How to Remove Quartz Countertops

Introduction to Removing Quartz Countertops

Quartz countertops are popular in many homes today due to their durability, aesthetics, and easy maintenance. However, there may come a time when you need to remove your existing quartz countertops and install new ones. Removing quartz countertops is not necessarily a simple DIY project, but it can be done with proper planning, tools, and care.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about how to remove quartz countertops successfully. We will cover the reasons for removing quartz countertops, what tools are required, step-by-step instructions for removal, how to remove stubborn adhesive, as well as tips for installing new countertops after the old ones are removed.

With the information in this guide, you will have the knowledge to take on a quartz countertop removal project with confidence. Let’s get started!

Reasons for Removing Quartz Countertops

There are several reasons why you may need or want to remove your existing quartz countertops:

  • Replacing damaged countertops – Quartz is very durable, but it can become damaged over time from impact, stains, or excessive heat. Cracks, chips, or burns in the countertop surface may require full replacement.
  • Remodeling the kitchen – As part of a larger kitchen remodel, you may desire a new countertop material like natural stone or wood. This requires full removal of the existing quartz.
  • Changing color/style – Even if your quartz countertops are in good condition, you may want to update the color or style for a fresh look. This requires swapping out the old countertop slabs for new ones.
  • Issues with original installation – Sometimes quartz countertops can be installed improperly by contractors. Seams may not be joined correctly or adhesion issues can appear later. The only fix is to remove and reinstall properly.
  • Moving to a new home – Quartz slabs are custom fit to your existing kitchen layout. If you are moving, the countertops likely won’t match the new kitchen and need to be removed.

Whatever your reasons for needing to remove quartz counters, the process involves carefully extracting the slabs whole or breaking them up to be lifted out. Continue reading our guide to learn how it’s done.

What Tools Are Needed for Removing Quartz Countertops?

Removing quartz countertops requires patience and the right tools for the job. Having the proper equipment makes the process safer and easier. The tools needed include:

  • Pry bar – A sturdy pry bar is essential for loosening the slabs from cabinets and substrates. A longer 3-foot bar provides better leverage.
  • Hammer – For breaking apart quartz and knocking off adhered pieces, a sledgehammer or mini-sledge works best.
  • Safety gear – Wearing goggles, gloves, a mask, and ear protection is important when hammering and handling broken quartz.
  • Circular saw – For cutting the countertop into manageable sections for removal, a circular saw with a diamond blade is ideal.
  • Putty knife – A stiff putty knife or paint scraper can help scraped up adhesive remnants.
  • Shop vacuum – For cleaning up all the debris and dust generated, a shop vac is invaluable.
  • Crowbar – A small crowbar can help with extra leverage and maneuvering off pieces.
  • Dustpan and brush – For collecting smaller quartz pieces and adhesive bits swept up.

Having these tools on hand will make a quartz countertop removal project much simpler to tackle. Consider asking friends or family if you can borrow any tools you may be missing.

Step-by-Step Guide for Removing Quartz Countertops

With the right tools assembled, follow these key steps to properly remove your existing quartz countertops:

1. Clear Countertops and Disconnect Appliances

First, clear off everything from the countertops and remove any appliances that are integrated like sinks, cooktops, or backsplashes. Make sure to turn off water lines to sinks and cooktops. Unplug and disconnect any wiring as needed.

2. Cut Countertop into Manageable Sections

Use a circular saw to cut the quartz countertop into smaller pieces that can be more easily maneuvered. Cuts should go fully through the slab. Wear safety goggles and a mask when cutting.

3. Loosen Countertop from Wall and Cabinets

Insert a pry bar under the edge of the countertop and gently pry up to loosen it from the cabinet frames and back wall. Take care not to damage cabinets in the process.

4. Lift Off Countertop Sections

Have a helper assist with lifting and removing each cut section of countertop. Carry them out to dispose or reuse. Vacuum up any debris left behind.

5. Remove Any Remaining Adhesive

Use a hammer and putty knife to carefully knock off and scrape up any excess quartz adhesive still stuck to the cabinets or substrate. Get it as clean as possible.

6. Clean and Prepare the Area

Once all countertop sections and adhesive are removed, thoroughly clean the empty space. Now the kitchen is ready for your new countertop installation.

Follow these key steps closely and remove your quartz countertops successfully. Having an extra set of hands helps enormously when lifting off the heavy pieces. Now let’s look at how to tackle excess adhesive remnants.

Removing Stubborn Adhesive After Countertop Removal

Once the bulk of the quartz countertop is removed, there will likely be lingering adhesive stuck to cabinets, walls, and substrate material. Completely removing stubborn adhesive remnants is crucial for a smooth new countertop installation. Here are some tips:

  • Allow adhesive to soften – Letting the adhesive sit for a day or two allows it to soften for easier removal
  • Heat with a hairdryer or heat gun – Heating adhesive helps loosen the bond; take care not to scorch surfaces
  • Coat with adhesive remover – Chemical removers like Goo-Gone help break down adhesive residues
  • Scrape with putty knife – Work a stiff putty knife to slowly scrape off softened adhesive
  • Sand down areas – Use coarse 60-80 grit sandpaper to gently smooth down adhesive bits
  • Re-apply remover and scrape – Repeating remover, waiting, and scraping gets all residue
  • Clean area thoroughly – Wipe all surfaces to remove leftover remover and debris

With persistence and the right adhesive removers, even the toughest adhesive can be eliminated. Taking the time to do this ensures your new quartz or other countertops will install perfectly.

Tips for Installing New Countertops After Removal

Once you’ve removed your existing quartz countertops and cleaned the space, a few tips will ensure your new countertop installation goes smoothly:

  • Make any needed repairs to walls/cabinets before installing
  • Check that substrate is flat and solid with no gaps or voids
  • Allow proper adhesive drying time per manufacturer instructions
  • Carefully lift and place new countertop slabs to avoid cracks/chips
  • Ensure proper support underneath overhangs and seams
  • Apply even clamping pressure as adhesive sets
  • Clean up all adhesive squeezings immediately
  • Reconnect sinks/faucets and test for leaks
  • Seal any edges and backsplashes neatly with silicone

With attention to detail, your new quartz or other countertops will fit perfectly and function beautifully. Enjoy the renewed look in your kitchen!

FAQs about Removing Quartz Countertops

Many homeowners have additional questions about successfully removing their existing quartz countertops. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:

How difficult is it to remove quartz countertops?

Removing quartz countertops is moderately difficult, mostly involving the cumbersome nature of maneuvering the heavy slabs. The process takes time and care but is doable as a DIY project with proper tools.

Can I reuse/repurpose the removed quartz pieces?

In some cases, large intact sections of quartz countertop may be reused in other rooms or repurposed for other applications. However, once the slabs are cut apart for removal, reuse is unlikely.

What is the best way to break apart the countertops?

Using a circular saw with a diamond blade to slice through the full thickness of the quartz makes breaking it apart much easier compared to hammering.

Can I donate my old quartz countertop instead of disposing?

Unfortunately most donation centers and Habitat for Humanity ReStores do not accept previously installed countertop materials for reuse. You will likely have to dispose of it.

Is it okay to set the new countertop right over the old adhesive?

It is not recommended. Old quartz adhesive should be fully removed to allow proper bonding and installation of the new countertop.

How can I cut quartz countertops without chipping them?

Use a circular saw with a diamond blade made for quartz and go slow. Mark cut lines with painter’s tape and keep countertops face down to avoid chipping.

Removing your quartz countertops allows for a fresh new look. With the information in this guide, you can take on this project confidently. Handle the materials carefully and use proper tools for safe removal. Enjoy your sparkling new countertop!


Removing quartz countertops is a manageable process with some work, patience, and the proper techniques. Now that you understand the steps involved, reasons for removing quartz, tools required, how to handle stubborn adhesive, and tips for the new installation, you can move forward confidently. Always wear safety gear, work carefully, and dispose of the waste properly. With some elbow grease and attention to detail, you can eliminate your old quartz countertops and start fresh with an updated, beautiful new kitchen countertop surface.