Quartz countertops, sometimes referred to as engineered stone, have become an increasingly popular option for kitchen and bathroom remodels in recent years. Made from crushed quartz combined with resins and pigments, these countertops are valued for their durability, low maintenance, and sleek appearance. However, while quartz counters are resistant to scratches, stains, and heat, they still require some care and cleaning to keep them looking like new. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to care for quartz countertops.
Cleaning Quartz Countertops
Regular cleaning is important for any countertop material, and quartz is no exception. Here are some tips for keeping your quartz counters clean:
- Wipe down quartz counters daily using a soft, damp cloth or paper towel to remove light dirt, dust, and fingerprints. Avoid abrasive cleaning pads.
- For sticky messes or spills, use a nonabrasive cleaning spray like Windex or a mix of mild soap and warm water. Avoid bleach and ammonia-based cleaners.
- Rinse the countertop after cleaning and dry with a soft cloth to prevent water spots.
- Once a week, do a deep clean by spraying the quartz with an all-purpose, nonabrasive cleaner. Let it sit for 5 minutes before wiping clean with a soft cloth.
- For a homemade option, mix together warm water, a few drops of dish soap, and distilled white vinegar.
- Pay extra attention to heavy use areas around the sink and stove. An old toothbrush can help scrub stuck-on grime in crevices.
Periodic Heavy-Duty Cleaning
- Every three months or so, clean the entire quartz counter and backsplash using a granite or stone cleaner for a more thorough clean.
- Apply it evenly across the surface, wait 5-10 minutes, then wipe clean using circular motions. Avoid letting the cleaner sit too long.
- Finish by rinsing with clean water and drying with a soft microfiber cloth. This periodic deep clean helps keep quartz counters looking their best.
While durable, quartz counters can become damaged if proper care isn’t taken. Follow these tips to prevent permanent stains, scratches, and other damage:
- Always use heat trivets when placing hot pots, pans, baking sheets, etc on quartz counters. Prolonged direct heat can damage the resin.
- Don’t expose the countertop to temperatures above 300°F as it can cause cracks or discoloration.
- Don’t cut or chop directly on quartz counters. Always use a cutting board to prevent dulling over time.
- Avoid abrasive scouring pads and powders that can scratch the surface. Use soft-bristled brushes and nonabrasive cleaners.
- Lift objects instead of sliding them across the counter to prevent scratching. Apply silicone mats under small appliances.
- Always wipe up spills immediately to prevent stains, especially from liquids like wine, coffee, and fruit juice.
- Seal any cracks near the sink or backsplash with caulk to prevent moisture damage.
- Avoid excessive moisture on the countertop from damp cloths, vases, houseplants etc.
Even with proper care, quartz counters can become damaged over many years of use. Here are some options if your counters do show wear and tear:
- Very light scratches can sometimes be smoothed by rubbing the area with 00 gauge extra-fine steel wool and a liquid polishing compound.
- Apply compound to the steel wool, rub over scratches using a circular motion, then buff clean. See if scratches are reduced.
- For deeper scratches, call a professional stone restoration company to resurface/repolish the damaged section. Avoid DIY scratch repair kits.
- For dried food, grease, or ink stains that cleaning sprays can’t remove, make a poultice.
- Mix flour and hydrogen peroxide into a thick paste, apply to the stain for 24 hours, then scrape off and clean the area. This can pull out deep stains.
- For serious stains, replacements of individual quartz slabs may be needed. Consult a countertop pro.
Repairing Chips and Cracks
- Small chips on the edges or surface can often be repaired using a color-matched quartz repair kit. Follow kit instructions carefully.
- For cracks, the damaged section may need to be removed and replaced. Mark the dimensions of the section needing replacement and contact a professional fabricator.
- Quartz countertop repairs often range from $100 to over $1000 depending on the severity of damage and size of the area needing repair.
Maintaining Appearance Over Time
Quartz counters can maintain their good looks for many years when properly cared for. Here are extra tips for keeping them looking their best:
- Avoid placing rubber mats, potted plants, and small appliances in the same spot for long periods, which can cause faint discoloration over time.
- Reseal quartz counters every 1-2 years using a Stone Sealer to enhance stain resistance. Follow product instructions closely.
- If your counters develop a dull or worn look over time, have a professional use a Quartz Polishing Kit to restore the glossy finish.
- For quartz backsplashes, clean using the same methods but take extra care not to get harsh cleaners on the caulked seams which can degrade the caulk.
- Consider fresh caulk and a thorough deep cleaning before listing your home for sale to make quartz counters gleam. Consistent care prevents costly replacements.
Cleaning Quartz Countertops: FAQs
Still have questions about keeping quartz counters clean and damage-free? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
Can I use vinegar and water to clean quartz?
Yes, you can safely clean quartz with a mix of vinegar and water. The vinegar helps cut through grease and grime. Avoid bleach and ammonia-based cleaners.
What happens if quartz gets scratched?
Light scratches can often be buffed out using fine grit sandpaper. Deeper scratches may require professional resurfacing. Avoid using scratch repair kits which affect stain resistance.
Should I seal my quartz countertop?
Sealing isn’t required but can help boost stain resistance, especially for heavily used areas. Use a dedicated stone sealer every 1-2 years. Avoid topical sealers which build up over time.
Can you use Magic Eraser on engineered quartz?
Yes, Magic Eraser sponges can safely be used to remove marks from quartz surfaces. Dampen the eraser first and be sure to rinse the counter after cleaning. Don’t rub too hard.
Is lemon juice safe for cleaning quartz?
Lemon juice should be avoided as the citric acid can dull the surface over time. Stick to mild dish soap, vinegar, or stone cleaners specifically designed for quartz.
Regular cleaning and careful use can help your quartz counters look pristine for years. Follow these tips to maintain their durable, low-maintenance beauty. With proper care, quartz can handle the demands of busy kitchens while keeping its flawless look.
How to Select Quartz Countertops for Your Home
If you’re considering a quartz countertop installation for your kitchen or bath remodel, choosing the right slab colors, patterns, and finishes can be overwhelming. With hundreds of options on the market, how do you select the perfect quartz countertop to match your home’s decor? Follow this guide for tips on selecting the ideal quartz countertop for your project.
Gather Inspiration First
Begin the selection process by creating a quartz countertop inspiration board:
- Look at photos in home design magazines, Pinterest, Instagram etc and save colors, patterns and styles you’re drawn to.
- Collect paint chips, fabric swatches, and samples that represent the look you want.
- Visit a quartz countertop showroom or supplier to see slabs in person. Having samples in hand will help narrow options.
Focusing on the style you want to achieve will make it easier to choose when presented with many quartz options.
Consider Your Color Scheme
What are the dominant colors in your kitchen or bathroom?
- Cool tones like grays, blues and greens pair well with stark white quartz for a contemporary look.
- Warm neutrals like beige, brown or terracotta can complement quartz with creamy whites and tans.
- Bold cabinet colors like navy blue and even black can be offset by light quartz.
Your existing color scheme should guide your slab selection to find the most cohesive match.
Coordinate With Other Materials
Factor in other materials that will adjoin the quartz:
- If your kitchen has wooden cabinets, select a quartz color containing similar brown tones, grains or speckles.
- Match the undertones of nearby granite, tile, or flooring so the transition between materials looks cohesive.
- Quartz containing glass shards or metallic flecks can tie into backsplash glass or metal hardware finishes.
Making the separate elements work together results in a unified, custom look.
Focus on Your Lifestyle
Consider how your family will use the space when choosing a quartz pattern and finish:
- Busy families may want a smoother quartz with less pronounced veining to conceal everyday wear.
- Darker quartz colors can hide small scuffs and marks better in high-traffic areas.
- Quartz with some movement from veining or mottling helps disguise fingerprints and smudges.
Factor in your daily habits and cleaning capabilities so the quartz supports your lifestyle.
Select Within Your Budget
Quartz countertops range widely in price depending on these factors:
- More desirable colors and patterns command a higher price per square foot. Stick to mid-range options if on a tight budget.
- Lighter quartz colors will be most affordable. Dark, bold colors cost more.
- Intricate edges, specialty cut-outs, and thicker quartz slabs raise the total price. Keep the layout simple if needed.
Focus first on options comfortably within your project budget so you get the look you want at a price you can manage.
Making the perfect quartz selection involves considering your overall decor, daily use, and budget. With some advance planning, you’re sure to find your dream countertop in quartz.
Getting a Professional Consultation
To make the quartz selection process even easier, schedule a design consultation with a quartz countertop pro. They can provide valuable advice:
- An expert can measure your space and advise what slab sizes are needed. This prevents ordering too little quartz.
- They can tell you which brands offer the best value for budget. More affordable options may be just as beautiful.
- Pros are familiar with current color and pattern trends. They can suggest on-trend looks tailored to your kitchen.
- Ask for advice coordinating quartz with other materials like backsplash tile and cabinetry finishes.
Getting a pro’s suggestions makes it easier to select the perfect quartz countertop with confidence. They help narrow the options and ensure your finish choices work together seamlessly. With some expert guidance, you’re sure to find a quartz countertop that checks all the boxes aesthetically and functionally.
How to Care for Quartz Countertops Long-Term
Installing a quartz countertop can be a significant investment. Following proper maintenance and care guidelines will keep your counters damage-free and looking pristine for decades. Here are pro tips for long-term quartz countertop care.
Establish a Regular Cleaning Routine
- Clean quartz daily using a microfiber cloth and mild soap and water to prevent buildup.
- Disinfect surfaces periodically with an approved cleaner containing bleach alternatives like hydrogen peroxide.
- Increase cleaning frequency in heavy use areas like near the stove and sink.
Staying on top of daily cleaning prevents staining and dulling over years of use.
Avoid Excessive Weight and Force
- Don’t stand on your quartz countertops to reach high cabinets. The impact can damage the surface and seams. Use a step stool instead.
- Take care not to drop heavy objects on quartz. Impacts can potentially cause chips or cracks.
- Open jars and bottles carefully without prying to avoid apply force. Use a jar opener tool if needed.
Treating quartz gently maintains its integrity. Repairing structural damage is costly.
Reseal Every 1-2 Years
- Quartz is nonporous but resealing provides added protection, especially around sinks.
- Use a pen sealer formulated for quartz. Roll-on sealers are easiest for DIY application.
- Cover all surfaces and wipe off excess sealer with a clean cloth.
Resealing fills in microscopic gaps in the resin where stains could penetrate.
Avoid Direct Heat Exposure
- Use trivets and hot pads under hot pans and baking sheets. Thermal shock can damage resin binders.
- Don’t expose quartz counters to extreme temperature swings. Allow hot items to cool gradually.
- Avoid putting quartz slabs in direct sunlight which can cause expansion issues.
Preventing thermal damage maintains quartz’s integrity and prevents cracking long-term.
Repair Damage Promptly
- Use a stone repair kit to fill in minor chips as soon as they occur. Match the color closely.
- Seek professional help for major damage like cracks or broken seams. The longer you wait, the worse it gets.
- Know warranties and who to contact for repairs needed under warranty.
Responding quickly to damage can keep it from worsening over time. Don’t live with damaged counters.
Following these simple quartz care steps will add years of beauty and enjoyment to your investment. With regular cleaning and paying attention to use, your counters should remain in tip-top shape.
Choosing Eco-Friendly Quartz Countertops
For homeowners concerned about environmental impact, eco-friendly quartz has become an attractive countertop choice combining sustainability and natural beauty. Here is an overview of green options when selecting quartz surfaces.
Understanding Quartz Composition
To choose sustainable options, it helps to first understand what comprises quartz:
- Quartz surfaces contain about 90% ground quartz aggregate which is an abundant natural mineral.
- Polyester resins act as a binding agent between quartz grains.
- Pigments are added for color along with other trace materials.
Manufacturers are now modifying resin formulas and production methods to create greener quartz products.
Seeking Recycled Content
One way quartz can be eco-friendly is by incorporating recycled materials:
- Pre-consumer recycled glass is being used as a substitute for mined quartz aggregates.
- Some manufactures include consumer recycled glass like from bottles or windshields.
- Recycled polymer resins, minerals, and mirrors provide additional eco options.
Ask manufacturers specifically about recycled content percentages to select the greenest slabs.
Picking Plant-Based Resins
Standard polyester resins are derived from petroleum. New bio-resins offer a greener alternative:
- Some plant-based resins use sustainably harvested wood pulp instead of petrochemicals.
- Resins from other renewable sources like sugar cane bio-ethanol are also being developed.
Seeking quartz products made with vegetable-based resins reduces dependence on oil and other fossil fuels.
Considering Manufacturing Impact
Different fabrication processes have varying environmental footprints:
- Seek manufacturers using safer emission-reduction technology and water recycling practices.
- Some factories utilize solar, wind, or hydropower reducing overall energy consumption.
- Quartz made locally cuts down on transportation miles compared to imported products.
Brands investing in sustainability measures have a reduced impact from manufacturing.
When researching options, look for recognized certifications:
- Greenguard indicates products compliant with indoor air quality standards.
- Greenguard Gold further identifies products safe for sensitive environments like schools and healthcare.
- NSF certification ensures products meet food safety and environmental requirements.
While not a full measure of sustainability, certifications help identify eco-friendlier quartz products.
The green quartz category continues advancing. By knowing what to look for, homeowners can make selections better aligned with their values. Investing in an eco-conscious countertop supports a healthy home and planet.
Pros and Cons of Quartz Countertops
Quartz counters offer many benefits but also have some downsides depending on your needs. Understanding the pros and cons will ensure you make the right choice for your home.
Pros of Quartz Countertops
Extremely durable. Quartz is nearly indestructible and resistant to chips, cracks and scratches. It can withstand decades of wear.
Low maintenance. Quartz requires very little sealing or conditioning compared to natural stone. Simple cleaning keeps it looking like new.
Stain resistant. The nonporous surface won’t absorb liquids and resists staining from spills. Most messes wipe away easily.
Antimicrobial. The resins used in quartz inhibit microbial growth keeping surfaces hygienic.
Heat tolerant. Quartz can withstand heat better than many materials. Pans up to 300°F won’t damage the surface.
Available in many colors/patterns. From white marbles to bold aggregates, quartz offers extreme versatility in both solid and patterned looks.
Won’t need frequent replacement. Quartz counters outlast trends and won’t need replacement for 15+ years in most cases.
Cons of Quartz Countertops
Seams may be more visible. Small pieces have to be joined, so seams are often more apparent than natural slab materials.
Limited ability to repair damage. You can’t sand and refin