Can You Damage Quartz Countertops? The Complete Guide

Quartz countertops are popular choices for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects because of their durability, ease of maintenance, and stylish appearance. However, like any material, quartz can become damaged under certain circumstances. This comprehensive guide will explore the question: can you damage quartz countertops?

What is Quartz?

Before diving into the ways quartz countertops can become damaged, it is helpful to understand exactly what quartz is.

Quartz is a manufactured, engineered stone made from natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The quartz content typically ranges from 90-94%, while resins make up the remaining 6-10%.

The resins bind the quartz crystals together to form a durable, non-porous surfacing material. Pigments added to the resins provide the wide range of color and pattern options available with quartz.

Compared to natural stone materials like granite and marble, quartz offers superior resistance to stains, scratches, and heat. The resin binders fill in the natural pores and cracks found in stone, creating an impervious surface.

However, quartz is not completely indestructible. Through improper use and care, quartz countertops can become damaged.

Heat Damage

One of the most common ways quartz countertops get damaged is through excessive heat exposure. The resins used in manufacturing quartz countertops typically have moderate heat tolerance up to about 150°F.

Exposing quartz surfaces to temperatures beyond this threshold can cause damage in the form of:

  • Discoloration
  • Small cracks/fissures
  • Pitting
  • Yellowing
  • Bubbling

Damaging levels of heat can come from:

  • Hot pans/pots directly from the stove or oven
  • Curling irons
  • Hot hair straighteners
  • Candles
  • Placing simmering pots near the countertop edge

To prevent heat damage:

  • Always use trivets and hot pads when placing hot cookware on quartz
  • Don’t leave flat irons or curling irons face down on the countertop
  • Keep candles on a platter or bowl instead of directly on the quartz
  • Take care when cooking not to allow excess heat to affect the countertop near the stove

With proper care, quartz can withstand normal cooking tasks. But exposing it to extreme direct heat can create permanent damage sites on the surface.

Impact Damage

While quartz is exceptionally hard and durable, excessive force and impact can cause chips, cracks, and fractures. Dropping heavy, sharp, or hard objects on a quartz countertop can potentially lead to damage.

Examples include:

  • Heavy pots, pans, and appliances
  • Thick glassware, bottles, and bowls
  • Kitchen tools like meat tenderizers and hammers
  • Kitchen knives

Quartz is fairly resistant to impact damage thanks to its rigid structure. But anything dropped from a significant height onto a corner or edge can potentially chip or crack the material.

To prevent impact damage:

  • Avoid dropping heavy objects on the countertop
  • Handle glassware and dishes with care over the surface
  • Take care when working with kitchen tools to avoid excessive impact
  • Use cutting boards instead of cutting directly on the quartz

With some care and common sense, quartz should withstand normal wear and tear from glasses, pots and pans, and other routine kitchen items. But be cautious with heavy objects that fall forcefully onto the surface.


Quartz countertops are impressively scratch-resistant, but they are not completely scratch-proof. Cutting directly on the surface or dragging abrasive materials across it can potentially cause light surface scratches.

Examples that can lead to scratching include:

  • Cutting foods on the countertop
  • Scraping pans and dishes across the surface
  • Moving appliances and cookware across the quartz
  • Cleaning with abrasive pads

Most light surface scratches are only visible on close inspection under certain lighting conditions. And darker quartz colors like blacks, browns, and blues tend to conceal scratches better than lighter hues.

To prevent scratching:

  • Always use a cutting board for food preparation tasks
  • Take care not to scrape metal cookware across the surface when cleaning or moving items
  • Use soft cloths when cleaning rather than abrasive pads
  • Apply sealers that enhance scratch resistance

Sealers cannot prevent deep scratches caused by cuts and gouges. But they do provide added protection against superficial surface scratches during daily use.


Quartz is impressively stain-resistant due to its non-porous qualities. But extremely pigmented substances can cause discoloration if left on the surface.

Problem items include:

  • Wine, coffee, tea, and fruit juices
  • Vegetable oils, grease, and cooking oils
  • Mustard, ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar
  • Liquid food coloring, dyes, and pigments
  • Paints, caulk, and adhesives
  • Marker, pens, and crayons
  • Nail polish and remover

To prevent staining:

  • Promptly wipe up food and drink spills
  • Clean cooking oils and grease after use
  • Keep food coloring and craft items off the quartz
  • Take care using pens, markers, glue, etc near the surface
  • Always use a trivet or mat under nail polish bottles

For most household stains, promptly cleaning with a gentle cleaner is sufficient. But for stubborn stains that set, more aggressive cleaning with hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, acetone, or bleach may be required.


Etching is distinct from staining because no discoloration occurs. Instead, damage takes the form of a rough, splotchy patch or dull spot.

Common causes of etching include:

  • Acidic foods like citrus and tomato sauce
  • Vinegars, wines, and alcohol
  • Cleaners containing acids, including some granite cleaners
  • Household chemicals like bleach products and drain cleaners

The acid in these substances can react with the resin binders in quartz, eroding the surface. Splotchy, rough areas then form as the acids corrode and deteriorate the finish.

To prevent etching:

  • Clean up acidic spills like lemon juice promptly
  • Avoid contact with harsh chemicals and acid-based cleaners
  • Use only cleaners specifically formulated for quartz
  • Use trivets and mats under acidic foods and drinks

For minor etching, buffing with a hand pad may reduce the roughness of the damaged area. But severe etching requires professional refinishing.

Cracking and Chipping

Cracks and chips occur when excessive force causes the quartz surface to separate. Damage may be confined to the surface finish, or penetrate deeper into the material.

Causes include:

  • Abrupt temperature changes, causing thermal shock
  • Tension from an unsecured section or improperly installed cutout
  • Settling of cabinets and substructures that quartz is adhered to
  • Impact from a heavy, pointed, or dropped object

Chips around cutouts for sinks are a common issue if edges are not rounded and reinforced properly during fabrication.

To prevent cracking and chipping issues:

  • Allow gradual temperature changes rather than sudden shifts
  • Make sure quartz is properly secured, especially around cutouts
  • Re-tighten supports and braces as needed for underlying cabinetry
  • Avoid excessive impact from heavy objects

Chips can usually be smoothed and polished by a pro. But extensive cracking may require a seamless patch or complete replacement of the damaged section.

Preventing Damage During Installation

Many issues with quartz damage stem from improper installation techniques. Here are some tips installers should follow to avoid problems down the road:

  • Carefully inspect slabs prior to cutting to avoid pre-existing faults
  • Use specialized tools and blades designed for cutting quartz
  • Employ meticulous seam placement to avoid separation or cracking
  • Thoroughly brace and secure cutouts to prevent cracks and drops
  • Maintain proper support under overhangs and unsupported sections
  • Allow ample room around edges for natural movement and vibration
  • Follow all manufacturer guidelines for adhesives, supporting products, etc

A quality installation performed by experienced professionals is critical to preventing unnecessary damage issues.

Repairing and Refinishing Damage

In most cases, the average homeowner cannot properly repair quartz damage themselves. The specific repair method depends on the type and extent of the damage. Some options include:

  • Polishing minor scratches and scuffs – This abrasive buffing smoothes superficial scratches but does not remove or alter the material itself.
  • Filling chips and cracks – Specialty fillers designed for quartz can repair chips on countertop edges and cracks through the surface. The area is built up and then sanded flush.
  • Seamless patching – Badly damaged small areas can be seamlessly patched by cutting out the section and securing a new piece of quartz in place.
  • Full spot replacement – For more significant damage, the damaged quartz may need complete replacement. A new section is cut, edged, and secured in place of the original.
  • Complete countertop replacement – If damage is beyond repair or widespread, a full countertop replacement may be necessary. This is a last resort for severe damage cases.
  • Refinishing – Chemical etching or stain damage can sometimes be improved through refinishing. This involves re-polishing the surface using abrasives.

Ideally, any damage issues should be repaired by the original installer or referred to an experienced countertop pro. Attempting DIY repairs often creates bigger problems.

Maintaining Your Quartz Countertops

With some basic care and precautions, it is possible to prevent most types of damage to quartz countertops. Here are some maintenance tips:

  • Use trivets, mats, and cutting boards to protect the surface daily
  • Clean spills promptly to avoid staining
  • Avoid exposing quartz to excessive heat beyond 150°F
  • Prevent impact damage by handling heavy objects with care
  • Follow manufacturer guidelines on cleaning products to avoid etching
  • Re-tighten supports and braces for underlying cabinetry periodically
  • Consider adding sealers to enhance stain and scratch resistance
  • Check for any loose areas around sinks and backsplashes and re-adhere as needed

With routine care and common sense, quartz countertops should retain their beauty and function for many years before needing replacement. But damage can occur under excessive wear and tear or improper use. Being mindful of how the countertops are maintained and following sound use practices is key to avoiding issues.

FAQs About Damaging Quartz Countertops

Some common questions that arise concerning damage to quartz countertops include:

Can quartz countertops chip from a knife?

Sharp knives can potentially cause nicks and chips in a quartz surface, especially if force is applied. Always use a dedicated cutting board rather than cutting directly on quartz.

Do hot pots ruin quartz?

Exposing quartz to temperatures above 150°F can potentially damage the resin binders. Always use trivets or hot pads when setting hot pots and pans on the surface.

Can you etch quartz countertops?

Yes, acidic substances like lemon juice and vinegar can etch quartz over time, resulting in dull, splotchy areas. Clean up spills promptly and avoid cleaners with acids.

Can you repair cracked quartz countertop?

Minor surface cracks and chips can often be repaired. But deep cracks may require a full replacement of that section. Consult a pro to assess damage and repairs needed.

Is it bad to use bleach on quartz?

Constant exposure to bleach can damage and discolor quartz. Never mix bleach and ammonia. For occasional disinfecting, dilute bleach per manufacturer instructions.

Can quartz countertops stain permanently?

Most stains can be removed with prompt cleaning. But deeply-set stains may cause permanent discoloration without refinishing. Prevent stains by wiping up spills quickly.

How hard is it to scratch quartz?

Quartz has excellent scratch resistance compared to other surfaces. But excessive force from sharp objects can cause light scuffs and scratches over time. Use cutting boards and treat surfaces gently.

Can you buff out scratches in quartz?

Light surface scratches can often be minimized by buffing and re-polishing. But deep scratches caused by cuts and gouges cannot be removed completely without refinishing.

Is it possible to crack quartz countertops?

Yes, quartz can crack from excessive impact, improper support, failure to reinforce cutouts, or abrupt temperature changes causing thermal shock.

How do you remove stains from quartz?

For most stains, prompt cleaning with soapy water or a gentle cleaner is effective. For stubborn stains, try hydrogen peroxide, baking soda paste, acetone, or diluted bleach. Avoid abrasive cleaners.


Quartz countertops are remarkably resilient in daily use when properly cleaned and maintained. But excessive heat, impact, scratches, stains, and chemicals can damage quartz surfaces over time. Being mindful of how quartz countertops are used and implementing sound care practices helps prevent unnecessary damage and repairs. With some basic care, quartz countertops should retain their function and aesthetic for many years before needing replacement.