How to Remove Kitchen Cabinets Part 1

Open cabinet doors
  • 1-5 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-40
What You'll Need
Screw driver
Claw hammer or pry bar
What You'll Need
Screw driver
Claw hammer or pry bar

Are you ready to remove kitchen cabinets and replace them with new ones? Here are step-by-step instructions to walk you through the process. Before you begin to remove your kitchen cabinets, turn off the water or electricity if there are any pipes in the cabinets. Then, detach the pipes and take them out.

Step 1 - Doors and Drawers

When you want to remove kitchen cabinets, the easiest thing to start with is the doors and the drawers.

Use a screwdriver to remove the hinges from the doors. You can also use a drill, which is much faster. Set the doors to one side and look inside the cabinets to find out how the drawers are attached. Unscrew all fastenings and pull the drawers out. If you want to save any of the hardware for future use, clean everything and put them in plastic bags.

Step 2 - Countertop

old stained Formica countertop

The four most common types of countertops are tile, wood slab, plastic laminate, and marble. Tile countertops are difficult to save. The tiles are mostly made from glass and they tend to chip or shatter and break. Your best bet is to just let them break and buy new tiles. An imitation marble slab is easily removed, however, using a solvent and a putty knife.

For a wood slab or plastic laminate countertop, look underneath inside the cabinet to locate the fasteners. Typically nails or screws are used. Take them out carefully and make sure you keep track of any salvageable screws. You never know when you might need them for another project.

If there is a sink in your countertop, it has to come out first. Start by removing the screws holding the sink in. Next take a hammer and hit the sink to remove the countertop seal. Then lift out the sink and set it aside. The last step is to use a pair of pliers to take off the two plastic nuts underneath that hold the faucet on. Pull out the faucet and you are done.

Step 3 - Trim Molding

Man installing cabinet molding

First you have to decide whether or not you want to save the trim molding. If you don’t, then all you have to do is use a screwdriver or slim pry bar. Wedge it underneath the trim and pull the trim straight through the nail. Pound the nails into the cabinets so no one gets caught on them by accident.

To save the molding, you should take a little more time and care and pull each nail out instead of pulling the trim straight through. If you don’t have time for this, any holes can be disguised with wood putty where necessary.


For upper cabinets, you need at least two people to remove the cabinets without damaging them if that is your goal. Many of the steps are the same as the ones for the lower cabinets. When it is time to remove kitchen cabinets from the wall, have at least one person hold them in place while you take out the screws and/or nails. This should be done after you have removed the lower cabinets so you have more room to work.