Quartz countertops have become an increasingly popular choice for outdoor kitchens and other exterior applications. Here is a detailed look at whether quartz makes for a good outdoor countertop material.
What is Quartz?
Quartz countertops, sometimes referred to as engineered stone, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. This combination creates a durable, non-porous material that is resistant to scratches, stains, and heat.
Unlike natural stone, quartz does not require regular sealing. The resins make the material impervious to moisture. This prevents bacteria growth and makes quartz an hygienic choice. The non-porous nature also minimizes the appearance of scratches and stains over time.
These characteristics make quartz a practical option for outdoor kitchen countertops and other exterior uses subject to weather, moisture, food prep, and heavy usage.
Benefits of Quartz for Outdoors
There are several key benefits that make quartz a good choice for outdoor countertops:
Quartz is unaffected by exposure to sunlight, rain, snow or temperature fluctuations. The pigments run through the entire slab, so the color persists without fading. The resins make quartz impervious to moisture damage.
Quartz resists staining from spills like wine, coffee, and cooking oils that can ruin other stone surfaces. The non-porous quality prevents stains from being absorbed.
Quartz stands up well to cutting, prep work and daily wear and tear. While no material is completely scratch-proof, quartz resists scratches better than marble or granite.
Quartz can withstand moderate heat up to 212°F. This makes it durable for hot pots and pans, unlike some delicate natural stones.
With zero porosity, quartz does not require sealing or harbor bacteria growth. This quality makes quartz a hygienic, low-maintenance choice.
UV Stable Colors
Quartz maintains its color well when exposed to sunlight. Natural stone can fade or discolor over time outdoors.
Quartz comes in a wide variety of colors, patterns and finishes. This allows more design flexibility compared to limited natural stone options.
No sealing or conditioning is required for quartz. Simple soap and water cleaning is all that is needed. This saves the hassle and expense of yearly sealing.
Factors to Consider
While quartz has many positives, there are also some factors to keep in mind:
Quartz can withstand moderate heat, but not extreme, direct heat. Using trivets for very hot pots and pans can prevent damage.
Chips and Cracks
Quartz is durable, but not impervious to chips and cracks from significant impact. Care should be taken to avoid hard objects forcefully hitting quartz edges.
Quartz is installed in sections, so seams are visible. Proper installation can make seams less noticeable.
Quartz is pricier than some natural stone options like granite or slate. The cost may be justified by added durability and low maintenance.
Proper installation is important, especially outdoors. Hire an experienced fabricator for seamless joints and correct support.
While quartz excels outdoors, natural stones like granite remain viable options. Weigh the pros and cons of each material.
Maintaining Outdoor Quartz Countertops
Caring for outdoor quartz requires virtually no maintenance:
- Use a mild soap and water to clean. Avoid abrasive cleaners.
- Blot spills quickly to prevent staining. For dried spills, use a non-abrasive cleaning pad.
- Check for debris between joints or rough edges. Clear any collected grime.
- Inspect for signs of damage like chips or cracks. Spot repair minor issues promptly.
- Resealing is not needed. Unlike natural stone, the resins keep moisture out.
With simple care, quartz can stay looking like new for decades outdoors. Be sure to follow any additional maintenance tips from your specific quartz manufacturer.
Pros and Cons of Outdoor Quartz Countertops
- Extremely durable
- Resists stains, scratches, heat, and moisture
- Low maintenance
- Greater design flexibility
- Hygienic non-porous surface
- More expensive than some natural stones
- Can chip on hard impact
- Seams are visible between slabs
- Not suitable for direct high heat
Is Quartz Better Than Granite Outdoors?
Quartz and granite each have advantages that make them suitable for outdoor use:
- Requires no ongoing sealing
- More stain and scratch resistant
- Consistent coloration without fading
- Available in wide range of colors
- Less prone to chipping on edges
- No visible seams
- Can withstand very high heat
- Often lower cost than quartz
Granite remains an excellent outdoor option. But quartz typically requires less maintenance while providing enhanced durability. Weigh the pros and cons of each material to decide which stone best suits your needs.
outdoor Quartz Countertop Ideas
Creative outdoor quartz installations:
- Quartz-topped built-in grill islands for seamless food prep.
- Quartz bars with resin veins mimicking natural stone.
- Bold, vibrant quartz colors enliven patio and pool designs.
- Geometric patterns and textures add visual appeal.
- White or light quartz reflects light and creates an airy look.
- Multicolored quartz mosaics create a stunning backsplash.
- Minimalist slab quartz provides a sleek, contemporary look.
Quartz makes an excellent material for outdoor kitchens, bars, counters, islands, and more. Key benefits include extreme durability, weather-resistance, low maintenance, and design flexibility. While no material is flawless, quartz counters the downsides of natural stone beautifully. With proper precautions against impact damage, quartz countertops can provide decades of stellar performance in outdoor environments. For exterior spaces exposed to heavy usage, moisture, sunlight and temperature swings, quartz compares favorably against other common countertop materials.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does quartz need to be sealed outdoors?
No, quartz contains resins that make it non-porous, so it does not require sealing outdoors. This is a major advantage over natural stone.
What are the best outdoor quartz colors?
Light and neutral colors like white, pale grays, and beige tend to perform best outdoors, as they show less dirt. Bold colors work for lower-traffic settings.
Can you cut on outdoor quartz countertops?
Yes, quartz stands up well to cutting and prep work. Use cutting boards to prolong its pristine appearance. Avoid heavy cleavers that could chip the surface.
How thick should outdoor quartz be?
A thickness of at least 2cm (3/4″) provides adequate durability for outdoor installation. Thicker 3cm (1-1/4″) slabs are ideal for heavy-use areas.
Can you grill on quartz counters?
No. Quartz can withstand moderate heat but not direct high heat. Outdoor grill islands should have a quartz prep surface adjacent to the grill, not underneath it.
Does quartz get hot in the sun?
Quartz does absorb and retain heat on hot sunny days. Using an umbrella or shade structure helps keep quartz counters cooler when outdoors.