Quartz countertops have become an increasingly popular choice for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects in recent years. Known for their durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance, quartz counters are touted as a practical and beautiful surfacing material. However, many homeowners have questions about the functionality and performance of quartz, including whether quartz countertops are resistant to heat damage. Here is a detailed look at the heat tolerance of quartz and how to prevent potential damage when using hot items on quartz surfaces.
What is Quartz?
Quartz countertops, sometimes referred to as engineered stone, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with polyresin binders under high pressure. The quartz provides strength and hardness, while the binders allow color pigments to be added and provide additional structural integrity.
Unlike natural stone materials like granite and marble, quartz is non-porous, so it resists staining and does not require sealing. The binders fill in the pores between the quartz particles, creating a dense, impervious surface. This makes quartz an ideal low maintenance countertop for busy kitchens.
Are Quartz Countertops Heat Proof?
Quartz countertops are resistant to heat damage, but they are not completely heat proof. Prolonged direct heat exposure or extreme temperatures can damage the solid surface material. Here are some key factors to consider regarding quartz heat tolerance:
- Moderate heat resistance: Quartz has better heat resistance than many other countertop materials like solid surface, laminate, or wood. It can generally withstand exposure to normal cooking pan temperatures up to about 150°F.
- Lower heat threshold than stone: Natural stone countertops like granite and marble have much higher heat tolerance, to over 300°F in many cases. Quartz is not as resistant to high heat as natural stone.
- Thermal shock can cause cracks: While quartz can handle moderate heat from cooking pans, sudden and rapid temperature changes can cause cracks or fractures. Thermal shock happens when a very hot pan comes into contact with the quartz.
- Prolonged heat exposure damages resin: The resin binders in quartz can deteriorate under prolonged direct heat exposure above 150°F. This may cause discoloration or surface damage over time.
So in summary, quartz has moderate heat resistance suitable for typical kitchen use, but it does not have the ultra-high heat threshold of natural stone. Care should be taken to prevent thermal shock damage or long-term exposure to excessive heat.
Tips for Preventing Heat Damage on Quartz
While quartz countertops have good overall heat tolerance, it is still important to follow some best practices to prevent any potential damage:
Use trivets and hot pads
- Placing hot pots, pans, or baking sheets directly on the quartz can transmit excessive heat over time. Use trivets, hot pads or silicone mats when setting anything hot on the countertops.
Avoid prolonged contact with heat sources
- Leaving a hot pan sitting on the quartz surface for an extended time allows heat to build up and potentially impact the resin binders. Remove hot pans after cooking.
Allow proper cooling of heated items
- Thermal shock cracks can happen when a very hot object quickly comes in contact with the quartz. Always allow pans, dishes, and other heated items to cool down properly before placing them on the countertop.
Don’t pour boiling liquids directly on quartz
- Pouring liquids straight from a kettle or pot that has just finished boiling can thermally shock and crack the surface. Allow liquids to cool slightly before pouring over quartz.
Use cutting boards for hot items from oven
- When removing hot trays or dishes straight from the oven, always set them on a cutting board or trivet, not directly on the quartz surface.
Clean up spills immediately
- Allowing spilled hot oils, grease, or liquids to sit on the quartz allows heat to transmit over time. Promptly wipe up any hot spills.
Avoid exposing quartz to open flames
- Open flames from gas stoves, candles, or other sources can severely damage quartz. Keep open flames away from quartz countertops.
By following these simple precautions, homeowners can enjoy the benefits of quartz while also protecting it from potential heat damage. Quartz offers improved heat resistance compared to many other countertop materials. With proper care, quartz countertops can remain in great condition for many years.
How Does Heat Damage Quartz Countertops?
To understand why heat tolerance is important for quartz, it helps to know how excessive heat impacts the material on a molecular level. Here are the main ways that heat can degrade quartz solid surfaces:
Thermal Shock Fractures
As mentioned earlier, rapid temperature changes can cause cracks and fractures in quartz countertops. This happens because the sudden heat transfer causes parts of the slab to expand at different rates. The abrupt uneven expansion puts stress on the quartz material, which can cause cracks emanating from the area of thermal shock impact.
Melting of Resin Binders
The polyresin binders that hold quartz particles together have a heat deflection temperature of about 150°F. When quartz countertops are subjected to temperatures beyond this level for a prolonged period, the binder resin can begin to melt and break down. This causes the quartz particles to loosen, resulting in surface damage.
Excessive direct heat on one spot can carbonize or burn the resin binders, leaving a darkened burn mark on the quartz surface. This typically happens with very hot pans or other concentrated heat sources placed in one spot for too long. The affected area permanently discolors due to the burned resin.
Change in Surface Luster
Heating quartz above the recommended threshold may cause small changes in the visual appearance. The resin binders impacted by heat can become slightly duller or lose their luster. This is often visible as an area with subtly different sheen.
Risk of Supporting Damage
In addition to damage on the countertop surface itself, prolonged heat exposure can compromise the structural integrity of quartz slabs. With the resin binder weakened by heat, the quartz material is prone to cracking, warping, or becoming detached from underlying supports.
By avoiding excessive direct heat and allowing for proper cooling of hot items, most of these risks can be averted. Following basic precautions allows homeowners to take advantage of the resilience and performance quartz does offer in kitchen environments.
Does Quartz Change Color When Heated?
For the most part, quartz countertops retain their color and appearance even when exposed to typical cooking heat. However, there are a few potential effects of heating on quartz colors:
- Prolonged exposure to excess heat may cause very slight fading or dulling of some darker quartz colors. But this would require greater heat than encountered through regular kitchen use.
- If the countertop surface becomes burnt or damaged by extreme heat, those affected areas likely change color permanently. Burn marks typically appear darker than the surrounding quartz.
- Any cracks or fractures caused by thermal shock may be more visible on lighter quartz colors than darker ones. The cracks stand out clearly against whites, creams, and light grays.
- Colors derived from natural stone aggregates blended into some quartz slabs can change color somewhat when heated. Granite, marble, and other stones change hues as they are exposed to heat.
Aside from these scenarios, quartz generally maintains its color uniformity and appearance even with typical cooking use involving hot pans, boil-overs, and spills. Always wiping down excess heat and avoiding direct high temperature contact prevents most color-change risks.
Is There a Temperature Quartz Countertops Can Withstand?
It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact maximum temperature threshold for quartz. The material can withstand typical intermittent contact with moderately hot cookware, appliances, and dishes without issue. However, prolonged exposure to heat sources above 150°F increases the risk of damage over time.
Quartz manufacturers avoid citing exact temperature limits because real-world conditions vary. The duration of heat exposure, whether it is direct contact or ambient heat, thickness of the slab, and other factors affect damage risk.
As a general guideline, quartz can withstand:
- Brief contact with pots/pans out of a 200°F oven.
- Sustained indirect exposure to temperatures under 150°F – like a crock pot or warming tray.
- Very brief contact with pots straight from a 400°F oven, if quickly removed.
- Ambient heat from a burner set to a low or medium setting.
Exceeding these parameters for extended periods may impact the resin binders in quartz. Home chefs should experiment cautiously to determine acceptable heat exposure timeframes specific to their quartz installation. Always use trivets or hot pads and promptly wipe spills to prevent heat build-up.
Is Quartz Better Than Granite for Heat Resistance?
Granite is generally superior to quartz when it comes to heat tolerance. The natural mineral makeup of granite allows it to withstand very high temperatures up to several hundred degrees. Quartz has an upper heat limit around 150°F for sustained contact.
However, both granite and quartz are very resilient to the heat levels typically encountered in a residential kitchen. Using reasonable care when placing hot items on either surface avoids potential damage. Here is a quick comparison:
- Withstands moderate heat up to 150°F
- At risk of thermal shock from rapid temperature changes
- Resin binder can melt under excessive heat
- Can handle very high heat over 200°F
- Does not have risk of thermal shock like quartz
- Granite structure unaffected by high temperatures
In practical terms, both granite and quartz offer good heat resistance for a kitchen setting. Quartz requires a bit more care, but will stand up well with proper use of hot pads and trivets. Granite offers a wider margin of error for extremely hot items.
Signs of Heat Damage on Quartz
Homeowners will want to keep an eye out for any signs of heat damage on quartz counters. Here are the most common indicators that excessive heat exposure is impacting a quartz surface:
Cracks or fractures – Most often caused by rapid temperature change creating thermal shock. Check near cooking areas for crack patterns radiating out from hot spots.
Discolored or burnt spots – Direct contact with an extremely hot pan can scorch the resin binder, leaving a darkened and permanent burn mark.
Dulling of surface – Over time, high heat degrades the resin which causes loss of sheen and luster. Edges of cooking zones may appear slightly duller.
Bubbles or blisters – Prolonged exposure to excessive ambient heat from appliances can cause bubbles in the resin binder underneath quartz slabs.
Loose or detached areas – Heat that compromises the structural resin can also affect attachment to the underlying counters or cabinets. Listen for hollow sounding taps.
Staining – With the resin binder damaged, spilled liquids may absorb into quartz rather than beading up on the surface. Look for staining around cooktops.
Addressing any heat damage immediately improves outcomes. Once burned or cracked areas occur, they can be difficult to repair. Preventing excessive heat exposure avoids permanent impacts to the appearance and performance of quartz counters.
Does Heat Damage Void the Warranty on Quartz?
Always review your specific warranty documentation to understand coverage for your quartz countertops. Most quartz warranties do not cover heat damage under normal conditions of use. Excessive or prolonged direct heat exposure would be considered outside the bounds of normal wear and tear.
However, reputable quartz manufacturers often provide at least some degree of protection against fractures or cracks clearly caused by rapid temperature changes or thermal shock. Sudden contact with an extremely hot object can trigger a thermal shock crack even under regular kitchen use.
To retain warranty coverage, be sure to:
- Read and understand all use and care guidelines from the manufacturer. Follow their directions for preventing damage.
- Review warranty details about heat exposure exclusions and thermal shock provisions.
- Adhere to recommended heat thresholds and guidelines for hot pans, spills, appliances, etc.
- Use reasonable care when placing or removing hot items on the quartz surface. Allow proper cooling.
With proper precautions, quartz countertops perform well for years. But excessive heat exposure can create problems beyond the protection of most manufacturer warranties.
How to Repair Heat Damage on Quartz
Minor heat damage on quartz may be reparable, but severe burns, cracks, or other issues often require a countertop replacement. Here are tips for repairing limited heat damage:
Re-polish minor dulling – For slight luster loss in a small area, re-polishing with a quartz polish/cleaner may help. Avoid abrasives.
Sand out shallow burns – Very light scorch marks can sometimes be sanded out using fine 400+ grit sandpaper. Go slowly to avoid digging into the surface.
Fill minor divots with epoxy – Small chips or cracks from thermal shock can be filled with a clear epoxy designed for quartz repair. Smooth carefully after drying.
Seal stained areas – For light stains on a small section of countertop, applying a stain-resistant penetrating sealer may help prevent further damage.
Replace severely damaged sections – Badly cracked, burned, or heat-degraded areas often need a full quartz slab replacement. Hire a professional to cut out and install new quartz sections.
Full countertop replacement – If heat damage is widespread, a full new quartz countertop installation may be required.This is the only option if excessive heat warped large sections.
With early attention, careful sanding/polishing, and using the right sealers or epoxies, some minor heat damage can be minimized. But quartz is difficult to restore once severely impacted. Avoiding heat damage through proper kitchen use is far easier than repair.
Are Quartz Countertops Good for the Kitchen?
Despite some limitations for heat tolerance, quartz remains an excellent choice for kitchen countertops. When used with care, quartz offers many attributes that make it ideal for kitchen installation:
Stylish options – Quartz comes in a wide array of natural stone and modern solid color options to fit any decor. Edge profiles and patterns add further design flexibility.
Resists scratches/stains – The dense non-porous surface resists damage from knives, abrasion, and stains from kitchen spills. It maintains appearance with minimal maintenance.
Easy cleanup – Food and messes wipe quickly off the smooth quartz surface. No sealing or special cleaners are needed.
Durability – Quartz lacks the fragility and cracking risks of natural stone. The engineered composition offers very high durability.
Seamless look – Large quartz slabs allow for fewer seams compared to tile. This gives a sleek unified appearance.
Neutral temperature – Unlike natural stone, quartz does not feel overly cold or get hot in the sun. It maintains a comfortable ambient kitchen temperature.
Hygienic – With no pores for germs and bacteria to hide, quartz offers a hygienic food prep surface.
While heat damage is possible under extreme conditions, responsible use of trivets, pot holders, and cooling time prevents issues. The combination of stylish design, durability, and low maintenance make quartz an excellent investment for kitchens. Following basic precautions allows homeowners to enjoy resilient, elegant quartz countertops for decades.
Frequently Asked Questions About Quartz Countertop Heat Tolerance
Is quartz more heat resistant than marble?
Yes, quartz has much better heat tolerance than marble. Marble is vulnerable to damage from moderate heat exposure. Hot pans can easily scorch, burn or stain delicate marble countertops. By contrast, quartz can withstand typical intermittent contact with hot pots and pans without issue. This makes quartz a more practical choice for kitchens.
Can you put a hot casserole dish on quartz?
Yes, with proper precaution you can place a hot casserole dish briefly on quartz. Use a trivet or potholder and allow any glass baking dish to cool down somewhat first. Avoid leaving very hot casserole dishes in direct contact with the quartz for more than a few minutes, and be sure to wipe up any condensation to prevent heating the surface gradually.
Does quartz melt under heat?
No, quartz does not truly melt under typical household heat conditions. However, the resin binders used in quartz fabrication do have a heat deflection temperature around 150°F. Prolonged exposure to temperatures beyond this threshold can potentially cause the resin binders to break down, resulting in surface damage. But this is not a true melting of the countertop.
Can you crackle quartz with heat?
It is possible for sudden temperature changes to cause cracks in quartz countertops. This typically happens when an extremely hot pan makes direct contact with the quartz. The abrupt thermal shock can cause the quartz slab to fracture or crackle near the hot spot. Using trivets can help minimize the risks of thermal shock.
Is a warmer safe on quartz?
Using an electric warmer, hot plate, or other low-to-moderate heat source should be safe on quartz countertops as long as it maintains a constant, stable temperature. Avoid prolonged direct contact between the hot plate and quartz surface. Also check the manufacturer’s heat tolerance guidelines and warranty for any specific restrictions.
Can you put a griddle on quartz?
Indirect contact with low-to-medium heat griddles should not typically damage quartz counters. However, the intense heat of direct contact with griddles can scorch or fracture quartz. Always keep griddles on trivets and use care when placing on quartz. Avoid leaving griddles heating the surface for more than 10-15 minutes.
Does quartz discolor with heat?
In most cases, quartz maintains its even color tone even when exposed to routine cooking temperatures. Prolonged overheating can cause subtle changes in sheen and luster or create dark burnt marks. But quartz