Technically, it is possible to remove granite countertops without damaging cabinets. That is because most installers out there use silicone only at the corners of the slabs to place them. So, once you manage to cut through the silicone, removing the slabs is mostly easy except for their excessive heft.
Will Removing Granite Countertops Ruin Cabinets
Theoretically, removing granite countertops should not ruin cabinets if handled by professionals. But it is easier said than done, for it demands additional care and expense. Yet, it is worth the extra effort if you want a budget-friendly kitchen remodeling without replacing the old cabinets.
Above all, you won’t need high-end power tools for the project as most granite countertops stick to the cabinet support with silicone adhesive. However, things can get tricky if screws hold the countertop in place. Either way, your cabinets should stay unharmed even though the same doesn’t go for the granite.
Can You Remove Granite Countertops Without Damaging Cabinets
Generally, installers use pin nails to hold the cabinet tops and the sub tops together and then glue the granite on top. Therefore, removing these tops is almost trouble-free with a couple of hard-wearing pry bars. Most importantly, it will not hurt your cabinets if you are careful enough.
In contrast, you might find both the tops attached with screws instead of nails. But unscrewing them will not be a smooth sail because of the granite. In that case, you can try to cut through the screws by prying up the countertop slightly. However, you will have to struggle a bit to separate the screws from the solid wood.
How to Remove Granite Countertops That Are Glued Down
First off, try cutting any adhesive or caulking whatsoever from the bottom of the countertop. If you don’t have professional tools, a utility knife should do just about fine. Next, if applicable, pry the backsplashes using a pry bar from where the joints on the countertop and wall meet. Eventually, the granite countertop will come loose.
How Do You Remove Old Granite Countertops Without Damaging Cabinets
The job is better left to professionals providing some granite countertop removal service. And that is if you want the cabinets to stay intact. Still, if you are unwilling to call for professional help or have some experience, you can consider it a DIY project.
Here’s a list of tools required for the job.
- Pry bar
- Utility knife
- Safety goggles
Get these along with a bunch of helping hands to cooperate with the heavy lifting and follow through the steps below.
1. Lift the Front Edge
Look at the inner side of the cabinet’s face to locate a joint between it and the bottom of the countertop. Now, use a hammer to get your pry bar into the joint holding the countertop and the front brace of the cabinets.
After that, detach any adhesive by prying gently. And if there is plywood beneath the granite, separate it as well. Once the space inside the now open joint is enough, use a wooden shim to support the countertop. Meanwhile, repeat the same process until the entire front edge gets lifted.
2. Pry Along the Length of Your Countertop
The second step is to lift the granite along with the plywood (if any) from the cabinet support using your pry bar. Begin with lifting the front side and gradually moving back while adding more wooden shims. But make sure not to pry more than a couple of inches back each time. Likewise, keep prying along the length of the countertop to lift the whole countertop.
3. Remove the Granite Countertop
Now that the granite countertop is finally free from the cabinet support, it is time to remove it elsewhere. But do note that you will need a few helping hands at this point since granite is pretty heavy and cracks easily.
Instruct your team members to stand at a 3-4ft distance from each other along the front edge of the countertop. Then slowly push the countertop up from its back edge while the members can lift and carry it gently.
4. Remove Plywood if Needed
After removing the granite countertop, place it somewhere safe, with its top portion facing downward. And in case the granite has plywood underneath, remove it with a pry tool. Also, there might be residue from the adhesive that needs scraping. Depending on the strength of the glue, use an appropriate scraper to get rid of it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you remove granite countertops and reuse them?
With proper planning, you can. However, keep in mind that most contractors who do these types of demolition usually suggest breaking the granite tops into smaller portions. That way, removing the countertop becomes easier. Yet, if you insist on reusing the countertop, they will charge a bit extra but eventually, work on it.
Can you remove granite countertops without damaging the backsplash?
The tiled backsplash getting damaged while removing granite countertops is pretty unlikely to occur. That is because there’s caulking in the 1/8-inch gap between the countertop and the backsplash that you can cut away with ease.
Solid surface counters are more durable. They are also more stain-resistant than laminate countertops. However, they cost more. Laminate countertops are cheaper than solid surface counters but require special care and maintenance.
So, it turns out that you can remove granite countertops without damaging cabinets. No matter what, it is always a good idea to separate the cabinet doors before starting the removal process. That way, you can further minimize the chances of damaging the cabinets.