Kitchen Countertop Replacement Without Replacing Cabinets

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If you're making over your kitchen but you don't have a huge budget to spare, you might look into kitchen countertop replacement without changing your cabinets!

While most people will usually get both their countertops and cabinets replaced simultaneously, some homeowners opt for one or the other. In case you want to change your kitchen cabinets, check out our guide on ways to transform your boring kitchen cabinets into new ones. When it comes to kitchen redesigning, you can benefit from all kinds of changing including your cabinets, countertops, backsplash, etc. Read more on the pros and cons of quartz backsplash, removing granite backsplash, removing granite countertops,  removing stains from water stained marble, how to prevent hard water stains in toilet and hard water stain bathtub.

If you are installing new countertops, be sure to check the standard counter height for your kitchen before the installation begins.

In this Kitchen Infinity guide we take a look at the risks of kitchen countertop replacement without changing your kitchen cabinets, helping you to decide whether this low-budget kitchen remodel option is right for you or not. Though you can know about how often should you replace kitchen cabinets?

Let's get to it!

Is replacing countertops on old cabinets possible?

Technically yes, you can have kitchen countertop replacement on your existing cabinets. No different than being able to modify your popular kitchen cabinet handles on old cabinetry. If you are thinking of replacing your cabinets as well, you can read more on that in our tips for choosing the right kitchen cabinets.

Replacing countertops can really change the look of your kitchen space but it not work out well if it does not match the aesthetic of your cabinetry. You can experiment by using a peel paper as an alternative to permanently replacing countertops, just to see if it works for your overlook vision!

However, it depends on a lot of different factors and kitchen countertop replacement without cabinet change is not always the best option. If you're looking for a cheap kitchen remodel, a kitchen countertop replacement on your existing cabinets is a great way to make a large aesthetic difference.

Still, there are many reasons that a replacing countertops may not make sense if you're keeping your existing kitchen cabinetry. Here are some things to consider:

1. Your kitchen layout may not be ideal

If you're looking to remodel your kitchen design, countertop installation, or counter top replacement, you might want to speak to a professional interior designer who can maximize the efficiency and practicality of the space. Kitchen countertop replacement on your existing cabinets is not the cure-all and with just this you're stuck with the same kitchen layout for many more years.

That's not always good!

However, you might want to rip out your existing cabinetry and install new cabinets in a new layout that makes more sense for your needs. For example, you might add a kitchen island, a peninsula, an undercounter refrigerator, a butcher block, a new sink, or you may change the shape of the room entirely.

There's more than one way to organize a kitchen!

Changing the location of your sink or rearranging your kitchen's surface area could be a great way to liven up the place and make the working triangle easier to fit into the place without a struggle. However, a new sink installation could necessitate totally new cabinetry as well as a kitchen counter top replacement.

Once you change kitchen countertop on your cabinets, you're presumably committing to keep the space in the same layout for many years, so make sure that you're totally happy with the place of everything if you're going to be replacing kitchen countertops and nothing else.

good kitchen layout
Image Credit: Kitchen Infinity Photo

2. Countertop warranties assume you have new cabinets

If you're going for an expensive new kitchen counter top replacement, such as granite or quartz, you're likely to get a warranty from the manufacturer to cover any damage or problems that aren't your fault. When you're spending a lot of money on replacing countertops, it's good to know that you've got protection. It's also important to learn how granite or quartz countertops are made so you can make an informed decision. You can read more about this in our guide on whether quartz countertops need to be sealed.

However, most warranty agreements assume that you're replacing your cabinetry at the same time.

If your counter replacement has a problem during the warranty period but you installed it on top of old cabinetry, it could invalidate the warranty, even if the problem has nothing to do with the old cabinetry that the countertop replacement sits upon.

3. You could damage your old cabinetry with new countertop installation

If your kitchen cabinetry has been around for many years and is starting to look a little worse for wear, replacement countertops on it is not always a good idea. This is especially true for heavier kitchen countertop replacement materials like granite, quartz, and marble.

If you are replacing countertops, but decide to leave the cabinetry as it is, then consider a countertop replacement material that is light and easy to move. You might decide to eventually replace the old cabinetry underneath the counter top replacement, so you need to give yourself options.

Lots of people use laminate for replacing kitchen countertops. Laminate is relatively light and cheap, so it's not the end of the world if it sustains damage. The surface of laminate is also very easy to clean and wipe down especially if it is countertop replacement, though the laminate surface won't cope well with hot pots and pans like heavier stone slabs will.

good kitchen cabinet
Image Credit: Kitchen Infinity Photo

4. It might not be a cohesive look with a new kitchen counter top replacement

Finally, if you're going to be changing countertops styles while leaving your cabinetry as it is, consider whether the two things really go together.

If your kitchen style is very dated but your kitchen countertop replacement look new and modern, it could create a disconnect in the aesthetic that doesn't look good. You also have to consider your backsplash. If your replacement countertops and your existing backsplash clash, then you might need a new backsplash too.

Before kitchen counter replacement, make sure that everything goes well together! To help with inspiration you can check out our cabinets gallery and different colors for countertops.

What is the cheapest way for kitchen countertop replacement?

If you're looking to replace countertop without replacing cabinets to give your kitchen a fresher look, one might want to consider contact paper. This “peel and stick” paper is designed to be stuck over your existing counter as a layer, giving the space a new feel and look while keeping all the materials the same. Adding new features to your cabinet area like a touchless kitchen faucet can really help.

You can buy contact paper that is designed to look like marble, granite, stone, and various other materials and these look stunning as counter top replacement. You can also read more on our ultimate guide to cleaning kitchen countertops to maintain them for longer.

Laminate counters are also very cheap compared to stone slabs, so many homeowners are installing laminate counter top replacement in their homes for a cheap remodel. Laminate countertops are usually cheap MDF or particleboard coated with layers of thin veneer plastic on top.

peel and stick countertop kitchen
Image Credit: Kitchen Infinity Photo

Replace Countertop without Replacing Cabinets – Our Verdict

A fresh kitchen counter top replacement could be the injection of life that your kitchen needs, whether it's for practical or aesthetic reasons. However, if you're going to be replacing kitchen countertops without replacing the cabinetry or backsplash, make sure it makes sense in terms of the look, price, and risks.

Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

How to change kitchen countertops yourself?

If you have ever wondered on how to change kitchen countertops yourself, then you will be happy to know that you can DIY it! However, this can be quite challenging if you have never done it before or if you lack the knowledge and materials required to replace kitchen countertop.

Should I invest in kitchen countertop replacement if I want a new look for my kitchen?

You can certainly invest in a kitchen countertop replacement if you are looking for an inexpensive makeover for your kitchen! It can add a new splash of color and pattern to the existing space.

Does it take a long time for countertop installation?

Countertop installation can take a slightly longer time if you are changing your cabinetry with it. Just replacing the paper peel or surface material does not take very long and depending on the size of your kitchen, kitchen countertop installation can be done within a day or two. 

Dino Paccino

Dino Paccino

Dino is a lifelong writer and home improvement specialist. He enjoys bringing cutting-edge information on home renovation and remodeling to Kitchen Infinity.

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