How To's - How to Remove an Old Kitchen Countertop
How to Remove an Old Kitchen Countertop
Removing an old kitchen countertop is a simple DIY project any homeowner can do. You only need a few basic tools and about a half day to complete the task. You do, however, need to follow a specific process to prevent damage to cabinets, walls and plumbing.
When you’re done, you’ll be ready to update your kitchen with a new countertop or remove the cabinets for a complete kitchen remodel.
Note: If you need to remove a natural stone countertop like a granite countertop, it may be advisable to have it done by professionals. These kitchen countertops can be very heavy and the way they are installed makes removing them difficult, increasing the risk of damage during removal.
Tools Needed to Remove an Old Countertop
You don’t need a lot of tools to remove an old countertop. Here’s what you should need to get the job done:
- Plumbers wrench
- Basin wrench
- Screwdrivers or Power driver
- Putty knife
- Hammer and chisel (for tile countertops)
- Caulk softener
How to Remove the Countertop
Once you’ve got the tools, it’s time to get started. Let’s go!
Step 1: Get the Area Ready
Clear the countertops. Empty the drawers and remove them. Empty the cabinets as removing the countertop will create a lot of dust and debris. Taping the cabinet doors shut (after you remove screws in Step 5) is a good idea to prevent unwanted openings as you remove the countertop and keep them from getting damaged.
If necessary, disconnect appliances and move them. If a window casing overlaps a backsplash, you’ll need to carefully remove it to access the backsplash for removal.
Step 2: Disconnect the Plumbing
Turn off the water supply lines. Drain thefaucet. Then, using the basic wrench, disconnect from faucet. Have a bucket nearby to catch water.
Remove faucet from sink. While there’s usually enough space to remove the sink with the faucet still attached, you’ll want to remove if you plan to use it again. Removing the faucet also limits potential challenges and since it isn’t hard, is worth doing. If you’ll be immediately replacing the sink and faucet into the new countertop, leave it in place.
Turn off gas (if gas stovetop) and disconnect the gas line.
Disconnect the drain(s) from the sink. It may not be necessary, but gently stuffing cloths into the drain line prevents debris from falling into the plumbing. It also limits odors from creeping up the line should the pipes get bumped.
If you have a garbage disposal, you will need to disconnect it too.
Step 3: Remove Sink
At this point, the sink should be disconnected from all the plumbing and faucet (possibly) removed.
To remove the sink, begin by using your putty knife around the edge to break or remove adhesive holding it in place. With tile countertops, you’ll likely need to chisel out the tiles that are around the sink. Once the sink’s loose, lift the sink and remove.
Step 4: Remove Backsplash
Spray caulk remover along the top and bottom edges of the backsplash. Give it a moment to work, then with the putty knife or prybar, pull away from the wall and countertop.
Step 5: Remove Old Countertop
Using screwdrivers or power driver, remove any screws holding the countertop in place or connecting sections of countertop together. These would be accessible from under the cabinets. Make sure all are removed before you begin prying to protect the cabinets – and make the job easier!
Next, with the prybar, lift the countertop off in sections. As most countertops are also attached to the tops of cabinets with adhesive, work the prybar around the edge of the cabinet to break it free. Once it’s loose all the way around, lift and remove. If the sections are large enough, you may want a helper for this step.
Step 6: Dispose or Reuse Countertops
If the countertop can be removed without damage, you may be able to give it away. Or you might reuse it in a storage room, laundry room or work area.
If you must dispose of the countertop, you can put it in a dumpster or take it to the dump.
With the old countertop removed, it’s time to complete the demolition or install your brand new kitchen countertop!