In an RV, space is almost always at a premium, especially in the kitchen/galley area. RV kitchens are generally pretty compact, leaving only a small amount of room for meal prep and cooking. An RV countertop extension is one clever solution that can help you maximize your kitchen space.
Talking about ways to use the living space in an RV more efficiently, we’ve covered RV storage ideas and RV furniture upgrades. In today’s post, we’re exploring the benefits of RV countertop extensions as a way to add more counter space to your RV kitchen.
- 1) What Is an RV Countertop Extension?
- 2) What Are the Advantages of an RV Countertop Extension?
- 3) Different Types of RV Countertop Extensions
- 4) Things to Consider When Choosing a Flip-Up/Down RV Countertop Extension
- 5) Popular RV Countertop Extensions to Consider
- 6) Free RVing Tips, Tricks, Reviews & Giveaways
What Is an RV Countertop Extension?
A counter extension for an RV is one way to expand the workspace in your RV kitchen with the added benefit of being able to fold that additional counter space away when it’s not in use.
RV counter extensions are designed to fit seamlessly into your rig’ kitchen, giving you an extra countertop surface when you need it for meal prep, etc. They’re designed to fold away when the extra space isn’t needed.
What Are the Advantages of an RV Countertop Extension?
Having the ability to easily extend (and reduce) an RV countertop offers several benefits.
As mentioned above, an RV countertop extension creates an extra workspace for meal prep. With RV kitchens being much smaller than sticks & bricks homes, there’s a lot to be said for any amount of extra space for chopping food, setting pans, dishes, or ingredients, or even serving food.
Hold Small Appliances
An RV countertop extension can provide extra space for small appliances like coffee makers, blenders, or toasters. Since you’ll likely need to stow small appliances during travel even if they’re used on a fixed countertop, setting them up on a surface that also gets stowed during travel might be a perfect choice.
Fold Away When Not In Use
One of the greatest benefits of an RV countertop extension is the ability to fold it out of the way when it’s not in use. Countertop extensions are designed to be compact when folded, providing more space to move around the kitchen when it’s not in use.
Generally Easy to Install
RV countertop extensions are usually pretty easy to install as a DIY project. Whether you decide to use a countertop extension kit or your own wood (or other material) and brackets purchased separately, the job isn’t usually too difficult for the average DIY RVer.
Different Types of RV Countertop Extensions
There are a few different types of RV countertop extensions. The one in our Mountain Aire slides out of the cabinetry. Those are generally more complex installations, often best left to the factory during the manufacture of the RV. But there are some options for retrofitting a similar extension, which we’ll touch on below.
So today we’re focusing primarily on the RV folding counter extension type (sometimes called an RV flip-up counter extension). But there are other ways to get some extra counter space in an RV, and we’ll include references to those, too.
Generally speaking, the type of RV counter extender that’s usually installed after-market as a DIY project is the type that flips up for use and then folds down against the cabinetry when not needed.
Flip-Up/Down Countertop Extension
This type of countertop extension for RV use is hinged to an existing counter or wall and can be flipped up when the extra prep area or workspace is needed and down when it’s not. This is the most popular choice for an RV countertop extension because it’s simple to install and easy to use.
Here’s a video from Camco offering a step-by-step tutorial on the installation of one of their countertop extension kits:
Sink or Stove Cover Countertop Extension
A simple way to enhance the workspace in your kitchen is to use a piece of solid material such as Corian or butcher block that covers your sink or stove. While this isn’t technically an extension, it is a way to create additional work space.
Many RVs come with stove and/or sink covers, but not all. Our Mountain Aire has three of these (the cooktop and both sinks), and we love them.
With a sink cover, you simply drop the cover onto the top of the sink when you need extra counter space (assuming you can do without the sink for a time). Two sinks can make it super easy… we always keep one covered and one uncovered.
With a stove cover, you simply place the piece on top of your stove grates. Our built-in stove cover simply folds up out of the way when we need the cooktop, and down when we’re not using the burners but need the extra counter space.
- Protects and Hides Stove Top Burners: Protects and hides stove top burners while adding extra counter space in your RV
- Stops Rattling: The non-slip bottom keeps the cover in-place and helps silence rattling while on the move
As mentioned, if you only have one sink, that can be a drawback since you can’t use it as a counter and a sink at the same time.
- Add more counter space to the RV
- Solid Bordeaux finish hardwood
Some sink cover cutting boards offer a cut-out, allowing you to put food scraps into the sink as you work or run water in some cases.
- SINK COVER FOR COUNTER SPACE: Say goodbye to cramped counters and expand your kitchen workspace with this kitchen sink cover for counter space. Get...
- MULTI-PURPOSE: This is versatility at its best. Use it on your sink or counter for cleaning, carving, and chopping.
Slide-Out Countertop Extension
As mentioned, some RVs come from the factory with this type of countertop extension. But again, it’s far less likely to be added to a rig as a DIY project. However, you could use a particular type of slide-out hardware to create this kind of additional workspace.
- INCLUDES: (2) Metal Drop Leaf Supports with (8) 5/8” #8 Pan Head Screws (assembly instructions also included)
- APPLICATIONS: Provides support, strength and stability for your drop leaf tables, repurposed desk tops, sewing cabinets, shop tables and more
This type of extension slides out from under an existing countertop to offer additional workspace when it’s pulled out. It’s tucked away neatly by sliding back into the cavity when not in use.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Flip-Up/Down RV Countertop Extension
You’ll want to consider several details when choosing an RV countertop extension for your rig.
Choosing a countertop extension with dimensions that align properly with the area in which you’re planning to install it is important. In addition to fitting the available space, the extension also needs to provide sufficient tabletop/countertop space for you to work. And it needs to stow properly when not in use.
You’ll want your RV countertop extension to be made from a durable material that’s easy to clean and can sustain a bit of heat or cold without damage. Materials like hardwood, high-quality laminate, or solid material (again, like Corian) tend to work well.
It’s important to use support brackets that are stable and secure when in use. Note the amount of weight your brackets are rated to support. The last thing you want is for your tabletop/countertop extension to come crashing down because the brackets weren’t strong enough to hold whatever you put on it. The same goes for using screws that are substantial enough.
Keep in mind that many RVs use weak materials to keep the rig’s weight down. If you screw a set of brackets into a thin luan wall with no extra bracing, it won’t matter how strong your brackets are. The material behind the brackets can be damaged, and your extension could collapse under the weight of your tuna noodle casserole!
Ease of Installation
If you intend to install a countertop extension yourself, choosing a flip-up/down type will be far easier to install than a slide-in/out style. If you go with a ready-made kit, review its measurements and installation instructions to ensure it fits your RV and your skills. Confirm that the necessary parts and pieces are supplied with the kit and that installation is relatively easy as a DIY project.
It may g0 without saying, but you’ll want to choose an extension that matches the design and decor of your RV kitchen. This may not always be possible, but since they’re generally designed to be functional rather than decorative, it might be easier than you think.
Popular RV Countertop Extensions to Consider
There are a few types of countertop extensions you can add to your RV’s galley (or some other area… get creative)! Let’s take a look at a few options for extending your RV’s countertop/tabletop space:
Camco 43421 Oak Accents Countertop Extension
This solid oak finish hardwood extension mounts to your existing countertop with a metal piano hinge and is secured by a metal drop-leaf table brace. With dimensions of 12 x 13.5 x 0.75 inches, this model weighs just one pound and adds an extra 12″ to your countertop space. It folds down when not in use.
- Adds an extra 12" to the counter top
- Pulls up easily and is secured by a metal drop-leaf table brace
Camco 43423 Bamboo Accents RV Countertop Extension
Also from Camco, this extension is made of durable bamboo that is suitable for food contact. Its dimensions are 12″ (L) x 13 ½” (W) x ¾” (thick), and also mounts to your existing countertop with a metal piano hinge and is secured by a metal drop-leaf table brace. This kit offers you an extra 12″ of counter space. Note that this extension weighs 3 1/2 pounds.
- A Convenient Kitchen Accessory: Adds an additional 12-inches to your RV's countertop
- Durable, Food Safe Construction: Made of durable bamboo that is suitable for food contact
Make-Your-Own Folding Countertop/Tabletop Extension
You can also create your own folding countertop/tabletop shelf or extension using materials such as those shown below. You’ll want to make sure to buy brackets that can safely hold whatever you intend to place on it. Also make sure you purchase a top that fits properly in the area where you intend to install it.
- Folding Shelf Brackets Specifications: Bracket L = 10", H = 4.7", the maximum supporting load is 265 lbs (120 kg), the triangle is the strongest...
- Space Saving: One of the functions of the folding bracket is to save space. Very suitable for your garage, kitchen, shop, shop, workshop, boat, RV,...
- Best Acacia Wood：This cutting board is made of food-grade acacia wood which is 100% natural, the Acacia wood has remarkable character - a blend of...
- Kitchen Essential: Ayiaren was designed to be the most functional cutting board you've ever had. This chopping board could be used as cutting,...
If you’re installing a very lightweight countertop extension, you can use a piano hinge and a drop leaf support with a finger-pull like those shown below.
- 【Stainless Steel Piano Hinges】The Piano hinge is Composed of extremely durable 304 Stainless Steel with polished surface, rust proof, durable and...
- 【2PCS 12" Piano Hinge】Package Include 2pcs 12in continuous hinge, It includes screws, and there are 2 in. spacings between each screw hole. Each...
- Dimensions: 10" Long.
- This sturdy hardware is made of steel and can support heavy table leaves.
Additional counter or tabletop space is always welcome in an RV. However you decide to add to your RV’s countertop or tabletop space, be sure to pay close attention to hardware weight ratings and user reviews.
Free RVing Tips, Tricks, Reviews & Giveaways
As 20-year full-timers, we share everything we’ve learned about RVing over the years. Join our online community to receive a wealth of great RVing knowledge delivered daily to your inbox.
Whether you’re a new RVer or a seasoned full-timer, you’ll love the wide range of RVing topics we cover. Don’t miss a single article or any of our famous Giveaways. Subscribe to our newsletter today!