Quartz countertops have become an increasingly popular choice for kitchen and bathroom remodels in recent years. Their durability, low maintenance, and customizability make them a top contender when selecting new countertops. However, one question that often comes up during the installation process is: do quartz countertops need to acclimate before installation?
The short answer is yes, quartz countertops do need time to acclimate to the environment they will be installed in. Proper acclimation is an important step that cannot be skipped. When done correctly, it will help prevent cracks, warping, and other issues down the road.
Below we will explore the details around quartz acclimation to help you understand the why and how behind this essential installation step.
Why Acclimation Matters for Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops are an engineered stone made from roughly 90% ground natural quartz combined with resins and pigments. The exact ratio and compounds vary between different manufacturers.
The resins in quartz help bind the material together into a durable, non-porous surface. However, these resins also make quartz somewhat sensitive to temperature changes.
If a quartz countertop is installed straight from the factory into a new environment, the sudden temperature change can cause the resins to expand or contract at a different rate than the natural stone. This mismatches in expansion/contraction introduces stress that can lead to:
- Cracks forming in the countertop
- Warping or bending of the surface
- Bond failure between slabs
- Damage to the structural integrity
By allowing quartz slabs time to acclimate before final installation, it gives the materials a chance to adjust to the ambient temperature and humidity. This prevents thermal shock and minimizes the risk of damage.
Most manufacturers recommend allowing 72 hours for proper acclimation when installing quartz countertops. However, more time is often better, especially if there is a significant difference between the factory, transport, and installation environments.
Acclimation Tips for Quartz Countertops
Follow these tips to make sure your quartz countertops acclimate correctly before installation:
1. Deliver Slabs 1-2 Weeks Before Installation
Ideally, your quartz slabs should be delivered 1-2 weeks before the scheduled installation date. This gives the materials plenty of time to adjust to the new environment.
If that lead time isn’t possible, aim for at least 72 hours of acclimation before install.
2. Lay Slabs Flat Indoors at Room Temperature
The slabs should be placed carefully in the room where they will be installed, lying completely flat and fully supported along their length.
Make sure the room is climate controlled with the thermostat set between 65-75°F. Avoid hot or cold areas like garages or outdoors.
3. Separate Slabs and Allow Space for Airflow
Individual slabs should be separated by 1/4″ – 1/2″ and raised slightly off the floor using spacers. This allows air circulation around each piece.
Stacked or bundled slabs will not acclimate as effectively.
4. Keep Away From Heat and Direct Sunlight
Direct sunlight and other heat sources like appliances or HVAC vents can cause uneven slab heating and thermal expansion during acclimation.
Position slabs away from windows, appliances, vents, and any other heat sources. Control the ambient room temperature carefully.
5. Humidity and Moisture Aren’t a Factor
Quartz only needs to equalize to ambient air temperature, not humidity or moisture. It does not need moisture equalization like natural stone.
However, moisture during install can damage adhesives. Make sure the slabs and substrate are dry before final installation.
6. Acclimate Both Main Slabs and Cut Pieces
Any cut or fabricated pieces like backsplashes, islands, or L-shaped segments should be acclimated alongside the main slabs. Cut pieces can experience more expansion/contraction stress.
Keep all pieces separated and give 72+ hours before final assembly and install.
Signs Your Quartz Needs More Time to Acclimate
How can you tell if your quartz slabs need more acclimation time before installation can begin? Watch for these signs:
- Condensation – If condensation appears on slab surfaces, it indicates a temperature change is still occurring as they equalize. Give more time.
- Feeling Warm or Cold – Touch each slab across its surface. A noticeable temperature difference from room ambient air indicates uneven equalization.
- Odors – Some owners notice a odor from slabs off-gassing as temperatures change. This indicates ongoing adjustment.
- Visible Expansion – Carefully check for small gaps that open at seams or between pieces. This shows expansion happening.
- Warping – Subtle warps in flat slab surfaces can emerge with temperature swings during acclimation.
Seeing any of these requires giving your quartz more acclimation time before the final install.
How Long Does Quartz Acclimation Take?
How much time should you allow for quartz countertop acclimation? Here are the general recommendations:
- Manufacturer Guidelines – Most advise allowing 72 hours minimum. This gives time for the majority of acclimation.
- 1-2 Weeks Ideal – Allowing slabs 1-2 weeks before install is best, giving ample time to fully stabilize.
- Actual Time Varies – The real acclimation time depends on the exact quartz product, environment differences, and installation conditions.
- Add More Time If Needed – If condensation, odors, or other signs persist, add 12-24 hour increments until fully stabilized.
The most important thing is allowing sufficient time rather than adhering to a fixed timeline. Give your quartz what it needs for proper acclimation, even if that means going longer than expected.
Step-by-Step Acclimation Process for Quartz
Follow this complete step-by-step process for properly acclimating quartz countertops before installation:
- Measure installation area and finalize quartz slab layout.
- Inform installer/fabricator of timeline and acclimation needs.
- Turn on HVAC system and stabilize room temperature between 65-75°F.
Day of Delivery
- Ensure installation area is clean and ready for slabs.
- Carefully unload and inspect slabs for any damage.
- Place 1/4″ – 1/2″ spacers evenly spaced across the floor.
- Lay each slab flat on spacers, separated by gap of 1/4″ – 1/2″.
- Confirm room temperature is in 65-75°F range.
During Acclimation Period
- Maintain stable temperature between 65-75°F.
- Keep area free from direct sunlight or appliances/vents blowing hot air.
- Check daily for condensation, odors, expansion gaps, warping, etc.
- Allow 72 hours minimum, 1-2 weeks ideally.
- Add time if needed until slabs are fully stabilized.
- Confirm no condensation, odors, visible expansion, or temperature differences.
- Acclimate any cut pieces or fabricated segments alongside main slabs.
- Keep room conditions consistent through the installation process.
FAQs About Acclimating Quartz Countertops
Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about acclimating quartz countertops:
How long does quartz need to acclimate?
Most manufacturers recommend 72 hours minimum. 1-2 weeks is ideal if possible. Give as much time as needed for your specific material and environment.
Where should I place quartz slabs to acclimate?
In the climate-controlled room where they will be installed, lying completely flat and separated from one another.
What temperature should the room be for acclimation?
Between 65-75°F is best. Avoid hot or cold areas.
Do quartz slabs need moisture equalization?
No, only temperature equalization. However, moisture during install can damage adhesives.
Can quartz be installed straight from the fabricator?
It’s not advisable. Thermal shock can occur from the temperature change. Always allow time to acclimate.
How do I know when quartz is ready for install?
When no more condensation, odors, or signs of expansion/contraction are present between slabs and room air.
Should cut pieces or backsplashes also acclimate?
Yes, any fabricated or cut quartz pieces should acclimate alongside the main slabs.
What happens if quartz isn’t acclimated?
Potential cracks, warping, bond failure, and damage over time. Proper acclimation prevents these issues.
Acclimate Quartz Properly for Success
Quartz offers many benefits for kitchen and bath countertops projects. But in order to get the longevity and performance you expect from quartz, proper acclimation is a must.
By following the tips above, allowing sufficient time for your specific install conditions, and carefully checking for signs of full acclimation, you can prevent unnecessary cracks, warps, or other damage down the road.
Be sure to factor the acclimation period into your quartz installation timeline. A little patience in the beginning will pay off for years of functionality and beauty from your new quartz countertops.