by Mike Constanza
Your cabinets are one of the objects that can alter the look of your kitchen completely. Granite countertops are a popular choice for kitchen cabinets. They are durable and resistant to even the most intense treatments.
There are times when you might want to tweak the look of your kitchen. And the best way to go is by changing your countertops. You can have it done by professionals but it often then ends up costing a pretty penny. But the good news is that you can remove your granite countertops by yourself.
We understand if you don’t want to damage or break the granite countertop to pieces. After all, the slab of granite can come handy in various potential projects.
So rest assured because there are ways to remove a countertop AND salvage the granite. All you need is the right tools and technique.
However a typical slab of granite can weigh from 150 to 250 pounds. So have some people to help you while lifting and moving.
Generally, the slabs of granite are placed on cabinets using silicone. The installers put dabs of it in specific spots. It is possible to dislodge the granite by cutting off the silicone using a putty knife.
First, remove all the doors and drawers from the cabinet. Look closely for any gap between the granite and cabinet. Next, locate the spots of silicone. Place a wedge between the granite and the cabinet. This will create an upward pressure.
Now, use a putty knife to cut the silicone as much as you can. Once you’ve cut enough, have someone lift the edge of the granite. Meanwhile, continue to cut the remaining silicon until the entire slab of granite can be lifted.
As you are removing the countertop from your cabinet, you will also need to dislodge it from your backsplash or walls. You can easily do it by using a shim and hammer.
Take a razor blade and break the caulk between the counter and backsplash. Be careful to avoid your wall while cutting the caulk. Now, stick a plastic or wooden shim on the edge. Use a hammer to further wedge it in.
Keep placing the shims in the edge while leaving slight gaps in between. You can use as many shims as you need and hit them with a hammer. Eventually the slab will break away from the surface.
External heat can melt adhesive quite effectively. A propane torch can apply sufficient heat to the adhesive to take off a countertop. You will need to get under the cabinet and use the torch from the inside between the counter and face frame.
Hold the torch 4 to 5 inches from the surface. And evenly apply heat to the epoxy resin until it starts to melt. Heat the area for a few seconds with short intervals to avoid burning the wood of your cabinet and wear safety goggles while using the torch.
Now take a sharp box cutter or utility knife to cut the resin and dislodge the granite from the cabinet. Alternate between cutting and melting the adhesive so that it remains soft and pliable. Even so, you will need to use some elbow grease.
Next, using the same knife/cutter, cut along the seam. Gingerly heat the adhesive that is next to the slit. And use the knife to cut further. Finish with a scraper to further widen the cut.
Once you have completely separated the countertop, carefully lift and remove the granite with someone’s help.
Pry bar is a handy tool that can aid you in lifting and dislodging various objects. Similarly, a pry bar can be used to remove granite from cabinets.
First, remove all accessories and appliances from your countertop. Carefully look under the counter and locate the joint between the granite countertop and your cabinet.
Take a pry bar and hit its edge into the junction with a hammer. Now, place wooden shim into the areas you have pried apart. Keep separating the granite from the cabinet in this way until the whole slab can be lifted.
Use as much help as you can from others and slowly raise the countertop to remove it completely.
When you read the word “multitool”, you might think about the Swiss Army Knife that is often used for outdoor projects. But here, we are talking about the versatile oscillating multitool that is used for sanding, cutting and grinding.
Many installers use a subtop while attaching a countertop to the cabinet. A subtop is a sheet of plywood that is screwed down to the base of the cabinet. Blobs of glue are applied on top of the plywood and the granite is placed over it.
If you want to unfasten the subtop, you will generally have to hammer the granite to break it, find the screws after removing the pieces and take them out. But if you plan on salvaging the granite, you will need to find the screws while the slab is intact. This can be tricky but we’re here to guide you.
You can use a strong magnet or a scraper to slide along the gap, if there is room, until you impact a screw. Mark the area once you find it.
Use the multitool to plunge and cut the screw from the inside of the cabinet between the sub top and the face frame. Always use a carbide blade as metal cutting blades will not hold out.
This might damage the top of the face frame a little. But don’t worry it won’t be noticeable after you lightly sand the area with sandpaper.
Next, take a shim and ram it in between the sub top and face frame to raise the granite. Continue until you’ve cut up all the screws. Finally, get someone to help you lift the countertop.
Now you can easily remove granite countertops from cabinets without damaging them. Hence, you will not only save tons of money from replacing your counter by yourself but also get additional granite for your other crafts!
About Mike Constanza
For years, Mike had always told everyone "no other sport like baseball." True to his word, he keeps diligently collecting baseball-related stuff: cards, hats, jerseys, photos, signatures, hangers, shorts (you name it); especially anything related to the legendary player Jim Bouton.
Mike honorably received Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from University of Phoenix. In his graduation speech, he went on and on about baseball... until his best friend, James, signaled him to shut it.
He then worked for a domain registrar in Phoenix, AZ; speciallizng in auction services. One day at work, he saw the site JimBouton.com pop on the for-sale list. Mike held his breath until decided to blow all of his savings for it.
Here we are; the site is where Mike expresses passion to the world. And certainly, he would try diversing it to various areas rather than just baseball.