Can You Buff Out Quartz Countertops?

What is Quartz?

Before examining how to buff out quartz, it’s important to understand what quartz countertops are made of. Quartz is an engineered stone, made from roughly 90% ground natural quartz crystals combined with about 10% polymer resins and pigments. The resins bind the quartz together to form a hard, non-porous surface.

The resins make quartz more flexible and heat-resistant compared to natural stone. Quartz slabs are molded into countertops and other surfaces. They are available in a wide range of colors and patterns to suit any style.

The Benefits of Quartz Countertops

Quartz offers several benefits that make it a highly desirable countertop material:

  • Extremely durable – Quartz has incredible strength and hardness, making it very resistant to scratches, chips, cracks, and heat. It can withstand heavy daily usage.
  • Low maintenance – Requiring very little maintenance is one of quartz’s biggest perks. Simple cleaning with soap and water keeps it looking like new.
  • Stain resistant – Quartz repels most stains, including wine, coffee, and food spills. It doesn’t need to be sealed.
  • Non-porous – With very low porosity, quartz does not harbor bacteria or allow stains to seep in.
  • Stylish – Available in a spectrum of colors and patterns, from minimalist solid white to bold, mimicking natural stone and other materials.

Why Quartz Can Become Damaged

While quartz is incredibly durable, it is not completely impervious to damage. A few causes of damage include:

  • Cuts and scratches – Sharp objects like knives can cut into quartz, while abrasive scouring pads create light scratches.
  • Chips and cracks – Dropping heavy objects on quartz can chip the edges and corners. Major impacts can crack the slab.
  • Burn marks – Excessive heat from pots, pans, and other hot items can scorch quartz and leave light marks.
  • Etching – Acidic foods and cleaners that sit on the surface can etch away the resin coating and dull quartz.

Though not common, damage does occur after prolonged use. The good news is that light scratches can often be minimized through buffing.

Buffing Out Light Surface Damage on Quartz

Buffing is a polishing process that helps smooth over light scratches and minor blemishes on quartz. It works by wearing away a thin top layer of the countertop’s surface. Buffing can be done by a professional or carefully by a homeowner. Here is an overview:

Supplies Needed

  • Quartz polishing kit – Contains a buffing pad and polish cream.
  • Soft cotton cloths – For applying the polish and buffing.
  • Masking tape – To tape off edges against splatter.
  • Rubbing alcohol – To clean the surface before and after.

Steps to Buff Quartz

  1. Clean the quartz with rubbing alcohol to remove dirt and residue.
  2. Mask off edges with tape to control splatter and over-buffing.
  3. Apply a dime-sized amount of quartz polish cream to the buffing pad.
  4. Moving in a circular motion, work the pad over scratches and damaged areas applying light pressure.
  5. Buff until the scratches blend in with the surrounding quartz. Take care not to over-buff any single spot.
  6. Wipe away excess polish with soft cotton cloths as you work.
  7. Remove tape and clean the surface again with rubbing alcohol when finished buffing.

Results to Expect

  • Light scratches and scuffs can be greatly reduced, sometimes removed completely.
  • Deeper scratches and chips will still be visible but often appear less noticeable.
  • The overall quartz surface will have a refreshed, uniform appearance.
  • Buffing may cause slight uneven spots if not done carefully. Professionals obtain the best results.

Limitations of Buffing Quartz Countertops

While buffing can refresh quartz and mask minor damage, there are some limitations:

  • Etch marks – Buffing cannot remove acidic etching that damages the resin layer. This requires re-polishing by a pro.
  • Cracks or heavy damage – Severe cracks, chips, or gouges too deep to buff out may call for a quartz repair kit or replacement.
  • Color unevenness – If buffing isn’t done evenly, it can create light and dark patches across the surface.
  • Dullness over time – Repeated buffing gradually erodes the surface, diminishing the gloss.
  • Not a thorough fix – Buffing only minimizes scratches but doesn’t remove them completely. Some marks will still be faintly visible.

Maintaining Quartz Surfaces

Prevention is key for avoiding extensive damage to quartz countertops. Recommended care includes:

  • Using cutting boards and hot pads to protect the surface.
  • Cleaning spills promptly before they can stain.
  • Avoiding harsh chemicals and scouring pads.
  • Having any major repairs done by a professional.

With proper care and timely buffing as needed, quartz countertops can stay looking like new for many years. However, all quartz eventually requires replacement or re-polishing after one to two decades of use.

Can You Buff Out Quartz Countertops? – Key Takeaways:

  • Light buffing can reduce the appearance of minor scratches and marks on quartz surfaces. It does not remove them fully.
  • Deeper damage like chips, cracks, and etching usually cannot be buffed out. Professional repairs may be needed.
  • Preventing damage through proper use and care is best. Avoid abrasives and immediately clean spills.
  • Repeated buffing gradually erodes the glossy quartz surface. Over time, re-polishing or replacement is needed.
  • For optimum results, have any extensive buffing done by a qualified countertop pro, not on your own.

Frequently Asked Questions About Buffing Quartz Countertops

Buffing is a good temporary solution for rejuvenating lightly damaged quartz countertops. But many homeowners still have questions about the process and its effectiveness. Here are answers to some often asked questions.

Can I buff out scratches myself or do I need a pro?

With care, minor buffing can be done yourself using a quartz polish kit. But for best results without ruining the surface, hiring a professional is recommended. Improper DIY buffing can create uneven spots.

How often can quartz countertops be buffed?

Quartz should only be buffed occasionally as needed to maintain the surface. Too frequent buffing will gradually erode the outer layer. Most pros recommend limiting it to once every 6-12 months.

Will buffing restore the original sheen?

It can help restore some gloss, but buffing alone generally does not bring back the original high-shine factory finish. To achieve that, a full professional re-polishing is required.

Can you buff out etched marks from lemon juice?

No, etching from acids causes too much removal of the resin coating. Etch marks require a more intensive re-polishing process to fix. Preventing exposure is best.

Is it better to buff quartz wet or dry?

Light wet buffing helps reduce friction and potential overheating on the surface. But the area should be dried fully before polishing to prevent water spots.

What happens if I over-buff certain areas?

Over-buffing specific spots can create an uneven, patchy appearance on the countertop. The finish texture may differ across the surface.

How soon after installation can new quartz be buffed?

It’s best to wait at least 30 days after new installation for the quartz to fully cure before any buffing. Immediate buffing can damage the surface.


Buffing can often provide a quick fix for lightly scratched or scuffed quartz countertops. While it may not remove all signs of damage, buffing reduces the appearance of marks and provides temporary restoration of the surface’s beauty. However, buffing has its limits and requires careful technique. Preventing damage in the first place is always preferable.

With moderate use, most quartz countertops provide many years of durable, low-maintenance performance. But no surface lasts forever. If your quartz countertop is suffering from extensive etching, cracking, or accumulating one too many knife scratches, replacement may ultimately be needed. For the smoothest buffing results, trusted pros have the skills and experience to make your quartz counters shine like new again.