Quartz countertops are a popular choice for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects due to their durability, aesthetics, and ease of maintenance. However, proper installation is crucial to ensuring your quartz countertops last for many years to come. Understanding how quartz countertops are secured to cabinets will help you make informed decisions when remodeling your home.
Preparing for Installation
Installing quartz countertops requires careful planning and preparation to ensure a smooth process. Here are some key steps to take before installation day:
Precise measurements of your existing cabinets are needed to custom cut the quartz slabs. Hire an experienced professional to template your space rather than taking measurements yourself. Even slight measurement errors can result in gaps or misfits during installation.
Select a Reputable Fabricator
Choose a respected quartz fabricator that has extensive experience with both design and installation. Leading fabricators use state-of-the-art equipment to deliver a precision fit. Reputable shops stand behind their work if any issues arise.
Communicate Your Design
Provide your fabricator with a drawing showing exactly how you want your countertops configured, along with the locations of cutouts for sinks and cooktops. This ensures your countertops are fabricated to your exact specifications.
Demolition and Preparation
If you’re replacing existing countertops, they need to be removed prior to installation day. Make sure to disconnect any sinks, plumbing, or appliances built into the countertops ahead of time. Also remove any wallpaper or backsplashes on walls above the cabinets.
Securing Quartz Slabs to Cabinets
Quartz countertops are quite heavy, so proper support and attachment to base cabinets is vital. Here is an overview of how slabs are secured in place:
Cabinets need to be checked for level and sturdiness prior to installing the countertops. Reinforcements or shims may be needed to ensure the cabinets can support the weight.
The fabricator will apply a strong adhesive, usually silicone or polyurethane, to the top of the cabinets where the countertop will be placed. This creates a tight seal between the quartz and cabinet.
Position the Slabs
The quartz slabs are lifted into place one at a time and aligned according to measurements. The fabricator ensures each slab is level and properly positioned.
Clamp in Place
Clamps are used to hold the slabs firmly against the base cabinets while the adhesive sets. This prevents any shifting or slippage as the bond is formed.
For additional support, metal brackets are screwed into the underside of the countertop and the cabinet frames. Brackets are typically placed every 12-24 inches along the perimeter and seams.
Seal the Seams
Where two quartz slabs meet, the fabricator applies seam adhesive to fill any gaps and secure the joint. Once dry, the seams are virtually invisible.
Allow Time to Cure
It’s important not to walk on, move, or place anything on your new quartz countertops for 24-48 hours after installation. This allows the adhesive and seams to fully cure and form a lasting bond.
Achieving a Flawless Fit
A perfectly fitted quartz countertop requires skill and precision. Here are some techniques installers use:
Scribe to Walls
Since walls are rarely perfectly straight, scribes mark the exact contours of walls on the backside of the slab. The quartz can then be cut to match, ensuring tight fit.
Cut Outlets Precisely
The fabricator will mark and cut out notches for electrical outlets so outlets sit flush with the surface. Any gaps can allow moisture damage.
Slight chipping or roughness along the seams or edges is smoothed using specialty grinding tools for an even finish.
Inspect for Level
Levels and straight edges are used during installation to verify each section of countertop is perfectly level and flat. Adjustments are made as needed.
Caring for Quartz After Installation
Your new quartz countertops require minimal maintenance, but here are some tips:
- Use a mild soap and water to clean and avoid abrasive cleansers which can dull the finish.
- Immediately wipe up spills, especially oils, citrus, and wine which can stain.
- Avoid exposing the surface to excessive heat by using trivets and pads under hot pans.
- Re-apply sealers as recommended to keep the quartz looking its best.
With proper installation and care, your quartz countertops will stay beautiful and perform beautifully for decades in your home. Taking the time to have the slabs precisely measured, cut, and professionally installed helps ensure your satisfaction with these stylish, durable countertops.
FAQs About Attaching Quartz Countertops to Cabinets
Many homeowners have questions regarding the process of securing their new quartz countertops. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:
How long does it take to attach a quartz countertop?
The overall installation process takes 2-3 days. After templates and measurements are taken, it takes a fabricator 1-2 days to cut and polish your slabs. On installation day, attaching the quartz to properly prepared cabinets takes 2-3 hours.
What color adhesive is used under quartz?
Clear silicone or polyurethane adhesives are typically used to adhere quartz slabs to cabinets. These strong construction adhesives dry transparent. Colored adhesives like epoxy are not ideal as they can discolor along seams and edges.
Is support under quartz countertops needed?
In addition to adhesive, brackets are required approximately every 1-2 feet along the cabinets for optimal support. Without brackets, the weight of thick quartz slabs makes them prone to cracking and sagging over time. Reinforcement of cabinets is also often needed.
Can you install quartz countertops directly over old countertops?
It is not recommended. The old countertop surface needs to be removed to allow the quartz to be adhered directly to the wood or composite cabinet below. A completely flat, even surface is key for proper bonding and preventing cracks.
Do you need to seal quartz countertops after installation?
Sealing is not necessary for installation. However, using a penetrating quartz sealer every 1-2 years helps strengthen protection against stains and marks. Quartz is less porous than natural stone but sealing helps maintain its beautiful appearance.
How long do you need to wait to use new quartz countertops after installing?
It’s best to avoid using, sitting on, or placing hot items on your countertops for a full 24-48 hours after installation. This gives adhesives and seam sealers time to fully cure and achieve maximum strength before being put to use.
Can quartz pop off cabinets from settling or movement?
If cabinets are reinforced and stable, and brackets are used, the quartz should stay firmly adhered even if minor settling occurs. Avoid leaning or sitting on overhangs which puts added stress on the bonds. Follow any use and care instructions from your fabricator.
Tips for Trouble-Free Installation
Follow these tips to help your quartz countertop installation go as smoothly as possible:
- Have cabinets properly reinforced and shimmed prior to template and install.
- Be prepared with electrical, plumbing, and sink disconnects done before installation day.
- Carefully check that all measurements and cutouts are exactly as you ordered prior to install.
- Allow adequate install time without feeling rushed – this prevents costly mistakes.
- Do not try to help the installers lift or carry the heavy quartz slabs.
- Avoid walking on the countertops or placing any heavy or damp items on them for 48 hours post-install.
- Always use a cutting board instead of cutting foods directly on the quartz surface.
- Follow the manufacturer’s care guidelines and re-apply sealers as needed over time.
- Ask your fabricator for a small spare piece of your quartz to use for any future repairs.
Installing quartz countertops requires painstaking precision to ensure proper fit and long-term durability. Careful measurements, cutting, adhesive application, clamping, seaming, and ample curing time help create strong, lasting bonds between the quartz slabs and underlying cabinets. Reinforcing cabinets, using brackets, and taking the time to get the details right results in a flawless installation that will provide beauty and enjoyment for many years. With its stylish appearance and ease of care, quartz is an excellent investment that will enhance your home’s functionality and décor when properly installed.