How to Remove a Bathroom Vanity Top and Backsplash

Removing and replacing a bathroom vanity top and backsplash can update the look of your bathroom. With some planning and the right tools, it’s a project a motivated DIYer can tackle. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to remove a bathroom vanity top and backsplash.

Step 1: Clear the Vanity Top

Before starting demolition, remove everything from the vanity top and clear the area. Take out all drawers, plumbing fixtures, and accessories. Remove everything from under the vanity as well. This ensures nothing will get damaged during the removal process.

Step 2: Disconnect the Plumbing

Locate the shut-off valves for the water supply lines underneath or behind the vanity. Turn them clockwise to shut off the water. Disconnect the supply lines from the faucet and valves. Unscrew the drain pipe from the sink and P-trap under the vanity. Plug the drain opening so small parts don’t fall in.

Step 3: Detach the Vanity Top

Examine how the countertop is installed. It may be caulked to the wall, sealed to the vanity cabinet, or both. Using a utility knife, carefully slice through the caulk or sealant between the backsplash/sides and wall. Then find any screws, brackets, or adhesive holding the countertop to the vanity cabinet and remove them.

Step 4: Remove the Backsplash

The backsplash is often caulked to the countertop and the wall. Slice through the caulk with a utility knife. Locate any screws or nails holding it in place and remove them with a screwdriver or pliers. Carefully pry the backsplash off the walls. Remove any remaining caulk.

Step 5: Lift Off the Vanity Top

With the backsplash detached and sealant sliced, the countertop should lift off the vanity cabinet easily. If it feels stuck, gently pry it loose with a pry bar. Be careful not to crack the sink section. Have a helper to lift the sink and slide it out.

Step 6: Remove Adhesive Residue

Use a putty knife to scrape off any leftover caulk, mortar, or adhesive from the vanity cabinet and wall. A paint scraper or chisel can remove chunks. Use mineral spirits or adhesive remover to dissolve any remaining residue.

Step 7: Prepare the Area for the New Top

Clean the area well and make any needed repairs before installing the new top. Fill holes in the wall from the backsplash removal with spackle. Sand and repaint if needed. Now you have a clean slate for your new vanity top and backsplash!

FAQs About Removing a Bathroom Vanity Top and Backsplash

How do I remove silicone caulk?

Use a utility knife with a sharp blade to cut through the bead of caulk. Then pull up the severed caulk gently with a putty knife. Go back afterward and scrape off any leftover residue.

What tools do I need to remove a vanity top and backsplash?

Handy tools include a utility knife, pry bar, screwdrivers, pliers, putty knives, chisel, paint scraper, and mineral spirits or adhesive remover. Safety gear like gloves and eye protection are also recommended.

Can I remove the vanity top without taking off the backsplash?

It’s difficult to remove a countertop without detaching the backsplash first. The backsplash is often caulked or sealed to the top. Removing it provides the clearance needed to lift off the sink top.

What do I do if the top is attached to the wall studs?

If screws go into wall studs, use a drill or screwdriver to remove them. You may also need to detach any brackets or blocks that were used during the original installation.

What is the easiest way to remove old caulk?

Cut through the caulk bead with a utility knife, then pull up the severed caulk with a putty knife. Go back over the area afterward and scrape off any remaining caulk residue with the putty knife.

How do I get adhesive off the wall after removing the backsplash?

Use a putty knife or paint scraper to peel off any large chunks. Then apply mineral spirits or adhesive remover to a rag and rub the area to dissolve residual adhesive. Rinse with water afterward.


Removing an old bathroom vanity top and backsplash takes some work, but it allows you to give your bathroom a fresh new look. Follow these steps carefully to ensure the project goes smoothly. The key is taking time to disconnect plumbing properly, detach the top and backsplash completely, and clean the area thoroughly before installing your new vanity. With the right prep work and tools, you can achieve a beautiful result.