Quartz countertops are popular for many reasons – they’re durable, low-maintenance, and come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. While quartz is easier to install than natural stone, proper installation is still key to ensuring your countertops last for many years to come. This comprehensive guide will walk you through all the steps for how to lay quartz countertops in your home.
Choosing the Right Quartz Slab
When selecting your quartz slabs, there are a few key things to consider:
Color and Pattern
Quartz offers far more options than natural stone when it comes to colors and patterns. Take your time looking at quartz samples to find the perfect hue and aesthetic for your space. Popular options include whites, grays, and blues, along with stone-like patterns or speckles.
Standard quartz thickness is 3cm (1 1/4 inches). Thicker options like 3.2cm (1 1/4 inches) are available for a sturdier feel. Edges can be built up to 5cm (2 inches) thick.
Opt for slabs from reputable brands like Caesarstone, Silestone, Cambria, or LG Viatera. While less expensive off-brand quartz exists, quality can be questionable.
Measure your existing countertops and map out your new layout to determine exactly how many square feet of quartz you’ll need. Leave an extra 10-15% to account for mistakes and cutoffs.
Preparing Your Home for Installation
Installing new countertops requires some prep work to ensure the process goes smoothly.
Clear Countertops and Cabinets
Remove everything from existing countertops and clear out cabinets underneath. Have a plan for where appliances and items will be stored during installation.
Protect Floors and Walls
Cover floors with rosin paper, plastic sheeting, or cardboard and tape plastic to walls to protect from dust and debris.
Address Plumbing Fixtures
Detach sinks, faucets, and soap dispensers. Turn off water supply lines.
Cabinets must be level, securely fastened, and able to support weight of countertops. Make any necessary repairs beforehand.
Create a Template
Make a detailed template of your countertops with precise measurements that the installation team can follow.
Hiring a Professional Installer
Quartz fabrication and installation requires specialized tools and expertise, so in nearly all cases it’s wise to hire a professional installer. Here’s how to find the right team:
Look for installers that specialize in quartz and have many years of experience successfully installing slabs without damages. Ask for references from past clients.
Read reviews on Google, Facebook, and elsewhere to gauge the quality of service from potential installers. Look for companies with consistent high ratings.
Meet with a few companies and get quotes. Ask lots of questions to understand their process and credentials. A quality installer will take time to address all your concerns.
Verify License and Insurance
Choose an installer that is licensed, bonded, and insured. This protects you in case of damages during installation.
Planning the Installation Layout
Once you’ve selected your installer, collaborate with them to map out your new quartz countertop layout.
Discuss Design Plans
Share your vision for the finished kitchen or bath. Provide them drawings or templates outlining desired measurements.
The installer will advise on the best seams between quartz slabs based on standard slab sizes, edges, thickness, and aesthetics. Keep seams as hidden as possible.
Standard overhang for countertops is 1 1/4″. Larger overhangs up to 2″ are possible but may require added structural support.
Decide on Edges
Edges can be straight, beveled, eased, or decorative. Thicker edges are strongest. Undermount sinks require 1/4″ overhang space for clips.
Discuss whether installation will be completed in phases for multiple rooms and agree on a realistic timeline.
Your installer will handle these final preparatory steps once slabs are ready for installation:
Thoroughly examine slabs for any defects and verify colors/patterns match what was ordered. This is your last chance to swap out problem slabs.
Using the template, cutouts will be made for the sink, faucet, stove, and any other fixtures. Precision here prevents issues down the road.
Mesh backing will be affixed to the bottom of slabs for structural reinforcement and to minimize cracking or chipping from surface tension.
Prepare Seam Kit
Color-matched epoxy will be mixed and used to tightly glue the slabs together at seams for a seamless appearance.
Slabs are very heavy and fragile, so installers will use A-frames, suction cups, and other specialized equipment to carefully maneuver them into place.
Step-by-Step Installation Process
Once all the planning and prep work is complete, the installers are ready to lay the quartz countertops using the following process:
Ensure cabinet bases are clean and debris-free to allow proper slab placement.
Adhesive is spread evenly across the top of cabinet bases where slabs will adhere.
Install Back Splashes
Optional back splashes are cut to size and attached to walls using waterproof adhesive and/or metal brackets.
Slabs are gently positioned on top of the cabinet bases and pressed into the adhesive to bond.
Where seams occur, slabs are pushed tightly together and precisely aligned before applying seam kit epoxy.
Apply Seam Kit
Color-matched epoxy is worked thoroughly into the seams between slabs for an invisible, leak-proof bond.
Epoxy adhesive will need to fully cure for 24-48 hours before resuming work on the countertops.
Install Sink and Fixtures
Once cured, the sink can be mounted and sealed to the quartz using silicone caulk. Reinstall fixtures.
Inspect and Touch Up
Thoroughly examine countertops for any minor adjustments needed. Use seam kit for touch ups.
Remove all dust, residue, and adhesives from the quartz. Use mild soap and water only.
With careful planning and an experienced installation professional, you can enjoy stunning, durable quartz countertops that will last for many years to come! Let us know if you have any other questions about how to properly lay quartz countertops in your home.
FAQs About Laying Quartz Countertops
What tools are needed to install quartz?
Professional quartz installers will have specialized tools like A-frames, suction cups, clamps, and seam setters. Homeowners should not attempt quartz installation without this professional equipment.
How long does it take to install quartz?
The entire process of templating, fabrication, and installation typically takes 2-3 weeks. The actual hands-on installation time is often just 1-2 days. Total time varies based on slab sizes and seam placement.
What is the best adhesive for quartz countertops?
Professional installers recommend a high-quality construction adhesive like Liquid Nails or Loctite PL Premium. Adhesive choice depends on your cabinet material. Follow your installer’s recommended products.
Can quartz countertops be installed DIY?
Quartz is very heavy and fragile, so DIY installation is not advisable. Hiring professionals with specialized tools and experience installing hundreds of slabs reduces the risk of damage, injuries, and installation problems down the road.
Does installed quartz need to be sealed?
Unlike granite and marble, quartz does not require regular sealing. Quartz is non-porous so stains and water cannot penetrate the surface. However, proper cleaning with mild soap and water is still required.
How long do quartz countertops last compared to other materials?
With proper care, quartz countertops can last upward of 15-20 years. Quartz lasts longer than laminate (5-10 years) and a similar timeframe as granite, though quartz requires less maintenance over its lifetime.
Installing new quartz countertops can instantly upgrade the look of your kitchen or bath. With smart planning, hiring professional installers, and adhering to best practices for laying quartz slabs, you can enjoy stunning, durable countertops that will last for many years before needing replacement. Be sure to thoroughly research quartz options, prepare your space accordingly, and collaborate with installation pros to make the process go smoothly. In just a few weeks, you can have beautiful new countertops to enjoy.