Did you just move into a new home or are you remodeling your kitchen? If yes, you need to read this.
The kitchen is usually underrated when it comes to the aesthetics of the home. Some people only consider it as a place where meals are cooked and nothing more. Well, from my experience, it can be so much more! The memories I hold from the large family gatherings where I and my cousins would gather around to help my mum cook a large meal for the extended family are priceless. Indeed, the kitchen can be so much more.
Now, the kitchen is made up of several parts, but I believe that you will agree that one of the vital parts of the kitchen is the countertops. Maybe you know it as a worktop or a benchtop, today, you will learn a bit more. I refer to that horizontal surface where we carry out most of the work in the kitchen which also aids installation of sinks, cookers, and other kitchen accessories.
When considering the beautification of a new home, or the maintenance and remodeling of an old home, the kitchen and its parts certainly cannot be left out. Most people may be quick to hire a technician to perform this task, which of course would certainly cost them a fee. Not bad. But what if I showed you how to change it by yourself? You would be glad, right? It would certainly save you some money.
Well, I have to say that there is no universal method for removing kitchen countertops although the fundamental principles are basically the same. You simply need an understanding of the design of the kitchen countertop you want to change. Do not be scared because this does not involve reading a manual. It just involves looking at the kitchen countertop and a little feeling around to determine the nature of the fittings or adhesives that were used to hold the kitchen top in place.
As I am sure I mentioned earlier, changing countertops is a fairly simple process. Let me now go ahead to explain the necessary procedures involved in changing a kitchen countertop in successfully.
What should I do before removing my countertops?
- UNDERSTANDING THE DESIGN OF YOUR COUNTERTOP
- REMOVING THE BACKSPLASH
- CLEANING –
Yes! Cleaning. You might be thinking that this is not necessary but, on the contrary, it is very pertinent. The kitchen usually sees a lot of activities ranging from cooking, storage of foodstuffs and kitchen utensils, washing of dirty dishes, and even storage of dirty dishes (you may not be guilty of this though) but my point is that as the kitchen performs its many functions, it inadvertently creates an environment for harmful microbes to grow and in some cases even thrive.
I believe we all know how harmful these micro-organisms can be to us by causing illnesses which usually lead to unpleasant consequences. As a result, the need to always clean a kitchen surface cannot be overstated.
The method of cleaning your countertop which would be most efficient depends on the nature of the countertop’s surface. Basically, you would need water, soap/detergent, a non-abrasive cleaner, and probably a disinfectant like Clorox wipes to ensure the effectiveness of results. Try avoiding anything that would etch the surface and ruin the finish on your countertop. Also, endeavor to dry the surface after cleaning.
- UNDERSTANDING THE DESIGN OF YOUR COUNTERTOP
There are a lot of countertop designs with varying designs which may have different modes of installation. As a result, various modes of removal are required (the differences, however, would be slight). When considering the removal of countertops, it is pertinent to consider the differences in design. This may include the nature of bonding as well as support between the countertop and the cabinet. In the presence of a backsplash, you need to consider how the backsplash is attached to the wall.
A backsplash is usually attached to prevent anything from spilling behind the cabinets and it could also be for aesthetics and perform the function of providing additional support to the countertop.
Basically, countertops can be held in place through the use of glue or screws, and in some cases, to make it more secure, both glue and screws are used. To know more, just take a look at your countertop, particularly under the cabinets. You should be able to notice the presence or absence of screws. The absence of screws usually indicates that the countertop is held in place by glue alone.
Also, where the backsplash would get in the way, check the way the backsplash is held into place. In some cases, it is usually glued to the wall through the use of a silicone-based adhesive since they are nearly chemically inert and have excellent resistance to moisture. They are also easy to remove as I will explain soon.
What tools do I need to remove kitchen countertops?
- Paint scraper
- Saw or Razor-knife
- Pry bar
The next thing to do after understanding how the countertop is supported is to get the appropriate tools to aid the removal process. The tools needed are simple and commonly found. Some of the tools you will need are;
- Paint scraper
If you have repainted a house or carefully observed the process of repainting a house, you should be familiar with this tool. Just in the event that you are not familiar, a paint scraper is a hand tool with a flat and flexible blade. It is commonly used to scrape off old paint from a wall and also for applying putty. If a paint scraper is not available, you could also make use of a utility knife.
A hammer is a very popular hand tool. I cannot imagine anyone not knowing what a hammer is. However, for descriptive purposes, a hammer is a simple tool with a handle, and a shaft used to manually drive nails and other fasteners into the material that is meant to be fastened. There are various types and also various sizes of hammers available. Below, are some types of hammers;
- Claw hammer – This is widely used for general work. The name is derived from the shape of the hammer’s head.
- Club hammer – This kind of hammer has a double-faced head and is usually used for light demolition work.
- Soft-faced hammers – Made with a relatively soft material like rubber or plastic and usually with an interchangeable head and usually used in place of a mallet for cabinetwork.
- Mallet – A mallet is a hand tool very similar to the hammer but with a head usually made up of softer material like wood, rubber, plastic. It is very optimal for cases where great control over the amount of force exerted is required. For the purpose under consideration, it can be used in place of a hammer depending on which of the hand tools is available.
- Saw or Razor-knife – You may need a saw or a razor-knife especially where the span of the countertop to be removed is particularly long and may need to be cut into parts to enable removal.
- Pry bar – Sometimes known as a crowbar, it is a common hand-tool used for removing nails or forcing two joined objects apart.
- Screw-extractor – This will be needed where screws are present to enable their removal. The type of extractor which will be most suitable depends on the type of screws present, so do well to check the screw type before making your choice of the extractor.
Now, I believe you have gotten all your tools in place. It is time to get to work.
Have you seen this Article?
How do I remove my kitchen countertops?
Now, you have all the necessary tools in order, it is time to get to work and remove the countertop. How do we go about it? First things first. Put on protective clothing, particularly your gloves and goggles. This may be a bit unnecessary, but it is for your own protection.
The next thing to do is to remove your utensils from the cabinets and lift any utensils and appliances which may be on the countertop.
Even if this is going to be a fairly simple and brief process, you would not want to get your utensils in harm’s way. Also, in case your countertop contains a sink, you will need to remove the sink first before you begin to avoid it getting in the way.
Removing a sink is also not a big deal and can be done by you. To remove your sink successfully, you have to do the following:
- Assess what type of sink you have – kitchen sinks come in two basic designs: under-mounted, which are attached to the countertop from underneath, or drop-ins which simply drop into the sink opening in a countertop.
- Open the cabinet under the sink – most of your work will be done here, so clean out everything from this space. It will give you more room to move around and place your toolbox.
- Turn off the water supply to the sink. You should have two separate valves located below the sink. One for the hot water and one for the cold water. In some sinks, there Is usually just one.
- Disconnect the water supply lines and the drain pipe from the sink.
- Disconnect and remove your garbage disposal if you have one.
- Detach the sink from the countertop by cutting through the sealant at the edge and unscrewing any screws which may be present.
- Reach under the sink to gently push up on the sink to loosen and remove it.
- REMOVING THE BACKSPLASH
Is there a backsplash? If yes, then bring out your hammer or mallet (whichever is available). Your paint scraper, razor-knife, and your pry bar will also be needed to remove the backsplash.
At the point where the backsplash is joined to the wall, use your razor knife to cut through the adhesive which joins both together. After doing that, place your paint scraper at the intersect between the backsplash and the wall and hammer down gently between the backsplash and the wall to further break the bond created by the adhesive.
Make sure to do this through-out the length of the backsplash. At this point, we will need the pry bar to completely remove the backsplash. Gently place the pry bar between the backsplash and the wall and gently pull. It should come off easily since you have already loosened the bond using your paint scraper and hammer.
I think it is time to bend down and get a little dirty. Screws are usually located under the cabinets and at the corners. So, you will have to pick up your screw-extractor and go under the cabinets, locate each screw and take them out. As I mentioned earlier, ensure you choose the right extractor for the type of screw present. This is why I advised reconnaissance to get you adequately prepared.
Once you are done taking out the screws, depending on whether the countertop was also attached to the cabinet by means of an adhesive, you may need your paint scraper and hammer or mallet. In the same way, you separated the backsplash from the wall, you will apply the hammer and paint scraper to break the bond created by the adhesive. In this case, however, instead of striking the paint scraper downward as in the previous instance, you will be striking it horizontally throughout the length of the countertop.
At this juncture, if you have properly removed your backsplash, taken out your screws, and cut through any adhesives present, I can say it is time to lift off your countertop. Some countertops are usually made in parts such that lifting it off does not pose a problem.
However, in the event where the countertop is not in parts, you will need the saw. The saw can be used to gently cut the countertop at the segment which surrounded the sink to divide it into lighter segments which you should be able to lift off if you are working alone. Alternatively, you could call for assistance in lifting off the countertop.
As you can see, changing your countertop is a fairly simple process. Just pick up your tools and get to work. You will be done before you bat an eyelid and believe me, the adventure will be worth your while.