One of the best ways to modify your kitchen interior is to change the kitchen countertop. If you have granite countertops installed in your home, you should definitely repurpose them instead of simply throwing them away.
Granite is one of the hardest and most sustainable natural stones that are available. This sturdy and valuable stone has great scrap value and a lot of potential to be reused in your house. It can be refinished, recut, and made into smaller granite or marble pieces.
Or you can upcycle them as coffee tabletop, mantle pieces, bathroom countertops, or even stylish garden stones. If it’s intact, you can even sell or gift these stone slabs. The possibilities are truly endless.
So, if you want to know all about removing countertops intact and ways to reuse them, this is just the place for you.
Despite being a hard and durable stone, granite is quite porous in nature. But it can be turned into stain and moisture-resistant by applying a good-quality sealant all over it.
So as you can guess, choosing the right sealant is very important if you want to use granite slab as your kitchen countertop.
If you spill something over while the slab isn’t sealed, it can cause permanent stain marks. Brand new store-brought granite counters often have a sealant applied over them, but this wears off over time. This is why reapplying a sealant every 6-12 months is so crucial.
Take a “water test” before applying a fresh coat of sealant. Pour about ¼ cup of water over the countertop and observe if it penetrates into the slab. If the water stays “beaded” on top, you don’t need to apply sealant.
However, if the water seeps inside the surface, a new layer of sealant is needed immediately. Be sure to clean the stone slab thoroughly with soap water and then let it dry. Once it’s dried, apply a non-toxic sealer with no harsh chemicals on top of it.
Keep any highly pigmented liquid, acidic or abrasive cleaners away from the countertop. Also, store away any sharp knives or meat cleavers to avoid any accidental scratch marks.
Although granite is known as the world’s strongest stone, its extremely heavy weight makes it quite brittle and increases the risk of cracking during the removal process.
So, be extra cautious while carrying it from one place to another. Spread the weight evenly and don’t form any pressure point where the slab can crack.
Benefits of Reusing Granite Countertops
The best quality of a granite countertop is its hardness and sustainability. The stone has a higher endurance which makes it the perfect choice to use in a household.
Moreover, it has a shiny reflective finish that gives off a luxurious and sophisticated look when used in an interior. In this segment, I’ll be discussing these benefits in more depth:
Sustainability & Cost Saving:
Granite is the 2nd hardest material in the whole world, just behind Diamond. Due to its extremely durable surface, granite is very hard to chip or scratch. If installed with proper care and the right support bracket, it can last for decades.
But be careful while using meat cleavers or extremely sharp knives around these countertops as they just might be sharp enough to leave a mark. So, it’s better to use a cutting board while dicing foods on the countertop.
This way you will be able to preserve the shine and keep the surface intact for a long time. As granite rocks are formed by extreme pressure and heat, it’s their natural ability to resist heat. You can place hotpots and other pans directly on top of it without the risk of scorching the surface.
On top of that, they are also stain and moisture-resistant if installed with an appropriate sealant. Since granite is a porous material, applying a sealant is an important step to turn it into a moisture and stain-resisting surface. Be sure to apply a fresh coat of sealant once a year and you’ll be good to go.
But one of the main reasons why many homeowners tend to choose granite as a countertop is because of its affordability. They are comparatively cheaper and typically range from $40-$200 per sq. ft. including installation cost.
However, the thickness of the granite slab is a key factor in determining the total cost. The thicker the slab, the costlier its installation. But its affordability doesn’t just stop there. As the average life expectancy of granite is around 30 years, it will also save you quite a lot in the long run.
So, if you are on a tight budget, this might be just the option for you. To know the exact overall cost, it’ll be best to consult a professional.
Preserving Aesthetic Appeal
Granite pieces can easily brighten and update the look of any kitchen interior with their unique design and color. They have a variety of options in color, pattern, or veining. So, not only will they match perfectly with your kitchen décor, they’ll be the center of attention.
Plus, no one will ever have the same kitchen setup as yours. Other than sustainability and affordability, granite is known for adding an aesthetic appeal to any dull-looking kitchen. Installing granite countertops with hidden support brackets is often considered an investment.
It makes your home look more luxurious and has great scrap value. So, in the future when you sell your house, it will increase the value and help you earn some extra bucks.
Can you Remove Granite Countertops and Reuse Them?
Although granite is known to be one of the most affordable options for a kitchen countertop, it’s not exactly that cheap. So, while renovating your house, don’t throw out perfectly good granite slabs. They are extremely durable and long-lasting so, should be used wherever possible.
By carefully removing them from their fixed position, you can refine and reuse them again. Granite slabs can be modified by cutting them down into smaller pieces. You can upcycle them as coffee tabletops, mantle pieces, bathroom countertops, fancy marble pieces of jewelry, or even stylish garden stones.
But the cutting process for a granite slab is not an easy job as they can be damaged very easily. So, better leave it alone if you’re not an expert in this matter.
On the other hand, granite is tough and durable, but at the same time extremely heavy. Its massive weight actually makes it quite brittle and risky to carry.
Carrying a granite slab requires enough people to support and distribute the weight evenly. Otherwise, it’s likely to crumble under its own weight. You can also use a slab dolly to transport large pieces of granite from one place to another.
How do you Remove Granite Countertops?
- Wood or composite wedge shims
- Painter’s tool (painter’s multi-tool with blades)
- Utility knife with a sharp blade
- Suction cups with handles
- Pry bar
- Slab dolly to transport heavy granite slabs
Breaking the caulk
First, find the joint between the bottom of your countertop and the front brace of the cabinet. Using a sharp utility knife cut through any caulking or adhesive that is holding the countertop attached to the cabinets.
Use a hammer to tap the end of the pry bar into the attached area. Gently pry upward to break up any glue. Break the caulk or adhesive all the way around to release the joint. Once the joint is open, tap a wooden shim within it to hold the countertop up in that spot.
Removing the sink
The next step is to remove the kitchen sink from its place. Start by shutting off the emergency water valves or electrical units nearby. Turn off both the hot and cold water supply. Then, wedge the painter’s tool between the sink and the counter, and apply pressure till it comes loose.
Find hidden screws
Inspect the cabinet to locate the hold-down brackets beneath the bottom of your sink. Remove the nuts and screws on the bottom of each bracket by turning them counterclockwise.
Now, break up any glue or caulk by running a putty knife under the edge of the sink to release it from the granite counter.
Removing the countertop
Work slowly and carefully to keep the granite slab in one piece. Pry only a few inches at a time. Insert a wooden shim between the granite slab and countertop to keep them separated.
Once you’re done breaking the adhesive, place the suction cup handles over the granite slab to steadily slide and remove it from its position.
Place one person every 3-4 feet in front of the countertop. Gently tilt the countertop upward from the back edge so it tips down into their careful hands. For transporting larger granite slabs, a slab dolly is a must.
It will eliminate the risk of any damage and safely carry it to your desired location. Now that you are done removing it without any damage, you can customize and reuse it anywhere you want.
Easy Way to Reuse the Granite Countertop
Some popular ways to repurpose granite slabs in your house are:
As granite slabs are heat resistant, they are perfect to be used near the fireplace. Any boring-looking fireplace can become majestic just by using granite slabs to decorate it.
Unlike other materials, it would not be stained even after being exposed to heat for a long time. You can place them on the mantel or mantel shelf, hearth, surround, or even on the corbel of the fireplace to give it a sophisticated touch.
Natural-hued granites would be ideal to use on the surrounds and hearth of a fireplace.
By removing your granite countertop from the kitchen, you can cut it down to a smaller size and use it as a coffee table top. This will be a unique addition to your guest room and will brighten the room even more.
Granite slabs don’t stain and are super easy to clean. So, it will serve you perfectly as a fancy coffee table.
If you have a home bar, placing granite slabs on the counter would be an excellent choice. This way you won’t have to worry much about spilled drinks as they are stain-resistant and easy to clean. Plus, it will add an aesthetic touch to your interior.
Bathrooms are one of the most heavy-traffic areas of a household. So, using granite there would be an ideal choice because of its durability and sturdiness.
Moreover, bathrooms are often exposed to moisture whereas granites are water and mold-resistant, non-porous material that keeps out bacteria and other microbes.
You can resize and refinish the granite slab from your kitchen countertop and use them on the vanity tops, sinks, and walls of the bathroom. This way you’ll get a bathroom that is not only practical but also eye-soothing.
Just like coffee tables, making a unique dining table is another great way to use granite outside your kitchen. Due to its heat-resisting quality, you’ll be able to place hotpots or other utensils directly on the tabletop.
You won’t even have to worry about using coasters, as this stone is stain-resistant and easy to clean.
Granite tiles are usually what people refer to when talking about granite flooring. But you can recycle the granite slab from your kitchen countertop for this.
Although there wouldn’t be enough to cover the entire flooring of a house, you can cut the slab down into smaller pieces and use it with regular tiles to create and unique and interesting pattern. Granite floors are usually cool in nature, making them suitable for warmer areas.
Accessories & Jewelry
Lastly, the leftover granite pieces can but recut and refinished into smaller bits and turned into jewelry. This stone has a shiny surface and distinct pattern which can be used to make rather beautiful pieces of jewelry.
You can also make stylish cutting boards, designer trays, coasters, and other household or garden accessories out of them.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Can Old Granite Countertops be Removed and Reused?
The process of removing the granite countertop from its place should be carried out with utmost caution. Due to the heavyweight, the removal process often puts them at an increased risk of cracking and chipping.
The success of the process depends on the size and thickness of the stone piece. But once you successfully take it out of its place, it can be repurposed and upcycled.
You can turn them into coffee tabletops, mantle pieces, bathroom countertops, coasters, cutting boards, serving platters, or even stylish garden stones and jewelry. The possibilities are truly endless.
Q: Which Countertop Lasts the Longest?
Quartz is undoubtedly the strongest material that is used as a countertop. It is a man-made stone consisting of 90%-93% pulverized natural quartz and 7%-10% resin. Quartz is even more durable than granite and rates a bit higher on the hardness scale.
It is slightly more resistant to damage and has the potential to last much longer than your house. It offers easy maintenance and doesn’t even require any sealing or waxing to protect it from stains.
Q: Can You Remove Granite Countertops Without Damaging Them?
Granite is extremely hard and durable but can easily break due to their own massive weight. So, removing it from the countertop is not that simple. Use proper caution during the removal process.
Prepare a sturdy surface or a slab dolly beforehand to place the countertop on it once removed. You should recruit plenty of strong and reliable workers to safely remove the countertop. Also, consult a contractor who has experience in this field to avoid any unwanted situations.
Q: Does Granite Lose Its Shine?
Granite countertops can appear dull and seem to lose their shine over time. But in reality, they don’t exactly fade or change in tone. They are often coated with substances like grease stains or leftover residue from food items that make them appear less shiny.
To get the glossy finish back, take a bit of cooking oil on a piece of cloth and gently buff the surface. Most granite surface requires polishing every 5-15 years depending on the traffic or use they receive. But remember that, natural granite stone will never fade or lose its shine completely.
While removing and reusing a granite countertop is a great way to save money, it’s not that simple to execute. The process can get very complicated and there remains a risk of cracking the granite slab into pieces.
So, think thoroughly and prepare a strategic plan before starting the removal process. Work with an experienced contractor who has handled similar projects before to increase the chance of success. Be cautious and take necessary safety measures and you’ll be good to go.