Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular choice for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects. Often referred to as “engineered stone,” quartz combines ground natural quartz with resins and pigments to create a durable and stylish surface. One of the advantages of quartz is that it requires very little maintenance compared to natural stone. But like any countertop material, quartz can start to show signs of wear over time. If your quartz countertops are looking a little dull or you want to update the color, you may be wondering: can you paint quartz countertop?
What Is Quartz Countertop?
Before diving into the details of painting quartz, it helps to understand exactly what quartz countertops are made of.
Quartz countertops contain about 90% ground quartz combined with polyresin binders (around 10%). The quartz is mined and then crushed into a fine powder. Pigments are added to achieve different colors and patterns. It is then combined with the resin binders and formed into slabs using vibrocompaction and vacuum vibration. This mixture results in a hard, non-porous material when cured.
The resin gives quartz its glossy appearance and makes the material non-porous so it resists stains. The result is an incredibly durable and low-maintenance countertop surface. It does not require regular sealing like natural stone. While quartz is resistant to scratches, cutting directly on the surface should still be avoided. The biggest advantage of quartz over natural stone is that it does not have veins running through it so the color and pattern are consistent.
Can Quartz Countertops Be Painted?
The short answer is yes, quartz countertops can be painted. However, there are some important caveats to consider before starting a painting project. Here is an overview of the factors to keep in mind:
Quartz is Non-Porous
The resin used in manufacturing quartz makes it completely non-porous. This is great for resisting stains and damage. However, it also means that paint does not properly adhere to the slick surface. Special bonding primers need to be used so the new paint will stick.
Paint May Not Last Long
While a good bonding primer will allow paint to adhere initially, the paint often does not hold up well long-term on quartz. The durable surface of quartz resists bonding with paint. So the paint can start chipping and peeling off fairly quickly, sometimes in a matter of weeks or months.
Color Options Are Limited
Because paint does not bond perfectly with quartz, options for paint colors and finishes are limited. Darker, bolder colors are more likely to show imperfections. Subtle white or light grey paint colors tend to be the most successful. High-gloss and reflective paints also don’t adhere well. Matte or satin finishes are best.
Maintaining the Finish is Difficult
Over time, normal wear and tear will take a toll on painted quartz. While quartz itself is extremely durable, the painted finish is vulnerable to chipping, food staining, and showing signs of use. Touching up paint on quartz rarely blends perfectly. Keeping chips and flaws repaired requires more frequent attention.
Resale Value May Decrease
Painting over high-quality quartz will very likely decrease the resale value of your home. Prospective buyers may see the paint as damage, discoloration, or a sign of poor quality material underneath. Some may request credits or a price reduction. Most buyers expect pristine, like-new quartz.
Professional vs. DIY Painting
While it is possible to paint quartz countertops yourself, hiring a professional painter is highly recommended. Here’s an overview of the pros and cons:
Hiring a Professional
- Better results: Professionals have the skills, tools, and experience to do the prep work and painting correctly. This gives much better and longer-lasting results.
- Proper bonding: Professionals have access to industrial-strength specialty bonding primers needed for quartz. DIY primers won’t properly adhere.
- No hassle: You can step back and relax rather than take on the complex project yourself. Professionals handle all supplies and tools.
- Cost: Professional painting does cost more than a DIY budget job. But you’ll likely spend less having it done right the first time versus repeated DIY fixes.
- Lower cost: Buying your own supplies is cheaper than hiring a pro. But you get what you pay for regarding longevity.
- Customization: Painting it yourself allows you to pick any colors you like. Pros tend to recommend very light, subtle colors.
- Satisfaction: Some DIY-ers enjoy the sense of accomplishment from taking on the project themselves.
- Learning experience: You’ll learn a lot about the complications and limitations of painting quartz. But your results may not be ideal.
How to Paint Quartz Countertops
If you decide to paint your quartz countertops, either yourself or with a professional, here is an overview of the basic process:
Cleaning and Preparation
Thoroughly cleaning the quartz and roughening the glossy finish are vital first steps for proper paint adhesion.
- Wash with degreasing cleaners like TSP or ammonia
- Gently rough up surface with 150 grit sandpaper
- Remove all residues and dust with tack cloth
Selecting Paint and Primer
Use specialty bonding primers and satin or matte paint finishes.
- Opt for bonding primer made for non-porous surfaces
- Choose satin or matte paint rather than high-gloss
- Stick with very light greys, off-whites, or beiges
Applying the Primer
Bonding agent primers chemically prepare the surface.
- Apply a thin, even layer of bonding primer
- Allow to fully dry per manufacturer instructions
- Lightly sand primer layer before painting
Painting the Countertop
Use thin, even coats of quality paint and allow proper drying time between coats.
- Paint on at least two coats for adequate coverage
- Apply thin layers, avoiding drips and unevenness
- Let dry fully before second coat and between coats
- Lightly sand and wipe clean between coats
Finishing and Protection
Allow paint to cure fully, then add sealants for durability and easier cleaning.
- Let paint cure for at least 72 hours after final coat
- Clean well before applying protective top coats
- Apply at least two layers of satin polyurethane
Ongoing Care and Maintenance
Painted quartz countertops require gentler care and more frequent touch-ups.
- Use soft sponges and gentle cleaners without abrasives
- Immediately clean spills and stains to avoid absorption
- Check frequently for chips and flaws needing touch-ups
- Expect to reapply protective sealants every 1-2 years
- Prepare for paint to potentially need redone every 3-5 years
The Results: Is It Worth It?
The incentives to paint worn or outdated quartz countertops are understandable. The reality, however, is that paint will not adhere and endure on quartz as well as you may hope. The result is often a finish that looks nice initially but deteriorates relatively quickly.
If your goal is simply a temporary color change, paint could work. But for a permanent solution, replacing the counters entirely or installing new countertop overlay may be better options. Weigh the pros and cons carefully before deciding if painting your quartz will give you the results you really want. With reasonable expectations, the right professional painter, and ongoing maintenance, painted quartz can look beautiful…for a while.
FAQs About Painting Quartz Countertops
Many homeowners considering painting their quartz countertops have common questions and concerns. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about painting quartz:
Can I paint quartz myself or do I need to hire a pro?
It is possible to paint quartz countertops yourself with the right supplies and preparation. However, hiring a professional painter is strongly advised to get the best, longest-lasting results. The non-porous quartz does not bond well with paints available to consumers. Professionals have industrial-strength specialty primers and experience addressing the challenges of painting quartz.
How long does painted quartz last compared to natural stone?
Paint adheres much better to porous natural stone than non-porous quartz. Painted natural stone countertops can potentially last for many years with proper prep and top coats. Painted quartz tends to show wear much sooner. Many DIYers report paint chipping or peeling within weeks or months. With an expert painter, painted quartz may look pristine for 1-2 years.
Should I paint all my countertops to match or just an accent wall?
Painting all countertops the same color gives a streamlined, uniform look. Painting just an accent wall or island can add a fun pop of color while minimizing the painted area. Fully painting all countertops magnifies any flaws in the paint finish, while a single focal wall hides imperfections. Either approach can work well depending on your goals.
What kind of paint should I use on quartz?
Specialty bonding primers are essential, along with 100% acrylic latex paints. Oil-based paints and standard primers do not properly adhere to quartz’s non-porous surface. Satin or matte finishes hide imperfections better than glossy paint. Dark colors show flaws more easily. Light greys or beiges give the most natural, uniform look.
Can I apply a colored concrete stain instead of paint?
Penetrating concrete stains do not work well on quartz since they soak into porous materials. Since quartz is non-porous, stains primarily sit on the surface and do not bond well. Specialty paints with bonding primers are a better option. But paint does not achieve permanent results on quartz either.
Will painting quartz void my warranty?
It is best to check with your installer or manufacturer, as policies vary. Most quartz warranties cover manufacturing defects, not material modifications. Painting over quartz likely voids standard warranties, but manufacturers can decide if they will still honor a claim on a case-by-case basis. Assume your warranty becomes invalid after painting.
Does it make more sense to replace the counters instead?
Painting quartz delivers a temporary color change and restores appearance, but results are not permanent. If your counters are otherwise in good shape, a full replacement may not be worth the higher cost yet. But for a long-lasting renovation, replacement or overlay installation may be better options down the road, especially when selling your home.
While quartz can technically be painted, the non-porous surface does not offer the best bonding results for paints. With reasonable expectations and proper application by a professional, painted quartz can look beautiful temporarily. For a permanent color change, however, replacement or overlay may be better long-term solutions. Consider your goals, budget, and how long you plan to stay in the home when weighing painting versus replacing quartz countertops. With the right prep and paints, a painted quartz makeover can be inexpensive way to update your kitchen or bath for a while.