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How to remove countertop and sink without damaging either?

Tommy87 | Posted in General Questions on

Hello all,

I posted last week about how to block the smell of cdx under a countertop. Long story short, I am having to remove the counter (Yes, I know…the whole situation has been a huge “fail”).

So I am wondering – have any of you guys removed quartz/granite counter with plywood underneath it? The quartz is 3/4″ so 5/8 plywood is glued with liquid neal directly under it. The kitchen sink is an undermount.

My goal is to remove the counter and sink to be able to reuse. I’m just putting a different piece of plywood under.

Is this wishful thinking or can it be done? Which tools are recommended?

Thank you.

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  1. onslow | | #1


    Not sure if any of these ideas are worth the effort it will take, but it might save you the top material. Might I also ask how the cdx is a sensitivity issue if the liquid nails is not. And,how do you plan to remove the residual adhesive cleanly enough to ensure level rebonding with a new substrate? First a description of a similar problem I have faced..

    During remodeling jobs I often had to contend with frameless glass mirrors in bathrooms that were glued directly to the wall with a nasty black mastic. I would first put duct tape all over the mirror in case of disaster and place a suitable sized piece of plywood in front of the mirror for my helper to hold and be more protected from the mirror shattering.

    My removal tool was a rectangular piece of heavy gauge sheet metal with one end cut to a slight point and the other end double folded and bent 90 degrees. Slip the pointed end under the mirror edge, wiggle a bit until engaging the first glob of mastic, and push or whack the bent lip of the sheet metal. Most times the mastic was brittle, so a little gentle persuasion with a mallet against the bent edge would force the sheet metal to either break the mastic in half or separate it from the drywall paper face.

    Working carefully around the sides I could access, the tool usually freed 90 per cent of the mirror's mastic globs. It was rather shocking to see how few mastic "dots" were holding really large mirrors. My helper and I would then test "peel" the mirror from the top to see if any center globs would fail. Must be lucky as most mirrors popped free, completely intact. If the dots didn't give, a longer, second sheet metal section with no lip came into play. The more dangerous game of popping the glue deep behind the mirror fortunately also went well for the few times I needed to do it.

    In your case, lay the quartz/plywood top on a work surface-quartz side down- that will protect the quartz and then clamp a 2x or whatever against two sides of the quartz panel, and pray that the liquid nails isn't fully set yet. You might try a 8-12" drywall compound blade before bothering with the sheet metal idea and see if you can make any head way. Push the blade in to cut the adhesive and insert thin shims of milk bottle plastic to keep the glue from resetting on itself as you work along. With good fortune you might find the plywood will flex up enough to allow ever deeper access with out the stress going to the quartz. I have no idea how touchy the quartz is to stress. Be very cautious on the thin band front and back of the sink.

    If the plywood is not lifting enough, then cutting almost all the way through the plywood in 3-4" wide strips might facilitate removing it bit by bit in a less stressed way. Be very sure not to cut the quartz or it might behave like scored glass when subject to the peeling stress. Depending on how much you like to gamble, it might pay to leave the sink attached until the plywood is off to add stiffening to the thin bands at the front and back of the sink. Of course you will then face the risk of breaking the thin areas while trying to free the sink.

    If you mounted the sink with silicone or other sealant, it is possible to razor it back off. It is tedious, hard on the fingers to hold the blade flat to the counter and of course dangerous if the blade snaps. I have use the small snap blades (10mm) in the Olfa stainless steel slim profile to rescue a few items that set crooked. If the sink hole in the quartz overhangs the sink bowl, you may find cutting the sink off from the top side of the counter easier and it can be done before removing the plywood. Be sure to have something under the sink bowl before it drops off suddenly - unlike someone I know. Single edge razor blades will work too, but I have had less control over them and some unfortunate scratches to deal with as a result.

    Removing all trace of the silicone adhesive or sealant from the quartz and the bowl lip will be a necessary pain. If you have use epoxy to attach the sink, I think you are sunk.

    Hope this isn't too over written and best of luck. I assume you can't quite justify starting fresh and feel your pain.

  2. Andrew_C | | #2

    Thanks for details @Roger,
    Thank you for your detailed frameless glass removal techniques, which I"m sure are hard won. I will be using these in the future.

  3. onslow | | #3

    Hope it goes well with rescuing the quartz. As an experiment, you might try dripping paint thinner or naptha to pre-soften the liquid nails. At least I think that is the clean up solvent from my past days. The hazard created by solvent soaked plywood might be too risky though. Don't do anything like that in a basement or enclosed space near any kind of ignition element though. Removing mirrors remains very scary no matter how one does it. Your wrists are always right there and glass breaks in unpredictable ways. Just a heads up on more recent mirror installations - many codes require the application of an anti shatter film to the backs of mirrors used on closet doors and in bathrooms. Not sure if this a national code requirement. I would still put the tape on the front regardless as 10 or even 20 bucks of tape is nothing next to an ER trip or bleeding out trying to get to the truck or phone. In retrospect, I must have a had a very forgiving guardian angel. Mind the snap blades. too, as they will also decide to break just when you think everything is going smoothly. Patience and incremental attack generally wins the day. Again, best of luck.

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