How to Remove Countertop without Damaging Backsplash

Removing your countertop without damaging the backsplash can seem daunting, but with the right tools and techniques, it is very doable. Here are some tips on how to remove a countertop while keeping the backsplash intact.

Prepare the Work Area

Clear off all items from the countertops and surrounding area. Have a flat workspace ready nearby to set removed countertop pieces on. Cover the floor with drop cloths to catch any debris or damage.

Remove Accessories

Detach any accessories like the sink, faucet, soap dispenser, and switch plates first. This gives you full access to the countertop and makes it lighter to remove. Place accessories aside carefully to reinstall later.

Cut Sealant Bead

Use a utility knife to cut along the seam where the backsplash meets the countertop. Cut through the caulk or sealant to disconnect the countertop from backsplash. Go slowly and keep the blade flat against the countertop.

Separate Countertop

Insert a pry bar under the front edge of the countertop and gently pry upwards. Work your way along the front edging, prying a little at a time. Ask a helper to support the overhang as you pry.

Lift Off Countertop

Once fully pried up, lift up the freed countertop piece and move it to your workspace. You may need 2 people to lift heavy natural stone tops. Remove any stubborn sealant remnants from the backsplash after.

Protect Backsplash

Cover the now-exposed bottom edge of the backsplash with painter’s tape. This protects it from damage when you install the new countertop. Keep it covered until the new top is fully secured.

Prep Area for New Top

Clear any debris, clean the base cabinets, and make sure the surface is smooth and level. Shims can level any uneven spots. Follow manufacturer instructions for prep and installation of the new countertop.

Reinstall Accessories

Once the new countertop is fully secured, carefully reinstall the sink, faucet, soap dispenser, switch plates and any other accessories. Use new sealant and caulk between the backsplash and countertop.

With careful prying technique and backsplash protection, you can successfully remove a countertop without harming the backsplash. Prep the workspace, detach accessories, cut sealant, pry and lift off the top, protect the backsplash, then install the new countertop and reattach accessories. Follow installation instructions closely and get help lifting heavy materials. Work slowly and your backsplash will remain undamaged.

FAQs About Removing Countertops with Backsplash

How do I keep the backsplash from breaking when removing the countertop?

Go slowly when prying up the countertop, supporting overhangs as you go. Cover the bottom edge of the backsplash with painter’s tape after to prevent damage from debris and the new top installation.

What tools do I need to remove a countertop without ruining the backsplash?

A pry bar, putty knife, utility knife, painter’s tape, gloves, drop cloths, a helper for lifting, and any tools needed to detach accessories from the top.

Should I remove the backsplash before or after taking off the countertop?

Leave the backsplash in place and remove the countertop around it. Detaching the backsplash tiles could lead to breakage.

What’s the easiest way to cut the caulk seal between countertop and backsplash?

Use a new, sharp utility knife. Hold it vertically and gently cut through the caulk bead where the countertop meets the backsplash.

How do I remove stubborn caulk or adhesive from the backsplash?

Chemical solvents, mineral spirits, plastic scrapers, andscrapers can remove old caulk and adhesive residue without harming backsplash tiles. Test in an inconspicuous spot first.

Can I put the new countertop over the existing backsplash?

Yes, you can install a new countertop over an existing backsplash. Just be sure to prep the backsplash so it is clean, smooth, and protected before setting the new top.


Removing countertops without damaging the backsplash is very doable with careful technique. The keys are prepping your workspace, detaching accessories first, slowly prying up the top while supporting it, and protecting the exposed backsplash edge while installing the new countertop. Arm yourself with the right tools, work slowly, get help for lifting, and follow all prep and installation directions. With some diligence and patience, you can retain your beautiful backsplash through a countertop replacement.