How to Replace Countertops with Quartz

Replacing your existing countertops with quartz is a great way to update the look of your kitchen or bathroom. Quartz countertops are durable, low-maintenance, and come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. With some careful planning and the right tools, installing new quartz countertops is a manageable home improvement project.

Materials Needed

  • Quartz slabs
  • Adhesive or thinset mortar
  • Seam kit
  • Silicone caulk
  • Rags
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Utility knife
  • Circular saw with diamond blade
  • Jigsaw
  • Router
  • Trowels
  • Level
  • Clamps
  • Respirator and safety glasses

Preparing the Existing Countertops

Before installing the new quartz countertops, you’ll need to remove and dispose of the old countertop surface.

Clean the Countertops

First, empty the countertops of everything and give them a thorough cleaning to remove grease, grime, and debris. This will help the new countertop adhere properly.

Disconnect Appliances and Fixtures

Unplug and remove any appliances, sinks, or other fixtures attached to the countertops. This includes stovetops, ovens, and dishwashers. Turn off the water supply lines before disconnecting sinks.

Demolish the Old Surface

Using a hammer and pry bar, demolish the existing countertop surface. Break it up and remove any fasteners or adhesives attaching it to the cabinet. Be sure to wear safety glasses and gloves during demolition.

Remove the Countertop Pieces

Once broken up, carefully remove the pieces of the old countertop from the cabinets. Watch for nails, screws, or sharp edges. Also, inspect the cabinets for any damage in need of repair before installing the new countertops.

Clean Up the Cabinets

With the old countertop surface removed, thoroughly clean the top of the cabinets to prepare for the new quartz countertop. Remove any leftover debris, caulk, or adhesive residue.

Measuring and Cutting the Quartz Slabs

Once your cabinets are prepped, it’s time to measure and cut the quartz slabs to fit your space.

Measure Your Countertops

Use a tape measure to measure the length and width of each section of cabinetry that will need a quartz countertop. Be sure to account for any irregular shapes or angles. Write down the measurements.

Mark the Measurements

Transfer your measurements to the quartz slabs using a pencil and straightedge. Double check your marks to make sure they are accurate before cutting. Mark the edges to be cut.

Cut the Quartz Outdoors

Cut the quartz slabs to size outdoors to control dust. Use a circular saw with a diamond blade designed for quartz. Take your time and make sure cuts are straight.

Make Precise Cuts with a Jigsaw

For any curved or irregular sections, use a jigsaw with a quartz blade to make detailed cuts after making the initial cuts with the circular saw. Work slowly and smoothly.

Smooth the Edges

Use a router with a diamond bit to smooth and polish the cut edges of the quartz. This helps give the countertops a sleek, finished look. Work carefully to avoid chipping.

Installing the Quartz Countertops

Once your quartz slabs are cut to size, it’s time for installation. Make sure to work safely and get help moving heavy pieces.

Clean the Cabinets

Wipe down the cabinets again to remove any debris or dust before installing the quartz. Proper adhesion depends on clean cabinet surfaces.

Apply Adhesive

Follow the adhesive manufacturer’s instructions to prep and apply the thinset mortar or specialized quartz adhesive using a notched trowel.

Set the Quartz Pieces

Carefully lift and set each quartz piece in place, pressing down firmly to adhere it. Use shims to support heavier sections as needed.

Clamp the Countertop

Use C-clamps along the front edge of the quartz countertop pieces to hold them in place while the adhesive dries. Wipe away any excess glue.

Seal the Seams

Once the adhesive has cured, use a color-matched seam kit to fill any small gaps between the quartz pieces. Follow by sealing with silicone caulk.

Reinstall Sinks and Appliances

Attach any undermount sinks and reinstall the faucets and other fixtures. Reconnect appliances like dishwashers following all instructions.

Finishing Touches for Your Quartz Countertops

Apply the final touches for a seamless look you’ll love.

Sand Uneven Areas

Lightly sand any uneven spots along the seams using fine-grit sandpaper. Be very gentle to avoid damaging the surface.

Clean and Polish

Clean your new quartz countertops with a stone-safe cleaner and then polish using a microfiber cloth. This removes any remaining dust or residue.

Seal the Surface

Apply a penetrating stone sealer to protect the quartz and make cleaning easier. Spread evenly and buff off any excess sealer.

Caulk the Edges

Run a smooth bead of clear silicone caulk along the edges where the quartz countertop meets walls, backsplashes, and other surfaces.

Enjoy Your New Countertops!

Let the caulk fully cure for 24-48 hours. Then, rearrange your appliances and accessories and enjoy your beautiful new quartz countertops! They will stay looking like new for years with proper care.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to replace countertops with quartz?

The entire countertop replacement process typically takes 2-3 days. Demolishing and preparing the old countertops takes 1 day. Installing the new quartz countertops takes another 1-2 days depending on the size of the job.

Is it cheaper to install quartz countertops yourself?

Yes, installing quartz countertops yourself is significantly cheaper than hiring a professional. However, it’s physically demanding work best suited for experienced DIYers. Hiring a pro ensures proper installation.

What thickness should quartz countertops be?

Most quartz countertops are either 2 cm or 3 cm thick. 3 cm thick quartz provides a bit more durability and visual mass. But 2 cm often suffices for most residential uses and is a more economical choice.

Can you cut quartz countertops with a circular saw?

Yes, you can cut quartz slabs to size using a circular saw. Be sure to use a diamond blade made specifically for cutting quartz and take safety precautions against dust.

How do you cut holes in a quartz countertop?

Use a diamond-grit hole saw bit attached to a drill to cut holes in quartz for sinks, faucets, or appliances. Work slowly and steadily. Finish edges smoothly with a file.

Can quartz countertops support an undermount sink?

Yes, undermount sinks can safely be installed beneath quartz countertops. Use sink mounting brackets secured into the cabinetry to support the weight. Silicone caulk will help seal.

In summary, replacing your current kitchen or bathroom countertops with new quartz countertops can totally transform the space. With some demolition work, careful measurement and cutting, proper installation techniques, and finishing touches, you can do this project yourself over a few days. Just be sure to enlist some helping hands for the heavy lifting. When maintained properly, quartz offers durability, beauty, and endless design possibilities.