Can You Stain Quartz Countertops to Darken Them?

Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular choice for modern kitchens and bathrooms due to their durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance. Though quartz is resistant to stains, some homeowners wish to darken or change the color of their countertops. Staining quartz is possible with the right materials and techniques. Here is what you need to know about staining quartz countertops to darken them.

An Overview of Staining Quartz Countertops

Quartz is an engineered stone made from natural quartz crystals blended with resins and pigments. The resins form a hard, non-porous surface that resists stains, scratches, and heat. However, this also makes quartz resistant to absorbing stain or dye.

With the proper prep work, materials, and application process, quartz can successfully be stained to achieve a richer, darker look. Staining quartz does not damage the material, but the results are semi-permanent and difficult to reverse. So staining is best done with caution and care.

Why Would You Want to Stain Quartz Countertops?

There are a few reasons homeowners may wish to stain their quartz counters:

  • To darken the color or change to a different tone
  • To cover small scratches or etchings
  • For a change of style or refreshed look
  • To match new cabinets or an updated decor

Staining offers more customization than purchasing all new countertops. It allows you to alter the color without replacing the counters. Keep in mind, however, that staining quartz will produce a uniform, solid color. It does not replicate the patterned look of natural stone or marble.

What Kind of Stain Works on Quartz?

Not all stains and dyes will work on quartz’s non-porous surface. Here are some options that can effectively stain quartz:

  • Penetrating stain – This is formulated to sink into dense materials. It contains solvents that help it absorb.
  • Gel stain – The thicker gel is easier to control and stays in place on vertical surfaces.
  • ** Concrete dye** – Meant for exterior concrete, this extremely pigmented dye can permanently tint quartz.

Always test stain on a small, inconspicuous area first. Sample colors may look different on the quartz than expected.

Avoid using wood stains, opaque paints, or limewash on quartz. These products will not penetrate the stone and will eventually peel or chip off.

How to Stain Quartz Countertops

Staining quartz countertops takes preparation, patience, and care. Follow these steps:

Clean and Prepare the Surface

Cleaning is crucial so the stain can properly adhere. Use soap and water or a stone cleaner to remove all dirt, oils, and residues.

Lightly sand the quartz with fine 120-220 grit sandpaper to roughen the surface and allow the stain to absorb. Be very gentle to avoid creating scratches.

Acetone can also help open the pores of the stone. Wipe the surface with an acetone-dampened cloth and allow it to dry fully.

Select Your Stain

Pick a penetrating or gel stain in your desired color. Test on spare pieces of quartz or hidden underside areas first. Allow the test stain to dry completely before deciding if you like the color.

Purchase enough stain to cover the counters in a single application. Stopping halfway through and restarting later often results in a blotchy, uneven appearance.

Apply the Stain

Carefully apply the stain using either a clean cloth or small foam roller. Gel stain will be easiest to control. Cover the entire surface with a smooth, even layer of stain.

Let the stain sit for 5-10 minutes so it can start penetrating the stone. Then wipe off thoroughly with a clean cloth. Allow up to 24 hours for the stain to fully dry and settle. The color may appear lighter at first.

Seal and Protect

Once dry, apply 2-3 layers of high-quality sealer formulated for natural stone. This helps lock in the stain and prevent fading or wearing over time. Reapply sealer every 1-2 years.

With proper application and sealing, a stained quartz countertop can last for many years before needing a refresher. Use coasters, trivets, and cutting boards to protect the finish.

Things to Keep in Mind

Staining quartz counters dark requires careful prep and execution, but the effects can be beautiful. Here are some final tips:

  • Staining is permanent – the only way to undo it is to have the counters re-polished.
  • Results may vary depending on the quartz color and pattern.
  • Hire a pro if you are unsure about staining quartz yourself.
  • Use an N95 mask when sanding and work in a well-ventilated area.
  • Staining vertical surfaces like backsplashes can be tricky – gel stain helps.
  • Change up your decor to complement the new darker counters.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use food coloring to stain quartz?

No, food coloring will not effectively stain quartz counters. It does not have penetrating properties and will eventually wipe off the non-porous surface. Use a high-quality penetrating or gel stain formulated for stone.

Will stained quartz counters look blotchy?

It is possible to end up with a blotchy appearance if the stain is not applied evenly. Using a gel stain and wiping off excess can help avoid blotchiness. Applying multiple thin coats of stain instead of one thick coat can also create a more uniform appearance.

How dark can you stain quartz?

It depends on the original color and pattern of your counters, but in general quartz can be stained significantly darker. Concrete dyes allow for very dark staining, even black, if desired. The darker you go, the more dramatic the change will be from the original shade.

Can I use water-based stain on quartz?

Water-based stains do not contain the solvents needed for penetrating non-porous surfaces like quartz. They tend to sit on top without absorbing properly. For best results, use an oil-based penetrating or gel stain which can sink into the stone. Always test first.

How do I lighten stained quartz counters?

Unfortunately, there is no good way to lighten stained quartz counters. Once the color has penetrated the stone, the only option is to have a fabricator re-polish the surface to remove the stained layer. This is expensive and labor-intensive. It is best to stick with your initial stained color.


With the right preparation and products, staining quartz countertops to achieve a darker, richer color is absolutely possible. Pay close attention to properly cleaning, prepping, applying, and sealing the surface to get optimal results. Take your time on test samples first before moving onto the entire surface. While staining quartz is semi-permanent, with care it can add beauty and drama to your kitchen or bath for many years.