Assessing the Countertop Installation
The first step is to assess how the quartz countertop was installed. This will help determine the best method for removal. Look for:
- Adhesive type – Was the countertop glued down with a silicone adhesive or a two-part epoxy? Epoxy is stronger and will require more effort to break the bond.
- Seams – Are there any seams where two countertop pieces meet? Seams can make removal easier by separating along the seam.
- Backsplash – Is the countertop installed with a backsplash? The backsplash may need to be removed first.
- Sink cutouts – Take note of any sink cutouts. You may need to cut around sinks to separate the countertop.
Gather the Right Tools
Removing a glued down quartz countertop requires having the proper tools on hand. Essential tools include:
- Utility knife to cut caulk beads or backsplash adhesive
- Putty knife to cut through caulk seams
- Pry bar for lifting the countertop edges
- Sledgehammer for breaking the countertop glue bond
- Dust masks, ear protection, and safety glasses
- Angle grinder with diamond blade for cutting countertops
For epoxy adhesive, a heat gun may also help soften the glue to make prying easier.
Removing Backsplash and Sink Cutouts
If the countertop has a backsplash installed, use a utility knife to cut through the caulk bead where it meets the wall. Carefully pry the backsplash off with a putty knife.
For integrated sink cutouts, use an angle grinder to cut the countertop around the edges of the sink. Make the cuts a few inches away from the sink edges. Remove the sink section of the countertop.
Breaking the Adhesive Bond
This is the most labor-intensive part of removing a glued down quartz countertop. Here are two options:
Heat and pry method: Use a heat gun to warm the adhesive under the countertop edges. Insert a pry bar under the warmed edge and gently pry up while tapping the pry bar with a hammer. Work your way around the perimeter, reheating and prying up small sections at a time.
Sledgehammer method: For very stubborn epoxy adhesive, you may need to break the bond with force. Wear safety gear and carefully strike along the countertop edges with a sledgehammer. Break the glue bond before attempting to pry up.
Lifting Off the Countertop
Once the adhesive has been sufficiently separated, work your way around the entire perimeter, inserting pry bars and lifting up the countertop at the edges. Have someone assist to hold up the freed edges.
Slide the countertop toward the front edge while tilting up. Carefully lift the freed countertop off the cabinet base. Depending on the size, you may need an additional person to help carry the countertop away.
Cleaning Up Adhesive Residue
With the countertop removed, there will be residual adhesive stuck to the cabinets. Scrape off as much as you can with a putty knife. Then use denatured alcohol or another adhesive solvent to clean off any remaining residue.
Do a final clean up and sanding to prep the cabinets for new countertop installation.
Removing a glued down quartz countertop takes time and physical effort, but the above steps will help you successfully tackle this project. Pay close attention to safety and take your time to get clean countertop removal.
Frequently Asked Questions About Removing Glued Down Quartz Countertops
Can I remove the countertop by myself or do I need help?
It is strongly advised to get at least one other person to help, especially when lifting off the freed countertop. The slab can be quite heavy and awkward for one person to maneuver.
Will I damage the cabinets when removing the countertop?
Some minor damage is possible, especially if forcibly sledgehammering the countertop. Use care when prying and lifting to avoid unnecessary damage. Repairs may be needed afterwards.
What if part of the countertop won’t come loose?
If you encounter a stubborn section that resists coming up, double check that all caulk beads have been cut and try reheating the adhesive in that spot with a heat gun. Target it with sledgehammer hits.
Can I reuse the removed quartz countertop somewhere else?
Unfortunately, once removed, it is unlikely the countertop can be reinstalled seamlessly elsewhere. New cuts and seams would be required. It’s best to dispose of the removed countertop.
Is there an easier non-destructive method?
Glued down countertops are designed for permanent installation. There is no truly easy non-destructive method for removal. Plan to take your time and use the necessary tools.
What should I do with the old quartz countertop pieces?
Check your local regulations for proper disposal. Many trash collection services will take countertop debris. You can also see if quartz recycling options exist in your area.
Removing a glued down quartz countertop takes physical exertion, time, and the right tools. But with patience and care it can be accomplished. Always wear proper safety gear and consider help for lifting. The result will be a smooth countertop removal that allows new installation. Be sure to prep the cabinets after removing all adhesive residue.