How to Remove a Laminate Kitchen Countertop

Dark laminate kitchen countertop in the foreground.
  • 3-5 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-60
What You'll Need
Razorblade or utility knife
Small pry bar

You can easily remove a laminate kitchen countertop yourself if you are replacing it or renovating your kitchen. Although this does require some elbow grease and a little sweat and time, it is definitely within the skill range of the average DIYer. Of course, when removing your countertop, you will want to have a new one on hand to replace it so you don't have to be without working space very long.

Tip: Use a helper when doing this project to make it go more smoothly.

Step 1 - Turn Off Electricity, Gas, and Water

Before you begin, turn off the electricity to your kitchen garbage disposal, dishwasher, and electric range. Turn off the water under your sink and use the pipe wrench to disconnect the drain pipe. If you have a gas range, turn off the gas.

Step 2 - Remove the Faucet and Sink

In order to remove the countertop, the sink and fixtures will have to come out first. Turn on both your hot and cold taps to drain any remaining water from the pipes. Then, go under the sink and loosen the nuts holding both the water lines and the drain pipe onto the sink and faucet. Also empty and disconnect the line to the sprayer if you have one.

Remove the holding nuts securing the faucet fixture to the sink. Loosen them with a wrench and set them and the fixtures off to the side until you're done.

With the faucet out of place, you can now remove the sink itself. You will need to use a utility knife to cut around the caulking at the sink's edge before it is removed. Do this carefully so as to avoid scratching or damaging your sink. Afterward, lift the sink out of the cavity and set it aside as well.

Step 3 - Remove Dishwasher Plate Screws

If you have a dishwasher, remove the plate screws that are located above the door of your dishwasher. Be sure to place these screws in a secure place where you can find them when it's time to insert them again.

Step 4 - Pry Off Backsplash

With a razor blade or utility knife, carefully cut a line along the caulking around your backsplash. The reason for this is to prevent you from ripping any paint or wallpaper above the backsplash when you pull it off. Once you have cut through the caulking, fit an end of your pry bar between the backsplash and the wall, and gently pry it up little by little. This will take a little muscle to lift, but your assistant can help.

Step 5 - Determine How the Countertop Is Secured

Most countertops, laminate or otherwise, are attached to the base cabinets using either screws or adhesives. To find out which method was used on yours, open up your cabinet and look inside with a flashlight. Screws should be easy to locate if they've been used; if you can't find any, then your countertop was secured with glue.

Step 6 - Unscrew Countertop

Slide out any drawers and unscrew all doors from your cabinetry at this time so that the screws holding your laminate in place are easier to get to. Set these aside, and then use a screwdriver to loosen the fasteners attaching the countertop to the cabinets. Again, be sure to place all the screws in a safe place where they can easily be found for the installation of a new counter.

Pull up slightly on the countertop when you're finished to confirm that all the screws have been removed. Once you are sure they are all gone, remove the laminate piece completely.

Step 7 - Pry Counter Loose

If your countertop is secured with glue instead, you will have to work it loose from the adhesive using a pry bar. Work the end into the seam between the counter and the lower cabinet, hammering the end to wedge it in further if you need to.

Slowly and carefully peel the laminate away in small sections at a time. This may take some considerable effort, and if your cabinets start to crack as a result, stop what you're doing and seek professional help instead. Replacing all of your lower cabinetry due to damage will likely be much more expensive than hiring someone to remove the counters instead.

Step 8 - Clean the Wall

Once your countertop has been lifted away, clean the wall area where your backsplash was connected. You can do this best by scraping away any caulking or other debris, and washing down the wall.