Asked on Oct 5, 2017

How to remove kitchen cabinets and reuse.

FlipturnHolly Kinchlea-Brown


I have a "u" shaped kitchen. I want to remove the eating bar section of cabinets and make them into an island. Is this something for DIY or should I hire someone?

4 answers
  • Flipturn
    on Oct 5, 2017

    I have experience with this. It is possible to do it DIY, but I need a little more information first before I can answer specifically. Also, if you could post a picture, that would be helpful.

    What is the counter top made out of? Were you wanting to use this same counter top on the island, or were you planning to purchase new?
    What is the flooring made out of? What were you planning to put in the area that presently has the eating bar?
    What are the dimensions (length and width) of the bottom cabinet section in the eating bar?
    • Margaret Green
      on Oct 11, 2017

      The counter top is tile. I figured that I would probably need to destroy/remove it from the eating bar section. We plan on changing all of it out in the near future.

      The floor is oak. Our memories say that the floor was installed before any of the kitchen was done so I am hopefully assuming that there is unfinished oak flooring underneath the eating bar section. We do plan on adding matching flooring to adjoining rooms so if there is no existing flooring, we will add that at the same time.

      The eating bar section has four cabinets. Are cabinets glued together? I assume that the combined weight would be too much to just remove the tile counter, unhook from the floor, and rotate to island location. Each cabinet is 24" wide, 25 1/2" deep including door fronts, and standard height. The plan was to only use 3 of the cabinets for the island. Are they just sitting on the floor or screwed/nailed into it?

      Sorry I can't provide a photo at this time. I appreciate your help.
  • Flipturn
    on Oct 11, 2017

    With luck there is the same oak flooring underneath the eating bar, but it isn't a standard to install it under fixed cabinets, so you won't know until it is moved.
    Is there a 1/4 round, or baseboard up against the bottom kick plate of the base cabinets? This will have to come of as well before it is moved, and often it cracks quite a bit when pried off.

    Cabinets are generally screwed together from the insides. Take the stuff out, and sort of crawl in with a flashlight if needed, to see if you and find where the screws are. These should come out fairly easily with an electric screwdriver, or small hand drill on reverse.
    Depending on what the flooring is underneath the cabinet banks, and being that these are not attached to any walls, then they are likely screwed in to the floor as well.

    Based on the measurements you gave, if one of the cabinets is removed, then yes, this bank of the 3 can be moved around quite easily if you get a set of 4 superslider mover pads. If you are going to be moving this island to see where the best placement should be then these sliders are well worth the price.These are sold under different names; there are also posts here on Hometalk about them.
    Of course if you take the drawers out and the heavier items then it will be easier to move the cabinets, but these sliders really work. I moved our fridge and many full base cabinets around the room on plywood all the time by myself during our renovations.

    As it will take probably about 2 months to order and install the new countertop, I would say do not remove more tiles right now than you need to just to split the one cabinet from the other three. At least you will still have a workable, washable surface in the meantime while you are waiting for your new countertop.

    If you have any other questions, just reply and I will do my best to answer them.
    • Margaret Green
      on Oct 11, 2017

      You've given me some very useful information. I will look into those superslider pads. Thank you.
  • Holly Kinchlea-Brown
    on Oct 11, 2017

    you could do this yourself, but first look at how the counter top(s) are put it one piece or an angled piece? How they are attached may make a difference as to how easy your idea will be or you may have to replace the counter tops. Also, check to see whether your flooring goes underneath the base of the unit you wish to move...if done correctly,you should have your cabinets on finished and matching flooring, alas no time all diy renos are done that way!
    • Margaret Green
      on Oct 11, 2017

      The counter top is tile. After reading Flipturn's suggestions, I think I will probably try to remove the tile along the cabinet seamline, and then carefully cut through the plywood underneath so I can move as one unit. Thank you for your suggestions.
  • Flipturn
    on Oct 11, 2017

    You're most welcome. I hope the project goes well for you.
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