How To Remove A Bathroom Countertop Without Damaging The Cabinets

Removing and replacing the countertops in the bathroom is a great way to keep it a facelift or change the bathroom's appearance. Overall it could have a fairly large impact on the bathroom entirely. But what is the best way to remove the bathroom countertop from the cabinets without damaging them? We've researched the methods used to do this, and in this post, we will share the best steps with you.

Here's how to remove your bathroom countertop without damaging the cabinets beneath it:

  1. Remove obstructions
  2. Unhook the fixtures
  3. Remove the bathroom sink
  4. Remove any dried adhesive
  5. Remove any screws from the countertops
  6. Remove the countertop

If you're looking for a way to modernize your bathroom, changing the countertop can be a way to do it. Or if the countertop has broken, become stained, or doesn't work for the decor anymore, replacing it can be beneficial. Continue reading to learn how to do this while keeping the cabinets intact.

Stunning interior of a contemporary bathroom with a huge mirror black and white shower backsplash and wooden laminated cabinetry How To Remove A Bathroom Countertop Without Damaging The Cabinets

How To Remove Bathroom Countertop Without Damaging Cabinets

Before removing the countertops, it's best to create a checklist of all the materials you need beforehand. This can save you a trip to the store and give you time to purchase any specialty items that you need to complete the project.

Things you'll need:

  • Pry bar
  • Chisel
  • Handyman gloves
  • Reciprocating saw (for large for heavy counters)
  • Box cutter
  • Wrench
  • Bucket
  • Putty knife
  • Protective eyewear
  • Caulk softener
  • Screwdriver

Contemporary interior bathroom with a white granite countertop on the vanity and dark painted cabinets

1. Remove obstructions

Before starting the project, remove any obstructions from inside, around, or on top of the cabinets. This can include any personal items, accessories, and tools that can get in the way or become damaged during the project. You also want to clear out the cabinets inside to prevent them from becoming riddled with dust or getting damaged.

2. Unhook the fixtures

Now, disconnect any countertop fixtures or supply lines. This will include any emergency shut-off valves, gas lines, and water lines. You may need to use an adjustable wrench to switch off the emergency shutoff valve. If there are any electrical outlets near the countertops, it's best to cover them with electrical tape to prevent them from being covered with debris.

Check out this painter's tape on Amazon.

3. Remove the bathroom sink

After you have disconnected the supply lines, you'll need to remove the bathroom sink. The way that you'll remove the sink will depend on the type of sink you have. For example, if you have a vessel sink, you simply can pick it up and set it aside. But if you have a porcelain or iron sink, you'll likely need an assistant to help lift it safely--these sinks can weigh over 75 pounds.

However, if you have an under-mounted or dropped-style sink, you will need to use a chisel to wiggle the sink apart from the countertop. You can also use a pry bar to do this as well. Be especially careful while doing this, as it can be easy to damage the top of the cabinet with the chisel. It may also be helpful to place painter's tape on the top of the cabinet to avoid scratches.

Check out this chisel on Amazon.

Before using the chisel, it's helpful to spray the area beneath the sink with a caulk softener to help loosen up any dried adhesive that may be at the seal between the sink and the cabinet. Once you have effectively loosened the sink from the countertop, have an assistant stand on the other side of the sink and slowly and carefully lift it from the countertop and set it on a tarp on the floor.

Take a look at this tarp on Amazon.

4. Remove any dried adhesive

If the countertop is over five years old, the chances are that the caulk may take a bit more effort to remove. Start by spraying the caulk softener around the countertop edges, and be sure to get the seal between it and the bottom of the countertop. Let the softener set for about an hour, and then use a box cutter or utility knife to scrape the adhesive from the bottom of the countertop. When doing this, be sure to place the edge of the box cutter on the bottom edge of the countertop to avoid damaging the top of the cabinet.

Once you have effectively removed all the caulk, use a pry bar to lift the edge of the countertop from the cabinet. Next, go to the other side of the countertop to make sure that it is completely detached from the cabinet.

5. Remove any screws from the countertops

Next, inspect the area beneath the countertop and inside the cabinet to see if there are any nails, brackets, or screws holding the countertop in place. Sometimes countertops will have additional anchoring if they are heavy or large, so it's best to do a check before lifting the countertop from the cabinet. If there is any additional hardware, unscrew the parts and place the hardware to the side.

6. Remove the countertop

Next, have your assistant stand on the other side of the countertop and slowly lift it away from the cabinet. If you find that the countertop is not budging, chances are there is still sealant or hardware that has not been removed. And if this is the case, take your pry bar and work it into the area beneath the countertop, making sure not to place too much force to damage the cabinet beneath it. Or, take a look for any attached hardware inside the cabinet. After removing the countertop, set it aside on the floor next to a wall.

Can You Change Countertops Without Changing Cabinets?

Yes. You can change countertops without changing cabinets. However, it's best to take a few things into consideration before doing so. First, you'll want to look at the warranty of the cabinets, if they're fairly new, to ensure that it will not be avoided if a new countertop is installed. Also, it's best to take a holistic view of the room to ensure that the new counter will work well with the cabinets.

Lastly, you want to find a qualified contractor to replace the countertops, as it is easy to damage the cabinets during this process. Look at the reviews of the contractor and ask them about their process for installing new countertops over cabinetry to ensure that they include recommended industry practices.

How Difficult Is It To Remove Bathroom Countertops?

A long span rustic bathroom cabinet matched with marble countertop

Removing a bathroom countertop can be a fairly involved project, typically due to the size and weight of the countertop. Doing so without damaging the cabinet beneath is also a big concern with this project. If you're performing this project for the first time, the most important thing to remember is to protect the cabinetry when removing the old adhesive and lifting the countertop from the cabinet.

The top of the cabinet is prone to scratch marks and gouges during this process, so using caution with the pry bar is a must. You'll also want to ensure that you have at least one person assisting you with lifting the countertop off of the cabinets, as they can be fairly weighty.

Learn more about this pry bar on Amazon.

What's The Cost Of Replacing Bathroom Countertops?

The cost to replace bathroom countertops will vary, depending on your location, the type of countertop, its size, and the type of countertop installed. On average, the cost can range from $3,000 to over $5,000. Contractors will typically charge anywhere from $16 to $80 per square foot for the material and about $8 to $40 per square foot for labor.

So in total, you're looking at anywhere from $24 to $120 per square foot of countertop space. Unsurprisingly, expensive countertop materials such as marble, granite, and onyx will be more expensive to install as they are typically heavier and more susceptible to scratches and dents.

Should You Empty Cabinets Before Replacing Countertops?

Yes. To prevent any personal items or equipment from being damaged during the installation process, it's best to remove everything from inside the cabinets before the contractors come. Removing a countertop can produce quite a bit of debris, and the removal of hardware can damage anything on the interior of the cabinets.

Do Countertop Installers Remove Old Countertops?

They can. However, it depends on if you want the service or not. Replacing countertops usually involves contractors coming in and removing the old countertops, but you can certainly do so if you prefer to save money and perform this step yourself. However, it's best to carefully research how to avoid damaging your cabinets during the process. You'll also want to confirm that the contractor offers removal services, as some do not.

Wrapping Things Up

We hope that this helped illustrate how to remove countertops from your bathroom without damaging the cabinets. If you're performing this project yourself, be sure to have an assistant help you lift the cabinet, and the sink if necessary, to avoid damaging the furniture.

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