Removing and replacing a quartz countertop can seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be done successfully as a DIY project. Quartz countertops are popular in many homes for their durability, aesthetics, and easy maintenance. However, there may come a time when you want to update your kitchen with a new quartz countertop or switch to another material like granite or marble. Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to remove an existing quartz countertop safely and effectively.
Why Remove a Quartz Countertop?
There are a few main reasons homeowners decide to remove and replace their quartz countertops:
- Remodeling the kitchen – As part of a larger kitchen remodel, you may want to update your countertops to match a new cabinetry style, backsplash, appliances, etc. Quartz can become dated over time just like other materials.
- Damage – Quartz is very durable, but it can become damaged from impact, stains, or excessive heat. Cracks, chips, and burns may make replacement necessary.
- Change of plans – Maybe you intended to keep your quartz counters for years to come but have since changed your mind about the color, finish, or style.
- Resale value – Updating countertops can allow you to boost your home’s value and appeal to buyers.
No matter the reason, quartz countertops can be removed and replaced when desired. Proper precautions are needed to avoid damaging the underlying cabinetry.
How to Remove a Quartz Countertop
You’ll need the following tools and materials:
- Safety gear – Gloves, safety glasses, dust mask
- Pry bar
- Reciprocating saw with metal blade
- Shop vacuum
- Plastic sheeting
- Trash bags
Prepare the Workspace
- Clear everything off the countertops and remove any appliances or fixtures near the counters.
- Protect the floor using plastic sheeting taped down along the cabinets.
- Have trash bags ready to contain debris.
Locate and Remove Fasteners
- Use a screwdriver to remove any screws, bolts, or other fasteners that hold the countertop tightly against the cabinets. These may be found along the underside of the counter lip above the cabinets.
- Also check inside cabinets near the top for additional screws into the counter. Remove all located fasteners.
Cut Sealant Bead with Utility Knife
- Use a utility knife to slice through the bead of sealant bonding the countertop to the cabinets.
- Cut through the full length of the counters, keeping the blade tight to the seam. This breaks the seal.
Pry Up the Countertop
- Wedge the pry bar into the created seam and gently lever it to begin lifting the counter edge.
- Work slowly around the perimeter, applying steady force to gradually break the remaining seal.
- Lift up one corner and insert plastic sheeting to protect the cabinets.
- Once fully loosened, lift off the surface and move it to a safe place.
- Use a putty knife to scrape away any leftover adhesive or mortar on top of the cabinets.
- Go slowly to avoid gouging the wood. Use a shop vacuum to contain dust.
- For stubborn areas, use a reciprocating saw with a metal blade to cut away the adhesive. Don’t damage cabinets.
Clean Up and Prepare for New Top
- Once all adhesive is removed, carefully vacuum and wipe down the cabinetry.
- Make any needed repairs before installing the new countertop.
- Dispose of the old quartz pieces safely. Recycle if possible.
And that’s it! With some persistence and the right tools, these steps allow you to successfully remove a quartz countertop without damaging the underlying cabinets. Just be sure to use caution and patience when prying, scraping, and handling the heavy surface. Installation of a new quartz or alternate countertop can then begin.
FAQs About Removing Quartz Countertops
How do I cut a quartz countertop?
Use a reciprocating saw with a diamond or carbide grit blade designed for stone. Mark cut lines with painter’s tape. Cut slowly and steadily while spraying water to reduce dust. Make multiple lighter passes rather than forcing one heavy cut.
Can I remove quartz countertop myself?
Yes, quartz can be DIY-removed with patience and proper tools. Homeowners skilled with minor demolition projects should be able to handle it. Only call pros if you need to modify underlying supports or electrical.
Will prying damage my cabinets?
Prying too aggressively can damage wood or laminate cabinets. Use a wide pry bar and padding to distribute force. Never pry from the top surface, only underneath the lip. Go slow and steady.
What is the white film on removed quartz?
The white residue is a fiberglass mesh that gives quartz strength. It was adhered to the bottom of the slab. Use a metal scraper and shop vac to remove all of it before installing a new top.
Can you reuse a quartz countertop?
It is possible but very difficult. Quartz is extremely heavy and the reused piece likely won’t align perfectly. The better option is to recycle it and purchase new slab that properly fits your new kitchen design.
Removing a quartz countertop takes time and care, but doing so allows you to refresh your kitchen decor or replace a damaged section. With safety gear, specialty tools for cutting and prying, and patience, homeowners can tackle this project themselves. Just work slowly when freeing the countertop and take precautions not to harm cabinets or surrounding walls. Dispose of the heavy quartz pieces properly. Thorough cleaning then prepares the space for a beautiful new countertop to be installed.