DIY Projects · Flip #2

How to Remove Countertops

   The Bachelorette Pad came with authentic green laminate countertops. Clearly, those countertops are not an ideal selling point in a flip. While I am a fan of laminate countertops, that 70s green design had to go.  While most countertop contractors will remove the existing countertops for you, they will also charge you for that. And there’s nothing I hate more than paying labor for something I can do myself. It may seem like an extensive process to remove kitchen countertops, but it’s really not that bad and fairly quick.  As a reminder, this is what the kitchen looked like the day I bought the house:

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To remove countertops, you only need one tool. It’s the jack-of-all-trades tool. I have used it for so many projects in house flips. For the cost of about $10, a pry-bar can help remove countertops, carpet, paneling, nails, etc. It has been a great investment.

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To begin, get the flat end of the pry bar under the countertop. The best way to do that is to place the “hook” under the countertop edge and keep pulling hard until either a portion of the countertop breaks off or it comes loose. This is my second time removing laminate countertops, and I have had both experiences. With these lovely green countertops, they tended to chip off rather than just come unglued. But once I got a portion of the trim broken off, I was able to get the flat portion of the pry bar under the countertop.

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Once the pry bar is under the edge of the countertops, you use the palm of your hand to push the pry bar further under the countertop. Depending on how well it’s glued down, it could come off in large sheets of laminate or it might come off in smaller chunks. If it breaks off in smaller chunks, proceed like you were beginning by getting the pry bar under the laminate again. Along the edge of the wall, you will see a skinny silver trim. That trim is nailed down and can be difficult to get loose if you try to remove it before the laminate. Remove all the laminate  on the silver trim, and then the trim should easily remove from the wooden counter.

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As with most dated designs, the countertops had a lower bar portion of the countertop. I think that design really dates a kitchen, so I decided to remove it. With some muscle and a sledge-hammer, it’s actually a pretty easy removal process. Instead of beating down on the top of the countertop, I used the sledge-hammer to beat up on the bottom of the countertop. It quickly became un-nailed from the wooden brackets.

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Removing the brackets is an even easier process. By going through the cabinet on the opposite side of the peninsula bar, I pulled out all of the nails, then the brackets became loose enough that I could just pull them off the cabinet. After getting the lower countertop removed, there was some issues that will need to be addressed (I have a cheap and creative way to fix it!). Where the brackets were present, there was no stain. Since the cabinets are almost 40 years old, I know getting the stain to match perfectly will be impossible. But I promise I have a solution in mind that is very cheap but gets the job done!

After a day’s work, I was able to see a noticeable difference in the kitchen. The new countertops are next, as well as the cabinet fix. Lots of exciting changes are happening in the kitchen!

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