Can Quartz Countertops Change Color?

Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular choice for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects due to their durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance. One common question that arises is whether quartz counters can change color over time with exposure to sunlight and other environmental factors. The short answer is yes, quartz counters can change color, but the degree of change depends on the specific type of quartz material. By understanding the composition of quartz and how it reacts to light and chemicals, homeowners can make an informed decision when selecting a color. With proper care and maintenance, significant color change can be minimized.

What is Quartz Made Of?

To understand how quartz counters are affected by environmental factors, it helps to first understand what gives quartz its color and appearance. Natural quartz contains crystalline silicon dioxide as its primary constituent. To make an engineered slab suitable for countertops, quartz crystals are combined with resin, pigments, and other compounds.

The resin binds the quartz particles together into a cohesive slab. Pigments are added to achieve the desired color and pattern. Different mineral compounds can also be included for sparkle and texture. This combination of ingredients is what gives each brand and color its unique look.

The percentage of natural quartz crystals versus synthetic resins and pigments can also vary. Higher-quality slabs tend to have a higher ratio of quartz to resin. The more quartz in the material, the more scratch, stain, and heat resistant the counters will be. However, more resin means more opportunities for the color and finish to be manipulated.

How Does Sunlight Affect Quartz Counters?

With a high resin content, quartz countertops can be slightly more susceptible to color change from sunlight exposure over time. The ultraviolet rays in sunlight can cause subtle color shifts, especially in lighter colors. As the resin reacts to UV light, the pigments may fade, yellow, or darken.

However, the degree of color change depends on the specific type and quality of resins used. Higher-performing resins are more UV-stable with better resistance to discoloration. The orientation of the surface will also affect light exposure. A north-facing counter may see minimal color shift compared to one with direct southern sun.

Quartz made up of mostly natural quartz crystals is less reactive to sunlight. The dense crystalline structure is more impervious to fading or yellowing. However, with fewer pigments overall, the light color options are more limited.

With any quartz material, excessive temperatures from intense or prolonged sunlight can potentially compromise the resin and cause more pronounced color changes over time.

Do Household Chemicals Alter Quartz Color?

Along with sunlight, household cleaners and chemicals can interact with the resin content in quartz and cause subtle changes in color or glossiness. Avoiding spills and stains as much as possible is the best practice. However, quartz is impressively resistant to most chemicals compared to other countertop materials.

Acids found in citrus juices, vinegar, and wine can break down the resin content when left for prolonged contact. A quick wipe-up of spills diminishes the effect. Powerful alkaline chemicals like oven cleaners, drain openers, and concentrated bases can etch or yellow the surface over time.

Avoid exposing quartz counters to nail polish remover, paint strippers, bleach, and other harsh chemicals. The resin binder tends to be more vulnerable than the durable quartz crystals. Using mild cleaners and promptly cleaning up spills prevents substantial color change.

Will Quartz Counters Fade in Color From Washing?

Routine cleaning and washing of quartz counters with mild soap and water will not cause any noticeable color fading or change. The durable resins are designed to withstand daily use without breaking down. Avoid abrasive scrubbing and harsh cleaning products.

For stubborn stains, a mild non-bleach cleaner specifically designed for stone surfaces can be used without worry of lightening or altering the color. Avoid excessive rubbing or scrubbing that could gradually erode the finish. As long as quartz counters are cared for reasonably and spills removed promptly, washing and cleaning will not affect the color.

Can You Restore Faded or Discolored Quartz?

If quartz counters experience moderate color changes from prolonged sun exposure, chemicals, or other factors, the appearance can often be improved through professional refinishing. A process called honing uses fine abrasives to gently polish off the top layer of resin and reveal fresh color underneath.

However, honing cannot fully restore the original factory finish. It works best for counters that have only minor or superficial color changes. For counters with substantial fading, deep stains, or etching, honing may not significantly improve the appearance.

The refinishing process also permanently removes a thin layer of the slab, so it cannot be repeated indefinitely. But for many homeowners, honing offers an affordable way to extend the life of quartz counters suffering aesthetic damage before needing full replacement.

Will All Quartz Counters Change Color?

While all quartz counters have the potential to have some color change over time, some are more prone to fading than others. Here are tips for choosing resilient colors:

  • Select medium to dark colors – lighter quartz counters are more likely to show fading and yellowing from sunlight exposure. Richer blues, browns, and grays resist discoloration.
  • Avoid large areas of solid white – bright white backgrounds will become dingier and yellowish. White quartz with veining hides change better.
  • Look for UV-stable resins – brands like Cambria, Caesarstone, and Silestone use high-quality resins to prevent color change.
  • Choose finishes like concrete, leather, or wood looks – patterned textures hide fading better than uniform polka dot or solid color slabs.
  • See a large sample before deciding – viewing a full slab outside in natural daylight shows how color contrasts and tone look in real environments.

While no material is completely immune to color change over its lifetime, quartz made with UV-stable resins provides very good color consistency and longevity. With reasonable care and maintenance, most quality quartz counters retain their original beauty for many years in the home.

What are the Signs of Quartz Color Change?

Homeowners often want to know how to spot the early signs of quartz counters beginning to suffer color change after installation. Here are some common indicators that fading or yellowing is occurring:

  • Fading of lighter areas – any solid white sections or light-colored patches can start losing intensity and contrast.
  • Overall color appears dull or muddied – clear, crisp hues transform into a more sallow, muddy tone.
  • Noticeable yellowing – especially on white, grays, and lighter areas. Yellowing is a classic sign of resin breakdown from UV exposure.
  • Blotchiness or uneven discoloration – some parts of the counter may show more fading than others, creating a blotchy appearance.
  • Glossiness fades – The surface loses its light reflective quality and becomes more matte and opaque.
  • Staining worsens – On faded quartz, stains that previously wiped away easily can become stubbornly set.

Catching color issues early on allows the opportunity to address problems before significant damage occurs. Professional restoration or replacement may be needed for counters showing pronounced deterioration.

Will Quartz Counters Yellow Over Time?

Yellowing is one of the most common color changes seen in aging or poorly maintained quartz countertops. Exposure to sunlight, chemicals, and heat all contribute to a gradual yellowish discoloration in the resin content. The result is a warmer, yellowed tone that mutes the original crisp, clean color.

Quartz containing a higher ratio of natural quartz minerals shows better resistance to yellowing. But most engineered slabs utilize resin as the primary binder, leaving them susceptible. White, gray, beige and lighter color counters showcase the yellowing the most. Areas near windows and direct light will exhibit the most pronounced effect.

Luckily, quality quartz is designed to minimize yellowing. Brands like Silestone and Caesarstone use top-grade resins chosen for UV-stability and colorfastness. Proper care like using mild cleaners, wiping spills quickly, and avoiding extreme heat helps maintain the integrity of the resin. Having realistic expectations for gradual change over 10-15 years also prevents disappointment.

How to Minimize Color Change in Quartz

Quartz owners can take proactive steps to reduce the degree of color change their counters experience:

  • Use window treatments – Block intense sunlight on counters near windows whenever possible. Open shades only when actively using the space.
  • Quickly clean up spills – Don’t leave liquids, oils or chemicals sitting on quartz. Promptly wipe and dry the surface.
  • Apply wax or sealant annually – Adding a protective layer helps prevent etching or staining.
  • Avoid direct heat – Do not place hot pans, candles, cigarettes or other heat sources directly on the quartz. Always use trivets and hot pads.
  • Clean gently – Use soft sponges and non-abrasive cleaners. Avoid scouring pads or powders.
  • Check samples first – Examine a full slab outdoors before finalizing your color selection.

With proper care, high-quality quartz chosen for UV-resistance should retain its original beauty for many years before needing replacement.

Can You Change the Color of Existing Quartz Countertops?

Unfortunately, there is no simple way to alter the color or finish of existing quartz counters. The pigments that give quartz its color saturate through the entire thickness of the slab during manufacturing under intense heat and pressure. The color cannot be stripped or painted over.

Here are some options to consider if your quartz counters have discolored or faded substantially and restoration is not viable:

Full Slab Replacement

This achieves a brand new counter with pristine color but is costly and labor-intensive. Hire a professional to remove existing counters and install new slabs. Select a more fade-resistant color.

Quartz Overlay

A thin layer of new quartz material can be bonded over the old counters to improve appearance. This does not require full slab replacement but is still an investment. The overlay must match the surrounding colors.

Countertop Covers

Affixing a countertop covering made of laminate, wood, or metal over the old quartz can disguise color changes without replacing the counters. This is a simpler, more affordable option, although functionality is somewhat reduced.

Tile or Stone Accent Strips

Adding strategically placed stone, ceramic tile, or glass tile accents along the counter edges can help draw the eye away from discoloration in the main field. This also adds a decorative touch.

Refinish Entire Countertop

Some contractors can apply new paint, veneers, or synthetic coatings across the entire surface to camouflage imperfections, damage, and faded areas. This can restore a relatively uniform appearance.

While changing the existing color is not truly possible, creative solutions like overlays, tiles, or refinishing provide ways to potentially update the look without undergoing full replacement. Consult with an experienced countertop pro to discuss your options.

Frequently Asked Questions About Color Change in Quartz Countertops

Here are answers to some common questions homeowners have about preventing quartz counters from changing color over time:

Can you prevent quartz from yellowing?

While some yellowing over many years is inevitable, selecting quality brands with UV-stable resins and exercising proper care greatly reduces discoloration. Keeping quartz out of direct sunlight, promptly cleaning spills, and avoiding heat minimizes yellowing.

Do light and dark quartz colors fade differently?

Yes, lighter quartz colors containing more resin and fewer mineral pigments tend to fade and yellow more over time. Darker, richer quartz colors are more colorfast as the dense mineral pigments are less impacted by light and chemicals.

Should quartz counters be sealed to prevent color change?

Sealing is not mandatory but can provide added protection, especially for counters in heavily used areas around a stove or sink. Re-apply an annual sealant to form a protective barrier against stains, etching, and premature fading.

Does routine cleaning cause quartz to lighten or discolor?

Regular washing with mild soap and water will not affect quartz color, even over many years. Avoid harsh cleaners or excessive scrubbing pressure, which could gradually degrade the finish. But gentle cleaning merely maintains the surface.

How long until noticeable fading or yellowing occurs?

Quality quartz brands designed to resist UV rays and staining can maintain their original color for 10 years or longer under normal conditions before noticeably shifting color. Some lower-end options may show changes in 3-5 years with heavy use.

Can you reverse staining or fading that has already happened?

For mild color changes, professional honing or polishing may help reduce signs of aging. But for counters with substantial fading or deep-set stains, the options are limited. Complete replacement or overlays at that point provide the most dramatic improvement.


Quartz counters are vulnerable to some color change over time with exposure to sunlight, chemicals, and environmental factors. However, by selecting brands using high-performance resins and providing routine protection and maintenance, homeowners can keep counters looking as close to original condition as possible. Understanding how quartz color is affected allows setting realistic expectations for gradual, minimal fading rather than dramatic changes. With proper care, quartz counters will retain their aesthetic appeal to match their durability.