Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular choice for modern kitchens and bathrooms. Made from engineered stone, quartz offers an attractive, durable, and low-maintenance surface. One question that often comes up with quartz is whether you can get custom etching or engraving added. Here is what you need to know about getting etching on quartz countertops.
What is Etching on Quartz?
Etching on quartz involves creating a custom design or pattern by removing the top layer of the stone’s resin coating. This exposes the natural quartz aggregates underneath, creating a unique look and texture. Etching can be done to create designs like names, monograms, decorative borders, or abstract patterns. The etching stands out from the surrounding smooth quartz surface.
Etching is sometimes confused with engraving, but they are two different techniques:
- Etching removes the coating to expose the stone underneath in a design.
- Engraving cuts grooves into the surface of the quartz.
Engraving is not recommended for quartz because it can damage the structural integrity and make the countertop more prone to cracks and stains. Etching is the preferred technique.
Can You Get Etching on Quartz?
The short answer is yes, you can get custom etching added to quartz countertops. However, there are some important caveats:
- Not all quartz can be etched – Etching works best on quartz made from lighter natural stone aggregates. Darker quartz varieties may not show etching well.
- Etching is permanent – Unlike engraving natural stone, etching on quartz cannot be re-polished or removed. The effect is permanent.
- Etching may void the warranty – Many quartz warranties state that any alterations like etching void the terms of coverage. Check with the manufacturer first.
- Only professionals should etch quartz – Quartz etching requires specialty tools and experience. Do not try to etch the countertop yourself.
How Is Quartz Etching Done?
Quartz etching is a multiple step process that should only be done by an experienced professional:
- The design is planned out and outlined on the quartz.
- A negative of the design is cut out from a masking material.
- The masking is applied and the design area exposed.
- The exposed surface resin coating is carefully removed with an etching tool.
- The masking is removed, revealing the etched design.
- The quartz is cleaned, polished, and re-sealed.
The etching depth is usually subtle, with just the top resin layer removed. This preserves the structure and performance of the quartz.
Pros and Cons of Etched Quartz Countertops
- Creates a custom, one-of-a-kind look.
- Etching can personalize your space.
- More subtle than engraving natural stone.
- Can coordinate with other decor.
- Etching is permanent.
- Only some quartz varieties can be etched.
- May void manufacturer warranties.
- Needs an experienced professional.
- Etched areas may be more prone to staining.
Cost to Etch Quartz Countertops
Adding etching to quartz countertops does come at an added cost compared to purchasing un-etched slabs. The price will depend on factors like:
- Size and complexity of the etched design.
- Whether etching just an accent area or the whole surface.
- Quartz color and quality.
- Professional fees to etch and install.
As a rough estimate, expect to pay $50-100 per square foot for etched quartz counter areas. Get quotes from experienced quartz etching professionals.
Maintenance for Etched Quartz
Etched designs on quartz countertops do require some special care. The exposed quartz is more porous than the surface resin, so etched areas are more prone to:
- Staining from spills.
- Accumulating dirt and grime in the etch recesses.
- Showing wear over time.
Follow these care tips:
- Clean etched areas more frequently.
- Use a penetrating quartz cleaner, not just soap and water.
- Avoid abrasive cleansers and scrubbing pads.
- Re-seal etched sections regularly with a quartz sealer.
With proper care, an etched quartz countertop can remain beautiful for many years.
Should You Get Etching on Your Quartz Countertops?
Here are some things to consider:
- Etching can create a wow-factor – It is a great way to personalize and customize a kitchen or bath design. Etched designs really stand out.
- Make sure your quartz variety is etchable – Opt for lighter tones to really show off the etched look.
- Consider just etching an accent – Get the custom look on just a small accent area like behind a stove or near a sink.
- Be prepared for permanent change – Like a tattoo for your counters, etching won’t be going away. Make sure you want to commit.
- Check on warranty coverage – Most manufacturers will void warranties if you etch, so be prepared to assume all repair costs in the future.
- Hire an expert you trust – This is a job for an experienced pro. Do your due diligence.
With some careful planning, quartz etching can really take your kitchen or bath design to the next level. Get creative with this custom finishing option for engineered stone countertops.
Frequently Asked Questions About Etching on Quartz
Can any quartz be etched?
No, only certain lighter quartz varieties will show etching well. Darker colors and particulate-heavy quartz may not be good etching candidates.
Does etching damage quartz?
Etching removes only the top layer of resin coating, so it does not damage the structural integrity. Engraving that cuts into the quartz itself is not recommended.
What designs can be etched on quartz?
You have a lot of options for etched designs. Some popular choices are names, monograms, borders, artistic textures, abstract patterns, leaves, or floral motifs.
Can etching be removed from quartz?
Unlike natural stone, you cannot re-polish etched areas on quartz countertops. Etching is a permanent change because the resin coating is removed.
Is it cheaper to etch quartz before installation?
Yes, you can save on installation labor costs if you have etching done at the quartz fabrication shop before your countertops are cut and installed.
Does etched quartz need special cleaning?
Yes, be sure to clean etched areas more frequently and use a penetrating quartz cleaner. Avoid abrasive scrubbing. Re-seal regularly.
How much does it cost to etch a quartz backsplash?
Expect to pay around $50-100 per square foot for quartz backsplash etching. Cost will depend on the complexity of the design.
Can I etch my quartz countertop myself?
No, proper quartz etching requires special tools and training. Do not attempt to etch a quartz countertop yourself or you could damage the surface.
Etching can be a beautiful way to customize quartz countertops, adding personalized designs or unique textures. With lighter quartz varieties, an experienced professional, and proper care, you can safely add this custom look. Just be sure to plan etching carefully since it is a permanent change. If done right, etched quartz can make a kitchen or bath truly one-of-a-kind.