Quartz countertops are engineered stone surfaces made from quartz particles bonded together with resin. They are popular choices for kitchens and bathrooms due to their durability, visual appeal, and ease of maintenance. While quartz is resistant to scratches, stains, and heat, it can become dull over time with regular use. Polishing your quartz countertops helps restore the shine and luster to make them look like new again. With a little effort, you can learn how to properly polish quartz to keep your countertops sparkling.
What You’ll Need to Polish Quartz Countertops
Polishing quartz requires using a gentle abrasive to buff out dull areas and reveal the quartz crystals’ natural shine. Here are the supplies you’ll need:
- Quartz countertop polish or multi-surface polish formulated for engineered stone. Avoid polishes with oils or waxes.
- Microfiber cloths for applying and removing polish.
- Soft buffing pad or terry cloth bonnet for power buffing.
- Orbital sander or variable speed buffer (optional).
- Painter’s tape to mask off edges.
- Bucket of clean water for rinsing.
Look for a high-quality polish made specifically for quartz and other engineered stones. General purpose stone polishes may contain ingredients that can etch or cloud quartz.
Cleaning Quartz Before Polishing
Before polishing, thoroughly clean the quartz to remove any dirt, debris, or residues that could interfere with getting an evenly polished surface.
Here’s a quick cleaning process:
- Sweep or vacuum to remove loose dirt.
- Mix a mild detergent like dish soap with warm water in a bucket.
- Dip a soft microfiber cloth in the solution and wring out excess.
- Wipe down the entire surface using broad, overlapping strokes.
- Rinse well with clean water and dry with a fresh microfiber towel.
- Inspect closely and spot clean any remaining dirt or stains.
Clean the quartz as needed until the surface is free of filmy residues or stubborn dirt. For food stains, grease, or hard water deposits, use a diluted white vinegar solution followed by a clear water rinse.
How to Polish a Quartz Countertop
With a clean surface ready, you can begin polishing. Here are the basic steps:
1. Tape Off Countertop Edges
Apply painter’s tape around the perimeter of the countertop. Mask off a 1-inch border to keep polish off the edges and prevent drips. Press the tape down firmly.
2. Shake Polish Well and Apply a Small Amount
Pour a quarter-sized drop of quartz polish directly onto the countertop. Spread and work it over an area of 2-3 square feet using a folded microfiber cloth. Use light pressure in a circular motion.
3. Buff Off Residue
Let the polish dry for 2-3 minutes. It should look slightly hazy. Buff off the cloudy residue with a clean dry microfiber towel using light pressure.
4. Inspect and Repeat on All Areas
Check to see if the area looks shiny and renewed. If not, reapply and buff again. Continue section by section until the entire countertop surface is polished. Remove the painters tape.
5. Clean Up Residue
Use a damp microfiber towel to remove any remaining cloudy polish residue along the edges and seams. Rinse the towel frequently as you work. Allow the countertop to dry completely.
6. Seal and Protect (Optional)
For added protection and easier ongoing maintenance, apply a quartz sealer/topcoat after polishing. This helps prevent etch marks and fills in micro-scratches. Follow the product directions for applying thin, even coats and proper drying time before use.
Tips for Polishing Quartz Countertops
Follow these pointers to get the best results from your quartz polishing session:
- Work in sections to avoid the polish drying too quickly before buffing off.
- Use minimal pressure when polishing. Let the polish do the work.
- If needed, carefully re-tape edges between coats to keep polish off vertical surfaces.
- Thoroughly rinse microfiber towels between steps to prevent haze and residue.
- For a higher shine, do a second application of polish and buff well after the first coat dries.
- Perform polishing under bright lighting to see dull areas that need extra attention.
- On horizontal surfaces, work against the grain direction to get into micro-scratches.
- For stubborn spots, let the polish set for 5 minutes before buffing.
Using a Buffer to Polish Quartz
For large quartz countertop installations or heavily dulled areas, consider power polishing for ease and efficiency.
- Orbital sander or buffer with variable speed control.
- Soft buffing pad attachment like terry cloth or microfiber.
- Quartz polish or multi-surface wax suitable for buffers.
Steps for power polishing:
- Thoroughly clean and dry the quartz.
- Spread a dime-sized amount of polish over a 2-3 foot area.
- Run the buffer over the polish at the lowest speed setting. Move constantly to avoid heat buildup.
- Once spread, increase speed slightly and buff until any haze is gone.
- Avoid excessive pressure and buffing after the polish is fully removed.
- Rinse the buffing pad frequently. Change pads if they become clogged.
- Carefully edge and detail polish by hand.
Always test polish and speed settings on a small inconspicuous spot first. Keep the buffing pad flat to the countertop. Be extremely careful when power polishing near edges.
How Often Should You Polish Quartz?
With proper care, polishing quartz countertops annually or biannually is usually adequate to keep them looking like new. More frequent polishing may be needed in kitchens that see heavy daily use.
Signs it’s time to polish your quartz:
- Loss of shine, especially on horizontal surfaces.
- Visible circular marks from daily use.
- Increase in small scrapes and scratches.
- Hazy or rough feeling areas.
- Water and liquids bead rather than sheet.
In bathrooms, polish the quartz about twice per year. Watch for dulling around sinks and faucets. Kitchen countertops likely need polishing every 9-12 months on average.
Caring for Quartz Countertops Between Polishing
To maximize the time between polishing sessions, properly care for your quartz countertops:
- Use cutting boards instead of cutting directly on the counter.
- Wipe up spills immediately to prevent stains.
- Rinse dishes and wipe counters dry after use to prevent water marks.
- Avoid dragging pans, appliances, or tools across the surface.
- Use trivets and hot pads under hot pots and pans.
- Clean quartz regularly with a mild soap and water.
- Reseal polished quartz once a year for added protection.
With the proper polishing techniques and care, your beautiful quartz countertops will maintain their elegant luster for many years. Be sure to polish and buff gently to reveal the natural gleam. With some elbow grease, you can restore the factory-fresh shine.
Frequently Asked Questions About Polishing Quartz Countertops
What is the best polish to use on quartz countertops?
Look for a polish specifically formulated for engineered stone and quartz. Avoid polishes with oils, waxes, or abrasive fillers which can cloud or scratch quartz. Brands like Gel-Gloss and Hope’s Perfect Countertop Polish work well.
Can I use a quartz polish on other surfaces?
It’s best to use a polish made for your specific surface. Quartz polishes are designed to be gentle enough not to etch the resin coating. Using them elsewhere may not provide enough cut to remove dullness on materials like natural stone, concrete, or laminate.
Is it okay to polish just part of my quartz countertop?
Yes, you can polish only the sections that need refreshing rather than the entire surface. This is common for high-use areas like near the kitchen sink. Just be sure to blend and feather the polished section into the surrounding area.
How can I get rid of severe scratches on my quartz countertop?
Deep scratches may require a more aggressive approach. Try a buffing compound designed for automotive finishes to remove deeper scratches. Test in an inconspicuous area first. Be aware this may produce some gloss unevenness that requires an overall polishing.
My quartz still looks cloudy after polishing. What should I do?
Ensure you are using a polish formulated for quartz. Remove all residue by rinsing and drying thoroughly after polishing. If it still appears cloudy, the quartz may need a deeper cleaning treatment to remove hard water deposits or etching.
Is it safe to polish quartz countertops myself?
Yes, with proper supplies and by following safe practices, DIY quartz polishing is completely safe. Go slowly, work in ventilated areas, and avoid polishing too aggressively. For heavy-duty polishing, consider hiring a professional to avoid damage and get the best results.
How do I know if my countertops are quartz or solid surface?
Quartz countertops are non-porous and feel very hard and cool to the touch. Solid surface materials like Corian are somewhat porous and softer. Quartz also resists heat, stains, and damage better than solid surface. Check with your installer if uncertain.
Polishing brings out the best in quartz by revealing its brilliant clarity and radiance. With this guide, you can learn how to safely and effectively polish your quartz countertops for a sparkling, like-new finish.
Regular polishing and care helps quartz countertops retain their original beauty over years of use. While durable, quartz still benefits from occasional buffing and protection to combat everyday wear. By using the proper supplies and techniques, you can polish away dullness from your countertops’ surface to restore their gorgeous luster and shine.
With a quality quartz polish and some simple buffing, it’s easy to keep these stylish countertops looking immaculate. Schedule seasonal polishing to refresh high-use areas prone to circular marks and micro-scratches. Taking the time to properly care for your quartz ensures your investment stays brilliant for life.
So revive the sleek elegance quartz brings to your kitchen or bathroom décor. Shine your countertops like new again with these dependable polishing methods. With minimal effort, you can enjoy lustrously polished quartz countertops that function as beautifully as they look.