The easiest way to upgrade your dull-looking kitchen without fully renovating it is to change the countertop. Simply replace your granite countertop with a newer design and see the visible difference in your interior.
However, if you’re wondering whether it’s possible to replace granite countertops without damaging the cabinets, the answer is yes. But the process is quite critical. It’ll require detailed planning and proper execution.
You’ll also need to check the stability of the cabinets and determine whether they are in the condition of undergoing this process. If you notice any rot, mold, water damage, or warping on the cabinets, there’s a high possibility that they’ll get heavily damaged during the process.
Read the full article if you want to know how to replace granite countertops without damaging the cabinets.
Can You Replace Granite Countertops Without Damaging Cabinets?
Yes, it is possible to replace granite countertops without damaging your kitchen cabinets if you remain extremely cautious during the whole removal process. It requires careful planning and execution throughout the whole removal process.
With a utility knife, you can gently cut through the adhesive or caulking that is joining the countertop with the cabinets.
Next, turn off the water valve and remove the sink from its place. Unwind the screws from the brackets and carefully displace the stone slab from the counter using suction cups.
Next, you’ll need to take accurate measurements of the previous countertop in order to install a new one. Choose a material that is best suited for your daily need and make necessary cuts to achieve proper fitting.
But before you start all these, there are some factors that you should consider. First, you must check the condition of the existing countertop and the stability of the cabinets to figure out if they can endure the whole process.
If the countertop or the cabinets are not in their best state and has cracks, mold, or water damage, they might collapse while you try to replace them.
Although granite is extremely durable, its massive weight makes it quite brittle and risky to carry. If you are not cautious enough, this stone slab can get crushed due to its own weight.
So, prepare a sturdy surface beforehand to place the countertop on it and recruit enough strong and reliable workers to safely replace the countertop. The next key factor is your budget. Granite is significantly cheaper than a lot of other natural stones. But the replacement process can still get a bit expensive.
The total cost of the project largely depends on the size and thickness of the slab, material cost, and local labor cost. The thicker the slab, the costlier its installation. Keep these in mind while you consider replacing the kitchen countertop.
Advantages of Replacing Granite Countertops Without Damaging Cabinets
Whether you are replacing your countertop with the same or an entirely different material, it will still add a new look to your interior decoration. It certainly updates the appearance of the kitchen, but there are some other advantages too. Let’s discuss the benefits of replacing granite countertops without damaging cabinets-
While selecting the new countertop, you can choose a granite slab with a different color or pattern than your existing countertop to bring a different look. Updating the countertop can refresh the appearance of your kitchen and give it a more modern or vintage look depending on your taste.
Choosing a high-quality, stone material as a kitchen countertop is a sure and effective way to improve the ambiance of your home.
Replacing your old kitchen countertop allows you to choose a material that will suit the theme of your kitchen interior. You can also customize the color, pattern, and design to match your personal preference.
For example, countertops made from Limestone or Soapstone are ideal for a rustic-looking kitchen and add a timeless elegant touch to the kitchen setting. On the other hand, quartz products like Caesarstone or Cambria are perfect to fit into a modern-styled kitchen.
Finally, natural stones like Onyx and Granite are guaranteed to add a sophisticated look to your kitchen interior no matter which theme you are going for. Each piece of these looks different from the rest and provides a unique touch to the space.
Increased Property Value
Instead of remodeling the whole kitchen, just installing a new countertop can change the entire appearance of your kitchen and add value to your property. high-quality countertops are a great option for homeowners who wish to invest in their property.
It’s not only beneficial for your day-to-day life but also for your future. Newer countertops with attractive designs and colors can make your house appear more attractive to potential buyers.
Choosing granite as the countertop is a great way to make your home look more appealing should you decide to sell it someday.
Installing a new countertop is your second chance to choose a material of high caliber that performs better than your existing one. You can select a material that suits your needs better, whether it’s more durable or easier to clean and maintain.
For example, if you didn’t have a granite countertop in your kitchen, you can install it now. Granite is one of the hardest and most sustainable natural stones that are known for their affordability and ability to add an aesthetic appeal to any dull-looking kitchen.
They are also heat and moisture-resistant, very durable, easy to clean, and have a great scrap value.
By cautiously removing the granite countertops without damaging the cabinets you can save yourself from the extra cost and hassle of repairing or replacing the cabinets. You can also upcycle and reuse the granite slab for other uses around the house.
Before You Start
Removing and replacing your kitchen countertop is quite a complicated task that requires careful planning and inspection throughout the whole process. Before you start, you must check if the existing counter and cabinets are secure and stable enough to undergo the removal process. To do so-
Inspect the Existing Countertops
Inspecting the existing countertop is one of the most important steps in the whole procedure. If the granite slab isn’t in good condition or secured enough, it might break during the removal.
First, look for any visible damage. Examine the stone slab thoroughly to check if there are any major cracks or chips. Check the backsplash and the seams between the countertop to look for any sign of water damage or separation.
Next, gently tap the surface of the countertop with your knuckles or a rubber mallet and listen to the sound it produces. A solid, uniform sound indicates stability, whereas a hollow sound could be a sign of potential problems.
Lastly, try to shake the slab with your hands. It should firmly remain in its place without any significant movement. If it starts sliding, then the countertop might not be secure enough and you should be extra careful during the removal process.
Now it’s time to check the cabinet stability. Open the cabinets below the countertop and inspect if there are any signs of water damage, rot, or distortion. Check the hinges and screws of the cabinets to look for any loose parts that could indicate instability.
Lightly shake the bracing, brackets, and support underneath to make sure they are firmly attached to both the countertop and the cabinets.
How Do You Remove Countertops Without Damaging Cabinets?
Once you are done checking the stability, let’s proceed to the part where you can safely remove your granite countertop without damaging the cabinets. But first, you’ll have to shut down the water valves and electrical units, detach the faucet, remove the sink, and remove the backsplash.
Removal of Old Countertops
Once you finish the pre-removal steps, let’s jump to the main task. 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.
Next, insert a pry bar into the joint by gently hitting it with a hammer. Once the joint is open, tap a wooden shim within it to hold the countertop up in your desired spot.
Be sure to insert wooden shims a few feet apart to maintain the gap and keep the granite slab separated from the cabinet. Continue screwing and shimming till you are done with the entire countertop area.
After that, place the suction cup handles over the granite slab to steadily slide and remove it from its position.
Depending on the size of the slab, place at least one person every 3-4 feet in front of the countertop. Slowly tilt the slab from the back edge so that it tips down into their careful hands.
Now that it’s carefully removed, carry it using a slab dolly or manually to a safe place. Place it in a manner so that the top surface is facing down. Ensure that the granite slab is stored correctly to avoid any damage.
Using Padding or Protective Covers
Paddings and protective covers are often used during the removal process of kitchen countertops to avoid the risk of damaging the cabinets. Soft paddings or covers are used on the adjacent cabinets, walls, and floors to keep them safe from any sort of scratches, dents, or chips.
These covers can also collect any dust, debris, or small chipping that might be generated during the removal process, making the cleanup much easier later.
Precision Measurement and Cutting
Precise measurement and cutting while replacing your kitchen countertop will help you achieve a finer finish and a professional-looking result. This can enhance the aesthetic appeal of the whole kitchen.
Start by drawing a rough diagram of the existing countertop including the placement of the sink and other appliances. If you are planning to install granite on the backsplash, be sure to sketch that out too.
For rectangular countertops, simply measure their length and width, and then multiply together to get the total area. For other complex shapes like an L-shape or C-shape, split them into multiple rectangular sections and calculate the area of each section.
Next, cut or order the new piece of countertop according to the dimensions to ensure a good fit. If your countertop has an overhang, be sure to add an extra 1-1.5 inches to the width.
Taking the proper measurement and cutting the new countertop according to that will diminish the chance of any gaps or uneven finish and minimize material waste. It ensures a seamless fit and reduces the installation time.
Having the rough sides of a countertop exposed in a household can lead to many dangerous accidents. An appropriate cutting and fitting reduces the risk of accidents as well as keeps the surrounding surfaces damage free.
Read Also: Remove Granite Countertops and Reuse Them
Tips & Tricks
Here are some tips and tricks to make the whole removal process of your kitchen countertop hassle-free and less time-consuming
- Accurately measure the dimension of the existing countertop and order the new piece according to the measurement to ensure a good fit.
- Always remember to disconnect utility connections like water, gas, and electricity lines before removal.
- Clear out your workspace and the cabinets for the easier removal process. This will also keep your belongings safe.
- Estimate the total cost before starting a process. Remember to budget any additional costs for sealing, plumbing, or other repair work.
- Cover the nearby surfaces with a protective cover or paddings to reduce the risk of damage.
- After installation, apply a good quality sealant to make the countertop heat and moisture-resistant. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for this.
- Choose a stone that compliments your kitchen setup. Try to pick one similar to the existing countertop. Or you can even change it up a little to alter your kitchen interior.
- While purchasing, go for a thick, seamless slab if your budget allows. Check thoroughly if there are any hairline cracks before buying it.
- Seek professional help if needed.
Can you cut granite without removing it?
Sometimes you might need to cut and modify your granite countertop after installation to make space for a stove or a sink. Although it’s extremely hard and risky, it’s still possible to cut granite without removing it from the countertop. It requires great techniques and specialized tools.
The easiest way to do this is to create a hole in the slab first. This will help you to make further cuts with correct measurements, angles, and inclinations. Outline the area that needs to be cute and put masking tape there to reduce chipping.
You should also cover the base of the cutting tool to prevent any scratch marks. If you don’t have prior experience in this, seek professional help to avoid damaging the whole countertop.
Is it expensive to cut granite?
Granite is an extremely durable natural stone that is tough to cut through due to its hardness. It requires specialized equipment to cut a granite slab. But the cost largely depends on the size of the slab, complexity of the cutout, material cost, and local labor cost.
Granite is significantly cheaper than other countertop materials, so installing store-bought granite cutouts will be less expensive. It will also save you from quite some hassle. The average cost of cutouts for sinks and cooktops is about $200 but it mostly ranges from $100-$500.
Why does granite chip so easily?
It’s a misconception that granite countertops chip easily. On the contrary, the extremely hard surface of the stone makes it quite hard to damage or scratch. But frequently dropping or dragging heavy items on the countertop will eventually result in chipping.
Also, despite being heat-resistant, constant exposure to high heat over an extended time can weaken the stone, leading to chipping and cracking. But with proper care and maintenance, granite slabs don’t chip easily and have an average life expectancy of up to 30 years.
Surely replacing and upgrading your kitchen countertop has its own benefits, but it’s also very risky and complicated at the same time. Attempting the task with proper tools or knowledge can lead to serious injury. So, take proper care of the countertop so that it doesn’t need replacing that often.
Be sure to do your research and take necessary safety precautions to prevent any accidents. Also, it’s better to consult a contractor who has previous experience in this field of work. This will make your job so much easier as well as reduce the risk of damaging the project or hurting yourself.