Quartz countertops have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance. But how durable are quartz countertops really? Here is an in-depth look at the durability and longevity of quartz countertops to help you decide if they are the right choice for your home.
What is Quartz?
Quartz is an engineered stone made from natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The quartz content typically ranges from 90-94%, while the rest consists of polymer resins and pigments.
The resins bind the quartz crystals together to form a durable, non-porous surface that is resistant to scratching, staining, and heat. The pigments introduce color and pattern to create the aesthetic look of natural stone.
While granite and marble are mined from quarries, quartz slabs are manufactured in factories under tightly controlled conditions. This allows quartz to achieve remarkably consistent color and patterning.
Why Quartz Countertops Are Durable
There are several key properties that make quartz an extremely durable material for countertops:
Quartz has a low porosity, meaning liquids and stains cannot easily penetrate the surface. The polymer resins fill in pores between the quartz crystals to create a dense, impervious material. This prevents moisture from seeping in and causing damage.
With a Mohs hardness rating of 7, quartz is harder than granite (6) and much harder than materials like laminate (2-3). This makes it very scratch resistant for daily wear and tear. While no surface is fully scratch-proof, quartz stands up well to knives and abrasion.
The non-porous quality also makes quartz resistant to stains. Spills and messes can often be cleaned with just soap and water. However, some very pigmented spills may stain if left for prolonged time.
Quartz can withstand brief exposure to heat up to 300°F. So it is unaffected by hot pots and pans from stovetop cooking. However, prolonged high heat can cause damage.
Quartz has high flexural strength, making it resistant to chipping or cracking under pressure. However, like any solid surface, quartz can be damaged if excessive force is applied.
With high impact resistance, quartz handles accidental bumps and bangs quite well. Dropping heavy objects on quartz is still not recommended, but it does not chip as easily as natural stone.
Quartz does not emit radon gas like some natural stones. It is considered non-toxic and safe for food prep when sealed properly.
How Durable is Quartz Compared to Other Countertops?
Compared to popular countertop materials, quartz has exceptional durability:
- More scratch resistant than laminate and solid surface countertops
- Lower porosity than granite, making it less prone to staining
- Does not require resealing like marble and granite
- Heat and impact resistant unlike tile
- Less susceptible to chipping than granite
- Stain resistant unlike butcher block
- Maintains shine unlike concrete countertops
Quartz is easier to keep looking pristine than almost any other countertop material. It offers homeowners more peace of mind for busy kitchens and bathrooms.
What is the Lifespan of Quartz Countertops?
With proper care and maintenance, quartz countertops can easily last 20-25 years or longer. Many manufacturers back their quartz counters with a 10-15 year warranty.
Unlike natural stone, the durability and performance of quartz will remain remarkably consistent year after year. Quartz does not require resealing or waxing to maintain its durability. Simple cleaning is enough to keep quartz countertops looking like new for decades.
That said, quartz can eventually show signs of wear after many years of heavy use. Here are some long-term durability considerations:
- Abrasion Resistance: The resin binders can slowly start wearing down after prolonged use, causing the surface to lose its luster and smoothness over time.
- Impact Damage: Chipping or cracking is possible from excessive impact, especially at weak seams or joints.
- Sun Exposure: Long-term exposure to UV rays can slowly cause quartz to lose its color vibrancy.
- Chemicals: Strong chemicals like paint removers can damage the resin binders if left for prolonged time.
- Refinishability: Unlike natural stone, quartz cannot be refinished or re-polished by a professional if damage occurs.
Thankfully, quartz often lasts decades before any noticeable decline in performance. With care, even 30+ years of reliable service is achievable.
Factors That Improve Quartz Durability
Certain factors allow quartz countertops to better maintain their durability over many years:
Higher priced quartz made by reputable manufacturers generally has superior durability. They use top-grade raw materials and engineering for greater stain, scratch, and heat resistance.
Proper installation is crucial. Poor seams, uneven surfaces, or inadequate structural support underneath can undermine durability down the road.
Avoiding excessive impact, abrasion, or chemicals will keep quartz in better condition. Using cutting boards and trivets helps.
Promptly cleaning up spills prevents stains. Regular cleaning with a quartz-safe cleaner keeps the surface free of debris that can dull the finish.
Re-Sealing After Installation
Some manufacturers recommend re-sealing joints every 1-2 years after installation to prevent moisture ingress that can damage seams.
Window film blocks UV rays which can fade quartz near bright natural light over many years.
5 Tips to Keep Quartz Countertops in Good Condition
- Use cutting boards, trivets, and hot pads to protect quartz surfaces.
- Clean spills promptly with a soft cloth and mild soap and water. Avoid abrasive cleaners.
- Have countertops re-sealed near sinks and joints every 1-2 years.
- Use mineral oil to remove stuck-on food or materials. Avoid scraping forcefully across the surface.
- Deep clean quartz 1-2 times per month with a quartz-safe cleaner to keep the surface free of buildup.
Can Damage to Quartz Countertops be Repaired?
Unlike natural stone, it is not possible to refinish or re-polish quartz since the color and shine are inherent to the material. Any damage that occurs is likely permanent.
However, it is possible to repair certain types of damage:
- Chips or Cracks: Can be repaired by filling with an epoxy resin specifically designed for quartz. The repair may still be visible on close inspection.
- Burn marks: Can be minimized by sanding down the damaged area. But sanding removes some of the surface layer, so repairs may stand out.
- Joints: Cracks or gaps at seams can be re-caulked to prevent moisture penetration and further separation.
- Stains: Difficult stains may be removed by sanding and re-polishing a small area.
For best results, repairs to high-quality quartz are best done by a professional fabricator. But even professional repairs may not achieve a perfect match to the surrounding material.
Are Quartz Countertops a Good Choice for Busy Kitchens?
With their durability and resistance to daily wear and tear, quartz countertops are an excellent choice for busy kitchens seeing heavy usage. The harder and non-porous surface can put up with scrapes, spills, and impacts that would quickly damage many other materials.
The low-maintenance nature of quartz also makes it ideal for busy households. No sealing or polishing is needed to keep quartz counters looking pristine. Just simple wiping with a cleanser keeps the surface fresh.
Quartz also lacks the safety concerns of materials like marble and granite that can harbor bacteria or emit radon. This gives homeowners confidence using quartz near food preparation areas.
The stylish patterns and colors of quartz bring beautiful aesthetic appeal to kitchens as well. When durability matters most, quartz offers the best combination of performance and beauty.
Are Quartz Countertops Good for Bathrooms?
With their water-resistant properties, quartz counters are highly useful in bathrooms. The low porosity of quartz prevents water, soap, and toiletries from penetrating into the surface and causing damage.
Spills and splashes in bathrooms are inevitable. But on quartz counters, most messes can be simply wiped away without leaving lingering stains or water marks.
Mold and mildew are less likely to take hold on non-porous quartz compared to more porous natural stones. This helps maintain a cleaner, more hygienic bathroom environment.
The durability of quartz also makes it ideal for the higher traffic bathroom countertops receive. Quartz stands up well to impact from dropped toiletries, scuffs from makeup brushes, and typical wear around sinks.
With proper attention through the years, a quartz bathroom countertop should stay looking fresh and clean for decades. The low maintenance needs suit busy families trying to reduce daily upkeep.
Is Quartz Good for Countertops in Rental Properties?
Quartz is an excellent countertop choice for rental properties and vacation homes seeing high tenant turnover. The durability of quartz makes it less prone to damage from short-term residents.
Rental properties experience more variable usage from tenants compared to full-time homeowners. But quartz can put up with occasional neglect, heavy impacts, lack of trivets, and infrequent cleanings better than most surfaces.
Many landlords choose quartz so there is less need for repairs or replacements between tenant turnovers. This saves costs and headaches.
The stain resistance also allows basic cleaning between tenants, without deep disinfecting being necessary each time.
With quartz, landlords can be confident the countertops will stay presentable year after year, despite the notoriously high wear that rentals experience. This keeps properties competitive and inviting for prospective tenants.
Quartz vs. Granite Countertops: Which is More Durable?
Quartz and granite are both extremely popular countertop materials due to their durability. But which truly offers greater longevity?
- Higher scratch resistance
- Stain resistant unlike porous granite
- Less prone to chipping from impact
- Does not need yearly sealing
- Resists damage from heat better
- Can be re-polished if scratched over time
- Less chance of impact damage if thicker slabs used
- Can develop patina some homeowners enjoy
Overall, quartz generally has the edge for durability for most homeowners. It better withstands common risks like cutting, spills, and hot pans. Granite requires diligent sealing and still carries higher stain potential.
However, granite remains an excellent option, especially if choosing superior thick slabs. For those desiring a stone look or the ability to re-finish surfaces, granite may be preferred. But for lowest maintenance, quartz has the advantage.
Is Quartz Worth the Investment for Durability?
At $80-150 per square foot installed, quartz counters are moderately pricy. But given their exceptional durability and longevity, they offer great value for most homeowners.
Few countertop materials offer the stain, scratch, and water resistance of quartz. This durability means quartz counters stay looking great for years with simple care. Owners avoid the continual sealing, polishing, disinfecting, and overall maintenance of more high-maintenance surfaces.
The 10-15 year warranties offered by quality quartz manufacturers demonstrate the faith they have in the product’s durability.
For those prioritizing durability and low maintenance in high-traffic kitchens and bathrooms, the investment in quartz pays dividends for many years to come. Its beauty and performance will meet your needs today and for decades down the road.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is quartz more durable than granite?
Quartz is generally regarded as more durable than granite. It better resists scratches, stains, heat damage, and normal impact. Quartz also never needs resealing like granite.
Can you damage quartz countertops?
Quartz is very durable, but not damage-proof. Excessive force, prolonged heat, or chemicals can damage quartz surfaces. Chips, cracks, burns, and stains are possible under extreme conditions.
What is the least durable quartz?
Lower priced quartz made with inferior quality resins and less quartz content is generally less durable. Unknown brands or ‘house quartz’ lines from home improvement stores have lower durability standards. Stick with quality manufactures using at least 90% quartz.
Does quartz degrade over time?
Quartz can gradually lose its glossy look and develop signs of wear after 10-15 years of use. But with proper care, quartz will stay in great shape for 20-25 years or longer. Quartz maintains its durability far better over decades compared to materials like laminate.
Is quartz high maintenance?
Quartz is actually one of the lowest maintenance countertop options. It never needs polishing or resealing to retain its durability and shine. Simple cleaning with soap and water is enough to keep quartz counters looking pristine year after year.
With strength, stain resistance, and longevity exceeding most other countertop materials, quartz offers one of the best combinations of beauty and durability available today. It outperforms granite and other natural stones on most durability metrics.
Quartz withstands the rigors of busy kitchens and bathrooms better than almost any surface. With simple care, quartz countertops should provide over two decades of reliable performance and visual appeal.
For homeowners wanting to install-and-forget about counters that stay looking fabulous for years, quartz is sure to satisfy. With fewer worries about damage, stains, or aging, quartz allows you to simply relax and enjoy beautiful, durable counters that will last for a lifetime.