Can granite countertops be removed and replaced?

I am getting estimates on new kitchen cabinets. I have had some people tell me that there is no chance of removing my granite countertops and replacing them without breakage, and others that swear they can do it.

What is your experience/opinion/guess?

When you say ‘removed and replaced’ I assume you mean removing and then putting them back. The issue is going to be the sink cutout. The reason they cut that out on site is because it’s so the counter is so heavy that the thin strip in front of and behind the sink will break when (two) people try to lift it.

My guess is the people that are refusing aren’t interesting in taking the risk (or are trying to sell you a new one). The people that are saying they can have probably done it before and instead of just having one guy on each in will have for or 5 guys lift it at once.

Don’t forget, they’ll also have to break all the cement/caulk holding it to the existing cabinets as well as any epoxy holding one counter to the next (if there’s a seam).

You may want to figure out what a new counter will cost and tell the people that won’t touch it to ‘do your best’ and plan on new counters if they break it. And with that, the people that claim they can move it with out breaking it go the other way ‘are you sure, everyone else says it can’t be done’ and see if you can get them to put in writing that they’ll replace the counters (all of them, so they match) if they break/crack/chip them.

Another option, if you want to go with one of the ‘we won’t touch them’ companies, is to get a few people together and move them yourself. Watch some youtube videos to see about breaking the seals and seams and my guess is that the deciding factor is going to be how big long the counter where the sink is that’s the one that no one wants to move.

Highly unlikely. You can try and pry them off, but more likely than not, it will shatter. And even if you could get them off, it would be almost impossible to fabricate and install cabinets exactly as they were before. Something would be misaligned.

Anything is possible with enough money. The question is would it be cheaper to just get a new counter top. My guess is yes.

Joey P–yes, putting the same piece back where it came from.

I have had two companies come to the house for estimates and I went to the showroom of a third.

The first said, “I have done this before and have never broken one.” But he will not accept liability if it breaks.

The second one said, “Nobody will accept the liability for that because they tend to break.”

The third one said, “If anyone tells you they can remove that granite without breaking it, don’t hire him.”

The high-risk piece is 8-1/2’ long with a sink cut into it.

As an alternative, we are considering refacing, which does not require removing the countertops.

Pábitel, thanks for checking in but your first sentence is not helpful (and probably not true) and that last one is…a guess.

My dad is a rockstar trim carpenter and does a lot of custom cabinets, so I called him and asked. He says it’s no problem, they just need to be careful when they take it out because it’s very brittle, especially around the sink cutout. He says it would be worse if you had an L shape or something more exotic. Then as long as they build the new cabinets up to the same line as the old, the countertop will slip back on and fit well enough.

And that’s my good deed for the week.

I’ve done it. It’s not easy and the chance of breakage is definitely there. No one wants to take the liabity because the cost of replacement if they do break it would wipe out the profit on the job.

As other posters have said, you have to carefully break the caulk joint around the cabinets, then have enough guys to lift it without flexing it.

Thank you for the expert opinion! There is an L-shape but it’s actually two pieces with a seam. The concern is the length and sink cutout.

I’ll let you know how all this turns out.

How deeply do you love the granite?

Do you remember Corian?
How about butcher block?

What comes next - quartz? Will ceramic make a resurgence?

Just be sure you really do not want to take this opportunity to be rid of the granite.

Just a hunch, but I’m guessing a new kid on the block will replace granite at the top of the kitchen counter heap.

You carefully get the counter tops detached from the cabinets, and wall if so attached.
You do not lift them yet…

When you have them carefully detached, you gently raise them with some wedges, EVENLY, until you can slide in a sheet of 1/2 plywood all the way under it, then lift by the plywood.

If the counter is longer than 8 feet, you might have to fab a little something up, but the idea is the same, you are simply making it so the counter top can not flex at the weak sink cut out area, that its supported by something else when you pick it up.

Its done all the time, not sure why people in your area don’t want to do it.

You can already get quartz countertops, the newest thing I’ve been seeing is [poured] concrete. Set up your forms to any shape and thickness you want and you can be as creative as your mind allows. You can use dye to make any color, you can set anything in it you want. It’s dirt cheap. It’s one of those “anybody” can do it things.
Of course, “anybody” can do woodworking as well, it takes a lot of practice to pass something off as presentable. Just like most of these counters, with their preformed sinks and rounded fronts and perfectly simulated woodgrain probably weren’t done on the first try. But someone with some patience and the willingness to take more than one shot at it could probably handle a small bathroom counter.

But either way, just because granite might give way to the next big thing someday is no reason for the OP to chuck it now and jump on the next fad. That’s like suggesting the I replace my stainless steel appliances the next time I pull them away from the wall to paint since they’ll most likely be out of style in 15 years.

How is a piece of half inch plywood going to add sufficient rigidity to a massive chunk of heavy rock? :dubious:

Surely the ply will flex a bit - and just a bit of flex is enough to crack the thin parts around the sink cutout.

I’ve seen it done once.

The granite contractor freed it from the cabinets, then about 4 guys with great care put a 3/4 sheet of plywood underneath. Then they strapped that in with about 8 tight band straps. Once that was done they took it out the sliding door level and placed it on a prepared support. The job proceeded and once the new cabinets were in the old countertop was put back in place. Only minor adjustments needed to the cabinet alignment.

Never once did the countertop change from the horizontal plane. Per the Granite guy doing it he said that is the trick.

I never did ask him his success rate, but that one worked.

Can’t speak to the original question but: if the countertop can’t be reused (e.g. breaks at the sink cutout), can you find another use for the granite? Have it trimmed to act as a tabletop or serving cart or something? Or, if you redo the main granite, is there another area of cabinetry that is physically somewhat removed from the main counter, where the slight differences wouldn’t be so unsightly?

I mean, I assume it’s something reasonably attractive that you don’t mind having around.

OH yeah don’t worry about that!

It was an ongoing discussion we had at my house. Spouse feared the counters would have to be removed if we wanted to replace flooring, i was confident the cabs could be removed and a supporting sturcture left in place to retain the countertops. The laminate floors went underneath the cabinets and were topped by granite counters and full backsplash. The laminate floors got trashed by a leaking fridge line. Insurance company sprang into motion and their hired guns quickly showed up and proceeded to remove cabinets. They left the countertops in place supported by 2x4’s. We had an epoxy floor poured and the cabinet makers came back and put in refinished or new cabinets. Only issue was floor was now thinnner than the laminate floor so they need to shim or something to make ends meet so to speak.

But the countertops stayed in place, the cabinets were removed and or destroyed upon removal and new cabinets were installed underneath the counter tops.

WHew! I knew it could be done! They hired guns said no problem we do this a the time!

I’ve done that (been the demo/dry out/repair guy the insurance calls) and I’ve dealt with granite counters both ways, remove completely or leave in place supported by 2x4 studs with the cabinets removed. Much prefer the leave in place method, less stressful.