How to Install Quartz Countertops DIY

Installing quartz countertops can transform the look of your kitchen or bathroom by adding an elegant and stylish surface. While the installation process requires some DIY skills, it is definitely possible to install quartz yourself if you’re up for the challenge. This comprehensive guide will walk you through all the steps needed for a successful DIY quartz countertop installation.

Getting Started with Quartz Countertops

Quartz countertops, sometimes called engineered stone, have become incredibly popular in recent years. Made from crushed quartz blended with resin and pigments, quartz offers an attractive, low-maintenance, and durable alternative to natural stone and laminate.

Here are some key advantages of quartz countertops:

  • Stylish appearance – Available in a wide range of colors and patterns that mimic natural stone and concrete. The seamless appearance is very modern.
  • Low maintenance – Quartz resists stains, scratches, heat, and water better than many alternatives. It never needs sealing or polishing.
  • Durability – With a hardness approaching that of granite, quartz stands up well to heavy usage in kitchens.
  • Easy to clean – Food and messes wipe off easily.
  • Non-porous – Unlike granite and marble, quartz does not require annual sealing to prevent staining.

While quartz is easier to install than natural stone, it still requires careful planning and preparation. Proper installation is crucial to getting durable and visually appealing results.

This DIY guide will cover:

  • Quartz Countertop Selection
  • Tools and Materials Needed
  • Demolition and Removal of Old Countertops
  • Building a Countertop Substrate
  • Installing Undermount Sinks (optional)
  • Applying Adhesive and Setting Quartz Slabs
  • Seaming and Finishing the Edges

Step 1: Quartz Countertop Selection

The first step is choosing the quartz slabs for your project. There are many brands, colors, and patterns to select from.

Quartz Brands

Popular quartz brands include Silestone, Caesarstone, Cambria, and Viatera. Each has a range of options. We recommend viewing slabs in person before finalizing your selection. This allows you to see the true color variations and patterns up close.

Some of the factors to consider when selecting a quartz brand and color include:

  • Intended use – Is this a kitchen countertop that will see heavy use? Look for quartz blends rated for durability.
  • Color/pattern – Browse the types of colors and patterns available. Samples don’t always show everything.
  • Thickness – Standard thickness is 3cm for countertops. Thicker options provide more sturdiness for heavily used spans.
  • Fit with other finishes – Make sure your quartz complements cabinetry, floors, and other finishes.

Viewing the Slabs in Person

When possible, select slabs in person at a stone yard or distributor. Things to look out for:

  • Check colors in different lighting. Natural and artificial light can change the appearance.
  • Look at the overall pattern and movement. Subtle variations make each slab unique.
  • Inspect closely for any pits, cracks or defects. Quartz should be pristine.
  • View the finish of the edges. Some have a polished edge, others a rough split surface.
  • Ask about warranties. Many quartz brands offer 10 or 15 year warranties.

Once you’ve selected the perfect slabs, the distributor can fabricate and polish them to your specifications.

Step 2: Tools and Materials Needed

Installing quartz countertops requires having the right tools and supplies on hand. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need:

Essential Tools

  • Tape measure
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Jigsaw with diamond grit blade
  • Router
  • Circle cutting drill attachment (for around sinks)
  • Quartz circular saw blade
  • Hot glue gun with thick glue sticks
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Paintbrushes
  • Dust masks and eye protection


  • High quality non-sagging adhesive for quartz – Such as LePage PL Premium Polyurethane Construction Adhesive
  • Color-matched silicone caulk for seams

Additional Supplies

  • Soft rags
  • Low tack painter’s tape
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Acetone
  • Wood shims
  • Blue painter’s tape
  • Clean buckets
  • Wood support braces for overhangs

Having all your supplies and tools prepared ahead of time will make the installation process go smoothly. Safety gear like gloves and eye protection is a must when cutting.

Step 3: Demolition and Removal of Old Countertops

Once you have the new quartz slabs, it’s time to remove the existing countertops. This step takes patience and proper technique.

Turn off all supply lines to sinks and appliances integrated into the countertop area.

1. Clear Countertops

Remove everything from the countertops. Take out appliances and sink (if undermount). Clean surfaces so no dirt can scratch the quartz later.

2. Detach Countertops

Cut any caulk bonds between the countertop and walls with a utility knife. Remove any screws, brackets, or supports attaching the countertop.

Disconnect sinks/faucets if present. The existing undermount sink usually needs to be detached from below. Removing clips or brackets will free the sink.

Place a towel beneath the sink and slide it out carefully.

3. Lift Countertops Out

Have helpers on hand! With the countertop detached, carefully lift it up and out in one piece if possible.

This usually takes 2+ people depending on size. Exercise proper lifting methods to avoid injury. Dispose of the old countertop appropriately.

4. Remove Adhesive and Level Substrate

Old caulk, adhesives, or laminate layers need to be scraped off completely. The new quartz will be adhered directly to the cabinet substrate for stability.

Make sure the walls and substrate are level. Grind down or use filler for any uneven areas. The new quartz needs a perfectly smooth base.

Step 4: Building a Countertop Substrate

With the old countertop gone, some substrate preparation is required before installing the quartz. The slabs need a perfectly level and securely supported base.

Ensure Load Bearing Support

Kitchen cabinet bases should have adequate cross supports and strength to hold the weight of quartz slabs without sagging. Add extra vertical braces beneath overhangs for support.

Substrate Material Choices

Common substrate options under quartz include:

  • Plywood – Many installers use 3⁄4 inch exterior grade plywood screwed into the cabinet base. Avoid voids under the slabs.
  • MDF – Dense and heavy for good support. Must be kept dry to prevent swelling.
  • Particle board (avoid) – Prone to sagging or crumbling when wet. Not recommended.

Creating a Stable and Level Layer

Here are tips for an optimal substrate layer:

  • Cut plywood/MDF slightly smaller than countertop dimensions. This prevents bonding to the walls.
  • Use several pieces and lay seams perpendicular to cabinet seams. Offset all seams.
  • Fill any gaps with wood filler. The surface must be perfectly flush.
  • Shim up uneven areas as needed to make completely level.
  • Ensure the surface is clean and dry. Vacuum up any dust.

The goal is a smooth, seamless, and level base for quartz bonding.

Step 5: Installing Undermount Sinks (Optional)

For kitchens, now is the ideal time to install an undermount sink before placing the quartz.

Positioning the Sink

Consider proper sink placement:

  • Allow room behind the sink for faucet installation.
  • Keep in mind existing plumbing and drainage.
  • Picture workflow from other stations like ovens or refrigerators.

Mounting and Securing the Sink

To undermount the sink:

  1. Set the sink in the desired position on the substrate layer and trace an outline.
  2. Use a jigsaw to cut an opening following the outline, with clearance for faucet hardware.
  3. Set sink in place and confirm fit and position. Make any adjustments.
  4. Apply silicone adhesive around the sink rim where it will contact quartz.
  5. Place metal clips around the sink to hold it firmly against the quartz later.

The sink is now prepped and ready for the quartz slabs.

Step 6: Applying Adhesive and Setting Quartz Slabs

With proper support in place, it’s time to permanently adhere the quartz slabs. Use care in moving and placing them to avoid cracks or chips.

1. Dry Fit the Slabs

Carefully move the quartz pieces into position. Use wood shims to adjust any slight gaps for a flush fit.

Mark the location with tape when satisfied with the dry fit results. Remove slabs to apply adhesive.

2. Prepare Adhesive

Use a high-quality polyurethane adhesive made for quartz and stone. Avoid silicone or mastic options.

Work in small batches so adhesive does not dry out before placing slabs. Prepare more as needed.

Spread a thin, even layer across the entire substrate using a notched trowel.

3. Set Quartz Slabs

Lift slabs one at a time and gently place into position. Have helpers for large pieces.

Slide the slab back towards yourself to prevent air pockets in adhesive. Adjust alignment if needed.

Apply pressure across the surface to ensure even contact adhesion. Tape down to prevent shifting.

Clean any oozed out adhesive with denatured alcohol. Allow curing times per adhesive label.

Step 7: Seaming and Finishing the Edges

Once the slabs are set, the next steps are seaming adjacent pieces and perfecting the edges. This gives a smooth unified appearance.

Seaming Adjacent Slabs

Where two slabs meet, use the following steps:

  • Clamp pieces together tightly edge to edge. No gaps should be present.
  • Hot glue along the seam on the underside to hold alignment while bonding the seam.
  • Tape the full length of the seam. Helpful for very tight seams.
  • Fill the seam completely with color-matched silicone caulk. Allow to fully cure.
  • Once cured, remove excess caulk with a plastic putty knife and denatured alcohol.

Repeat for any other seams and let the caulk fully harden before polishing.

Shaping and Polishing Edges

Finishing the exposed edges results in a clean integrated appearance.

For polished edges:

  • Use a router with diamond grit bit to shape edges at corners or cutouts. Take small passes.
  • Switch to a fine grit pad and polish until achieving a smooth sheen.
  • Soften any hard lines by hand with fine grit sandpaper.

For rough split edges:

  • Use 60-80 grit pads to knock down sharpness and shape as needed.
  • Finish with a diamond polishing pad to create a clean uniform appearance.
  • Caulk the seams where edges meet walls for a seamless transition.

Quartz Countertop Installation Tips

Follow these useful tips for the best results from your DIY quartz installation:

  • Always review manufacturer instructions for the quartz and adhesives used.
  • Cut slabs slowly and carefully using the proper saw blade. Rushing can crack or chip the edges.
  • Keep checking for level throughout the install. Quartz is unforgiving if not perfectly flat.
  • Clay in some adhesives can stain quartz, so wipe up any excess immediately with denatured alcohol.
  • When removing old adhesives or caulk, change razor blades frequently to avoid scraping the substrate.
  • For smoothing cut edges, use fine grit diamond sanding pads. Do not over-sand which can damage the finish.
  • Avoid walking or leaning heavily on newly installed pieces until adhesive fully cures.
  • Match your silicone caulk color very closely to the quartz for inconspicuous seams.

DIY Quartz Countertop Installation FAQs

Interested in installing your own quartz countertops? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How difficult is quartz for a DIY homeowner to install?

Quartz installation is challenging but can definitely be tackled by an experienced DIYer. The process involves careful preparation, precise cutting, and proper bonding methods. Patience is key.

What risks are there of damaging the quartz?

Cutting dry or with a blunt blade can chip edges. Dropping slabs or improper bonding can also crack the material. Take it slow and get help moving heavy pieces.

How long does the installation process take?

It takes 2-3 full days for an average sized kitchen from removal to finished install. The adhesive drying time dictates the timeline.

Can I install a quartz backsplash myself?

Definitely. Many distributors sell quartz scraps or remnant pieces perfect for backsplashes. Cut to size and adhere to the wall.

What mistakes should I avoid?

Rushing any steps. Choosing inadequate substrate material. Not cleaning dust and debris between steps. Caulking before adhesive fully cures.

Is special plumbing needed for undermount sinks?

Yes, undermount sinks require specialized plumbing fittings that anchor the sink from below. Make sure these are installed first.

Can I use regular construction adhesives?

No. Always select a non-sagging adhesive specifically designed for quartz. Other adhesives can stain or not properly bond.


Installing your own quartz countertops is an ambitious but rewarding DIY project that can save thousands over professional installation. With the right planning, tools, patience, and attention to detail, you can achieve stunning results. Just be sure to follow the detailed steps outlined here during each phase. Take your time, and your new quartz countertops will look like they were professionally installed. With a gleaming new surface that adds style, durability, and value to your kitchen or bath.