Removing Kitchen Countertops and Cabinets

How to Remove Kitchen Countertops and Cabinets in a Controlled Way

By Mark J. Donovan

When remodeling your kitchen one way to save money is to remove the old kitchen countertops and cabinets yourself. Removing kitchen countertops and cabinets can be a one man project up until the point of having to lift the kitchen countertop off of the cabinets, so plan to have a second pair of hands and a strong back nearby.

Removing Kitchen Countertops

The first step in removing kitchen countertops is to turn off the water supply lines to the kitchen faucet. Normally the shut-off valves can be found under the sink.

After shutting off the water, use an adjustable wrench to disconnect the supply lines from the kitchen faucet. Note that there is no need to disconnect the supply lines up high under the kitchen sink. Just disconnect the ends that attach into the supply line shut-off valves.

Next, remove all of the kitchen drawers from the cabinets so that you have easy access to the underside of the kitchen cabinets.

Also this is an excellent point in the project to empty all of the contents of the kitchen cabinets, as you will need room to reach back into the base cabinet units to access screws.

With the kitchen drawers and cabinets emptied of their contents, you can now remove the kitchen sink. Before removing the sink however, disconnect the sink drain pipe. Make sure you have a bucket handy to catch the water that is in the J-trap.

Removing kitchen countertop cabinets

Unscrew the clips that hold the sink to the kitchen countertop and then simply lift the kitchen sink, along with the faucet in many cases, out of the countertop.

With the kitchen sink out, next remove the kitchen backsplash. Kitchen backsplashes are normally attached to the back wall with an adhesive, and caulked along the edges. Use a utility knife to score the caulk line. This will help minimize any tears to the drywall above the height of the backsplash. Use a large flat screwdriver and a small block of wood as leverage to help pry the backsplash off of the wall.

Once the backsplash has been removed, crawl underneath the kitchen countertop and into the kitchen cabinet base units and remove the screws that hold the kitchen countertop to the kitchen cabinets.

Kitchen Remodeling Bid Sheet

With the screws removed you are now ready for a second pair of hands. Lifting and removing kitchen countertops can be extremely heavy and awkward work so make sure you are up to the task prior to literally removing them. Also make sure your work area is free of any obstacles or obstructions.

Removing Kitchen Cabinets

After removing the kitchen countertops, you can then move on and remove the old kitchen cabinets. Remove the base units first, followed by the upper cabinets. Note that kitchen cabinets are fastened to the back walls as well as to adjacent cabinets. Make sure you remove the screws that attach adjacent cabinets first.

After removing your old kitchen countertops and cabinets, consider recycling them in your basement and/or garage. Though they may look old and ugly in your kitchen they may look beautiful and function well in a workshop environment.

For help on your kitchen remodeling project, see my Kitchen Remodeling Bid Sheet. The Kitchen Remodeling Bid Sheet provides a request for quote checklist section that you can provide to prospective kitchen remodeling contractors. It also includes a comprehensive kitchen remodeling cost breakdown table, in Microsoft Excel format, that allows the contractor to include his projected remodeling costs for every phase of the project.

Related Information

Additional Kitchen Remodeling Design Resources


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