Quartz countertops are becoming increasingly popular in homes due to their durability, aesthetics, and low maintenance. When installing new quartz countertops, proper cutting and polishing are crucial steps to achieve a flawless finish. This comprehensive guide will provide insights into how much it costs to cut and polish quartz countertops professionally or DIY.
Understanding Quartz Countertops
Before delving into the specifics of cutting and polishing costs, it’s helpful to understand what quartz countertops are and what makes them unique.
Quartz countertops, also known as engineered stone countertops, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with polyester resins and pigments. The resins bind the quartz particles together to form a durable, non-porous slab.
Compared to natural stone countertops like granite and marble, quartz offers superior durability and stain resistance. The resins make quartz resistant to scratches, heat, and acids. Quartz requires very little maintenance compared to natural stone.
The addition of pigments allows quartz slabs to mimic natural patterns and colors of stone while offering consistent coloring throughout. This makes cutting and polishing quartz a much more predictable process than natural stone.
So in summary, key benefits of quartz countertops include:
- Extremely durable and scratch-resistant surface
- Stain and acid-resistant
- Consistent patterning and colors
- Resists heat better than natural stone
With proper fabrication, quartz countertops can provide many years of beauty and hassle-free use. Paying for professional cutting and polishing is important to bring out the best in your investment.
Factors That Determine Quartz Cutting and Polishing Costs
Several variables affect the total costs of cutting and fabricating quartz countertops:
Size of the Job
The more surface area needing cut and polished, the higher the labor time and overall costs. Larger kitchens with more countertop square footage, backsplashes, and islands will be more expensive than a small project.
The edge style chosen affects complexity and costs. Elaborate edges like triple bullnose take more time than a simple eased or beveled profile. Unique custom edge profiles are typically the most expensive option.
Seams are necessary when the desired countertop sizes exceed the maximum slab dimensions. More seams means more cutting and polishing work. Good fabricators minimize seams through optimal layout planning.
Cutting holes for undermount sinks adds cutting time and complexity versus a standard countertop with no penetrations. Expect higher costs for projects with multiple sink cutouts.
Including a full backsplash along walls adds more linear feet of cutting and polishing. Partial backsplashes cost less than full-height backsplashes.
Quartz slabs come in standard thicknesses of 2cm or 3cm. The thicker the material, the more cutting time required, increasing overall fabrication costs.
Challenging installation conditions like narrow doorways, stairs, or high-rise locations can lead to higher job costs. Easy ground-floor access reduces material transport and labor costs.
With an understanding of the key variables, we can now examine typical price ranges.
Average Costs for Professional Cutting and Polishing
Hiring professional quartz fabricators and installers is the best way to achieve flawless, long-lasting results. On average, expect to pay the following for qualified specialists:
- Quartz Material Costs: $50 – $120 per square foot
- Fabrication Labor: $40 – $100 per square foot
- Installation Labor: $10 – $30 per square foot
So for a 30 square foot quartz countertop project quoted at $80 per square foot for materials, $70/sq.ft fabrication, and $20/sq.ft installation, the total would be approximately:
- Materials: 30 sq.ft x $80 = $2,400
- Fabrication: 30 sq.ft x $70 = $2,100
- Installation: 30 sq.ft x $20 = $600
- Total = $5,100
On a larger 60 square foot project with premium $120/sq.ft quartz, $100/sq.ft fabrication and $30/sq.ft installation, the totals work out to:
- Materials: 60 sq.ft x $120 = $7,200
- Fabrication: 60 sq.ft x $100 = $6,000
- Installation: 60 sq.ft x $30 = $1,800
- Total = $15,000
As you can see, costs add up quickly on larger projects with premium materials and edge profiles. Reputable fabricators charge fair prices to cover their extensive expertise and equipment investments.
Always get every included service clearly specified in a written quote. Photos of past work and multiple customer references can help identify the best professionals for the job.
DIY Quartz Countertop Cutting and Polishing
With proper planning, tools, and techniques, DIYers can cut and polish their own quartz countertop slabs. This is only recommended for experienced DIYers comfortable operating specialized power tools.
Be aware that poor cuts and polishing can lead to cracked slabs or countertops that don’t properly fit the space. Damaged slabs cannot be returned and mistakes become very costly. Consider practicing on scrap pieces first.
Here’s a realistic overview of expected DIY costs:
Equipment and Supplies
- Diamond-bladed countertop saw – $350+
- Angle grinder with diamond polishing pads – $150+
- Adhesives, joints, sealants – $75+
- Safety gear – $100+
Quartz Material per square foot
- 2cm slab: $40 – $75
- 3cm slab: $60 – $100
For a 30 square foot countertop project with 2cm slabs at $50/sq.ft, total DIY costs would be approximately:
- Slab Material: 30 sq.ft x $50 = $1,500
- Equipment and supplies = $675
- Total = $2,175
While DIY fabrication can provide major cost savings on smaller projects, attempting larger or more complex jobs increases the risks of cracked slabs, poor seams, and other amateurish results.
Hiring a Professional Fabricator
Due to the costs of specialized tools and training, enlisting an experienced professional quartz fabricator is the smartest option for most homeowners. Here are some top benefits:
Optimal Planning and Layout – They will flawlessly plan the cutting and placement of your slabs to avoid seams and minimize wasted material. Their expertise saves you money.
Precise Cutting – A rail saw system with diamond blades delivers perfect cuts not possible with a handheld saw. This prevents cracked slabs from uneven forces.
Seamless Seams – Professionals achieve tight seams that are barely noticeable. DIY seams are typically easily felt and visible.
Smooth Polishing – Diamond polishing pads mounted on a mechanical grinder evenly finish cutouts and edges. An expert touch prevents chipping.
Damage Prevention – From transportation to final installation, hiring pros reduces potential damage risks compared to DIY fabrication.
Efficiency – Years of experience allow pros to complete fabrication much faster than DIYers. This reduces labor costs.
Warranties – Many reputable fabricators offer limited warranties or guarantees on their work. DIY projects have no recourse for problems.
Code Knowledge – Professionals understand building codes for supports, overhangs, and other critical compliance issues DIYers often overlook.
For most homeowners, the pros far outweigh the cons when hiring countertop installation experts. Use the cost and factor information above to get fair quotes from top-rated local specialists.
DIY Tips for Cutting and Polishing Quartz
Homeowners determined to fabricate their own quartz countertops can reduce risks and improve results with these DIY tips:
Choose 2cm Slabs – Thinner 2cm slabs are lighter and easier to cut than 3cm material. Preventing cracks on thick slabs requires more cutting force.
Use Adhesives at Every Seam – Apply adhesive along the entire length of each seam during assembly. This prevents gaps and separation over time.
Follow Safety Protocols – Wear eye protection, respirators, and gloves when cutting and polishing. Keep fire extinguishers nearby due to quartz dust flammability.
Make Test Cuts First – Practice on scrap pieces to set the blade depth and feed rate before attempting real cuts. This dialing in saves slabs.
Check Dimensions – Use a template of the countertop shape over the slabs to confirm sizing. Account for overhangs in the templates.
Go Slow on Sinks – Precut the sink holes undersized, then use a router with a diamond flush-cutting bit for final sizing. Avoid over-cutting.
Begin with a 60-Grit Pad – Start polishing pads at 60-grit, followed by 200-grit, then 400-grit for the final smoothness. Avoid skipping grits.
Apply Even Pressure – When polishing, use consistent pressure and overlapping passes across the slabs. Re-polish any noticeable uneven spots.
Seal After Installation – After installing the countertop, apply a penetrating quartz sealer to protect from stains. Reseal every 2-3 years.
Careful planning, patience, and proper techniques can lead to satisfying DIY quartz fabrication. But most homeowners are still better off letting the professionals handle this precision work.
Hiring Professional Quartz Countertop Installers
For those who decide to purchase pre-fabricated quartz countertops instead of having slabs fabricated onsite, specialized installers are still recommended for the best results.
Since quartz is extremely heavy, moving and installing without damage risks requires experience. A typical 3cm quartz countertop weighs 15 to 20 pounds per square foot!
Leave it to the pros to handle:
- Transportation of pre-cut countertops from shop to home
- Precise placement and alignment on cabinets
- Scribing countertops to fit uneven walls if necessary
- Connecting seams between countertop sections
- Anchoring countertops securely to cabinetry
- Sealing edges and seams thoroughly
- Integration of sinks, faucets, and accessories
- Ensuring proper overhangs and support
Professional installers typically charge around $35 to $55 per hour depending on regional rates and project specifics. Most jobs can be completed within 3-6 hours.
Hiring qualified countertop pros is especially crucial for higher value materials like quartz. Preventing cracks or damage during installation is well worth the cost.
- Quartz fabrication costs range from $40 – $100 per square foot based on job factors
- Professional installation typically adds $10 – $30 per square foot
- DIY fabrication can save on smaller projects but has higher risk
- Specialized tools and skills make pros the best choice for most homes
- Carefully vet quartz fabricators based on referrals and experience
- Pre-fab quartz countertop installation still benefits from hiring pros
Understanding what impacts the costs of cutting and polishing quartz countertops allows homeowners to plan and budget appropriately. In most cases, the potential risks and uncertainties of DIY fabrication outweigh the cost savings. Trusting qualified specialists to deliver a pristine finished product is worth the investment for lasting beauty and enjoyment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What affects the cost of fabricating quartz countertops?
The main factors affecting overall quartz fabrication costs include:
- Total square footage
- Number of seams required
- Edge profiles (simple vs. ornate)
- Inclusion of backsplashes
- Sink and cooktop cutouts
- Thickness of material (2cm vs. 3cm+)
- Accessibility of job site
Is it cheaper to buy pre-fabricated quartz?
In some cases, pre-fabricated quartz can cost less than full custom onsite fabrication. Savings results from the manufacturer fabricating in high volume rather than relying on an individual fabricator’s pricing.
However, choosing from preset sizes may result in more seams and customization limitations. Weigh cost savings versus customization flexibility for each project.
Should I fabricate quartz myself or hire a pro?
Due to quartz’s heavy weight and fragility, professional fabrication is recommended for most homeowners. The risks of cracks, damage, and improper installation are too high for DIY projects. Specialized tools and training make pros worth the price.
How long does it take to fabricate and install quartz?
Most professional quartz jobs take 1-3 days from start to finish. Fabrication usually takes place offsite at the pro’s workshop. Onsite installation typically completes within 6-10 hours once pre-fabricated pieces are delivered. Total timeline varies based on size.
What questions should I ask potential quartz fabricators?
Key questions to ask any fabricator you are considering:
- Are they insured and licensed for countertop fabrication?
- How long have they been in business fabricating quartz?
- Can they provide referrals from past quartz clients?
- Do they offer any warranties on their work?
- What steps will they take to ensure an excellent finished product?
Should I seal quartz countertops after installation?
Yes, it is highly recommended to apply a penetrating quartz sealer to your countertops after installation. Sealing helps prevent stains and damage from spills. Reapply sealer every 2-3 years for ongoing protection.
Quartz countertops offer homeowners an incredibly durable, low-maintenance, and beautiful surface when professionally cut and polished. Understanding what impacts fabrication costs allows you to plan appropriately and make smart investments in this key kitchen or bath upgrade. With careful vetting of fabricators and installers, your quartz countertops can provide lasting enjoyment and stand up well for decades to come.