How to Remove Quartz Countertops Without Damaging Cabinets


Quartz countertops can be a beautiful and functional addition to any kitchen. Made from ground quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments, quartz offers an attractive, nonporous surface that is easy to clean and maintain. However, there may come a time when you wish to remove or replace your existing quartz countertops. Taking out quartz countertops without damaging the underlying cabinets is achievable, but does require careful planning and execution.

When removing quartz countertops, the goal is to lift the countertop slab up and off of the base cabinets without putting too much stress on the cabinets themselves. Quartz is an extremely heavy material, so attempting to muscle the full slabs off in one piece risks cracking the countertop or pulling cabinets from the wall. Instead, the key is to systematically disassemble the countertop into manageable sections that can be safely removed.

This article will walk through the entire process step-by-step, from prepping your workspace, to cutting the quartz into sections, to prying it free from the cabinets without damage. Follow along carefully, work slowly, and your cabinets will remain pristine. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Clear Countertops and Work Area

Before cutting into your quartz countertops, the first step is preparing the workspace. Remove everything from the countertops and clear out the surrounding area. Here are a few tips for getting set up:

  • Remove appliances & fixtures: Detach sinks, faucets, soap dispensers and any other fixtures attached to the countertops. Take out stoves, refrigerators or other appliances to give full access.
  • Clear countertops: Remove everything sitting on the countertops like small appliances, kitchen tools, dishes, etc. This gives a clean surface to work on.
  • Take out drawers & doors: Unscrew and remove all cabinet doors, drawers and hardware underneath. This prevents sawdust and debris from getting inside cabinets.
  • Cover nearby surfaces: Tape drop cloths or plastic sheeting over flooring, walls, and any cabinets that won’t be removed. This contains dust and particles generated during cutting.
  • Have a clear exit route: Make sure the path is clear to carry cut sections of quartz outside. Front doors or garage access doors work well.

Taking time to properly set up your workspace keeps your home clean and makes removing the countertops much easier.

Step 2: Outline Cut Lines on Quartz Surface

With your workspace prepped, the next step is mapping out where you will cut the quartz countertop. Here are a few tips for planning your cut lines:

  • Mark cuts perpendicular to cabinets: Outline each cut line in a straight line perpendicular (at 90 degree angles) to the front of the base cabinets.
  • Section into manageable pieces: Cuts should divide the full quartz top into section weighing less than 100 pounds that can be reasonably lifted. Target sections about 6 feet or less in length.
  • Plot cuts along seams: Look for any seams in the quartz and outline cuts directly over them. This makes separating easier.
  • Equidistant cuts: Space cut lines evenly across the entire length of the countertop to break it into a few large pieces rather than many small ones.
  • Label sections: Number each outlined section with tape for easy reference as you work.

Having a well-thought-out cutting plan makes dismantling the quartz top much simpler and minimizes the chance of damage. Proceed to cutting only when your plan is mapped out.

Step 3: Cut Through Quartz Surface Along Cut Lines

With your cut lines mapped, it’s time to start cutting. For the actual cuts, you’ll need to use a diamond blade wet saw designed for masonry and stone. Here are some tips for successfully cutting through the quartz:

  • Use a quartz blade: A specialty diamond blade made for cutting quartz works best. Do not try cutting dry as it will damage the quartz.
  • Keep quartz wet: Constantly spritz the quartz with water to keep the blade cool and control dust while cutting.
  • Cut slowly: Cut at a slow, steady pace along each cut line. Rushing increases the chance of cracking.
  • Make multiple light passes: Don’t try to cut all the way through the slab in one pass. Make several light passes, lowering the blade slowly with each pass.
  • Follow cut lines precisely: Accuracy is key to get clean, straight cuts that separate well. Deviating from cut lines risks uneven breaks later.

Take your time with the cutting process for best results. Once cut through, flip the slab over and make matching cuts from the underside as well.

Step 4: Add Support Braces Beneath Overhangs

With the full quartz top cut through into sections, the next step is bracing. Any overhangs where the counter extended beyond the cabinets must be properly supported from below before removing each piece. Here’s how:

  • Cut 2×4 boards into lengths matching the overhang sections.
  • Position a board tightly up against the front of the cabinets and beneath the overhang. Prop into place with wood blocks cut to the correct height.
  • Screw the brace tightly up against the bottom of the quartz overhang using multiple screws. This carries the weight so the slab doesn’t crack or tear off.
  • Repeat to add properly fitted braces beneath any overhang areas prior to removal.

Taking time to add bracing helps avoid damage as you pry off the sections of quartz next.

Step 5: Test Bond Before Prying Quartz Free

With everything cut and braced, it’s almost time to start removing the pieces of countertop. As a final check before prying, do a test to see how tightly bonded each section still is:

  • Push up from underneath along the cut line. See how easily the quartz lifts.
  • Try tapping the seam with a hammer and wide flat bar to loosen the bond.
  • If needed, make an additional cut with the wet saw blade to sever any remaining adhesion.
  • Confirm the section can be shifted slightly side-to-side. It should loosen up.

Taking these steps ensures each piece is ready to be pried free without too much force.

Step 6: Pry Quartz Sections Free From Cabinets

With everything prepared, you can now start prying up and removing the cut sections of quartz countertop one-by-one:

  • Insert pry bar: Slide a wide flat pry bar into the gap behind the quartz piece. Center along the length of the cut.
  • Leverage up: Firmly lever the pry bar down and lift the section of quartz up a few inches. Insert shims to hold.
  • Work down seam: Reposition pry bar to work evenly down the cut line, lifting a bit higher each time. Add more shims to support.
  • Lift slab off: Once lifted enough, slide sideways off the cabinet and onto a baker’s cart or piece of plywood.
  • Remove braces: Finally, detach and remove any braces that were added.
  • Repeat steps: Follow the same process to systematically pry up and remove each section of quartz.

Working slowly avoids putting too much upward force against the base cabinets themselves. Damaging or pulling them loose is avoided.

Step 7: Detach Countertop From Wall

With the main counter sections removed, the last area to detach is the backsplash along the wall:

  • Slice caulk bead: Use a utility knife to cut through the caulk seam between the backsplash and wall.
  • Pry top edge up: Wedge a flat pry bar into the new gap and gently lift the top edge up and away from the wall.
  • Lift splash off: Shift sideways and lift off once released. Scrape away any stubborn caulk.
  • Patch drywall: Fill any gouges in the drywall and smooth ready for new backsplash.

With that, the entire quartz countertop should be fully detached and removed!

Step 8: Dispose and Recycle Old Countertop

You’ve done the hard work, now it’s time to get rid of the old countertop slabs:

  • Transport outside: Carry removed sections outdoors and load for transport immediately to control dust.
  • Rent disposal truck: Use a rented pickup or box truck to haul old quartz pieces if needed.
  • Recycle when possible: Many solid waste centers accept construction debris like quartz for recycling. Call ahead to check.
  • Use bulk waste pickup: Schedule a special bulk collection if your city offers large refuse removal. Fees may apply.
  • Alternate disposal: As a last resort, transport old countertops to proper waste or construction & demolition disposal site.

Check your local regulations for proper disposal methods in your region. Handling old countertops quickly keeps your renovation moving.

Step 9: Prepare Cabinets for New Countertop

With the quartz removed, take time to get the base cabinets ready for new countertop installation:

  • Clear debris: Make sure cabinets are clean and free of any caulk bits, sawdust or debris.
  • Check for damage: Look for any damage like chips, gouges, or pulls to the cabinet structure and repair if needed.
  • Reinstall doors & drawers: Screw cabinet doors, drawers and hardware back into place if removed before cutting.
  • Measure for new top: Confirm dimensions and create a template to ensure the new countertop fits precisely.

Preparing the cabinets now makes installing replacement countertops a breeze.

FAQ About Removing Quartz Countertops Without Damaging Cabinets

Removing quartz countertops while keeping cabinets intact takes precision. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Can I remove quartz countertops myself?

Yes, with the right tools and preparation, DIYers can remove quartz countertops themselves. The process involves cutting, prying, and lifting so is physically demanding. Having an extra set of hands helps.

How do I cut a quartz countertop?

Use a diamond blade wet saw designed specifically for cutting stone and quartz. Cut slowly with plenty of water to cool and lubricate the blade. Make repeated light passes until cut through.

What tool do I use to pry off quartz?

A flat pry bar works best to lift the edges of a countertop after cutting. Carefully insert the bar into the seam and lift slowly. Use shims to support as you work along the cut.

What damage can removing quartz cause?

Forcefully prying too much in one spot risks cracking the quartz or pulling cabinets loose from walls. Pre-cutting allows removing in smaller, lighter pieces. Supporting overhangs also prevents cracking damage.

How should I dispose of an old quartz countertop?

Check for recycling options through your local waste management. Quartz can often be recycled as construction debris. If unavailable, transport to a demolition disposal site or facility.

How do I cut quartz countertops that are still installed?

Use a specialty diamond blade wet saw and cut very slowly with constant water. Make multiple passes. Cut all the way through from top side, flip and make matching cuts from underside. Outline all cuts before starting.

Careful planning and execution allows even DIYers to take out their own quartz countertops and preserve cabinets beautifully. Follow the steps outlined above and take your time for great results.


Removing quartz countertops without harming your base cabinets is achievable with the right process. By prepping your workspace, carefully mapping cut lines, bracing overhangs, making precise cuts, and prying up in stages, you can dismantle your existing quartz top efficiently. Focus on working slowly and methodically. Rushing through the job risks damaging cuts, cracked countertops, or pulled cabinets. Investing the time and care ultimately allows lifting off the quartz pieces without issue. Your cabinets can then be cleaned up, ready for fresh new quartz or other countertop material installed beautifully. With some patience and elbow grease, you can take out quartz countertops successfully and move forward creating your dream kitchen.