Scratches on quartz countertops can be unsightly and bothersome, but with a little effort, many of them can be buffed out to restore the surface to like-new condition. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to effectively buff out scratches on quartz countertops.
What You’ll Need
- Fine grit sandpaper – 400, 600, 800, 1000, and 2000 grit recommended
- Orbital sander or palm sander with variable speed control
- Polishing compound or automotive polishing compound
- Soft polishing pad or microfiber cloths
- Respirator mask
- Safety goggles
- Clean rags
- Mineral spirits for cleaning
Preparing the Surface
Before starting to sand, thoroughly clean the countertop with a granite cleaner or mineral spirits to remove any dirt, residues or oils. This allows for smooth sanding and polishing.
Wipe the surface completely dry with a clean lint-free rag. Inspect the scratches and assess their depth – deeper scratches will require more intensive sanding and buffing work.
Cover any areas you don’t want to sand with painters tape for protection. Tape off cabinets, backsplash, sinks etc. This keeps the sanding localized to the scratched area.
Sanding the Scratches
Start sanding with 400 or 600 grit sandpaper to remove any deep scratches. Use an orbital sander on lower speed for control and work in small circular motions. Apply even pressure and frequently check progress.
Gradually step through higher grits of sandpaper like 800, 1000 and 2000 as the scratches diminish. Wipe away all sanding dust between each grit change.
Sand until the scratches blend in evenly with the surrounding surface. Take care not to over-sand any area. Blend the sanded area into the rest of the countertop.
Remove all dust with a vacuum cleaner and damp microfiber cloth after completing the sanding steps.
Polishing the Sanded Area
Apply a small amount of polishing compound to a soft polishing pad. Use a variable speed polisher on low RPM of 1200-1500 for control.
Use overlapping circular motions to buff and shine the sanded area. Let the polisher do the work – don’t apply too much pressure.
Gradually increase the speed if needed while polishing. Check frequently to see if scratches have diminished. Reapply polishing compound if pad seems dry.
Thoroughly clean off all residues with a damp microfiber towel. Multiple rounds of polishing may be needed for best results.
Inspect closely when done – immediately address any leftover deeper scratches with additional sanding and polishing.
Protecting and Maintaining the Surface
- Use cutting boards, hot pads and trivets on the countertop to prevent future scratches
- Avoid abrasive cleaners – use mild soap and water for regular cleaning
- Re-seal quartz every 1-2 years with a stone sealer to prevent stains and etching
- Address any new light scratches right away by repolishing with compound
With some moderate effort, it is possible to remove minor to moderate scratches from quartz countertops and restore their original beauty and finish. Avoid deep cuts that expose the resin layer. Seek professional help for significant damage repairs. With proper care, your quartz counters can always look pristine.
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of scratches can be buffed out of quartz?
Most minor surface level scratches, etching, weathering and dull spots can be sanded and polished out of quartz. Deeper scratches exposing the resin layer are difficult to repair.
Can I use a handheld sander instead of an orbital sander?
Yes, you can use a handheld palm sander. Apply light pressure and keep it moving constantly to avoid uneven sanding.
What grit sandpaper should I finish with?
Use 2000-2500 grit paper for the final sanding steps. Higher grits give a smoother polished finish.
Do I need a polishing compound or will toothpaste work?
Polishing compounds contain fine abrasives that buff out imperfections better than toothpaste. Automotive grade works well.
How can I avoid further scratching of my quartz countertop?
Use cutting boards for food prep. Wipe spills quickly to avoid etching. Lift heavy pots instead of sliding. Apply a stone sealer regularly for added protection.
How often should I seal my quartz countertop?
Sealing quartz every 1-2 years helps prevent dullness, stains and etching. Reapply after intensive cleaning or repairs. Using a daily cleaner helps maintain the seal.
Sanding and polishing is an effective way to remove surface level scratches and restore the original beauty of quartz countertops. With some time and effort, you can often repair damage without needing a full replacement. Be sure to take measures to protect the surface going forward. With proper care, quartz countertops will stay looking like new for many years.