How to remove kitchen cabinets

Recently updated on December 10th, 2022 at 01:57 pm

Removing kitchen cabinets may seem like a challenging and tedious task. But worry not! By following the correct steps, you can easily remove the cabinets without damaging them or the wall behind them. You can change the look and ambiance of your kitchen just by changing your cabinets. This guide on how to remove kitchen cabinets can help you avoid any unwanted accidents that may destroy your cabinets and walls.

It is possible to remove the cabinets with or without damaging them. If you are remodeling your kitchen and plan to install new cabinetry, you can remove the old ones without the fear of damage. Old and damaged cabinets will be of no use to you or anyone else. If your aim is to update the look of your cabinets, you will have to make sure to protect them from any damage. You can give your cabinets a brand new look by painting and restoring them.

The first step of removing kitchen cabinets is to clear out the cabinets. Clean out space around the cabinets and the kitchen counter to give yourself a clear working space.

What will you need?

You should make sure that you have all the tools required to undertake this project. You will need:

  • Utility knife
  • Hammer
  • Safety equipment such as gloves, goggles, etc.
  • Pry bar
  • Step stool or a ladder
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver

The process of removing the upper cabinets and the lower cabinets is similar. You can separate them from the wall by removing the screws and hinges. You can also subscribe to home improvement magazines and channels to learn about demolition and remodeling.

What type of cabinets do you have?

Before moving forward with the removal of cabinets, you should be aware of the types of wall cabinets and base cabinets. If you plan to use the wall cabinets again, you should pay close attention to the way they have been installed. The cabinets could have also been installed above or below the crown molding in your kitchen. You can check the back panel of the cabinets to get a clear idea about the type of cabinets you have.

Unitized Cabinets

If the cabinets are attached to the wall and do not have a back, they have been installed as one unit. These types of cabinets are usually found in older houses. The chances of removing them without any damage are low. They are either nailed or glued to the wall, which makes removal difficult. You might not be able to reuse these cabinets in your kitchen. As per its name, they are built together as one unit and then attached to the walls.

Prefabricated Cabinets

If the back of the cabinet is made up of the same material as the rest of it, you have prefabricated cabinets. New house builds have such cabinets, and they are easy to remove and reuse. They are generally attached to the back wall through screws. You can use a drill to unscrew the screws and pull the cabinets away from the wall.

Prefabricated Cabinets - How to remove kitchen cabinets

Most cabinets have cabinet molding that is attached to the ceilings. You may need help in removing these without any damage to the ceiling. To remove it, you can use a pry bar to create some space between the ceiling and the trim. Pull the pry bar downwards until it comes off.

Can you remove kitchen cabinets without destroying them?

Yes, of course! It isn’t difficult to learn how to remove kitchen cabinets without destroying them. First, you should see and check the condition of your cabinets.

Your cabinets comprise of two parts –

  • the front, which consists of the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, and
  • the structure, which makes up the drawers, shelves, the sides, and the back.

To remove kitchen cabinets without destroying them, you should start by removing the cabinet doors and the drawer fronts from the wall cabinets and the lower kitchen cabinets. While doing this, make sure that the counter is clear of any appliances or other kitchen items. Close the water and gas supply to your kitchen to keep your home safe.

Next, ensure that the floor is not cluttered. You will also need a step stool to reach the upper kitchen cabinets. You will need a screwdriver or a drill to remove the screws and hinges that keep the cabinets and drawer fronts in place. If you plan to reuse these, keep the screws and other hardware along with the individual item to avoid misplacing them. This will make the process of reassembly easier.

Painted cabinets may require some extra work. The paint on the surface of a cabinet may have stuck to the wall behind or above the cabinet. To preserve your walls, using a utility knife is the best option. You have to cut through the paint and separate the cabinet from the wall. You may also come across screws that are hard to remove. You may have to get extra tools to get these screws out.

If you plan to reuse your cabinets and drawers in your home, you will have to dedicate some time to remove them carefully. Follow the instructions properly to avoid any accidents. Take your time to understand the structure and strength of your cabinets before you start working.

How do you remove lower kitchen cabinets/base cabinets?

While removing lower kitchen cabinets, you may also have to remove the countertop. The base cabinets are usually glued or screwed to the countertop as well as the wall. As the sink is also a part of the top surface of the kitchen, you may also have to remove that. You should move the sink with care as it may crack or break. You will have to look at the way the countertop and the sink are attached to know which gets removed first. Usually, the countertop also provides support to the sink. Make sure the water supply is closed before you remove the sink from your kitchen.

Once the counter has been removed, unscrew the cabinet doors and drawer fronts with the help of a drill or a screwdriver. Pull them away from the cabinets and keep them in a different room. The shelves in the cabinets need to be removed next. Move these shelves to another room in the house to get them out of the way. If you see any caulk, you can use the knife to cut it. This will ensure minimal damage to your cabinetry and reduce the repair work.

The next step is to find the screws that support the cabinets. They may have been inserted at an angle, and you can sit on the floor to look for the screws. The screws are usually found in the top half of the base cabinets. If you wish to reuse your old base cabinets and drawers, hold on to the screws and other hardware together. Separate the structure from the wall slowly and pull them free. Move them to a separate space in your home.

How do you remove upper wall kitchen cabinets?

To remove upper kitchen cabinets, you may require the help of another person. It is important to know that the upper cabinetry is heavy. You will have to carry the weight for a few seconds while removing it. Follow the proper steps of removal to ensure that there is no damage to the wall or the cabinets. You need a step stool or a ladder to reach the top cabinets.

Start by taking the top cabinet doors off. Once done, start taking out the shelves and place them away from the workspace. If you have wall trims or cabinet moldings, you will have to use a pry bar to separate them. Be careful while doing this if you wish to protect your cabinets.

Often, top cabinets may be attached. In such cases, you will have to pry them apart slowly. The next step is to begin finding the screws that hold up and support the cabinets. It may take patience to find these screws if your cabinets are old. While removing the screws, have another person support and hold the cabinets from the bottom. Remove the screws one by one, starting from the bottom and moving upwards. Once the cabinet is free from the wall and the ceiling, lift the cabinet and move it away from the wall.

How long does it take to remove kitchen cabinets?

The time required to remove kitchen cabinets will depend on you. If you plan on reusing things like cabinets, drawers, and shelves, it will take more time to remove them. The cabinetry and hardware will have to be protected from damage. Whereas, if you plan on installing new cabinets, you can remove old kitchen cabinets quickly. It usually takes two to three days, if you plan to install new cabinetry.

How much does it cost to remove kitchen cabinets?

Kitchen cabinet removal can cost anywhere between $300 to $800. The cost can differ according to your place of residence and the size of your kitchen. The cost also depends on factors like per square footage area, hauling costs, etc. If you plan on using your old cabinets, you can save some money on hauling costs. You can also give your old cabinets for a donation if you install new ones.

Removing kitchen cabinetry is not a difficult task. You can follow tutorials and get proficient in using different tools. Some companies also provide free consultations and estimates to customers. You can use this facility to kickstart your project. Subscribe to some great home inspiration magazines to get started on remodeling your kitchen.

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