Thursday, January 30, 2014

Goodbye Useless Crooked Junk Collector

I'm not sure that you noticed in the last post about replacing the door moulding, but something was missing, wasn't it?

Here, take a look again. Do you see what it is, or was in this case?

It was that silly piece of countertop! It's finally gone! I have been wanting to remove it for a while, but hadn't expressed that to Dylan before. Since it's kind of removed from the rest of the kitchen area, and it's right by the doorway to the rest of the house, it just becomes a junk collector. And I didn't want another one of those, because we already have one by the door to the garage, and it's hard enough to keep that one tidy, nevermind this one! Plus,  the countertop was installed at an angle, meaning not at all level, and had a gigantic crack through the middle of it that seems as if it was repaired with construction adhesive. Weird, I know. So, when we were painting the kitchen, I figured that that would be the perfect time - we could take it off, patch the wall, and paint it and no one would ever know that there was countertop there.

But, as all projects tend to be, this wasn't as easy as it should have been.  The picture above and the one below show the countertop, which is attached to both the refrigerator cabinet panel and the wall. But while you wouldn't think that should be a problem, what you couldn't see from above, you could see from below.

Since this was technically a floating countertop, meaning there aren't any cabinets underneath to hold it, it was braced and attached to the wall using a few pieces of wood. Makes sense, since that's an easy material to attach screws to. However, what isn't so nice is the amount of construction adhesive they also used.  You can't really see it well in the picture below, but the countertop was attached to the wood pieces with about a gallon of construction adhesive, and then the edges of the counter AND the wood pieces were adhered to the wall and the cabinet panel with more construction adhesive.  THEN, they used about 15 screws (not lying...) to attach the wood pieces to the wall and cabinet panel, you know, just for security. Oh, and don't let me forget to tell you that they decided that they needed to use more construction adhesive to go over the heads of the screws...  Also, I feel like I need to say it again - construction adhesive.  You're welcome.

So, here's how we got it off the wall.  We scored the seams about ten thousand times with a box cutter, and then with the new drill that I bought myself, we removed the screws from the underside, after chiseling at the heads with the box cutter trying to get rid of all the junk.  But, the counter was still really stuck on there.  So we brought out the hammer, hit it a few times from both the top and the bottom, and that essentially did nothing.  

Dylan was finally able to get some of it to move after trying to pull and push and twist it off, and at that point, all it took was some really significant weight to get the rest loose, so I sat on the counter, gradually applying more of my body weight until it detached enough that we could get the rest off by hand.  And it finally came off, after trying to remove it for about 20 minutes. 

So yeah, things never really go as easily as you plan them to. Especially since you see people ripping out countertops on TV all the time in about 3 seconds flat.  Yeah, this little 2 sq. ft. countertop took 20 minutes.  But, whatever, because it immediately looked better.  I sanded down the area to remove the rest of the construction adhesive and even out the surface where it was painted around before we bought the house, and then slapped on some joint compound to patch the screw holes and some spots where the plaster had chipped accidentally.  

Once that was dried and sanded, we primed and painted it when we did the rest of the kitchen, and then decided to tackle the cabinet panel.  I tried to scrub off some of the markings as best as I could, but they really didn't want to come off, so in the meantime, I have filled the screw holes with some wood putty, since the material is particleboard that is just covered in a white laminate, and I'll leave it like that for a while, as we have been brainstorming another project that could potentially be gigantic, time consuming, yet awesome at the same time.  

For now, though, the only evidence of there ever being a countertop there are the patched holes on the side of the cabinet panel. Looking at the wall, you would never know that there was once a useless, crooked, junk collector in that space. And I am so happy about it.  

Have you ever removed your countertops before? Was it more difficult than you thought it would be too? Or am I just the lucky one with a house that was built with construction adhesive? 

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