Are Quartz Countertops Laid on Plywood?

Quartz countertops have become an increasingly popular choice for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects in recent years. Their durability, low maintenance, and customizability make them a top contender when selecting a countertop material. However, proper installation is key to ensuring your quartz countertops perform well and last. One common question that arises is whether quartz countertops can or should be installed over plywood. Here is a detailed look at the pros and cons of using plywood under quartz countertops.

Can You Install Quartz on Plywood?

The short answer is yes, quartz countertops can be installed over plywood. However, plywood is generally not recommended as the ideal substrate. Quartz countertops are very heavy, weighing approximately 15 pounds per square foot on average. Plywood alone does not provide enough structural support to bear the weight of quartz slabs without sagging or warping over time.

For this reason, the Quartz Institute suggests avoiding the use of plywood alone under quartz. Instead, they recommend using plywood only in conjunction with additional reinforcement and support structures.

Why Plywood May Be Used Under Quartz

While not ideal, there are some scenarios in which plywood is used under quartz countertops:

  • Budget constraints – Plywood is less expensive than some other substrate options like granite or concrete. Using plywood can help lower material costs.
  • Short-term installations – For temporary setups like in rental units or staging homes for sale, plywood may suffice for a short period before needing replacement.
  • Limited space for build out – Sometimes the existing cabinet/base layout leaves little room for adding thicker substrate layers. Plywood is thinner and conforms more easily.
  • DIY installations – DIYers may opt for plywood as it’s easier to cut and work with than materials like concrete backerboard.

Proper Installation Methods Over Plywood

If you do decide to use plywood under quartz, proper installation is crucial:

  • Use high-quality plywood that is moisture and warp-resistant (at least 3/4″ thick). Avoid softwood plywood.
  • Reinforce the plywood with additional support beams, cross-bracing, or legs regularly underneath.
  • Adhere tiles or backerboard like Durock directly onto the plywood for extra stability.
  • Use a full perimeter support frame attached securely to base cabinets.
  • Seal and prepare the plywood properly to prevent warping before installing quartz.
  • Use an acrylic-based adhesive rather than mastic for the strongest bond.
  • Take extra care to fully support seams between quartz slabs.

Why Plywood Is Not Recommended Under Quartz

There are a few key downsides to using plywood under quartz countertops:

  • Insufficient support – Plywood alone does not offer enough structural integrity over years of use. Sagging, cracks, and separation can occur.
  • Warping and moisture damage – Plywood can warp or degrade from moisture leading to an uneven countertop surface.
  • Lack of adhesion – Plywood’s smooth surface does not allow mastic to grip well. Special preparation is needed.
  • Prone to mold or bacteria – Any moisture getting between the quartz and plywood can promote mold growth.
  • Difficult to get perfectly level – Plywood can be tricky to get perfectly smooth and level under quartz.
  • Can damage quartz – If the plywood warps or shifts, it can crack or fracture quartz slabs.

Recommended Substrates Under Quartz

Instead of plywood, quartz fabricators recommend these base layers for the best support:

  • Reinforced concrete – Offers excellent strength and stability; prevents sagging.
  • 3/4″ granite – Naturally moisture-resistant and can bear heavy weight.
  • Marble backerboard – Provides rigid support; designed for stone substrates.
  • Reinforced drywall – Moisture and mold-resistant drywall works well.
  • 1 1/4″ plywood + backerboard – Adds stability but increases thickness.

No matter what substrate you choose, be sure to consult the recommendations of your specific quartz manufacturer. Proper installation is crucial to ensuring your quartz countertops look beautiful while withstanding years of use. With careful prep and reinforced support, quartz can maintain its durability and sleek appearance for the lifetime of your kitchen or bath remodel.

Frequently Asked Questions About Installing Quartz on Plywood

Can I put quartz straight on plywood cabinets?

It is not recommended to install quartz directly over plywood cabinets. The plywood cabinet boxes usually cannot provide enough structural support alone. Adding an additional layer like concrete backerboard over the plywood prior to quartz installation is best.

What thickness of plywood should be used under quartz?

3/4″ thick plywood is usually the minimum recommended for using under quartz countertops. Anything thinner has a high chance of warping or cracking under the weight. Go with the highest-quality, stiffest plywood possible.

Should I use adhesive or screws to install quartz on plywood?

Adhesive is preferred to screws when installing quartz on plywood. High-quality acrylic adhesives specially formulated for natural stone provide the strongest bond. Screws can work loose over time and cause instability or allow moisture underneath.

Can you put ply on top of the cabinets for quartz?

Yes, plywood can be placed on top of existing cabinets to create a substrate surface for quartz installation. The plywood should span the entire top and be reinforced with cross-bracing underneath for support. An additional layer like tile backerboard over the plywood is ideal.

How long does quartz last installed on plywood?

With proper installation and reinforcement, quartz can potentially last 5-10 years on plywood substrate. However, it carries a higher risk of damage, cracks, or warping compared to more robust substrates. Annual maintenance and upkeep is critical to maximize its lifespan.


Quartz offers homeowners a stylish, low-maintenance countertop – but only with proper installation. Plywood alone is generally insufficient to support quartz long-term. For best results, reinforce plywood with additional backerboards, braces, and moisture protection. Or opt for concrete, granite, or marble substrates when possible. With extra care taken to provide rigid support, quartz countertops can withstand years of regular use even when installed atop plywood. Consult quartz fabricators to determine the best practices for your specific kitchen or bath layout. Proper prep and reinforcement will keep your quartz counters in top condition while retaining their striking appearance.