Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular option for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects. Made from engineered stone, quartz counters are praised for their durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance. But what if you install quartz counters and later decide you want to adjust their size or shape? Can you cut already installed quartz countertop slabs? Here is what you need to know.
Understanding Quartz Countertops
Before diving into the intricacies of cutting installed quartz, it helps to understand what these counters are made of. Quartz counters are composed of ground natural quartz crystals combined with polyresin binders and pigments. The resulting engineered stone material is molded into slabs and polished to create the final countertop products.
Key qualities that make quartz so popular include:
- Durability – Quartz is very hard and resistant to scratches, stains, and heat. It holds up well to heavy daily use.
- Low Maintenance – Routinely requiring only soap and water for cleaning, quartz is easy to care for. It does not need regular sealing or polishing.
- Appearance – With a wide array of colors and patterns, quartz allows for stylish, customized designs. The polished stone finish has an elegant, high-end look.
Cutting Precautions for Installed Quartz
It is possible to cut an already installed quartz countertop, but special considerations must be made. Improper cutting risks damaging the slab. Follow these precautions:
Use the Right Tools
Cutting quartz requires a high-RPM power saw with a diamond-tipped blade. A tile saw and carbide blades may work, but proceed cautiously to avoid cracking the slab. Never cut quartz with a handheld circular saw.
Cut Very Slowly
Take your time with cuts to reduce friction and heat buildup. Rushing the job risks scorching or fracturing the quartz. Feed the saw blade gradually through the cut line.
Cut installed quartz outside or in a well-ventilated area. The stone will release a fine silica dust that you don’t want inhaled. Wear eye protection and a dust mask.
Some minor chipping along the cut edge is likely with an installed slab. The backing material often fractures. Skilled professionals can minimize chipping risks.
Clean Up Dust
Quartz cutting creates fine dust that can stick to surfaces. Carefully clean up afterward with a shop vacuum and damp rags. Avoid spreading dust indoors.
Professional Cutting Services
For best results and safety, consider hiring a professional to cut your installed quartz countertop. Companies like Granite Transformations specialize in quartz repairs, alterations, and installations. Benefits include:
- Skill with specialized power saws and diamond blades
- Precision cutting to exact measurements
- Techniques to minimize chipping and cracking
- Proper cleanup and disposal of silica dust
- Seamless integration of new cut edges
While an investment, professional quartz cutting services reduce the risks of permanently damaging your existing counters. They can customize your space with minimal disruption.
When Cutting Makes Sense
In some cases, cutting installed quartz counters is the best solution:
- Removing a section to accommodate larger sink or appliance
- Reshaping corners or edges that are prone to chipping
- Repairing major cracks or damage in the slab
- Adjusting for new backsplashes, floors, or cabinetry
If such functional changes are needed, professional cutting is likely worthwhile to modify your existing counters vs. a full replacement. But for small aesthetic changes, living with the original quartz layout may be the easier choice.
Alternatives to Cutting Quartz
Depending on your needs, consider these options before cutting into your counters:
- Add a cutting board, trivet, or hot pad to protect quartz around appliances
- Use rugs or furniture to hide damaged edge spots
- Change the backsplash or lighting fixtures for a new look
- Add new hardware like sinks, faucets or soap dispensers
- Paint or restain cabinetry for an updated style
- Replace worn caulk or sealants around edges
With creativity and low-cost accents, you can refresh the look of your kitchen or bath without undertaking permanent changes to your quartz countertops.
While possible with care, cutting into installed quartz counters has risks. For anything beyond minor alterations, hiring a professional fabricator is advised. They have specialized tools and expertise to customize your counters with minimal damage. But also consider inexpensive decor updates before taking the permanent step of cutting your quartz. With planning and patience, you can modify your space without replacing or cutting into your existing stone surfaces.
5 Key Things to Know Before Cutting Quartz Countertops
1. Use the Proper Tools
Cutting quartz requires high-RPM power saws with diamond-tipped blades. Never cut quartz with hand tools like circular or jigsaw blades. The proper specialized equipment minimizes cracking.
2. Cut Very Slowly and Carefully
Rushing through quartz cutting risks overheating and fracturing the slab. Take your time to reduce friction and maintain control. Slow, even feed rate of saw blade is crucial.
3. Expect Some Chipping
Professional cuts still produce some chipping, especially along the substrate. Skilled fabricators carefully control chipping, but minor imperfections may remain.
4. Cut Outdoors or in Well-Ventilated Area
Dry cutting quartz produces fine silica dust. To avoid inhaling the harmful dust, cut slabs only in well-ventilated outdoor areas while wearing a respirator.
5. Hire a Pro for Major Modifications
While DIY quartz cutting is possible for small jobs, extensive alterations are best left to professionals. Their specialized tools and experience minimize damage risks.
FAQs About Cutting Existing Quartz Counters
Can I cut a quartz countertop myself?
It is possible for a DIYer to cut quartz with the right diamond-bladed power saw, but hiring a professional is recommended to reduce mistakes. Proper tools and experience minimize cracking and chipping risks.
How do you cut already installed quartz?
Mark the cut line and carefully run a specialized diamond saw blade designed for stone along the mark. Make multiple shallow passes while spraying water to control friction and dust. Go very slowly.
What kind of saw do you use to cut quartz?
A high RPM power saw with a diamond-tipped blade specially designed for cutting engineered stone is required to cleanly cut quartz. Tile saws can work but may cause more chipping. Never use a circular saw.
Can I cut quartz countertop with circular saw?
No, you should never attempt to cut quartz with a standard circular saw. The fast spinning carbide teeth will overheat the quartz and cause it to crack or shatter. Always use a specialized diamond-tipped saw.
How do I cut a straight line in quartz?
Use a straightedge guide clamped parallel to the cut line to guide the saw for straight cuts in a quartz slab. Take your time and don’t force the blade. Making multiple light passes ensures clean results.
Should I wet quartz before cutting?
Yes, keeping the quartz slab wet while cutting helps control dust and friction. Continuously spray the cut line with water as you slowly feed the saw blade. This will prolong blade life as well.
How do you finish cut quartz edges?
After cutting, edges can be finished by sanding or polishing. Professionals have special tools to hone cut edges for smooth, attractive results. Matching the existing edge profile takes skill.
Can quartz be cut to fit on site?
It is possible for installers to make minor cut adjustments to get quartz counters to fit perfectly on site. But for best results, fabrication shops make nearly all major cuts prior to installation.
Is it cheaper to cut quartz before or after installation?
Having quartz cut precisely to size before installation is recommend and most economical. Attempting to cut into fully installed slabs has much higher risk of damage.
Cutting existing quartz counters is possible for skilled professionals with the proper diamond-bladed equipment. They can modify installed slabs to accommodate repairs, expansions, or layout changes. But Quartz has specific cutting needs. Rushing the job or using the wrong tools can result in cracked, chipped slabs. Especially for major alterations, hiring an experienced fabricator reduces damage risks when cutting your quartz countertops.