How to Remove a Surface Mount Medicine Cabinet

Lead Image for How to Remove a Surface Mount Medicine Cabinet
  • 1-3 hours
  • Beginner
  • 20-125
What You'll Need
Putty knife
Fine grit sandpaper
Drop cloth or old towel
Joint compound
Paint roller
Paint tray
Tack cloth
Old paint cans
Scrap wood
Phone books

Removing a surface mounted medicine cabinet need not be a deal-breaker for a do-it-yourself bathroom remodel. Surface-mounted medicine cabinets are common fixtures because they are much easier to install than flush medicine cabinets. Just as the surface-mounted type is easier to install, it is easier to remove. Repairing the wall after removing a surface mount cabinet is a breeze. Following these simple instructions will ensure your success in removing your old surface mounted medicine cabinet and repairing the wall.

Prep Your Work Area

Removing your surface mount medicine cabinet can damage your bathroom counter if you fail to prepare. You can scratch the counter with your tools or drip paint all over it. To avoid damaging the counter, cover it with a drop cloth or an old towel.

Provide Support

If you are working alone, use paint cans and a scrap piece of wood to support the cabinet in case it slips when you remove the screws holding it in place. Place 2 paint cans on the bathroom counter on both sides of the medicine cabinet. Make sure the paint cans are not too close to the faucet.

Lay the scrap wood across the paint cans, creating a ledge to support the medicine cabinet. Be sure that the ledge is directly under the edge of the medicine cabinet with minimal space between them. If the paint cans are too high, use books to make the ledge. If the paint cans are too low, add books on the cans to reach the necessary height.

Remove Shelves, Screws, and the Cabinet

Remove all interior shelves from the medicine cabinet. Then use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws attaching the medicine cabinet to the wall. Ensure that the medicine cabinet does not fall forward when you remove the last screw. Finally, pull the medicine cabinet away from the wall.

Repair the Wall

Once you remove the medicine cabinet from the wall, the wall will have unsightly screw holes. To repair the holes, use a putty knife to fill them with joint compound. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using joint compound. After the joint compound has dried, sand the patched areas with fine-grit sandpaper and use a tack cloth to remove any dust left from sanding. To finish the job, use your paint tray and roller to prime and paint the wall.

Removing that old surface mount medicine cabinet was not a deal-breaker after all. Now that you are finished, you can step back and revel in a job well done.