How to Prep for Quartz Countertops

Installing new quartz countertops can transform the look of your kitchen or bathroom. However, proper preparation is crucial to ensure a smooth installation process and long-lasting beauty. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to prep for quartz countertops.

Measure and Plan the Layout

The first step is to take accurate measurements of the existing countertops and map out the new layout. Consider the following when measuring:

  • Length, width, and depth of the countertop area. Include any cutouts needed for sinks and cooktops.
  • Thickness of the existing countertop and cabinet doors. This will determine if adjustments are needed to accommodate the new quartz thickness.
  • Overhang size if you want counters that extend beyond the cabinetry. Standard is 1 1/4″ but can be adjusted.
  • Seam placement for longer countertop runs. Try to avoid placing seams in high traffic zones.

Make sure to double check all measurements and sketch out the desired layout. This will make templating and installation much smoother.

Clear Countertops and Remove Old Ones

Completely empty existing countertops and clear a workspace for installers. Remove any mounted sinks, cooktops, appliances, and backsplashes.

If you are replacing old countertops, arrange for proper removal and disposal before the install date. Ensure electrical, gas, and plumbing lines are shut off before removal. Take care not to damage the existing cabinetry during demolition.

Inspect Cabinets and Make Repairs

With countertops removed, carefully inspect the cabinetry and make any necessary repairs:

  • Tighten loose hinges and drawer glides.
  • Reinforce sagging shelves with additional support.
  • Fill any gaps between cabinets with shims and wood glue.
  • Sand and paint to refresh cabinets with worn finishes.

Making cabinet repairs now will provide a smooth base for new countertops.

Clean Thoroughly

Clean the now exposed cabinet boxes, doors, drawers, and walls thoroughly before new countertop installation.

  • Remove all debris, dust, and old caulk with a shop vacuum.
  • Wipe all surfaces down with a degreasing cleanser.
  • Fill any scratches or gouges in the cabinetry with wood putty. Let dry completely.
  • Lightly sand any dried wood putty and wipe away sanding dust.

Proper cleaning allows for ideal adhesion of the new countertops.

Make Plumbing and Electrical Adjustments

You may need to alter plumbing and electrical systems when switching out countertops:

  • Extend any stub outs for sinks and appliances that don’t align with the new cutouts.
  • Adjust location of soap dispensers, filtered water taps, and other countertop-mounted features.
  • Hire an electrician to extend outlets, switches, and under-cabinet lighting as needed.

Complete this work before the new counters are templated and installed.

Final Pre-Installation Checks

Just before the scheduled install date, complete these final checks:

  • Inspect cabinets one last time and verify all repairs are made.
  • Confirm the product ordered matches your cabinetry style and layout needs.
  • Ensure an adequate pathway is clear to maneuver countertops into the kitchen or bath area.
  • Arrange for help unloading and moving heavy countertops as needed.

Taking time for proper prep work allows for a smooth quartz countertop installation from start to finish. With some planning and elbow grease, you can have beautiful new counters that will last for years to come. Let the transformation begin!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to prep for new quartz countertops?

Depending on the state of your existing space, allow 1-3 days for proper prep work prior to installation. Rushing through preparation can lead to problems down the road.

What tools do I need for prepping and removing old countertops?

A pry bar, hammer, reciprocating saw, safety glasses, work gloves, shop vacuum, and degreaser are useful tools to have on hand.

Should I remove the existing backsplash?

The old backsplash does not necessarily need to be removed prior to new countertop installation. Discuss plans for an updated backsplash with your countertop company.

What kind of repairs can be made to prepare cabinets?

Fill gaps and holes, tighten hardware, sand and paint worn areas, reinforce sagging shelves, and replace broken drawer glides or hinges. Avoid structural changes.

Should I clean cabinets before or after old countertop removal?

It’s best to do an initial deep cleaning prior to removal to clear away debris and grease buildup. Follow up with another thorough cleaning after they are removed.

Can I install new countertops over existing laminate or tile?

Quartz manufacturers do not recommend installing directly over old surfaces. Proper removal and substrate preparation is important.


Preparing your space thoroughly before installing new quartz countertops is time well invested. Completing demolition, making cabinet repairs, adjusting plumbing and electrical components, and cleaning the area sets the stage for a smooth installation. Pay close attention to all measurements and product specifications when planning the layout. With proper prep work completed ahead of time, you can look forward to enjoying beautiful, durable quartz countertops that will upgrade your kitchen or bath for years to come.