Painting a quartz countertop can seem like an easy and affordable way to refresh the look of your kitchen. However, it is generally not recommended to paint over quartz countertops. Here’s a detailed look at why it’s risky to paint quartz and how to care for these popular engineered stone countertops.
What is a Quartz Countertop?
Quartz countertops, sometimes called engineered stone, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The result is a durable, non-porous surface that resists stains, scratches, and heat.
Unlike natural stone slabs, quartz countertops are man-made in a factory so the end product has consistent colors and patterns throughout. The most common brands of quartz used for countertops include Silestone, Caesarstone, Cambria, and DuPont Zodiaq.
Why Painting Quartz is Risky
There are a few reasons why painting a quartz countertop is not advised:
1. Difficult Surface for Paint Adhesion
The resin coatings used in quartz manufacturing create an extremely hard, non-porous surface. This makes it difficult for new paint coats to properly adhere. No amount of sanding or etching will create enough texture for the paint to really stick.
2. Traps Moisture Underneath
Any paint or coating applied can trap moisture underneath leading to warping or peeling. Quartz countertops should be allowed to breathe to prevent any moisture buildup.
3. Prone to Chipping and Peeling
The inevitable chipping and peeling of paint on quartz will expose ugly patches and create an un-uniform look. The flaws will be even more noticeable given how level and smooth quartz countertops are.
4. Voids Manufacturer Warranties
Quartz companies like Silestone explicitly state that their warranties will be voided if any paint or additional coatings are applied to their products.
Proper Care for Quartz Countertops
Instead of attempting to paint quartz countertops, the better solution is keeping them looking like new with proper care and maintenance:
Clean quartz counters 1-2 times per week using a mild soap and water. Rinse well and dry with a soft cloth. Too much cleaning product residue can lead to buildup and dullness over time.
Blot Spills Quickly
Immediately wipe up any spills, especially oils, vinegars, and citrus juices which can erode and stain the surface given enough time. A quick response prevents stains from setting in.
Avoid Abrasive Cleaners
Do not use any abrasive cleaners, scouring pads, or powders which can permanently dull the finish. Harsh chemicals can also discolor or etch the surface.
Prevent Thermal Shock
Avoid exposing quartz counters to extreme temperature swings. Pans straight from the oven or burner can crack the quartz. Use trivets and hot pads whenever setting down hot items.
Re-seal for Added Protection
Consider re-sealing your quartz every 2-3 years with a penetrating sealant made specifically for quartz. This adds an extra layer of protection against stains.
If your quartz countertops have significant etching or scratches, hire a professional stone restoration company to mechanically polish and refinish the surface.
Painting Quartz Countertops as a Last Resort
If you decide to paint a quartz countertop despite the risks, here are a few tips to get the longest lasting results:
- Thoroughly scuff up the surface with 150 grit sandpaper for better paint adhesion
- Use a bonding primer like XIM or Rustoleum specifically made for slick surfaces
- Only use durable cabinet/countertop paints like Rustoleum RockSolid
- Apply multiple thin coats allowing ample drying time between coats
- Expect to have to regularly touch up chipping or peeling areas
- Be prepared to fully strip and refinish if the paint job fails
Painting over quartz countertops should really be a last resort option. With proper maintenance and care, quality quartz counters can look amazing for 15-20 years or more. Refreshing the rest of the kitchen with new cabinet hardware, backsplash tile, light fixtures or flooring are often much easier updates.
Frequently Asked Questions about Painting Quartz Countertops
Should I etch my quartz before painting?
Etching with an acid-based product can improve paint adhesion slightly, but does carry risks like uneven etching. It’s better to thoroughly scuff up the surface with sandpaper first.
What type of paint adheres best to quartz?
Paints made specifically for countertop and cabinet refinishing like Rustoleum’s RockSolid paint tend to bond better than standard acrylic latex paints.
Can I use chalk paint on my quartz countertop?
Chalk paint is not recommended for quartz as the finish remains “chalky” and can actually rub off over time leaving behind scratches on the quartz surface.
How long does painted quartz last compared to natural stone?
Painted quartz may start to show wear in 1-2 years. Natural stone countertops when professionally sealed can last for decades before needing refinishing.
Should I hire a pro to paint my quartz?
Consider hiring an experienced painting contractor who specializes in cabinet/countertop refinishing. They will use proper prep, industrial coatings and application methods to get the longest lasting paint job on quartz.
Painting over quartz countertops is risky business with only short-term results. For long-lasting beauty, proper cleaning and avoid abrasives. If your quartz is severely damaged, professional refinishing is a better option than painting. With some TLC, quality quartz counters can stay looking great for years before a replacement is needed.