How to Remove Formica

Formica counters.
  • 4-6 hours
  • Beginner
  • 60-120
What You'll Need
Ear plugs
Protective eye glasses or goggles
Dust pan and duster
Sand paper or sander
Putty knife
New formica

Formica is a type of synthetic plastic material that is used primarily for a countertop surface found in kitchens and baths. Formica comes in a variety of colors and styles. You can purchase a Formica countertop as a smooth top or as a textured material. There are many ways to enhance the look and feel of the kitchen décor by picking the right Formica countertop. While renovating the kitchen, you may want to remove the existing countertop and replace it with a new design and style. Here are a few simple steps that will allow you to easily and effectively remove your Formica countertop.

Step 1 - Clear the Countertop Space

Remove all countertop appliances and items. Put them away in a closet or lay them out on your kitchen or dining room table.

Step 2 - Remove the Edging

Depending on your current kitchen design, you may have installed an accent edge made of wood to your existing Formica countertop. If you intend to reuse this piece, carefully remove it from the Formica countertop. Lay it aside for your reinstallation step.

Step 3 - Get Yourself Prepared

Put in your earplugs to protect your ears from the loud noise and put on your protective eyewear to prevent any dust or particles from reaching the inside of your eye.

Step 4 - Remove the Formica

Using a hammer, remove the Formica top from the wood or plywood that is under the Formica. This is a very time-consuming process especially if the Formica is heavily attached to the plywood with glue. Wedge the straight edge of the hammer underneath a spot between the Formica and the plywood. Begin to pry the Formica material up and away from the plywood surface. The Formica will come apart in several pieces if adhered to the plywood.

Be careful in this step. Do not dent the plywood underneath otherwise the newly installed Formica will not adhere well to the base. It also will not look very good.

Throw away the old Formica.

Step 5 - Clean the Surface

Using a dustpan and duster or small sweep, clean the surface of the plywood. Remove any loose nails, screws, or Formica chips and pieces. Wipe down with a damp cloth. Allow the plywood to dry completely.

Step 6 - Sand the Surface

Using a piece of sandpaper or a sander, sand down the surface of the plywood until you have removed any remaining glue or pieces of leftover Formica. Keep your protective eyewear on for this step and add a face mask to keep any particles from getting into your lungs. Once smooth, your surface is ready to be redone.

Step 7 - Apply Glue

Apply a thin layer of glue to the plywood. Smooth the glue with a putty knife.

Step 8 - Add Formica Countertop

Roll out your new Formica onto your countertop. Fit in place as needed. Slide it around quickly and press down onto the glue. Make sure you have not left any large gaps in between cabinet or wall spaces. Once dry, add a small bead of caulking to the edge of the countertop between the wall or wall surface and the new Formica. Re-attach the wood molding.