How to Remove Kitchen Counter Tiles?

Kitchen counter tiles are popular among most homeowners in the US.

They add a stylish touch to the kitchen as compared to a marble countertop.

But sometimes you may want to install new kitchen counter tiles as the existing ones get damaged or become outdated.

Before you install new kitchen counter tiles, you need to know how to remove the existing tiles. Here we have shared some tips for removing counter tile in your kitchen.

Note: You should wear safety goggles when removing kitchen counter tiles. Gloves are also important when carrying out the DIY task. Lastly, you should wear a dust mask to avoid inhaling fine mortar or grout particles.

Step 1: Gather Tools

You need to have the right tools to correctly remove kitchen counter tiles. You can use power or manual tools for this DIY task.

Some of the tools that you will require to replace the kitchen counter tiles include the following:

  • Pry bar
  • Razor knife
  • Paint scraper
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Broom
  • Trash bag and bin
  • Safety glasses gloves and kneepads

If you will be using power tools to remove screws you should also consider buying safety earbuds to protect your hearing.

Step 2: Clear the Countertop

You need to unplug the appliances on the countertop and store them in a different location. Remove the microwave and stove on the countertop.

Take care not to damage the appliances when removing them from the countertop.

Make sure that you disconnect gas lines to the stove before removing them from the counter. Turn the gas knob to the off position to disconnect the supply.

You should use an adjustable wrench to remove the connection of the stove to the gas line. 

Next, you should remove everything from the drawers attached to the counter tiles. Place the items in the cupboard or away from the countertop.

Step 3: Remove Sink Drain and Garbage Disposal

You will also have to disconnect the drain line beneath the kitchen skin.

Loosen the nuts that secure the U or J-shaped trap connected to the main drain line.  You should then use channel locks to keep the trap in place.

Disconnect the garbage disposal from the sink if available.

This is important to avoid damage to the appliance.

You can use an adjustable wrench or manually loosen the connection using your hand.

In case the kitchen sink is an under-mount type sink you need to pull it out before removing the kitchen counter tile.

To remove the sink you must use a flat chisel for removing the caulk that seals the sink.

You can easily remove the under-mount style sink once you have removed the seals.

Consider getting the help of another person for taking out the sink. Again be careful not to damage the sink or other appliance when removing them.

Step 4: Remove the Backsplash

The next step is to remove the kitchen countertop tile. Most countertop tiles are made of a backsplash and the counter.

The backsplash is normally connected to the countertop and the wall. You need to remove the backsplash before removing the tile.

To remove the backsplash you will have to cut the adhesive that connects it to the wall.

Use a razor knife to remove the silicone adhesive.

You can remove the adhesive at the back using a paint scraper and hammer. Just hammer the paint scrapper lightly between the wall and the backsplash.

You should do this all along with the backsplash until it detaches.

A pry bar can be used to remove a backsplash attached to a structural stud. Place the pry bar between the wall stud and backsplash and then push against the wall.

You can locate the studs using a stud finder. Typically, a stud is located every 16 inches in the wall.

Step 5: Remove the Kitchen Cabinet

You should remove appliances and cookware from the cabinets. Once the countertop is empty, you should look for screws that secure the countertop.

You may have to lie down and stick your head inside the cabinet to locate the screws.

After you have located the screws, you should use a screwdriver or power tool to remove screws that hold the countertop tiles to the cabinet. 

Remove each screw carefully from the countertop.

Once you have removed the screws, you should next cut the silicone adhesive bond that holds the countertop to the cabinet.

Use a razor knife to cut the adhesive but be careful not to damage the cabinets. You should then use a scraper and gently hammer it to break the seal.

Ask a partner to slightly pull the countertop to make it easier to cut the adhesive bond.

Also read: How to Remove Kitchen Cabinets (Step-by-Step Guide)

Step 6: Detach the Countertop Tile

Now, you should be able to detach the countertop.

Stick the pry bar in the area between the countertop and cabinet and gently pull upwards. Again, the help of a partner will make it easy to detach the countertop.

To remove the laminate coating, you should use your hammer and chisel.

Moreover, there should be a board connected to the wall underneath the backsplash. You should use a screwdriver or power tool to remove the screws.

You should carefully remove each tile from the countertop. Use a flat chisel to remove the tile from the countertop surface.

Removing the tiles will make it easier for you to live the countertop. You should first remove the tile up the backsplash away from the wall.

Next, you should pry rounded bullnose tile at the front.

Then, you should remove the tile attached to the slicing between the wood underlayment and the mortar.

Step 7: Remove Countertop

After you have removed each tile, you should next use a screwdriver to remove brackets that holder countertop to the cabinet base.

Check the countertop to see if there is a wooden layer underneath the countertop. You can use a pry bar to remove the wood from the countertop.

Then you can lift off the countertop tile to install a new one.

However, before removing the tile you will first have to remove grout lines.

Grout is a mortar and removing it from the tile will result in dust and debris. You should wear safety goggles and a face mask to avoid inhaling the dust particles. 

After removing the grout, you should pry the tiles off using a tile removal tool.

The tool will loosen the tiles that you can remove to install a new kitchen countertop tile. 

You should use a paint scraper to remove any remaining adhesive. Remove all silicone bonds at the edge of the cabinets.

You can leave the sub-top if you are installing a laminate countertop.

In case you are installing a natural stone countertop, you should remove the screws that attach to the sub-top using a screwdriver.

That’s It! If you have followed the above steps

Tips After Removing Kitchen Counter Tile

After removing the countertop, you should look for cracks or damage to the plywood supporting the cabinet.

In case of damage, you will have to replace the plywood before installing a new countertop. 

Inspect the kitchen subfloor where the countertop was attached. Look for signs of water damage such as sunken or uneven parts.

You may have to prepare the subfloor before installing the new kitchen counter tile. Experts recommend that you should use a trowel having wide teeth when laying down adhesive over the existing surface.

Using a wide teeth trowel is recommended as it will hide the roughness of the old layer of adhesive.

Moreover, it will also allow a smooth surface for the installation of a new kitchen countertop tile. 

Follow your local county or building association rules regarding the disposal of old kitchen countertops.

You can put up your old countertop tile on Craigslist if not damaged.

In case the countertop is damaged, you should take it to the dump or give it away for free. Another option is to reuse the material in your laundry room or garage.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best method for removing tile countertops?

The best method for removing tile countertops requires using the right tools and following a step-by-step approach. Start by turning off the main water supply and removing the sink.

Then, use tools like a pry bar, razor knife, paint scraper, and hammer to carefully remove the tiles and the countertop structure.

Can tile backsplash be removed without damaging the wall?

Yes, it’s possible to remove a tile backsplash without damaging the wall. You need to proceed with caution, using tools like a putty knife, hammer, and chisel.

Gently work your way under the tiles, applying even pressure to avoid breaking them or damaging the drywall. Remember to keep safety in mind by wearing protective equipment like gloves and goggles.

Are there any precautions to take when removing kitchen counter tiles?

When removing kitchen counter tiles, precautions include:

  • Shutting off the main water supply
  • Wearing protective equipment like gloves and goggles
  • Ensuring any electrical appliances are disconnected and removed from the area
  • Proceeding slowly and carefully to minimize damage

How can I remove countertop without damaging the cabinets beneath?

To remove a countertop without damaging the cabinets underneath, follow these steps:

  1. Remove appliances, like the sink and cooktop, from the countertop.
  2. Detach any screws or brackets connecting the countertop to the cabinets.
  3. Carefully lift the countertop off the cabinets. If it’s too large or heavy, consider breaking it down into smaller sections with a reciprocating saw.

What are some alternatives to tile countertops when replacing them?

When replacing tile countertops, some alternative options include:

  • Quartz: Durable, low-maintenance, and available in various colors and styles
  • Granite: Natural stone that offers a high-end look and great durability
  • Laminate: Budget-friendly and available in a wide range of colors and patterns
  • Solid surface: Non-porous material that is stain-resistant and easy to maintain
  • Butcher block: Ideal for a warm and rustic look in the kitchen

Is it possible to redo a tile countertop without complete replacement?

Yes, you can redo a tile countertop without completely replacing it. One option is to regrout the existing tiles, which can refresh the appearance and improve the durability of your countertop. Another option is refinishing the surface, either by painting the tiles or applying a resurfacing coating.

These methods can give your countertop a fresh look without the added expense of a full replacement.

Conclusion

Removing the kitchen counter tile is all about patience, precision, and safety. You will probably have to spend hours removing the counter tile from the kitchen.

A professional handyman is recommended if you don’t have the time to replace and install a new kitchen counter tile.

You must not rush through the DIY project. You need to be careful when removing the countertop tile to avoid damaging the cabinets.

Be extra careful when removing the countertop so as not to damage the gas lines or plumbing.

A bump on the pipes or gas line can result in a leak that can be costly to remove. You should also be careful when removing adhesives near switches and electrical sockets.

Consider calling a professional to avoid any damage when removing the granite countertop tile. These are heavy and attached directly to the cabinet base or particleboard.

The base of the cabinet can get damaged when you try to remove it from the countertop.

A professional will be able to remove the granite counter tile without any damage.

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