You know, granite is one of the most sought-after materials for countertops.
It’s not hard to see why – it’s incredibly durable, has that timeless beauty, and each slab is unique, boasting its own intricate patterns and colors.
No two pieces are ever truly the same.
But, if you’re thinking of updating your kitchen or bathroom and have a granite countertop, it’s super important to understand the correct removal procedure.
Why, you ask? Well, for starters, granite slab is heavy!
Without the right approach, you could damage your cabinets, the floor, or even injure yourself.
Not to mention, with proper care, these slabs can be reused or resold, so you don’t want to just go hammering away at it.
So, before diving into any project, always prioritize understanding and planning.
In this article “How to remove a granite countertop: Step by Step”, I will explain everything from start to finish.
Let’s get started….
Granite removal from my Kitchen
Even though I have seen so many removals and installations, this January I replaced my kitchen countertops. And let me tell you, I was super excited for my kitchen renovation.
We had the blue granite countertops called New Caledonia.
I choose granite back when we bought this house because my kids were younger and that was the best option we could get for the money we wanted to spend.
Now my boys are older and I wanted to get new countertops.
I went with Calacatta Macchia Vecchia marble, YUP and love love love my kitchen even more.
Okay getting back to the topic.
We hired a fabrication company (a great friend) who did the removal, fabrication and installation of the new countertops.
Materials and Tools Needed
Here are the tools you would be needing.
Having the right tools helps make the task easy.
You can find them at any home improvement store.
Depending on how long your countertops are, you will need atleast 4 to 6 set of hands to carry out the granite.
- Pry bar
- Wooden shim or putty knife
- Utility knife or box cutter
- Rubber mallet
- Flat chisel
- Gloves and safety goggles
- Heavy-duty scraper
- Plastic or tarp to protect the floor
The best way is always to make sure you are taking necessary safety precautions.
Turning off the water valve:
Before you start, the first thing you need to make sure the water valve is turned off. Disconnected water lines prevents any accidental water flow or spills.
Disconnecting water lines:
It’s essential to disconnect the water lines from the sink or any other appliance attached to the countertop. This will ensure a smoother and safer removal process.
Wearing protective clothing:
Granite is heavy and can have sharp edges. To avoid any accidents or injuries, make sure you’re dressed in protective clothing like gloves, safety goggles, and even a long-sleeved shirt.
Ensuring easy access:
Make sure there’s ample space around the countertop for easy access and movement. This will make the removal process much more manageable.
Clear the Workspace:
Start by removing all countertop accessories like toasters, blenders, or any other appliance.
This will give you a clear space to work.
Make sure that the kitchen cabinets, especially those directly underneath the countertop, are emptied.
This not only prevents damage to your items but also makes it easier if you need to access the underbelly of the countertop.
Avoid dust contamination:
Before starting the removal, it’s good to make sure the workspace is as dust-free as possible.
Dust contamination can pose a health risk and can also complicate the removal process.
- For under-mount sinks, start by disconnecting the sink faucet and water valves, ensuring that no water is running. Then, carefully lift and remove the sink from its position.
- In the case of drop-in fixture sinks, simply disconnect the water lines and lift the sink out from above.
- Ensure that any other appliances or fixtures on the countertop are also removed.
Remove Backsplash (if applicable):
- The next step is to begin at the topmost edge of the backsplash. Using a utility knife, cut through the caulk line where the granite backsplash meets the wall.
- Now, position the wooden shim and pry bar at the back edge of the backsplash.
- Gently use the pry bar and shim to loosen and lift the backsplash away from the wall.
Cut the Caulk Seal:
- With the utility knife, run it along the front side of the granite where bottom of your countertop meets the top of the cabinet, ensuring you break the caulk seal completely.
Loosen the Granite:
- At the top corner, gently insert the wooden shim or putty knife beneath the front edge of the old countertop.
- Using the pry bar, apply slight upward pressure to lift the granite just a bit.
- Move around the countertop’s perimeter, continuing this gentle lifting action.
Remove Hold-Down Brackets (if present):
- Inspect inside the cabinets for any hold-down brackets that secure the granite in place.
- Using a screwdriver, unscrew and set aside these brackets.
Lift the Granite:
- With an assistant’s help, grip the granite’s top facing and carefully lift it off the cabinets. If there are large pieces, you will need more set of hands.
- If the slab is excessively heavy or large, you might contemplate cutting it into smaller portions with a circular saw.
Clean the Cabinets:
- After granite removal, you’ll likely notice an adhesive layer on the cabinet tops. Using a putty knife, scrape off this residual adhesive or caulk.
Common Challenges and Solutions
Removing a granite countertop isn’t just about lifting it off – the process is intertwined with several challenges.
But fear not; for every problem, there’s a solution!
Addressing the Challenges of Adhesive Layers:
Once the granite is lifted, you’ll often find a stubborn layer of adhesive clinging to the cabinets.
This layer can be resistant to removal, leaving behind a rough and uneven surface.
The heat gun is your friend here.
Aim it over the adhesive to soften it.
Once it’s pliable, use a box cutter or scraper to gently remove the softened adhesive.
For particularly resistant spots, you might also use a pry bar with caution to scrape away the adhesive.
Here is a video showing you how to address the challenge by House Barons.
Navigating the Removal Process:
The removal process can be intricate, especially when it comes to lifting the granite without causing damage. Often, the adhesive or caulk that holds the granite can be extremely tenacious, making the separation process tedious.
Here, a pry bar becomes invaluable. Inserting it carefully at the top corner or along the entire front frame of the countertop helps in gently prying the granite away from the adhesive.
For areas with screws or fasteners, a screw tip is essential to unscrew without causing damage.
If the adhesive doesn’t budge, a box cutter can be used to cut through it, but always exercise caution to avoid scratching the cabinets or granite.
Working Around Installations:
Maneuvering around installations like the sink’s bottom, the bottom of each bracket, or the cabinet’s front brace can be tricky.
These spots are usually tightly secured, and incorrect removal techniques can damage both the granite and the installations.
Begin by inspecting the entire front frame of the countertop and cabinets.
Identify all areas where there are installations or fastenings.
For the sink’s bottom, consider using the pry bar to gently lift around its perimeter.
The screw tip will be useful for unscrewing any fixtures at the bottom of the sink or bottom of the brackets.
For particularly challenging areas or if the granite needs to be cut, the circular saw can be used but ensure it’s
used with utmost precision and care.
My New Marble Kitchen after removing the granite
If the granite isn’t in your future plans, you can sell it, donate it, or responsibly dispose of it at a waste facility.
We asked our fabricator to take our old granite countertop. He wanted to reuse them for another project.
Is granite removal a one-person job?
It’s best done with two or more people due to the stone’s weight.
Can I reuse the granite for another countertop?
Absolutely! As long as it’s in good shape.
How long does the removal process typically take?
For beginners, it might take 2-3 hours. Experience can cut down the time.
Is there professional help available ?
Yes, many companies specialize in countertop installation and removal.
How do I prevent damage to the wall during removal?
Use the tools gently and avoid excessive force.