Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular choice for kitchens and bathrooms due to their durability, aesthetic appeal, and low maintenance. However, like any surface, quartz can become damaged over time with use. Small scratches, etching, and dulling of the surface can occur. Thankfully, it is possible to polish out minor damage and restore the quartz to its original beautiful luster. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to polish damaged quartz countertop surfaces.
Assessing the Damage
Before polishing, inspect the quartz carefully and identify the type and extent of damage. Light scratches may only penetrate the surface resin coating and can be buffed out easily. Deeper scratches or etching that expose the quartz grains will require a more aggressive polishing technique.
- Look at the damage under bright light to see the full extent.
- Feel for any ridges or catch points along the scratches.
- Determine if the damage is localized or affects the whole surface.
Knowing what type of damage you are dealing with will guide the appropriate polishing methods and compounds to use.
Cleaning Prior to Polishing
It is important to thoroughly clean the quartz before polishing out any damage. Dust, dirt, grease and wax buildup will interfere with the polishing and reduce its effectiveness.
- Wash the surface with warm soapy water and rinse well.
- Use isopropyl alcohol or other degreasing cleaner to remove any waxy residues.
- Allow the quartz to fully dry.
- Inspect again under bright light to ensure all contaminants have been removed before polishing.
Proper cleaning exposes the bare quartz surface and allows the polishing materials to work most effectively.
Tools and Materials Needed
Polishing out damage on quartz requires using handheld rotary tools along with specialized diamond abrasive pads and polishing compounds. Here is the essential equipment:
A variable speed polisher or grinder that can operate from 1200 to 4000 RPM is ideal. Some options:
- Dremel rotary tool with assorted grinding heads
- Makita or Milwauklee 4-1/2” angle grinder
- Handheld car polisher
- Coarse 50-100 grit diamond pads to grind out deep scratches
- Medium 200-400 grit diamond pads for lighter scratches and etching
- Soft foam buffing pad for applying polishing compound
- Diamond polishing powder or diamond resin pads for grinding
- Cerium oxide or quartz polish for final buffing
- N95 dust mask
- Eye protection
- Ear protection if using an angle grinder
Step-by-Step Polishing Process
With the right tools assembled, follow these steps to polish out damage on quartz:
1. Grind Out Deep Scratches
Use a coarse 50-100 grit diamond pad on the rotary tool to grind out any deeper scratches or ridges. Work in circular motions applying moderate pressure. Check often to see if the scratch has been removed. Be careful not to over-grind any one area.
2. Polish Away Remaining Scratches
Switch to a medium 200-400 grit diamond pad to smooth out lighter scratches and dull areas. Work over the entire surface until all visible damage has been erased. Apply lighter pressure and use water to keep the quartz surface wet while polishing.
3. Clean Up and Check for Remaining Damage
Rinse the surface thoroughly and inspect closely under bright light for any remnants of scratches. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to smooth out any remaining problem spots.
4. Refining With A Polishing Compound
Once all visible damage has been removed, mount a soft foam buffing pad on the rotary tool. Apply a dots of cerium oxide or quartz polish across the surface. Buff at a high speed moving steadily over the whole countertop until it shines.
5. Final Cleaning and Inspection
Wipe away any polishing compound residue using a soft cloth dampened with water or isopropyl alcohol. Carefully inspect for any remaining dull spots and re-polish as needed. Apply sealant if desired.
Tips for Avoiding Rescratching
To get the longest lasting polish on your quartz:
- Use cutting boards and hot pads to protect the surface from knives, pots, etc.
- Clean spills promptly to avoid etching.
- Apply a quartz surface sealant 1-2 times per year.
- Gently clean with non-abrasive sponges and soaps.
With proper care and maintenance, your quartz countertops will retain their lustrous polished finish for many years before needing re-polishing. But when damage does occur, follow these steps to restore the smooth quartz surface.
Frequently Asked Questions About Polishing Quartz
How often should I polish my quartz countertop?
You only need to polish quartz when damage like scratches occur. With proper care, polishing should not be needed more than once every few years.
What are some common causes of damage to quartz?
Cutting directly on the surface, harsh cleaners, spills left to sit too long, and general wear over time can damage quartz. Avoiding these protects the finish.
Is it possible to get rid of etching on quartz?
Light etching can be polished out by gently grinding the affected area with a diamond pad. Severe deep etching may require resurfacing the quartz.
What’s the difference between quartz polishing powder and car polish?
Quartz polishing powder like cerium oxide is finer than car polish and will create a glossier, glass-like shine. Automotive polish contains more fillers and wax that can leave streaks.
Can I use a quartz polishing kit from the hardware store?
Yes, many kits contain small diamond pads and cerium oxide that will work well. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions closely.
While quartz countertops are very durable, they can become scratched and dull over years of use. Knowing how to properly polish out minor damage will save the expense and hassle of replacing the quartz. With some basic tools and diamond abrasives, small scratches can be buffed away and the glossy surface restored. Just be sure to clean thoroughly first and assess the type of damage so you use the appropriate grits of diamond pads. With some care and patience, you can achieve professional-looking results, bringing the sparkle back to your quartz.