Granite and quartz are some of the most premium and expensive materials used in home decor. They have often been considered the best materials for kitchen countertops thanks to their durability, ease of maintenance, seamless design, and unlimited color and pattern options. By replacing your kitchen countertop with either granite or quartz, you eliminate the problem of having to constantly deal with chips, dings, stains, and degrading beauty as experienced with other types of countertop materials.
When upgrading or renovating the kitchen, some homeowners invest thousands of dollars in high-end granite countertops. This is definitely not a cheap amount, and it can easily put a dent in the average person’s bank account. If you have spent a hefty amount replacing your countertops with high-quality granite, then one of your biggest concerns might be whether it may be possible to remove and reuse the same quartz or granite countertops in a new house, in the event you are forced to move out or sell your current home.
Well, you aren’t alone. We are frequently asked this question by homeowners who already love their existing countertops and don’t want to lose them when they move out and also those who are just looking to save on costs by not having to invest in new granite countertops.
So today we are taking our fabrication experience, but we are also talking to a team of moving experts out in Worcester Massachusetts, to provide you with some of the things you’ll have to consider when planning to reuse your quartz or granite countertops.
Can I Reuse My Kitchen Countertops If I Move?
The simple answer is probably not, but there are some exceptions that we will discuss in a bit here. Understandably, reusing your kitchen counters can seem like a smart idea, especially considering that granite countertops come with such a steep price tag!
However, what you may not initially realize is that removing and reusing existing kitchen countertops (like quartz, granite, marble, or other natural stone) in a new home is barely feasible, especially if you have little to no experience dealing with granite countertops.
There are various potential issues that can make the process very problematic or impossible. In the following section, we are going to explore some of these potential issues.
High Damage Risk
As mentioned earlier, granite is highly durable. It is hard and is unlikely to crack with normal use. When installed properly, a granite countertop is highly resistant to damage and can serve your kitchen for a very long time.
However, you still have to keep in mind that granite is a heavy and brittle material. It is difficult to carry and maneuver in large slabs. There is always the risk of damage during moving and installation. Common granite colors such as Uba Tuba or Santa Cecilia can prove to difficult to uninstall, recut/adjust, and reinstall. There’s just a huge risk of breakage in the process!
When your granite countertop was being installed, the work was most probably done by more than two people who struggled to carry and safely install the countertop. A lot of coordination and care is required to ensure that the material doesn’t crack.
Now, when it comes to removing the countertops, the risk of damage is significantly higher. The whole process is very complicated, and it puts the granite countertop at a high risk of cracking.
Proper and professional removal techniques must be used to minimize any risks of damage.
Additionally, it also has to be moved in a proper way. Several people have to be called in to hold it along its length to avoid any pressure points that may lead to cracking. It is, however, recommended to carry it in a vertical position in order to equally distribute the pressure and avoid cracking.
Removing your existing countertops for reuse shouldn’t be done as a DIY project and you should consult with industry professionals in your local area to get expert advice on whether it can be done or not.
However, considering the high risk involved, most contractors will require you to sign a certain contract that frees them of any liability should the granite get damaged during the process (which is very likely). This alone should hopefully steer you away from reusing your quartz or granite countertops. It’s just not a good idea in general.
It’s NOT Like Moving Furniture!
Countertops unfortunately, although expensive, are not like a piece of furniture that you can easily wrap, pack, and move to a new location. Furniture is much easier to handle and for the most part they are self-standing (not glued, screwed, or attached in place).
Another thing to keep in mind, is that moving companies such as our friends at Grunts Move Junk & Moving, are not prepared or skilled to uninstall, remove, recut/readjust, and reinstall heavy stone countertops. “We are mostly prepared to move junk, furniture of any type or weight, local or long-distance moves, and even pianos! But moving countertops or cabinets is not something we offer”, said a team member at Grunts Moving.
Kitchen Space Layout
This should be one of the first things to consider even before you start planning the removal of the existing kitchen countertop. Even if you manage to safely remove and take the granite countertop from your old home to your new home, it will all be for nothing if it doesn’t fit the footprint of your new kitchen cabinetry.
For example, if in the old layout, the granite had cutouts around the sink area or wet bar area, then you need to first ensure that your new kitchen has the exact layout, which is highly improbable.
Secondly, you might also not have enough granite to finish the design, which presents two major issues. The first is that you will have to seek and find a matching piece of granite, which can be difficult if your granite color and pattern is unique. The next is that there will be a visible seam where the additional slab of granite is attached to your existing one. This can greatly affect the look that you are trying to achieve.
What Types of Situations Would Reusing Granite Countertops in a New Kitchen Be Feasible?
Same Cabinet Layout
When removing and reusing your kitchen countertops, what you are essentially doing is removing them from your current cabinets and re-installing them on the kitchen cabinets of your new home. For this transfer to be successful, then it definitely means that the two houses should have a slightly similar if not the same cabinetry layout. The length and width of the granite countertops should fit the dimensions of the cabinets. Fortunately, if you have excess granite, then it can be trimmed down to fit perfectly.
Same Sink/Cooktop Position
There is no easy way around this. If your granite slab has a cutout in the area where the sink goes, then your new kitchen sink area should also be able to fit perfectly. The sink areas should be in the same exact position and size, otherwise making the transfer can be impossible. You should also take great care to ensure that the countertop doesn’t crack on the narrow edges of the cutouts.
Type of Granite
Another key factor that determines whether the transfer will be successful is the type of granite. It is important to note that certain stone countertop may be sold as granite, while they aren’t actually granite. You will find some that are weaker and more fragile, while others are stronger and much harder. It goes without saying that the harder and much stronger the type of granite, the easier it will be to handle and move it without risking damage. Quality granite is highly resistant to scratches and nicks. If you notice many of those on your counter, then the granite may be of lower quality and has a higher likelihood of damage during the process.
You also need to consider the thickness of the granite counter. The thicker the granite is, the stronger it is. You will need to be extra careful when dealing with a thin granite countertop. A good way to determine if you have a thin countertop is to check it from beneath a cabinet. In case you notice that there is plywood placed below the granite, then it is thin and has a high risk of cracking. The plywood is placed underneath to help strengthen the countertop.
So, there you have it. As you can see, reusing kitchen countertops when moving to a new home isn’t always as feasible as you might expect. At face value, doing so might seem like a very good idea (not having to lose the countertop you have come to fall in love with and also not having to break the bank to purchase another granite countertop), however, as discussed above, there are many factors that can make the process unsuccessful or problematic. Regardless, it is crucial to seek the services and advice of an expert contractor to determine the best way forward.
Want to know more about countertop pricing?
If you are a homeowner in Maryland, Washington DC, or Northern Virginia and would like a Free Estimate on granite or quartz countertops, please fill out the form below. One of our showroom team members will reach out quickly. Thank you and we look forward to speaking with you. Learn more about granite pricing in 2020.