Can Quartz Countertops Get Scratched?

Quartz countertops are popular in many homes due to their durability, aesthetics, and low maintenance. However, many homeowners wonder – can quartz countertops get scratched? The short answer is yes, quartz countertops can get scratched. However, quartz is far more scratch-resistant than other countertop materials like granite or marble. Here is a detailed overview of quartz countertop scratch resistance, causes of scratching, prevention, and repair.

How Scratch-Resistant are Quartz Countertops?

Quartz countertops are made from ground natural quartz crystal combined with polymer resins. Quartz is an extremely hard mineral, rating 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. The polymer resin binds the quartz particles together into a durable, non-porous surface. This combination creates a countertop that is highly scratch-resistant for daily wear and tear.

While quartz won’t scratch as easily as other natural stone countertops, it is not completely impervious to scratches. The resin makes quartz more vulnerable to scratches than pure natural quartz. However, quartz maintains superior scratch resistance compared to granite, marble, laminate, or wood countertops.

With proper care and precautions, quartz countertops can maintain their smooth, pristine appearance for many years without showing signs of scratches. Minor superficial scratches may occur, but won’t easily damage the structural integrity or appearance of quartz.

What Can Scratch Quartz Countertops?

Quartz countertops are highly scratch-resistant, but not scratch-proof. Certain materials, if dragged across the surface under pressure, can scratch quartz:

  • Sharp metal objects – Knives, keys, nails, screws, cans.
  • Abrasive particles – Grit, sand, salt, sugar.
  • Hard materials – Stone, glass, porcelain, unglazed ceramics.
  • Furniture – Dragging furniture and appliances during a move can cause deep scratches.

Quartz is also vulnerable to scratches at the time of installation if proper precautions are not taken. It’s important installers use plywood or other protective materials when transporting and fitting quartz countertops.

How to Prevent Quartz Countertop Scratching

While quartz countertops are not immune to scratches, there are easy ways to prevent scratching and maintain their smooth surface:

  • Always use a cutting board for food prep. Never cut directly on the counter.
  • Don’t drag cookware (pots, pans) or appliances across the quartz surface. Lift and set them down carefully.
  • Apply felt pads to the bottom of furniture legs to prevent scratching if shifted.
  • Don’t place hot pans, baking sheets, or candles directly on quartz. Use trivets and hot pads.
  • Clean spills promptly to avoid abrasive particle scratches.
  • Avoid using abrasive scrub pads or powders which can damage the surface over time.
  • Use the non-abrasive cleaning products recommended by your quartz manufacturer.
  • Re-seal quartz countertops every 1-2 years as needed with a penetrating sealer to maintain scratch resistance.

With simple precautions, quartz countertops can maintain their flawless appearance for many years.

Typical Causes of Scratches on Quartz Countertops

While quartz resists scratches well compared to other countertops, scratches can still occur under certain conditions:

1. Cutting Food Directly on the Surface

Cutting food directly on quartz can easily scratch the surface, even with a sharp knife. Using a cutting board is essential to protect quartz counters when chopping vegetables, meat etc.

2. Dragging Cookware or Appliances

Pots, pans, and small appliances often have rough bottoms. Dragging these items across quartz can scratch, leaving linear marks. Lifting cookware avoids this issue.

3. Moving Furniture or Appliances

The heaviest cause of scratching is moving furniture and appliances during renovations or when moving homes. Always lift furniture legs up rather than sliding across quartz.

4. Poor Transportation and Installation

Quartz countertops must be carefully transported and installed to avoid scratches. Allowing the edges or corners to bang against doorways or scrape the ground during transport can damage quartz.

5. Using Harsh Chemical Cleaners

While quartz is non-porous, harsh cleaners with abrasive particles can damage the surface over time, making scratches more likely. Mild soap and water is ideal for routine cleaning.

6. Applying Excessive Pressure

Forceful pressure from sharp objects like screw drivers or accidentally banging a ceramic bowl can scratch quartz. Avoid placing extremely heavy objects on small concentrated surface areas.

By understanding common causes of quartz scratching, homeowners can take precautions to maintain their counters in flawless condition.

How Deep Can Scratches on Quartz Countertops Get?

The depth of scratches on quartz countertops can vary:

  • Minor surface scratches: Light surface scratches only impact the top resin layer but don’t penetrate to the quartz aggregate below. They appear as thin faint lines on close inspection.
  • Moderate scratches: Slightly deeper scratches remove some of the resin and expose hints of quartz particles. More visible but shallow.
  • Severe scratches: Deep cuts and gouges that penetrate through the resin to the quartz layer resulting in highly visible white lines. Rare unless excessive force is applied.
  • Micro-scratches: Tiny hairline scratches only visible under certain lighting. Caused by abrasive cleaners eroding the resin over time.

Minor superficial scratches are the most common occurrence with proper care. The structural integrity and appearance of the countertop remain intact. However, deep scratches may require professional repair.

How to Repair Scratches on Quartz Countertops

While quartz resists scratches well, accidents happen. Several options exist to reduce the appearance of scratches:

For Minor Scratches:

  • Clean: Use a countertop polish or a baking soda/water paste with a soft cloth to gently buff out very fine scratches.
  • Re-seal: Apply a penetrating sealer formulated for quartz to fill tiny surface scratches. Re-seal every 1-2 years.
  • Sand: For shallow light scratches, use 300 grit sandpaper to smoothly buff and minimize visibility. Avoid over-sanding.

For Moderate to Severe Scratches:

  • Professional repair: Most manufacturers offer professional repair services by trained technicians who can polish out deeper scratches.
  • Fill and blend: For deep isolated scratches, etching cream or filler sticks can be used to fill and blend with surrounding areas.
  • Full resurfacing: Severe damage may require mechanical buffing and re-polishing the entire quartz surface to blend out flaws.

For the best results in repairing scratches, consult a certified quartz countertop technician. DIY methods can sometimes worsen scratches if not done properly.

How to Choose Scratch-Resistant Quartz Countertops

All major quartz brands offer durable and scratch-resistant countertops. However, the quality can vary slightly between products. Factors to consider when choosing scratch-resistant quartz:

  • Quartz percentage – Look for quartz content 90% or higher, indicating less resin. The more quartz, the harder the surface.
  • Patterned vs. uniform – Solid color quartz hides scratches better than patterned quartz which show marks more.
  • Finer particles – Smaller quartz particles create a smoother surface that resists scratches well.
  • Quality resins – Top brands use advanced resins including epoxy, polyester, and acrylic for durability.
  • Brand reputation – Reputable quartz brands like Caesarstone and Cambria have excellent warranties guaranteeing performance.

Consulting reviews and getting referrals is also wise to choose scratch-resistant quartz that performs well long-term.

Are Quartz Countertops More Scratch Resistant Than Granite?

Quartz countertops are significantly more scratch resistant than granite surfaces. Here’s how they compare:

  • Quartz rating: Quartz rates 7 out of 10 on the mineral hardness scale, making it very scratch resistant.
  • Granite rating: Granite rates from 6 to 7 on the hardness scale, slightly softer than quartz.
  • Resin additive: The resin in quartz makes it slightly softer than pure quartz crystal.
  • Granite pores: The natural pits and pores in granite trap abrasive particles that can cause scratches.
  • Granite finish: Honed or leathered granite finishes scratch easier than polished. Quartz has an inherent polished finish.
  • Heat resistance: Quartz holds up better than granite against scratches from hot pots and pans.

For homeowners wanting to minimize visible scratches over time, quartz proves the smarter long-term investment.

Can Scratched Quartz Countertops Be Refinished?

Yes, re-finishing is an option to improve the appearance of scratched quartz countertops. Refinishing involves buffing out imperfections and re-applying a smooth uniform finish. The process includes:

  • Deep cleaning – Thoroughly cleaning the quartz counters to remove grime and residues
  • Repairing damage – Filling any chips/cracks with epoxy filler
  • Scratch removal – Using diamond abrasive pads of increasing grit to smoothly polish out fine scratches.
  • Resealing – Applying a professional grade sealer to protect the renewed finish
  • Buffing to shine – Buffing by hand or machine to restore a uniform glossy surface.
  • Added protection – Optional application of clear polymer coating for increased scratch protection.

Refinishing restores the quartz counters to a like-new condition. Most manufacturers approve refinishing without compromising the warranty. Hiring a pro ensures the best results.

Can You Repair Scratches on Quartz Countertops Yourself?

Homeowners can perform minor scratch repairs on quartz themselves in some cases. However, severe scratches and refinishing are best left to professionals. Here are some DIY limits:

  • Superficial fine scratches can often be minimized using rubbing compound, polishing kits, or sanding sponges from hardware stores. Always start gently.
  • Etching fills minor scratches but matching the color perfectly across the counter area can be tricky.
  • Overly aggressive DIY buffing and sanding can worsen scratches. A pro’s light touch prevents this.
  • Fully resurfacing quartz requires specialized tools like diamond polishing pads not readily available.
  • If not done properly, DIY repairs may void the manufacturer’s warranty. A certified tech is the safer choice.

While minor scratch fixes are within reach of a handy homeowner, anything beyond that is best done by an experienced quartz pro.

Do Quartz Countertops Get Scratches From Cleaning?

Yes, using harsh cleaners or abrasive tools to clean quartz counters can result in fine scratches over time. Scratch-causing mistakes to avoid include:

  • Cleaners with acidic or alkaline ingredients that damage the resin surface.
  • Using abrasive pads like stiff plastic scrubs or steel wool that erode the finish.
  • Scouring powders containing particles that abrade the quartz.
  • Allowing dirt, grime or spills that crystallize to grind into the surface (salty or sugary spills).
  • Applying too much pressure when scrubbing can scratch.

To prevent scratching when cleaning:

  • Use only non-abrasive soft cloth, sponge or paper towel.
  • Clean frequently to avoid buildup of dried spills that etch finishes.
  • Use only mild soap and water or cleaners specifically approved by your quartz manufacturer.

With a gentle approach using non-abrasive products, quartz countertops can retain their flawless luster through years of cleaning.

Do Quartz Countertops Scratch Easily?

No, quartz countertops do not scratch easily compared to other natural stone and composite counters. Here’s why quartz resists scratches well:

  • Made of ground quartz, one of the hardest minerals at a 7 on the Mohs Scale.
  • Quartz particles are bound tightly by polymer resin for added durability.
  • The resin creates a non-porous surface so it won’t absorb liquids.
  • Dense solid quartz construction lacks natural pits and cracks that can harbor abrasive particles.
  • Most quartz has uniform patterns that hide minor scratches well.
  • Factory-finished to a smooth polished surface that maintains its integrity.
  • Stain, heat, and scratch-resistant if cared for properly.

Under normal residential use, quartz countertops do not scratch easily or show wear and tear quickly. Taking basic precautions helps quartz counters retain their pristine look for years.

Do White Quartz Countertops Scratch Easily?

White quartz counters don’t inherently scratch any easier than colored quartz. However, scratches on white quartz are often more visible. Here’s why:

  • The white background provides contrast that makes lines stand out.
  • Light colored quartz reveals more dust that can worsen with scratches.
  • Etching cleaners to minimize scratches can leave white residue on darker spots.
  • Patterned quartz obscures scratches better than solid white quartz.
  • White needs more frequent cleaning to keep gritty abrasives from causing scratches.
  • Refinishing white is tricky since polishing removes some of the surface color.

While white quartz isn’t necessarily softer or weaker, the aesthetic drawbacks make dark quartz a better choice for scratch prevention.

Can You Repair Scratches in a Quartz Countertop?

Several effective options exist to repair scratches in quartz countertops:

Minor Scratches

  • Fine polishing compound or mineral oil buffed gently minimizes the look of very light surface scratches.
  • Baking soda or sanding sponges can also reduce faint marks if applied with extreme care.

Moderate Scratches

  • Re-sealing with a quartz penetrating sealer fills shallow scratches up to 1/32 inch deep well.
  • Etching cream matches the quartz color to fill in deeper scratches. Multiple treatments may be needed.

Severe Scratches

  • Professional diamond pad buffing and re-polishing provides the best method for removing deep gashes.
  • For localized severe damage, epoxy filler applied precisely by a pro gives great results.

Refinishing Option

  • Full mechanical resurfacing removes all fine scratches and damage, renewing the entire quartz surface.

With the right repair process for the scratch severity, quartz countertops can be restored successfully. Preventing scratches is ideal, but remedies exist if needed.

Can You Remove Scratches from Quartz Countertop?

Yes, there are methods for removing or improving scratches in quartz countertops:

  • For very fine hairline scratches, apply rubbing compound with a soft cloth using minimal pressure.
  • Use finer grit (2000-3000) sandpaper to gently smooth over light surface scratches.
  • Apply an etching filler compound to fill in shallow scratches for a seamless look.
  • Employ professional diamond polishing pads of increasingly finer grit to buff out deeper scratches.
  • Refinish the entire surface with re-polishing and re-sealing for extensive scratch removal.
  • Replace severely damaged sections if scratches are too numerous for polishing to be effective.

While scratches cannot be 100% erased, these techniques can effectively minimize the appearance of scratches at varying depths. Preventing scratches in the first place remains key.

Can You Feel Scratches on Quartz Countertops?

You cannot feel minor superficial scratches on quartz countertops. However, it is possible to feel moderate to severe scratches:

  • Fine microscopic scratches are only visible, not tactile.
  • Mild surface scratches can only be detected visually at certain angles.
  • Deeper scratches that remove portions of the resin coating will have a subtle tactile dip if you run your fingers across them.
  • Gashes where aggregate is fully exposed can create a noticeable ridge or indent feeling.
  • Cuts that penetrate the full thickness of the slab will have prominent gaps that can catch a fingernail.
  • Clustered hairline scratches feel smooth but appear hazy. Isolated scratches feel more defined.

With proper quartz care, most scratches should remain minor and not impact the original seamless feel. Deep gashes requiring replacement are less likely.

How to Determine If Your Scratch Can Be Repaired?

Assessing the damage level is key to determining if a quartz countertop scratch can be repaired successfully:

  • Gauge depth – The deeper the scratch, the harder to remedy. Minor surface marks are the easiest.
  • Check width – Narrow scratches have better outcomes than wide gouges spreading across the surface.
  • Look at length – Short localized scratches can be managed better than long gashes.
  • Test catch – If your nail catches, it may be too deep for buffing and need filling.
  • Consider location – Repairing isolated damage is simpler than fixing clustered scratches.
  • Assess angles – Straight line scratches repair easier than zig-zagging marks.
  • Try cleaning – If a scrub won’t remove it, professional help is likely needed.
  • Compare cost – Weigh the repair cost to a replacement section if severe.

Carefully examining the scratch determines whether DIY treatments, professional repair, or quartz replacement is required.

Can Scratches Be Removed From Quartz Countertops?