Quartz countertops are popular in many homes today thanks to their durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance. However, like most materials, quartz can be damaged if subjected to excessive heat. Learning how to protect your quartz countertops from heat will help preserve their flawless look.
What is Quartz?
Before exploring ways to protect quartz from heat damage, it’s helpful to understand exactly what quartz countertops are made of.
Quartz countertops, sometimes called engineered stone, are made from ground quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The quartz crystals make up over 90% of the material. This combination results in a very hard, non-porous surface that is resistant to scratches, stains, and heat.
While resistant, quartz is not impervious to heat damage. Prolonged exposure to temperatures above 150 degrees Fahrenheit can cause cracks, burns, and discoloration. However, with proper care and by following precautions, you can maintain the integrity and beauty of your quartz counters.
Dangers of Excessive Heat on Quartz
Heat damage is one of the few weaknesses of quartz countertops. Here are some of the specific things that can happen when quartz is exposed to extreme heat:
- Discoloration – Prolonged contact with very hot pots or other objects can cause the surface to lighten, darken, or yellow. This occurs as the resin binding the quartz melts.
- Burn marks – Direct contact with flames or red-hot pans can scorch or burn the surface, leaving permanent black or brown marks.
- Cracks – Rapid temperature changes, such as pouring boiling water on a cold countertop, can cause cracks due to thermal shock.
- Bubbles or blisters – Allowing very hot items to remain for an extended time can make the resin binder boil and bubble.
While small heat damage like light marks may be aesthetically unnoticeable, larger cracks, bubbles, and burns can mean expensive countertop repairs or replacement. Being cautious with heat protects your investment.
What Temperature Damages Quartz?
Quartz countertops can withstand brief contact and exposure to temperatures up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit without issue. However, prolonged direct contact with anything over 150 degrees starts running the risk of damage.
Here are some examples of items that can damage quartz by exceeding the recommended 150 degree limit:
- Hot pots and pans from the stove or oven, especially cast iron which retains heat very well
- Heated skillets, griddles, and hot plates
- Slow cookers, roasting pans, and other heated cookware
- Hot plates from hair straighteners, curling irons, and other heated beauty tools
- Flames from candles, lighters, or gas stoves
- Hot appliances like crockpots, instant pots, air fryers, etc.
- Direct heat from portable ovens, burner elements, or other cooking devices
To be safe, do not leave any object hotter than 150°F in direct contact with your quartz counters for more than a brief time. Use trivets, potholders, and racks whenever possible.
Tips for Protecting Quartz from Heat Damage
Protecting your quartz countertops is mostly a matter of exercising reasonable caution against exposing them to excess sustained heat. Here are some useful tips:
Use Potholders or Trivets
- Never place hot pots, pans, baking dishes, etc. directly on your quartz counters.
- Use potholders or silicone trivets to set down anything hot coming out of the oven or off the stovetop.
- Let cookware cool several minutes first before setting it on quartz.
- Invest in high quality potholders that withstand hot temperatures.
Don’t Leave Heated Appliances on Counters
- Avoid leaving heated appliances like crockpots, instant pots, and griddles running directly on your counters. Use a trivet underneath.
- Be cautious with beauty tools like curling irons and straighteners. Don’t set them down on quartz while hot.
- Unplug portable ovens, burner elements, and other cooking devices promptly after use.
Use Caution with Candles & Burners
- Keep lit candles on flame-proof candle holders, not directly on quartz surfaces.
- Don’t leave burning candles unattended. Extinguish them before leaving the room.
- Ensure gas stove flames are completely on the burner and not licking the countertop edge.
- Heat-resistant backsplashes like tile or metal help protect quartz walls from accidental contact with stovetop flames.
- A backsplash can also prevent damage if a hot pan is inadvertently set against the wall.
Avoid Thermal Shock
- Don’t pour boiling hot liquids directly onto quartz counters. Thermal shock can crack the surface.
- Don’t put cold glassware or dishes straight from the fridge onto a hot skillet or trivet.
- Allow hot pans to cool completely before rinsing with cold water in the sink.
Handle Hot Items Carefully
- Use padded oven mitts or potholders when removing hot dishes from the oven.
- Don’t slide hot pots and pans across the quartz. Pick them up carefully.
- Keep oven doors all the way open when accessing hot contents to avoid accidental contact.
Add a Heat Barrier
- For extra protection behind cooking surfaces, adhere a metal or ceramic heat shield to the wall.
- Install ventilation hoods over stoves and ranges to direct heat upwards instead of outwards.
Using reasonable care will prevent most heat damage on quartz countertops. Avoid direct sustained contact with any item hotter than 150°F. The small inconvenience of using trivets or potholders is a minor tradeoff to keep your counters pristine.
How to Fix Heat Damage on Quartz Countertops
Even with proper precautions, quartz can occasionally get minor heat damage. Here are some tips for repairing light heat marks and discoloration:
Clean with Non-Abrasive Products
- For light heat marks, clean first with a non-abrasive quartz-safe cleaner and soft cloth or sponge.
- Stubborn marks may require a baking soda paste. Mix with water and gently rub into the affected area.
- Hydrogen peroxide can also help lift stains. Apply a small amount and let sit 5 minutes before wiping away.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals
- Don’t use harsh products like bleach, oven cleaners, or acidic cleaners, as these can further damage the quartz.
- Vinegar, lemon juice, and other acids may worsen or lighten discoloration. Avoid using them.
- Steer clear of abrasive powder cleansers or scrubbing pads, as they could scratch the finish.
Use Heat Mark Remover Spray
- Specialized granite and quartz heat mark removers are available. Carefully follow product directions.
- Apply a small amount of remover spray and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping clean.
- Test first in an inconspicuous spot to ensure it doesn’t lighten or etch the surface.
Call a Professional for Significant Damage
- For deep burns, cracks, or large damaged areas, consult a professional countertop refinishing company.
- Experts have access to specialized techniques and tools to polish out imperfections.
- Refinishing is still cheaper than a full quartz replacement.
With some care and prompt attention, it’s often possible to remove or minimize minor heat damage on quartz counters. But for best results, prevention is key.
Do Quartz Countertops Stain from Heat?
While quartz countertops are generally stain-resistant, prolonged heat exposure can sometimes cause stubborn stains. Here’s what to know:
- Direct contact with a very hot pan can “burn” a stain into the surface that penetrates below the top layer.
- Darker stains are caused by the binding resins actually melting and then hardening as they cool.
- Light stains are due to the quartz itself becoming discolored from the heat, rather than any external material absorbed into the surface.
- Sweet and acidic liquids like wine, vinegar, and tomato sauce are more likely to stain from heat compared to oils or water.
- Over time, some sealers and polishes on quartz can degrade from heat exposure, making stains more likely.
To prevent stains, avoid leaving any hot cookware or bakeware in direct contact with the counters for more than a brief moment. Always use trivets with items fresh from the oven. Immediately wipe away any spills or overflows from cooking.
Does Quartz Discolor from Heat Over Time?
It is possible for quartz countertops to gradually discolor or yellow over time with repeated heat exposure in the same area. Here’s why this happens:
- The polymer resins binding the crushed quartz can slowly change color at high temperatures.
- Darker quartz varieties with more resin content are most prone to discoloration over time.
- Exposure to direct sunlight combined with heat causes the binding agents to break down faster.
- The top sealer wears away after years of use, allowing more heat penetration deep into the material.
- Imperfections from scratches or prior damage absorb and retain heat, leading to worse discoloration.
While quartz can yellow slightly, it takes significant, concentrated, and sustained heat over many years to cause substantial changes in color. Using reasonable care and precautions will prevent most discoloration.
Will an External Heat Source Damage Quartz?
In addition to hot pots and pans, take care that other heat sources don’t inadvertently damage quartz counters. Here are some precautions:
- Keep portable space heaters, hot plates, and other appliances away from counters.
- Don’t leave light bulbs or lamps in direct contact with quartz. The warmth can damage the surface over time.
- Cigarettes, lighters, matches, and other open flames should never be placed directly on quartz.
- Install shielding between quartz and nearby heating vents, radiators, or heat-emitting appliances.
- Limit sun exposure on darker quartz colors, as the heat magnifies any damage. Install UV window films if needed.
With some awareness and care, these other heat sources should not pose a risk to quartz countertops in most home environments. But it’s smart to keep them away from the counters when possible.
Can Quartz Withstand Heat from normal Cooking?
Quartz countertops are certainly durable enough to withstand routine cooking tasks like:
- Briefly placing hot pots and pans after cooking
- Rolling out dough on a floured countertop
- Assembling ingredients for a recipe
- Setting down a hot drink mug for a few minutes
- Letting a steaming pot sit while serving food
- Preparing multiple hot dishes in succession
Simply use reasonable care, pot holders, and trivets to prevent any sustained direct heat exposure exceeding 150°F. Allow pots and pans to cool for 5-10 minutes after cooking before placing on the quartz. Avoid leaving heated appliances running for prolonged periods. With simple precautions, quartz offers an ideal food preparation surface.
Is Heat Damage Covered by the Warranty?
Always check your specific warranty, but heat damage is generally considered regular wear and tear and not covered under a quartz countertop warranty. Warranties tend to cover only manufacturing defects, not gradual damage from normal use.
However, if damage occurred unexpectedly from a brief exposure to reasonable heat, it’s worth contacting the installer and manufacturer just in case. Provide photos and a full explanation of what happened. For severe damage very soon after install, they may provide some courtesy compensation out of goodwill.
In summary, exercise reasonable care to prevent exposing your quartz counters to excessive sustained heat. Always use trivets for hot items, don’t leave heated appliances running directly on counters, and immediately clean any hot spills. With some basic precautions, your quartz countertops will retain their durability and beauty for many years.
Frequently Asked Questions about Quartz Countertops and Heat
Can quartz countertops withstand heat?
Quartz is resistant, but not immune to heat damage. It can withstand brief contact up to about 150°F, but consistent excessive heat or direct flames can damage the surface. Use reasonable care with hot items to prevent discoloration, burns, cracks, and bubbles.
What happens if quartz countertops get too hot?
Prolonged heat exposure above 150°F can cause quartz to crack, burn, blister, or experience permanent discoloration. The binding resins are damaged and the surface degrades. Prevent this by using trivets and potholders.
Should you put a hot pan on quartz?
Avoid putting a pan directly from the stovetop or oven onto the quartz. Allow pans to cool for 5-10 minutes first. Use a trivet for extra protection. Limit direct heat exposure to less than 150°F.
Can you put a griddle on quartz countertops?
Use caution with countertop electric griddles, as the sustained direct heat can damage quartz. Place a heat-resistant pad or trivet underneath first. Turn off and unplug the griddle promptly after cooking.
Should I use a trivet for my crock pot on quartz?
Yes, crock pots and instant pots generate prolonged heat that can damage quartz. Always place them on a trivet or heat-resistant pad. Avoid leaving them running for hours at high temperatures.
Can candles ruin quartz countertops?
Keeping a lit candle directly on quartz can burn or scar the surface. Use a candle holder placed on a trivet. Never leave burning candles unattended. Extinguish candles before leaving a room.
Will a curling iron damage quartz?
Allow heated tools like curling and straightening irons to fully cool before setting them on quartz counters. The prolonged direct heat of the metal plates can damage the surface.
Can sunlight damage quartz countertops?
Direct sunlight won’t damage quartz alone, but the UV rays coupled with an existing heat source can accelerate damage. Keep quartz out of prolonged direct sunlight or use window shades.
How do you remove heat stains from quartz?
For light heat stains, clean with baking soda or hydrogen peroxide. Avoid harsh chemicals. Use a heat mark remover spray and test first in an inconspicuous spot. Severe damage may require professional refinishing.
Quartz delivers style and luxury combined with strength and durability. But to keep them looking flawless for years, take sensible precautions against excessive sustained heat. Allow cookware to cool before setting it on counters, use trivets and backsplashes, handle hot items carefully, and promptly clean spills. With this reasonable care, your beautiful quartz countertops will withstand everyday cooking and cleaning tasks without issue. Protect your investment by exercising caution, and your counters will stay stunning for decades.