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How to Remove Kitchen Cabinets

This video shows how to remove kitchens or bathroom cabinets. Before you start the cupboard removal process, follow these “do it yourself” (DYI) tips. Tearing them out is usually done best with two people. Just be careful once you start ripping things out to not hurt one another in the process.

It’s very important to look at how everything was installed prior to starting. Take a few drawers out and look underneath to see if the counters are screwed into place. Determine if there are any areas where you will have to remove molding before you begin to take screws out that are holding the cupboards to the walls.

Tools Needed for Removing Cabinets

These are the basic tools you will need for removing the counters or cabinets. If you do not have the proper tools for the job find a friend who does and get them to help you with your kitchen cabinet removal.

  • Hammer
  • Salsaw
  • Jig Saw
  • Pry Bar or Wonder Bar
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Razor Knife
  • Putty Knife
  • Electric or Cordless Drill
  • Number Two Phillips and Square Drive Bits
  • Extension Cord

Tips Removing Kitchen Upper Base and Cabinets

The following tips are not in any particular  order. They are just general things you should know about ripping out kitchen cabinets. The first inkling of a person may be to just start banging away with a hammer. This is not the correct way to achieve a successful kitchen cabinet removal project.

If there are any photos or hanging pictures that could get damaged due to all of the banging on the walls, it’s best to remove the portraits and set them on the floor. One of our cabinet installers learned a lesson the hard way about pictures falling off of walls. He was just ripping and tearing the cupboards out when he suddenly heard a loud crash in the room next door.

Kill the power supply to the range hood and remove it. Refer to this tutorial for removing a kitchen cabinet range hood.

Make sure all gas lines are shut off, secured, safe and disconnected.

Turn off the water shut off  valves to the sink and remove it. Double check to make sure that the water did in fact get turned off when you closed the valves. Sometimes they will not turn the water off  because the seals are bad and need to be replaced.

Cut all caulk lines with the razor knife next to the walls, floors and ceilings. You must do this first.

Remove any crown-molding or long pieces of  laminate that are glued onto long runs of the cupboards.

If the backsplash is glued to the wall,  use the putty knife and the hammer to gently remove it. Most granite, Corian, solid surface, and thin (¾ inch thick) Formcia back-splashes are glued to the wall with Liquid Nail or caulking.

If you plan on  saving a granite countertop,  you will need several people to help you take it out. Several pry bars will be needed as you “GENTLY” pry the top away from the cabinets. You MUST NOT bend the granite because it will snap and be totally ruined.

Make prop-sticks for helping to hold the upper cabinets up while removing the installation screws. You should steady the cabinets with your hands while unscrewing the screws.

Take the doors off of the upper cabinets prior to un-installing them.

Remove the cabinet installation screws with the electric drill or the Phillips screwdriver. You may need a square drive-number two (#2) bit for the heads of special fasteners.

Use the Salsaw for cutting the back of the base cabinet around the plumbing pipes or in areas that are difficult to get to with the jig saw.

The jig saw  should be used to cut up large counters or cabinets to make the easier to remove them.  This tip for removing cabinets is one that you should not omit. Many  of the cupboard parts are going to be too heavy to handle and will have to be either cut or ripped apart with the hammer to make them lighter.

If you are dealing with a  tile countertop, you cannot salvage it. The best thing to do is just break it up or tear it apart.

My  final tip is that you should wear gloves and safety glasses as you remove the cabinets. There are always staples or screw heads that can cause major damage if you are not careful.

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