Quartz countertops have become an increasingly popular choice for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects in recent years. Known for their durability, low maintenance, and wide variety of colors and patterns, quartz counters offer many benefits for homeowners. However, one common question that arises is: can quartz countertops take heat?
Understanding the heat resistance of quartz is important when deciding whether these counters are the right choice for your space. This definitive guide takes an in-depth look at how well quartz withstands heat and provides tips for protecting your investment. Read on to learn everything you need to know about using quartz countertops around high temperatures.
What is Quartz?
Before diving into heat resistance, it’s helpful to understand exactly what quartz countertops are made of. Quartz is an engineered stone, meaning it is constructed from raw natural materials that are ground up, compressed, and fused together under intense vibration and pressure.
The main components of quartz are:
- Quartz crystals – Usually around 90% of the material. Quartz is one of the hardest minerals found in nature, prized for its durability.
- Polyester resins – Provide additional binding power to hold the material together.
- Pigments – Added for color. Pigments allow quartz to come in a wide range of colors and patterns.
Unlike natural stone counters like granite or marble, quartz is non-porous, so liquids cannot seep in and stain the surface. The resins make quartz more flexible and resistant to cracks and chips. It’s also less prone to damage from acids.
How Heat Resistant is Quartz?
So how does this composition affect heat tolerance? Here’s what you need to know:
Quartz Can Withstand Brief Heat Exposure
In general, quartz countertops are durable enough to handle exposure to moderately hot cookware or appliances. According to manufacturers, quartz can withstand temperatures up to 212°F before prolonged damage may occur.
This means quartz should be fine when briefly exposed to:
- Hot pots/pans off the stovetop
- Warmed plates from the microwave
- Baked goods straight from the oven
Brief contact with these types of moderate heat will not damage or mark your quartz counters.
Avoid Direct High Heat
While quartz has some heat endurance, it cannot withstand direct, sustained heat from very hot cookware. Manufacturers warn against exposing quartz counters to temperatures above 212°F for any length of time.
This means you should avoid:
- Putting extremely hot pots/pans directly on the counter
- Placing flaming dishes straight from the range or oven onto the surface
- Setting high-heat appliances like crockpots or electric griddles on the counter
The resins in quartz can melt or burn under extreme direct heat, causing cracks, discoloration, or permanent marks on your counters.
Thermal Shock Can Crack Quartz
Rapid temperature changes can also damage quartz via thermal shock. If a hot item comes into contact with a cold quartz surface, the abrupt shift in temperature causes the stone to expand and contract quickly. This tension can result in cracks or fractures.
To avoid thermal shock, allow hot pans to cool somewhat before setting them on quartz counters. Use trivets or hot pads to minimize direct contact.
The Edges are More Prone to Damage
Quartz manufacturers note that the seams and edges of quartz counters are more vulnerable to damage from high temperatures.
Prolonged contact with heat can cause the resin or epoxy at the edges to loosen or melt. Over time, this can lead to crumbs, cracks, or lifting at seams. Avoid placing very hot items near the edges of your quartz counters.
Best Practices for Using Quartz Around Heat
While quartz has limits regarding heat exposure, there are steps you can take to safely use these counters around cooking, baking, and hot appliances:
Always Use Trivets and Hot Pads
Get in the habit of using trivets, hot pads, or stands when setting hot items on quartz. Trivets protect the surface by absorbing heat and preventing direct contact. They allow items to cool gradually and avoid thermal shock.
Place trivets under skillets, crockpots, kettles, coffee pots, electric griddles, cake stands, or any hot cookware. Trivets come in a variety of materials like wood, silicone, cork, or metal.
Allow Items to Cool Somewhat Before Placing on Quartz
Rather than taking piping hot dishes straight from the oven to the counter, allow them a few minutes to cool down. Let pots/pans sit off heat on the range for a bit before moving to the quartz surface. The less extreme the temperature change, the less risk of thermal shock.
Avoid Sustained Direct Heat
Never put extremely hot cookware or heat generating appliances directly on quartz for extended periods. The goal is to limit direct exposure above 212°F to just brief contact. Allow hot items to cool on the range or use a heat-resistant board before transferring to the counter.
Take Care With Small Appliances
Use caution when operating small appliances on quartz like electric grills, griddles, or crockpots. Keep settings on low or warm to avoid excessive concentrated heat. Place a hot pad underneath the appliance as an added buffer.
Add Sealant if Needed
If your quartz counters were installed professionally, sealant was likely applied to the edges and seams. This helps protect vulnerable spots from damage. Over time though, this sealant can wear down. Consider having a pro reapply sealant if you notice cracking or overheating around the edges.
Repair Damage Immediately
If cracks, chips, bubbles, or discoloration do occur from heat, address right away before it worsens. Most manufacturers sell repair kits to mend minor damage. For more significant issues, hire a pro.
Potential Heat Damage: What to Look For
It’s important to keep an eye on your quartz counters and watch for any signs of heat damage. Here’s what to look out for:
Discoloration – Direct high heat can cause spots or large areas on quartz to change color permanently. Sudden light or dark marks indicate melting or burning below the surface.
Bubbling – When the resins in quartz burn, they may bubble up and create a bumpy texture. Bubbling often precedes cracking.
Cracking/Fracturing – Prolonged high heat and thermal shock can lead to surface cracks, fissures, or fractures in quartz. Cracks begin superficially but can deepen over time.
Chips/Pitting – Heat damage around the vulnerable edges may cause small chips, pits, gaps, or crumbling at the seams.
Melted sealant – If sealant around the edges overheats and melts, it can feel sticky and result in gaps or lifting countertops.
Options for Heat Resistant Countertops
If you do a lot of intense cooking or baking and need to expose your counters to very high direct heat, quartz may not be the ideal choice. Here are some highly heat-resistant countertop options to consider instead:
- Granite – This natural stone can take temperatures up to 650°F before burning. Avoid sudden temperature changes.
- Marble – Has similar heat tolerance to granite but is more prone to etching/staining.
- Soapstone – Made from steatite, soapstone can handle incredible heat up to 1,000°F. Requires frequent sealing.
- Concrete – Withstands sustained heat up to 300°F. Can be stained by oils. Needs yearly sealing.
- Stainless Steel – Allows direct contact with extremely hot cookware. Prone to scratches/dents. Can be noisy.
- Ceramic Tile – Vitreous ceramic is very heat-resistant but the grout is more vulnerable.
FAQs About Quartz Countertops and Heat
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about exposing quartz counters to high temperatures:
Can you put a hot pan on quartz?
Yes, briefly setting a hot pan on quartz is fine. But very hot cookware fresh off the burner should not have prolonged direct contact. Allow pans to cool slightly first or use a trivet. Avoid setting flaming dishes directly on the counter.
What happens if quartz countertops get too hot?
Sustained heat above 212°F can damage quartz. The resins may melt or burn, leading to discoloration, bubbles, or cracks. Thermal shock from rapid temperature jumps may also cause hairline fractures.
Can you cut food on quartz countertops?
Absolutely. Quartz stands up well to slicing, prepping, and light food processing. Just avoid prolonged heat exposure from very hot cookware. Always use a cutting board to protect the surface.
Are quartz countertops ruined by hot pans?
Not from brief contact or occasional accidents. But repeatedly exposing quartz to extreme direct heat can eventually cause permanent marks or damage. Using trivets and allowing items to cool somewhat will prevent damage.
Can you put a griddle on quartz?
Electric griddles reach very high heat, so they are not recommended for direct prolonged use on quartz. Place a hot pad underneath and use the lowest temperature setting. Griddles are better suited for stainless steel.
Are quartz countertops heat resistant?
Quartz has some heat endurance, especially for brief contact, but it cannot withstand very high direct heat above 212°F for extended periods. Natural stones like granite are more heat resistant.
Can I put my crockpot on my quartz countertop?
Crockpots should not have sustained direct contact with quartz counters, as slow cookers get very hot. Place the crockpot on a trivet, then on the quartz. Or use the low setting to minimize heat transfer.
Protecting Quartz Countertops from Heat Damage
With proper care, it is possible to safely use quartz counters when cooking and baking. Follow these best practices:
- Always use trivets and hot pads for hot dishes and cookware
- Allow pots/pans to cool somewhat before placing on quartz
- Avoid leaving high-heat appliances directly on the counter
- Take care when using countertop cooking devices
- Add sealant around vulnerable seams and edges
- Immediately repair any chips, cracks, or discoloration
Exercise caution, but rest assured your quartz counters can withstand normal everyday use in the kitchen. Handle spills promptly and use sealants and repair kits as needed. With a few preventative measures, quartz countertops can maintain their durability and beauty for many years.
Quartz countertops offer many advantages but do have limits regarding heat tolerance. While quartz can handle brief contact with moderately hot items, direct high heat above 212°F can cause damage over time. Taking steps like using trivets, allowing pans to cool before setting down, and avoiding sustained contact with very hot appliances will keep your quartz counters looking pristine. Address any signs of damage right away before they worsen. With proper care around high temperatures, quartz countertops can withstand years of use and remain an excellent investment.