Quartz countertops are popular options for many homeowners due to their durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance. However, some people wonder if quartz can become scratched during daily use. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll examine if quartz countertops scratch, what causes scratches, how to prevent them, and the best ways to repair and minimize the appearance of scratches.
What is Quartz?
Quartz countertops, sometimes referred to as engineered stone, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The exact ratio varies by manufacturer, but high-quality quartz typically contains over 90% ground quartz particles combined with 7-10% polymer resins such as polyester, epoxy, or acrylic.
The resins bind the quartz particles together to form a durable, non-porous surface that is resistant to stains, scratches, heat damage, and chips. The pigments added during manufacturing determine the final color and pattern of the slabs.
Is Quartz Prone to Scratching?
Compared to other countertop materials like granite, marble, laminate, or wood, quartz is very scratch-resistant. The durability comes from the quartz particles which are harder than steel. However, quartz is not completely invulnerable to scratching.
With the right amount of pressure or force, a sharp object can scratch through the resin binders and cause abrasions in the surface. Quartz’s non-porous finish helps limit the depth and visibility of minor scratches, but deeper scratches are still possible under the right circumstances.
What Typically Causes Scratches in Quartz?
There are three main causes of scratches in quartz countertops:
1. Cutting or Scraping Against the Surface
Kitchen knives, scouring pads, and other sharp objects can scrape against the quartz surface during food preparation or cleaning tasks. Using excessive force increases the risk of cutting through the finish. This is especially likely near the countertop edges.
2. Impact from Heavy, Dropped Objects
A heavy pan, pot, appliance, or other hard object dropped directly onto quartz can potentially scratch, chip, or crack the surface, especially on countertop corners or edges.
3. Moving Appliances or Cookware Across the Surface
Dragging heavy objects like mixers, pots, and pans back and forth over time can wear down and scratch the countertop finish. Appliance vibrations also gradually abrade the surface.
Factors That Increase Scratching
Several factors influence how easily quartz will scratch:
- Surface Finish – Quartz with a polished finish is more prone to visible scratches than one with a textured finish. The uneven texture helps hide minor scratches.
- Quartz Hardness – Denser quartz made with finer particles is generally more scratch-resistant. Cheaper quartz often uses coarser grains.
- Quartz Purity – Quartz containing over 90% pure quartz particles resists scratching better than lower purity blends.
- Resin Ratio – More resin binders increase scratch resistance but reduce stain resistance. Higher quartz content does the opposite.
- Color and Pattern – Solid colored and darker quartz hides scratches better than light or patterned varieties.
- Quality of Installation – Poor seam bonding during installation can lead to gaps that accumulate debris and worsen scratching.
How to Prevent Scratches in Quartz Countertops
The best way to keep quartz free of scratches is through proper preventative care:
Use Cutting Boards for Food Prep
Never cut directly on the counter. Always use a cutting board, preferably one made of wood or plastic rather than glass or marble.
Don’t Drag Objects Across the Surface
Lift pots, pans, and heavy mixers to move them instead of pushing or dragging. Use hot pads under hot cookware.
Clean Spills Promptly
Don’t let spills sit. Acidic liquids like wine, citrus juice, or tomato sauce can etch the resin binders if left for prolonged periods.
Avoid Harsh Scouring or Abrasive Cleaners
Clean quartz gently with a soft sponge or cloth using only mild soap and water. Avoid stiff scrub brushes or abrasive powder cleansers.
Apply Sealers and Waxes
Sealing and waxing quartz every 6-12 months adds an extra layer of protection from scratches and etching.
Install Properly and Address Any Seam Gaps
Make sure installation is done properly without gaps that can trap debris and worsen wear. Fill any minor gaps that appear over time.
How to Repair and Minimize the Appearance of Scratches
Despite preventative care, some scratches in quartz are inevitable through years of use. Here are tips for repairing and improving the appearance of scratch damage:
Clean and Polish the Surface
Gently scrub the area with a soft cloth, mild detergent, and warm water to remove debris stuck in scratches that accentuate their appearance. Follow up by polishing with a stone polish product.
Use Vitamin C or Flour Poultice
Make a paste with vitamin C powder or flour with hydrogen peroxide. Apply to scratches, allow to dry, and buff clean. The acidity can help remove superficial scratches.
Sand and Refinish Small Scratches
For shallow scratches, use 180 grit sandpaper to gently smooth and level the surface, then polish with 400 grit paper. Clean thoroughly and finish by resealing the sanded areas.
Fill Deeper Scratches
For deeper scratches, fill with a quartz filler product and allow to dry fully. Sand flush when dry and finish by resealing and polishing. The filler will hide scratches but matching the color can be difficult.
Replace Severely Damaged Sections
Badly damaged areas may need replacement by a pro. This involves cutting out the section and adhesive bonding in a replacement piece. Imperfect color matching is likely.
Frequently Asked Questions About Scratched Quartz Countertops
How do I know if a scratch in my quartz is severe enough to need professional repair?
As a rule of thumb, minor surface scratches you can feel with your fingernail can often be repaired with polishing and DIY treatments. Deeper scratches where you can catch your nail should be evaluated by a pro. If the scratch is accompanied by cracking, chipping, or indentations, professional help is recommended.
Can scratched quartz be refinished or resurfaced?
Unlike solid surface countertops, you cannot sand down or refinish the entire surface of quartz countertops. Localized resurfacing of scratches is possible, but the slab cannot be refinished down beyond the deepest scratches.
Do quartz manufacturers warranty against scratching or damage?
Most major brands provide 10-15 year limited warranties on factory defects. However, normal wear-and-tear damage like scratches are usually not covered beyond the first couple years of use. Always read your warranty coverage closely.
If my quartz was damaged during installation, will it be covered under warranty?
Most manufacturer warranties do not cover damage from improper installation or mishandling. Your best recourse is through the installer or fabricator who should warranty their workmanship if installation was defective.
Can I use a Magic Eraser to remove scratches on my quartz?
No, Magic Erasers are too abrasive for use on quartz counters. Their abrasive quality helps remove some surface stains but damages the finish. Milder cleaning alternatives are recommended.
Maintaining Quartz Counters to Limit Scratching Over Time
While no countertop material is completely scratch-proof, minor scratches are inevitable on quartz surfaces with heavy daily use over years. By following preventative care tips, treating scratches promptly using the right techniques, and avoiding excessive pressure and abrasion to the surface, you can keep your quartz counters looking beautiful and minimize the appearance of normal wear. Be sure to thoroughly research your specific quartz material and care recommendations from your manufacturer. With proper care, your quartz countertops will maintain their good looks and last for many years before any scratches necessitate professional repairs or replacement.
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