Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular choice for modern kitchens and bathrooms due to their durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance. Unlike natural stone, quartz is an engineered stone made from crushed quartz combined with resin and pigments. This makes quartz very hard and resistant to scratches, chips, and stains. However, some homeowners may wish to buff or polish their quartz countertops to restore the original shine or remove minor scratches. Here is what you need to know about buffing quartz countertops.
What is Buffing Quartz Countertops?
Buffing is a process of using abrasives to gently polish the surface of the quartz. It helps remove minor scratches, etching, and restore the glossy finish. Buffing should only be used for light surface restoration, not deep scratches or damage. It is also called ‘honing’ when done by professionals.
Is it Possible to Buff Quartz Countertops?
Yes, it is possible to buff quartz countertops to some extent. However, the results are limited compared to natural stone. Since quartz has a uniformly colored resin binder, buffing cannot reveal a deeper layer like in granite or marble. The pigments and aggregates on the surface are exposed at the factory. Re-polishing quartz does not make the colors pop like a freshly installed countertop.
Should You Buff Your Quartz Countertop?
Most quartz manufacturers advise against buffing quartz countertops in a DIY setting. Aggressive buffing can damage the surface and void the warranty. Light buffing by a professional may be done sparingly for removing minor scratches less than 0.3mm deep. Deeper gouges need to be professionally repaired and re-polished.
However, it is best to avoid buffing quartz countertops when possible. Simple cleaning and protecting the surface is the safest maintenance practice for quartz.
Professional vs DIY Quartz Countertop Buffing
Light buffing of superficial scratches on quartz is possible through professional quartz restoration services. They have specialized tools and expertise to polish the engineered stone correctly. DIY buffing is not recommended as the abrasives can damage the surface and cause more scratches if not done properly.
Professionals also have access to epoxy resins to fill deeper scratches before buffing. They can blend the repairs seamlessly into the surrounding quartz. DIY repairs are usually conspicuous.
How to Buff Quartz Countertops Professionally
Here are the typical steps for professional buffing of quartz countertops:
Cleaning – The surface is deeply cleaned to remove waxes, sealants, and soils. This allows the compounds to work smoothly on the bare quartz.
Inspection – The scratches and damages are inspected to determine which need buffing, epoxy filling, or a full replacement. Only minor surface scratches are buffed.
Buffing – Starting with the least abrasive pad, the surface is gently rubbed in concentric motions. The compounds fill in the micro-scratches and restore gloss. Several abrasive grits may be used from coarse to fine.
Polishing – A polishing pad is used with minerals or diamond abrasives to achieve the final uniform smoothness and shine.
Sealing – New sealants are applied to protect the buffed surface from new stains and scratches.
Professionals take precautions against over-buffing which can thin out the surface layer of resin and quartz. They also blend any repairs seamlessly.
DIY Quartz Countertop Buffing
DIY buffing of quartz is not advisable. You may end up with more visible scratches and permanent damage. If you still wish to attempt it, follow these precautions:
- Use the mildest buffing pad and cream designed for engineered stone. Never use wax or polishes made for natural stone.
- Rub very gently in circular motions avoiding pressure in any one spot. Over-buffing can damage the surface.
- Clean the surface after buffing to remove any residue. Re-seal the surface for protection.
- Test first on an inconspicuous spot to check if the buffing causes any adverse effects.
- Avoid buffing deep gouges, chips or cracks. Get these professionally repaired.
What Not to Do When Buffing Quartz
Some common mistakes to avoid when buffing quartz:
- Using hard buffing pads or abrasives designed for metals, glass, tile etc. These are too harsh for engineered stone.
- Applying too much pressure in one area causing uneven polishing.
- Failing to clean residues which can leave a hazy finish.
- Not re-sealing the surface after buffing which leaves it prone to stains.
- Over-buffing which results in thinning out of the resin layer.
- Attempting to buff out deep scratches, chips or cracks. These need structural repairs.
- Causing excessive heat buildup from high speeds/friction which damages the resin.
- Moving the buffer in only one direction instead of concentric circles.
- DIY repairs without professional training or guidance.
How Often Can Quartz Countertops be Buffed?
Quartz countertops can only be buffed safely a limited number of times in their lifetime. The resin layer will gradually get thinner with repeated buffing. Most manufacturers recommend only having quartz countertops buffed once or twice in 10-15 years.
Too frequent buffing also reduces the glossy polished finish of the quartz. If your countertops require buffing more than a couple of times, it likely indicates a problem with the original installation or ongoing use/maintenance.
Signs Your Quartz Countertops Need Buffing
Here are some signs that your quartz countertops may benefit from light buffing:
- Visible surface scratches from daily use. These appear duller than the surrounding quartz.
- permanent marks from metal cookware or utensils. These appear like grayish smudges.
- Loss of shine and luster making the surface appear cloudy.
- Etch marks from acidic liquids like wine, vinegar, citrus juices etc. These appear like whitish marks.
- Light abrasions from cleaning the countertop aggressively or with abrasive pads.
- Overall dullness compared to newly installed neighboring quartz surfaces.
- Rings or watermarks that don’t wipe away with regular cleaning.
If your quartz countertops display any of these issues affecting the look despite regular cleaning, consult a professional about the option of buffing. But remember that buffing has limited effectiveness on quartz compared to natural stone. Prevention is better than dealing with damage later.
How to Care for Quartz Countertops to Avoid Needing Buffing
With some simple care and maintenance, you can minimize the need for buffing your quartz countertops:
- Use cutting boards, trivets and hot pads to protect the surface from knife scratches, hot pans etc.
- Clean spills promptly with a mild non-abrasive cleaner and soft cloth. Don’t let stains set.
- Avoid using harsh cleaners, scouring pads, bleach, alkaline or acidic cleaners.
- Re-seal the surface every 1-2 years with a quartz-safe sealer to repel stains.
- Don’t place extremely hot items like crockpots, griddles etc. directly on the quartz.
- Don’t cut food directly on the counter which can dull knives and scratch quartz.
- Lift heavy objects when moving them across the countertop to avoid scratches.
With regular gentle cleaning and protection, your quartz countertops can retain their factory finish for many years without requiring extensive buffing. But an occasional light professional buffing can restore minor scratches and scuffs. Just be sure to get it done by a reputable quartz restoration specialist.
While quartz countertops are very durable, their man-made nature limits the effectiveness of buffing compared to natural stone. Minor surface scratches and scuffs can be light buffed by professionals, but deeper damage requires structural repairs. Aggressive DIY buffing can do more harm than good on quartz. With some simple care and maintenance, you may never need extensive buffing on your quartz countertops. But if light buffing is required to improve superficial scratches, hire a professional quartz restoration service for the best results.