Installing a quartz countertop can transform the look of your kitchen or bathroom. With its durable, stylish surface, quartz makes an excellent choice for countertops in high-traffic areas. While quartz requires professional installation, you can save on labor costs by preparing the countertops yourself. Learn the key steps of how to lay quartz countertop with this comprehensive DIY guide.
Choose the Quartz Slab
When selecting your quartz, consider the color, pattern, and thickness you want. Quartz comes in a wide range of styles to suit any design aesthetic.
Standard quartz thickness is 3/4″. Go thicker if you want a heavyweight look. Thinner 1/2″ can work for vertical surfaces like backsplashes.
Quartz patterns range from solid colors to bold aggregates with decorative flecks. Natural stone-like veining is also available.
Square, rounded, beveled, and ogee edges create different countertop profiles. Your installer will fabricate and polish the edges.
Order quartz samples to view colors and patterns. Test samples for stain resistance.
Prepare the Base Cabinets
Proper base cabinet construction ensures your countertop installation goes smoothly.
- Confirm cabinets are level, plumb, and square.
- Seal raw wood to prevent moisture damage.
- Build up face frame to support countertop overhang.
- Add corner bracing for lateral stability.
- Attach mounting strips at the top of the cabinet boxes. The countertop will be secured to these ledger boards.
- Fill any uneven spaces between cabinets with shims.
Measure for the Countertop
Precise measurements are needed to cut the quartz slabs to fit your layout.
- Measure length and width of overall countertop runs.
- Measure interior cabinet openings the countertop will sit over.
- Note locations of sink cutouts, cooktops, islands, and any breaks in the countertop.
- Add 1/8″ overhang for each exposed countertop edge.
- For L-shaped sections, measure the length from the corner to each end.
Provide your installer with a drawing showing all measurements and sink/cooktop details.
Install the Countertop
Quartz countertops weigh over 100 pounds per square foot, so professional installation is recommended. Here is the process:
Examine quartz slabs at the shop for any defects before fabrication. Look for pitting, cracks, or color variations.
The fabricator will use the measurements to cut the sink, faucet, and cooktop openings with a CNC machine. Any repairs or polishing are done.
For longer runs, seams will be needed. The installer will plan the layout to make seams less noticeable.
Countertops are test fit without adhesive to check measurements. The installer marks any adjustments needed.
After a final dry fit, the installer cleans the cabinets, applies adhesive, sets the slabs, and pulls the sections together tightly.
The countertop is clamped until the adhesive dries. Then it gets reinforced with brackets and shims attached to the mounting boards.
Exposed countertop edges are smoothed and finished. Backsplashes and end caps are installed.
The installer buffs the quartz, removing any adhesive residue or scratches from installation. Sealer is applied to protect the finish.
Caulk is added along the seam between the countertop and walls. Let dry completely before using the countertop.
Care and Maintenance
Quartz is durable, but proper care keeps it looking like new.
- For daily cleaning, use a mild soap and water.
- Blot spills quickly to avoid stains.
- Avoid abrasive cleaners and pads.
- Reseal with a stone sealer every 1-2 years.
- Don’t cut food directly on the surface. Use a cutting board.
- Don’t place hot pans directly on quartz.
With routine maintenance, your quartz countertops will stay beautiful for years to come. Follow this guide to install your quartz countertops successfully.
FAQs About Laying Quartz Countertops
What tools do I need to install a quartz countertop?
You’ll need basic tools like a tape measure, level, framing square, and drill. For adhesive application, use a trowel with V-notches. Your installer should provide specialty tools needed for cutting, lifting, and securing the countertop.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
Sealing isn’t required but can help prevent stains, especially for lighter quartz colors. Use a stone sealer every 1-2 years. Avoid sealers with oils, dyes, or waxes.
How thick should a quartz countertop be?
The standard quartz thickness is 3/4″. Go up to 1-1/4″ for a chunkier look. Use 1/2″ only on vertical surfaces like backsplashes. Thicker quartz is more resistant to cracks and warping.
How much overhang should I allow for a quartz countertop?
An 1/8″ overhang is common for countertops with an attached backsplash. For stand-alone islands, go bigger with a 1-1/2″ overhang. This allows room for decorative corbels or ledges.
Should I plywood underlayment for a quartz countertop installation?
Plywood isn’t required, but can help strengthen the base cabinets. Use moisture-resistant plywood, applied over the mounting strips. This also creates a smooth surface if the cabinets walls are uneven.
Can you cut on a quartz countertop?
Quartz is stain and scratch-resistant, but cutting directly on the surface can damage it over time. Always use a cutting board for food prep.
How long does quartz countertop installation take?
The full process takes 2-3 days. Day 1 is templating and measurements. Cutting and fabricating takes place on Day 2. Installation happens on Day 3. Drying and curing time extends the timeline.
Installing quartz countertops creates a beautiful, modern kitchen focal point. With some preparation and careful measurement, you can install quartz yourself and save on labor costs. Pay attention to base cabinet construction, proper support, precision cuts, seam placement, and safe handling of these heavy slabs. With a stunning new quartz countertop, you’ll love spending time in your kitchen for many years.