Quartz countertops with epoxy resin coatings provide an attractive, durable, and low-maintenance surface for kitchens and bathrooms. However, over time the epoxy coating can yellow, chip, or peel, requiring repair. Removing epoxy from a quartz countertop without damaging the surface can be tricky, but is possible with the right techniques and supplies.
Assessing the Damage
Before attempting to remove epoxy, carefully inspect the countertop to understand the extent of damage. Look for:
- Yellowed or discolored areas where the epoxy has degraded
- Bubbles or cracks in the coating
- Parts where the epoxy has flaked or peeled away
- Stains or etching beneath the epoxy surface
Pay attention to the size of affected areas and types of flaws. This will determine what repair methods may be needed.
Cleaning and Preparing the Surface
Thoroughly clean the countertop before removing epoxy. Use a non-abrasive cleaner and soft cloth to remove any dirt or debris. Avoid harsh cleansers that could scratch the quartz.
Once clean, sweep the area well to remove any leftover cleaner or residue. The countertop needs to be as pristine as possible for the epoxy removal process.
Cover any nearby surfaces, like walls or backsplashes, with plastic sheeting or drop cloths. This protects them from damage during the epoxy removal steps.
Removing Epoxy with Chemical Strippers
For small damaged spots or areas under 3 feet, use a chemical paint and epoxy remover. These products break down the epoxy resin coating so it can be wiped away.
Choose the right chemical stripper: Seek strippers made for epoxy and resin. Avoid acidic or alkaline formulas that etch quartz. Opt for a mild methylene chloride formula.
Safety first: Work in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves, eye protection, and a respirator mask. Avoid skin contact with strippers.
Read all directions: Every stripper is slightly different. Follow instructions carefully regarding application methods, dwell times, and cleanup.
Prep the surface: Spread a thick coat of the stripper over the epoxy using a plastic applicator or brush. Let it sit for the recommended time, usually 15-30 minutes.
Remove the gunk: Use a plastic scraper to gently lift softened epoxy off the countertop. Wipe away residue with towels. Rinse thoroughly.
Check for success: If any epoxy remains, do another application of stripper. Multiple treatments may be needed for thick or stubborn epoxy.
Clean and condition: Once all epoxy is gone, wash the quartz with a stone-safe cleaner and water. Let dry fully before reapplying new epoxy.
Chemical stripping works well for small epoxy removal jobs. But for larger areas, physical sanding may be needed.
Removing Epoxy by Sanding
Sanding can remove epoxy from larger sections of countertop or cases of complete epoxy failure. This is a more labor-intensive process that requires caution to avoid damaging the quartz.
Use a soft pad: Choose a random orbital sander with 120-150 grit sandpaper. Too coarse of grit can scratch quartz. Soft sanding pads prevent abrasion.
Work slowly: Apply light, even pressure as you sand. Take your time to safely remove the epoxy without grinding into the quartz.
Mind edges and seams: Use a hand sanding block for delicate overhangs and seams. Avoid rounding edges during sanding.
Vacuum as you go: Continuously vacuum up all epoxy dust to keep the surface clean for inspection.
Rinse when done: When the epoxy is gone, wash the countertop with a stone cleaner and water. Make sure to get all residue.
Let dry fully: Allow 2-3 days of drying time before reapplying epoxy. Trapped moisture under new epoxy causes bubbles.
Sanding requires working methodically across the whole countertop to remove epoxy without altering the flat profile. Avoid over-sanding in any one area.
Applying New Epoxy Resin Coating
Once the old epoxy is fully removed and the quartz is cleaned, the final step is applying a fresh coating:
Select quality epoxy: Purchase a two-part epoxy resin made for countertops. Opt for moderate cure time of 16-24 hours.
Prepare the surface: The quartz must be immaculately clean and dry before coating. Acetone can help remove any last oily residues.
Follow mixing directions: Carefully measure parts A and B of the epoxy according to the manufacturer instructions. Thoroughly stir together.
Pour and spread: Working quickly, pour epoxy directly on the countertop and spread evenly with a plastic spreader. Push it into seams and edges.
Pop bubbles: Use a porcupine roller or propane torch to eliminate any air bubbles in the coating. This helps avoid future delamination.
Let cure fully: Leave the countertop alone for a full 24-48 hours. The epoxy needs proper time to harden without disruption.
New epoxy should restore your quartz countertop’s smooth finish and durable protection. Avoid putting hot pans directly on the surface afterward to prevent damage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use acetone or paint thinner to remove epoxy?
No, avoid solvents like acetone, paint thinner, alcohol, and turpentine. They can damage or etch the quartz surface. Mild chemical strippers or sanding are safest.
How do I prevent hazing or dull spots after epoxy removal?
This usually happens because all residue wasn’t fully removed before reapplying epoxy. Thoroughly clean and dry the quartz before adding any new coating.
Is it okay to reuse my existing epoxy after removing it?
It’s not recommended. Old epoxy can have issues with curing and adhesion. Always apply new epoxy for best results.
Can I use a hand sander instead of an orbital sander to remove epoxy?
Yes, but use caution. Manual sanding increases risks of uneven sanding and rounding edges. Work slowly and carefully if using hand tools.
How long does the epoxy removal process take?
It depends on the size of the project, but plan on 1-2 days for stripping and sanding. Epoxy removal is labor-intensive and cannot be rushed.
Removing epoxy resin from quartz countertops can seem daunting. But armed with the right techniques and products, it can be accomplished safely at home. Key steps are fully cleaning the quartz, using chemical strippers or soft sanding, diligently removing all residue, allowing proper drying time, and applying high-quality new epoxy. With care and patience, you can restore your countertop’s flawless finish. Just take precautions during the process to avoid permanently damaging the quartz underneath.