DIY Network

How to Remove a Kitchen Countertop

Host Paul Ryan and helpers pry the trim off a counter and remove an old, damaged windowsill so the counter can be cut out.

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remove an old, damaged windowsill

Step 1: Remove the Trim

Start by taking off the trim using a small pry bar and hammer. Be careful because old wood tends to be brittle and you may want to reuse the trim.

Tip: The best way to remove the nails from the trim is to pull them through the back using pliers. This will preserve the face of the wood.

remove the trim

Step 2: Cut the Sides of the Windowsill

Use a Japanese pull saw to cut each side of the windowsill. Make a cut on each side and one in the middle.

cut the sides of windowsill

Step 3: Pry out the Pieces

Once the windowsill is cut, pry out the pieces using a small pry bar and hammer. Split the wood with a chisel and hammer if necessary.

Note: The support pieces from the upper cabinet rest on the countertop and will need to be modified. The new countertop is thicker so an extra 1/2" clearance is needed.

Step 4: Nail Stock Into Place

Cut two pieces of 1/2" stock (small) to put on each side of the support. Nail into place using the impulse finish nailer and 1" nails.

nail stock into place

Step 5: Create an Extra Clearance

Lay the blade of the pull saw on top of the stock pieces and cut through to the back. This will ensure an extra 1/2" of clearance and a nice clean edge. Knock the pieces out using a pry bar and a hammer.

Step 6: Drill a Starter Hole

Use a drill with a spade bit and drill a starter hole in the countertop. Pick an area that has no supports or obstructions under it and drill the hole.

drill starter hole in countertop

Step 7: Cut through the Countertop

Using a reciprocating saw cut through the countertop from this starter hole to the front and to the back. Do this in a couple of places.

Step 8: Pry Up the Pieces

Pry up the pieces and remove. Make additional cuts if necessary, but be careful of the supports.

removing old countertop




  • Custom kitchen cabinets (color: Red Alder) from Minnesota Valley Cabinets