How to Remove a Kitchen Island: A Step-by-Step Guide

Not too long ago, we discussed how to remove kitchen cabinets. However, we didn’t discuss how to remove the kitchen island. Removing a kitchen island is relatively easy if you don’t have any plumbing, gas lines, microwaves, or other appliances installed within them. If there are appliances or other connections, the process is a little more complicated.

How to remove a kitchen island

To remove a kitchen island, you start by removing all the items in the island, such as pots, pans, plates, and knives that you have stored there. Then, you want to remove any drawers or cabinet doors. This is followed by removing the countertop, which likely will have to be pried off using a pry bar. Then you can finish the kitchen demolition off by using a sledgehammer to remove the cabinet.

This is the simple way to remove a kitchen island. However, in real life, things are never quite as simple as this. Continue reading, and you will learn the full details of how to remove a kitchen island.

How to Remove an Island With No Appliances or Connections

So, you’ve removed the other cabinets in your kitchen, and you had fun doing so. Now, you have this big island in the middle of the floor that you need to get rid of to continue your kitchen makeover. It’s not much different than removing the ones that you did before. As a matter of fact, this one may be easier than removing the lower cabinets were in the previous project because the kitchen island is likely only one big cabinet, not several cabinets screwed together.

The first thing you want to start with is to prepare your environment for the demolition. This begins with ensuring that you have a place to put the items you are about to destroy. If you haven’t done this already, now is a good time to rent a dumpster. The price of a dumpster will vary where you live and the type of dumpster you plan to use. If you don’t intend to throw away any hazardous material, a regular dumpster rental should suffice.

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Next, you want to make sure that you have the proper tools and safety gear to do the demolition. Otherwise, you may have to take a trip to a big box store in the middle of your demolition. The most important things you want to have on hand to do this demolition are a mask and goggles to protect yourself. Removing kitchen cabinets can be a dirty, dangerous job, especially when beating away the island with a sledgehammer. The mask will protect you from having small particles getting into your respiratory system, and the goggles will keep small fragments from pinging you in the eye.

Another good thing to have on deck is a ventilation machine. For most people, opening plenty of windows is good enough. In some cases, it is. However, as an extra precaution, it is a good idea to have a machine to help clear the air. It’s a worthy investment to buy or rent one because you can probably use it for other projects as you continue to work on your renovation.

Other essential items you will need are a pry bar, work gloves, a screwdriver or drill, and a sledgehammer. After gathering all your tools, safety gear and making sure the area is adequately ventilated, it’s time to get right into getting rid of this old-fashioned eyesore in the middle of your kitchen.

You can start by removing the countertop. If you don’t plan to reuse or donate any of the material, then you can just remove it using a pry bar without any regard for damaging it. However, since this may be the heaviest part of the cabinet, you want to be cautious not to injure yourself as you remove it.

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Natural stone countertop

If you have a natural stone countertop, you especially want to be very meticulous about its removal. This is because it can be pretty heavy, and to prevent injury, you want to make sure that you remove it as carefully as possible. It may even be a good idea to have a friend or family member help you remove it and gently place it out of the way.

To remove the natural stone countertop, you can start using a putty knife to loosen the glue holding it in place. When granite is installed, mainly if it is a thin slab, contractors may have installed it on top of plywood. In this case, you may have to cut screws to detach the countertop using a multi-tool in addition to using the putty knife to loosen the glue. Otherwise, you can simply use a prybar to lift the granite from the cabinets.

If you plan to reuse the stone countertop, then it may be a good idea to have a restoration company polish it and get it back in good shape before replacing it on the new island. If you don’t plan to use the same type of stone, consider giving the old stone countertop to charity if it’s still in relatively good shape. Places like Habitat For Humanity would warmly welcome such a donation because they help build affordable houses.

Once the countertop is out of the way, the next thing is to remove cabinet drawers and doors. You don’t necessarily have to do this, however. This is where you can start demoing with the sledgehammer. But as a safety precaution, it may be a better idea to remove the cabinets and drawers one by one.

How to Remove an Island With Connections and Appliances Installed

Removing this type of island is pretty much the same process as the one before this one. However, you start by ensuring that all power in the area is shut off, particularly if there is electricity running to the island. Also, make sure that you turn off any gas or plumbing running to the area.

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How to remove a kitchen island with connections

If you are a staunch DIYer, you may be tempted to remove plumbing that is connected to a sink in this area. However, if you don’t have a license in plumbing, it may be a good idea to call a plumber to disconnect these items during the demo and reconnect them after the renovation is over. This applies to electrical work and gas, too. You can get fined for doing gas work, electrical, or plumbing without a license. You could also put your life or your family’s life at risk for faulty connections.

Another thing you may have to remove besides sinks is appliances. This area may have a microwave, wine cooler, or countertop stove installed. Again, if it takes more than unplugging these items and you aren’t sure of how to remove and safely reconnect such items, then it is a good idea to have a professional do these things for you.

After you have called in professionals to remove connections for you, you can proceed with the demolition in the same way as before. If there is a sink in the area, you will need to loosen it with a putty knife and lift it out of place before removing the countertop, however. If you plan to reuse the sink, set it to the side. However, if you are installing a new sink, you can toss the old one in your rental dumpster. Once you have removed the sink, you can continue by completing the process in the section above entitled “How to Remove an Island With No Appliances or Connections.”