Quartz countertops are popular in many modern kitchens and bathrooms because of their durability, low maintenance, and sleek appearance. However, some homeowners find the glossy look of quartz too shiny for their taste and wish to dull the surface. Thankfully, there are several effective methods to dull down quartz countertops.
Sanding to Create a Matte Finish
One of the most direct ways to reduce the shine on quartz is through sanding. This abrades the top layer of the material to create a flatter, matte look. When done properly, sanding can transform the countertop from an ultra-glossy surface to one with a honed or soft matte finish.
Here is a step-by-step guide to sanding quartz countertops:
- Orbital sander with variable speed settings
- 80, 220, 400, and 600 grit sandpaper discs
- Sanding sponge
- Shop vacuum
- Mineral spirits
- Clean rags
- Safety gear like goggles, mask, and gloves
Step 1 – Prep the Countertop
Clear the countertop of any items or appliances. Remove the sink and faucet if possible. This exposes the entire surface and allows you to work efficiently.
Step 2 – Vacuum the Countertop
Use the shop vac to thoroughly vacuum up any dirt, debris, or dust on the countertop. This prevents the sander from kicking up grime during the process.
Step 3 – Start Sanding with Coarse Grit Paper
Attach the 80 grit sandpaper disc to the orbital sander. Keep the speed on low and begin sanding in gradual side-to-side motions. Apply light pressure and work in small sections.
Step 4 – Smooth with Finer Grits
Progress through the finer grit sandpapers, like 220, 400, and 600. Wipe the surface clean between each grit change. The higher grits smooth out scratches from the coarser ones.
Step 5 – Hand Sand with a Sponge
Use the sanding sponge for hard to reach spots near the edges and corners. Rub gently to blend those areas to match the rest of the countertop.
Step 6 – Clean the Surface
Wipe off all remaining sanding dust with mineral spirits. Use clean rags to remove residue. Allow the countertop to fully dry.
Step 7 – Apply Sealer (Optional)
Sealing the sanded quartz provides stain resistance and helps keep the matte finish. Apply 2-3 thin coats of sealer, allowing drying time between coats.
With some elbow grease and the right sandpapers, you can successfully transform a glossy quartz countertop into a lovely matte surface. Always test sand a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure you get the desired results.
Etching Cream to Create a Frosted Look
Another method for reducing the shine of quartz countertops is using an etching cream. Etching creams contain acids that lightly wear down and corrode the surface. This creates a frosted, honed type of look. It does not produce as flat of a finish as sanding but gives the countertop more of a silky sheen.
Here is how to frost a quartz countertop using etching cream:
- Etching cream containing oxalic or phosphoric acid
- Plastic putty knife or applicator
- Clean cloths
- Safety gear – gloves, goggles, mask
Step 1 – Tape Off Area
Use painter’s tape to mask off the area around the countertop edges you wish to etch. This keeps the cream contained to that surface.
Step 2 – Stir the Etching Cream
Open the container of etching cream and stir it thoroughly before starting. This ensures the acid ingredients are well mixed.
Step 3 – Apply the Etching Cream
Use the putty knife or brush to spread on a thick, even layer of etching cream over the quartz. Follow product directions for leave-on times.
Step 4 – Scrub the Surface
After the allotted time, scrub the countertop with a plastic scrub pad or brush. This helps work the etching cream into the surface.
Step 5 – Rinse Thoroughly
Rinse off all etching cream residue under running water. Wipe clean with damp cloths. Dry completely.
Step 6 – Remove Tape
Once fully dry, carefully remove all painter’s tape from the surrounding areas.
Step 7 – Seal (Optional)
Sealing the etched areas helps protect from staining and deposits building up in the newly roughened texture.
With some careful prep and application of etching cream, you can transform the look of your glossy quartz into a soft, frosted finish. Always spot test first, as etching is permanent.
Clean with Abrasive Pads and Powders
For a subtler dulling effect, you can use abrasive cleaning pads and powders. These very mildly scuff up the surface over time, slowly reducing the shine. This is a safe DIY method that requires minimal supplies.
- Mildly abrasive cleansing powder
- Non-scratch scrubbing pad or sponge
- Clean cloths
Step 1 – Sprinkle Abrasive Powder
Apply a sprinkle of the abrasive cleanser powder directly onto the quartz countertop.
Step 2 – Scrub with a Pad
Using a soft scrubbing pad, work the powder over the surface in small circular motions. Apply light pressure.
Step 3 – Rinse Clean
Thoroughly rinse away all powder residue under running water. Wipe clean and dry with soft cloths.
Step 4 – Repeat Process Over Time
To gradually dull the quartz, repeat this abrasive cleaning regularly. Over many cleanings, the quartz will develop more of a honed look.
The benefit of this method is it is non-permanent, so you can stop once you achieve the desired level of dullness. It will not work as quickly as sanding or etching cream but is safe for DIY quartz dulling.
Professional Refinishing Services
For those wanting to significantly alter the finish of their quartz countertops but who are not comfortable with DIY methods, professional refinishing services are available. Companies can provide services like:
- Sanding and polishing – They use specialized tools and expertise to sand quartz countertops down to remove scratches or shine and then buff them. This achieves results superior to DIY sanding.
- Etching/honing – Professionals use stronger formulations of etching products to penetrate deeper into the quartz. This can create different levels of honed finishes.
- Mechanical polishing – Utilizes abrasive diamond pads mounted to equipment to grind away the top layer. This removes shine and repairs damage.
- Colour alteration – If you wish to change the color of your countertops, refinishers can apply permanent dye or may suggest replacing just the quartz surface layer.
While pricier than DIY, professional refinishing services can transform the look of your countertop in ways difficult to achieve at home. Shop around for an experienced local pro.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dulling Quartz Countertops
Many homeowners researching how to reduce the shine on their quartz countertops have similar questions. Here are answers to some of the most common FAQs.
Is it possible to dull the finish of quartz?
Yes, there are several effective ways to dull a quartz countertop’s glossy surface, including sanding, etching, abrasive cleaning, and professional refinishing. The key is using methods that abrade or corrode the top layer.
How much does it cost to dull a quartz countertop?
For DIY methods like sanding or using etching cream, materials cost $50-$100. Professional refinishing averages $50-$100 per linear foot but varies based on process and countertop size.
What kind of look can you expect after dulling quartz?
The different techniques create unique appearances. Sanding results in a flatter honed or matte look. Etching makes a frosted, Semi-gloss finish. Abrasive cleaning provides a very subtle honing over time.
Is dulling or etching permanent?
Sanding and etching quartz produces permanent finish alterations. The abrasive cleaning method can be stopped once you achieve the desired level of dullness. Refinishing pros can sometimes remove etching.
Does dulling affect the durability or maintenance of quartz?
Not significantly, since the pigments and minerals that make quartz strong and stain-resistant run throughout the slab. Dulling just impacts the gloss level of the top surface layer.
Can you just use sandpaper to dull small spots on quartz?
Yes, you can lightly hand sand small areas, like etching marks, with a fine 400+ grit sandpaper to blend them to a less shiny finish. Use delicate circular motions.
What are the downsides to dulling quartz?
The surface may show marks and scratches more easily once it has been dulled. Etching produces a rougher texture that can collect dust and debris. Sealants can help minimize these issues.
There are many options available if you wish to transform your quartz countertops from glossy to a softer, matte finish. Methods like sanding, etching, and abrasive cleaning can each produce unique results, from smooth honed to frosted. For those wanting professional-grade dulling, refinishing services are available. With some planning and care, you can dull your quartz counters for a more muted, natural look.