Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular choice for kitchens and bathrooms due to their durability, aesthetic appeal, and resistance to stains, scratches and heat. Here is an in-depth look at how well quartz countertops hold up against heat exposure.
What is Quartz?
Quartz countertops, sometimes referred to as engineered stone, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The resulting material is non-porous, making it very resistant to stains and scratches. Quartz is also heat resistant, which is one of its major advantages over materials like marble or granite.
Heat Tolerance of Quartz
One of the biggest benefits of quartz countertops is their ability to withstand heat. Here are some key facts about the heat resistance of quartz:
- Quartz can tolerate brief exposures to temperatures up to 300°F without any damage. This makes it safe to place hot pans directly on quartz surfaces.
- Prolonged heat exposure above 150°F may cause minor discoloration or small cracks. However, damage is typically superficial.
- Thermal shock, such as pouring boiling water directly on the surface, can damage quartz. Gradual heat exposure is best.
- Heat tolerance varies slightly by quartz brand and color patterns. Solid, lighter colors tend to resist heat best.
- Quartz maintains its heat resistance well over time. Its resins do not degrade or discolor from normal cooking heat.
Is Quartz Better Than Granite for Resisting Heat?
Quartz has a distinct advantage over granite when it comes to resisting heat damage. Here’s why:
- Granite is more prone to cracking, discoloration and marking from hot pans or other heat exposure.
- Lighter granite colors usually have less heat resistance than darker options. With quartz, color patterns don’t affect heat tolerance.
- Granite requires periodic sealing to maintain its heat resistance. Quartz does not require sealing.
- Over time, granite can form hairline cracks that compromise its structure and heat tolerance. Quartz is less prone to developing cracks.
- The resins in quartz make it better able to withstand heat vs. granite’s natural composition.
Best Practices for Using Quartz with Heat
While quartz has excellent heat resistance compared to other countertop materials, best practices will help avoid any potential damage:
- Always use trivets or hot pads under extremely hot pots and pans. Allow cookware to cool slightly first before setting it down.
- Don’t expose one spot on the countertop to prolonged high heat. Rotate hot pads frequently.
- Avoid direct high-heat exposure from appliances like electric griddles. Use a trivet underneath.
- Blot spills immediately to avoid any pooling hot liquid. Don’t pour boiling liquids directly onto quartz.
- Check manufacturers’ care guidelines. Some advise against using quartz near heat sources like cooktops.
- Clean with non-abrasive quartz cleaners to retain the surface smoothness and sheen.
Signs of Heat Damage on Quartz
Minor heat damage may occur on quartz countertops with improper use. Here’s what to watch out for:
- Discoloration, usually light dots near the heat source
- Small surface cracks radiating from the heated area
- Pitting or erosion of the surface, often near cooktops
- Loosening of bonded quartz pieces, indicating loss of structural integrity
- Permanent white marks indicating resin damage
- Yellowing of the quartz surface over time
Significant damage usually requires full replacement of the quartz. But minor damage can often be repaired by a professional.
Can Quartz Be Repaired from Heat Damage?
In most cases, minor heat damage can be repaired:
- Shallow scratches from pots/pans can be buffed and re-polished.
- Small chips and cracks can be filled in with color-matched resin.
- Marks or discoloration may be reduced by deep cleaning and bleaching products.
- For more significant damage, the affected section of countertop can be removed and replaced.
- Full quartz countertop replacement may be needed if structural integrity is compromised.
Professional repair generally costs a fraction of full replacement. But repair results vary depending on the severity and extent of damage.
Is Quartz the Best Heat-Resistant Countertop?
For most kitchens, quartz provides the best combination of heat resistance, durability, and aesthetic appeal. However, two other options match or exceed quartz’s heat tolerance:
- Solid surface countertops (like Corian) have heat resistance on par with quartz. They can be vulnerable to cuts and scratches over time though.
- Laboratory-grade chemical resins (like those used in science labs) are extremely heat resistant. But they are only available in basic colors and patterns for residential use.
For its balance of heat resistance, durability, and design choices, quartz is the best all-around option for busy kitchens prone to high heat exposure. With proper care, quartz countertops will retain their beauty and heat tolerance for many years.
Frequently Asked Questions About Quartz Countertops and Heat
Does quartz lose its heat resistance over time?
No, as long as it is properly maintained and resealed as needed, quartz should retain its heat resistance well for the lifespan of the countertop. The resins used in quartz production do not degrade significantly with normal heat exposure from cooking.
Can placing a pot still hot from the stove damage a quartz countertop?
Quartz can withstand temperatures up to 300°F without damage. Allowing cookware to cool briefly before setting it on quartz can help avoid the potential for damage from extreme heat. Using a trivet is also recommended.
Do lighter quartz colors resist heat better than darker colors?
Unlike natural stone, color patterns in quartz have minimal effect on heat tolerance. Both dark and light quartz colors have essentially equal heat resistance.
Can I cut food or prepare meals directly on quartz countertops?
Yes, the durable non-porous surface of quartz makes it very safe for food preparation. Just be sure to avoid prolonged high heat on cutting areas and thoroughly clean surfaces after food prep.
Does quartz offer more design options than granite or other natural stones?
Yes, quartz is available in a wide range of colors and patterns not found in natural materials. Quartz offers more consistency and flexibility for seamless design across countertops.
With proper use and care, quartz countertops offer exceptional resistance to daily heating in the kitchen. Their durability and design flexibility make quartz an ideal surface for busy kitchens. Following best practices for managing heat exposure will help quartz surfaces retain their beauty for many years. With its combination of strength, aesthetics and heat tolerance, quartz is likely to remain popular among homeowners well into the future.