are formed from powder coated steel in a range of colors. The 15" x 21" brackets are $15.95 each & can support up to 1000 lbs/pair. Six of these spaced at 32" with 10" overhang at each end is all you would need. Use Tapcon screws to fasten them to the wall. If you want support closer to the front, use the 18" x 24" at $20.95 each. These brackets are widely used in commercial applications. Good luck
 
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