Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular choice for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects due to their durability, aesthetics, and ease of maintenance. However, like any other countertop material, quartz is not completely immune to damage. Cracks, chips, scratches, and stains can occur over time. When this happens, many homeowners wonder if quartz countertops can be repaired to restore their original beauty and function. The good news is that minor damage to quartz counters can often be repaired by a professional without having to replace the entire top. Understanding what kinds of repairs are possible can help homeowners make informed choices about restoring their quartz surfaces.
What is Quartz?
Before exploring quartz countertop repair options, it helps to understand what quartz is exactly. Quartz is an engineered stone made from roughly 90% ground natural quartz aggregates combined with polyresin binders (around 10%). The quartz pieces come from quarries, while the resin is typically a mix of polyester, epoxies, and acrylics that bind the quartz particles into a solid slab.
Compared to natural stone like granite and marble, quartz offers superior consistency in coloring and patterning since the manufacturer has precise control over the look. The resin also makes quartz more flexible and heat and stain resistant than typical natural stones. Since quartz slabs are engineered composites and not purely natural stone, there are differences in how they can be worked on and repaired.
Common Damages to Quartz Countertops
Quartz is touted as a low maintenance and damage-resistant material, which is relatively true compared to other natural stones and materials like marble. However, quartz can become damaged with certain impacts, conditions, and improper use:
- Chips – Dropping a heavy object on a countertop edge or corner can chip off small pieces of the quartz.
- Cracks – Forceful impacts from objects can also cause cracks in the surface. Heat damage and improper seam installation may also contribute to cracks.
- Scratches – Over time, regular use can leave minor superficial scratches in the surface. Metal knives, pots, and appliances can cause deeper scratches.
- Etching – Acidic substances like lemon juice, wine, and vinegar that get left on the counter for extended periods can etch into the surface leaving a rough, damaged spot.
- Burn marks – Hot pans, especially cast iron, can scorch and discolor if left directly on the quartz.
- Stains – Spills that aren’t wiped up promptly may stain, especially oily and porous residues. Pigments in foods and dyes can also stain the material.
While quartz’s durable composition prevents severe damage in most cases, these issues can happen occasionally and require repairs.
Can Quartz Be Repaired?
In many cases, yes, quartz countertops can be repaired by a professional fabricator or technician. Successfully repairing quartz depends on a few factors:
- Type and extent of damage
- Location of damage
- Color and finish of the slabs
- Skill of the technician
Minor damage like light scratches, scorches, and very small chips can often be repaired to be nearly invisible. Even cracks and deeper gouges can sometimes be filled if they aren’t too large. However, repairing major damage may be limited or impossible if it’s especially extensive. Repairs to quartz are also easier on matte and textured finishes since they hide imperfections better than glossy polished finishes.
Quartz repair methods typically include:
- Polishing to remove scratches
- Filling in chips and cracks
- Resurfacing etching and burns
- Deep cleaning for stains
For severely damaged areas like long cracks, large chunks missing, or multiple repairs needed in one section, replacing that section of the countertop may be the best option. Thankfully, one advantage of quartz is that slabs are often made from the same batches, so manufacturers can usually create replacement pieces that match the existing installation perfectly.
Quartz Countertop Repair Cost
The cost to repair quartz countertops depends on the severity of damage and type of repair needed. Minor repairs like polishing small scratches or filling one chip generally ranges from $100 to $300. Repairing deeper scratches, gouges, crack filling, and resurfacing etched spots is typically $300 to $500.
For more extensive damage on larger surface areas, costs are higher. Some projects that run $1000+ may end up being candidates for partial or full replacement depending on the situation.
DIY Quartz Countertop Repair
While DIY repairs may seem tempting for frugal homeowners, professional repair is recommended for any quartz damage beyond the mildest surface scratches. Attempting DIY repairs with improper techniques and unspecialized products can worsen damage making professional repair impossible.
The methods professionals use to fill chips and gaps or resurface etching involve specialized materials and equipment. For example, filling damage requires color-matched filler adhesives and bonding expertise so repairs blend seamlessly. Fixing etching and burns demands expert knowledge of how to polish quartz safely and effectively.
Scratches can technically be buffed out carefully with fine grit sandpaper by an ambitious DIYer. However, the process must be done slowly to avoid lowering the surface unevenly. Hiring a pro to repair quartz prevents the risks of botching a complex repair job.
How to Prevent Quartz Countertop Damage
While quartz is quite durable, a few preventative measures can help avoid damage in the first place:
- Use cutting boards instead of cutting directly on the surface.
- Don’t place hot pans directly on the quartz. Use hot pads or trivets.
- Clean up spills immediately before they can stain.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals like oven cleaners, drain cleaners, etc.
- Don’t use abrasive scrubbers or scouring pads that may scratch.
- Seal joins and edges as needed to prevent moisture ingress.
- Inspect countertops after installation to ensure proper seam sealing.
With proper care and maintenance, quartz countertops can stay pristine and damage-free for decades before needing any repairs.
Quartz Countertop Repair Methods
Professional quartz repair utilizes specialized techniques and quality products to achieve seamless repairs without taking away from the look of the original installation. Here are some of the methods:
Refinishing Etching and Burns
Refinishing is one of the most common quartz repairs. When acidic substances like lemon juice or cleaners sit too long on a countertop, it can etch spots into the surface leaving a rough, pitted texture. Hot pots and pans can also scorch and discolor the material.
To refinish etched or burned areas, technicians use a process of sanding and polishing using diamond abrasive pads of incrementally finer grits until the texture is smooth and consistent again. Great attention to detail is required to blend repaired areas into the surrounding countertop. This professional refinishing can remove etching and burns that normal cleaning cannot.
Crack and Chip Filling
Cracks and chips in quartz can be filled to be nearly undetectable if done properly. The material around the damaged area is prepped and cleaned. An adhesive filler material precisely color-matched to the slab is prepared and applied to fill the crack or gap completely with no low spots. The material needs ample time to cure completely. Once hardened, the repair is sanded and polished flush to create an even finish.
Chips on the countertop edge can be a bit more tricky to fill while retaining structural integrity. For edge damage, the filler may need to be built up in layers and the support underneath recreated before finishing the surface. Well-executed crack and chip repair should be almost impossible to spot after completion.
Scratch Removal by Polishing
Light to medium surface scratches can often be polished out of quartz countertops. A professional will assess the scratches to determine if they are too deep for polishing. Superficial minor scratches can be removed by buffing in the direction of the scratches starting with finer grit diamond pads and increasing in coarseness only as needed.
Trying to start with overly coarse abrasives can damage the surrounding areas. Careful technique fills in the scratch while blending the repair into the overall finish. For smoother matte finishes, the repair may stand out less than on highly reflective polished quartz.
Stain Removal and Cleaning
For stains that basic cleaning cannot remove, pros often use targeted stain removal techniques followed by a deep clean. Stubborn oil, grease, food, dye, and pigment stains can first be broken up with stain removers, solvents, bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or other degreasing solutions.
After treating the stain, a thorough wash of the entire surface is done using a degreasing cleaner or mild stripping agent to remove residues of the stain treatment. This full process can reliably lift out stains without damaging the quartz. Avoiding harsh DIY chemical applications prevents worsening stains.
Full Spot Replacement
For quartz counters with excessive damage like multiple elaborate cracks, large sections missing, or unsalvageable stains, professionals can cut out and replace the damaged areas. The undamaged sections of the existing countertop are left in place while damaged portions are removed. A replacement quartz piece is cut to fit the exact spot, installed seamlessly, and finished to create a continuous countertop surface. The new quartz will match the old since manufacturers use consistent batches. This spot replacement avoids replacing the entire countertop.
Finding a Quartz Countertop Repair Professional
Since quartz repair requires specialized expertise, products, and tools, reputable professional repair is recommended over DIY attempts. There are a few ways to find the right repair pro:
- Original Installer – Contact the fabricator/installer who did the original quartz installation. They have familiarity with your specific counters and variety of quartz.
- Online Reviews – Search for local countertop repair specialists with glowing reviews and mention of quartz repair experience specifically.
- Industry Organizations – The Natural Stone Institute and International Surface Fabricators Association have member directories to find reputable pros.
When reaching out to a pro, have photos handy of the damage to assess if they can carry out the needed repair. Discuss options honestly if sections need total replacement. Obtain an itemized estimate accounting for repair labor, materials, trip fees, and other costs.
FAQs About Repairing Quartz Countertops
Can you repair quartz yourself?
It’s not advisable. DIY repairs often fail at properly matching the existing quartz color, integrating filler edges, and blending finishes. Professionals have the products, tools, and skills to repair damage completely invisibly.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
Quartz does not require regular sealing since it is non-porous. However, sealing can help protect seams and edges from moisture damage. Ask your installer if sealing is recommended.
Will quartz etch if left wet?
No. Moisture alone does not etch quartz. Only prolonged contact with acidic substances can etch the surface. Be sure to blot up spills quickly.
Can you cut on quartz countertops?
Are light scratches normal on quartz?
You can cut on quartz with proper precautions like using cutting boards. Light superficial scratches are normal and can be smoothed by buffing with fine-grit sandpaper. Avoid cutting directly on the surface when possible.
How much does it cost to replace a section of quartz countertop?
If sections are damaged beyond repair, replacing a section of quartz costs $400-$1000 depending on the size. Total replacement costs $80-$150 per square foot installed.
What are signs that quartz needs to be repaired?
Etching that appears rough and damaged, cracks wider than hairline size, scratches that catch your fingernail, obvious chips in edges, and stains that don’t disappear with cleaning all indicate repairs are needed.
Should you repair or replace damaged quartz?
It depends on the extent. Refinishing etching, filling a couple chips, and polishing minor scratches can be repaired. Large cracks in multiple areas or deterioration over 50% of the surface means replacement may be better.
Is it worth repairing quartz countertops?
In most cases, yes. Repairs professionally done cost a fraction compared to full replacement. Even with extensive repairs needed in sections, spot replacement of those areas is cheaper than all new countertops. Proper repairs result in an end product nearly as good as new.
While quartz countertops are impressively durable, like any material they can become damaged from impact, heat, chemicals, and regular use over time. Thankfully, reputable professionals offer a range of repair services that can return damaged quartz counters to like-new condition in many cases.
Minor issues like scratches, scorches, and small chips can be addressed very affordably by an experienced quartz repair technician. Even more significant damage from cracks and stains can often be resolved with specialized methods. In some cases where repairs are too extensive, partial or full quartz countertop replacement may be required. But in most situations, correctly done professional quartz repair is the optimal solution for restoring beauty and function for a fraction of full replacement cost. With proper care and maintenance, beautiful quartz countertops can provide many years of durable worry-free service.