How to Remove an Old Kitchen Countertop

If you're working on a kitchen remodel, you may be looking for ways to save money during the process. Depending on the time and experience you have, this might be a tough challenge. If new granite countertops are part of the renovation you may want to think about removing your old countertops yourself. This will save some money on labor and is one project that is perfectly do-it-yourself friendly.

What You'll Need
A putty/utility knife
Pry bar
Screw driver
Drop cloths

Prepping for Countertop Removal
You'll need to do some prep work before you start hacking away at your old countertop. Clear everything off the top of the countertops and remove cabinet drawers. (You may also want to go ahead and clear out the bottom cabinets.) Set down a drop cloth to protect your floors and to help with cleanup later. Disconnect the sink plumbing and take out the sink either by unscrewing it or using a putty knife to unseal it if the sink is glued down. If you're cooktop is mounted to the countertop, remove that in a similar fashion. Disconnect the gas or electrical connections, unscrew the cooktop, and take it out.

One thing you'll need to be careful of is the countertop backsplash. If you're replacing the backsplash too, you'll want to remove the old one before tackling the countertops. You don't want to damage the wall while removing the countertops and taking down the backsplash first will prevent that. Use a utility knife to cut through the caulk or a putty knife to loosen it. Then take a pry bar, placing the putty knife or a piece of wood between the wall and the pry bar, and carefully pry the backsplash from the wall. You don't want to hack away and damage the wall in the process. If you’re not replacing the backsplash, you’ll have to be extra cautious when removing the countertops to prevent damage.

Out With the Old
Now to get down to the actual countertop removal. This step can be exciting especially if you're awaiting a beautiful granite countertop installation. Taking the plunge and tossing your old countertop brings you one step closer to a fabulous new kitchen. You'll want goggles and gloves at the ready for the actual removal.

Make sure you've removed everything from the surface, including any appliances (see above paragraphs). If you haven't already, now is the time to remove cabinet drawers and probably anything in the bottom cabinets. Check underneath the cabinets to see how the countertop is mounted. If it's screwed on, remove the screws and lift off the countertops. If it's glued, you'll need to loosen the countertops with a putty knife first. Then carefully pry the countertops loose with a pry bar and remove.

Removing an old countertop can be a bit messy. But as long as you protect appliances and other features of your kitchen that are staying, you shouldn't have any major damage. Just work cautiously and carefully so you don’t damage the adjacent walls. Other than that, enjoy the demolition and your incoming granite countertops!

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