Replacing a quartz countertop can seem like a daunting task, but with proper planning and preparation, it can be done successfully as a DIY project. Quartz countertops are popular in many homes due to their durability, aesthetic appeal, and ease of maintenance. However, there may come a time when you want to update the look of your kitchen or bath by replacing the existing quartz. This article will provide a step-by-step guide on how to remove and install a new quartz countertop.
Gather Tools and Materials Needed
Before starting demo on the existing quartz, be sure you have all the necessary tools and materials ready. Here is what you will need:
- Safety gear – gloves, safety glasses, dust mask
- Pry bar
- Circular saw with diamond blade (for cutting quartz)
- Reciprocating saw (for removing sinks/faucets)
- Chisel and mallet
- Razor scraper
- Shop vacuum
- Measurement tape
- Denatured alcohol
- Adhesive remover
- New quartz countertop slab
- Adhesive or thinset mortar
- Seam tape
- Colored caulk
Ensure you have adequate space to work and store the new quartz pieces as you demo the old countertop. Now you’re ready to get started!
Remove Appliances and Accessories
The first step is to clear the countertop area by removing any appliances, hardware or accessories that are installed.
- Disconnect and remove any sinks, faucets and soap dispensers. You may need to cut any caulking around sinks with a utility knife.
- Detach any installed backsplash tile. score the caulking with a knife then gently pry up.
- Take out any cabinets drawers or shelves that may get in the way during countertop removal.
- Unplug, remove and store any countertop appliances like the range, refrigerator or built-in microwave.
This clears the workspace and allows you full access to the countertop on all sides. Take care not to damage any removed items as you will be re-installing them later.
Inspect Countertop Installation
Now examine how the existing quartz countertop is installed, take notes and/or take photos for reference.
- Note how the countertop is anchored to the cabinet base – sometimes adhesive is used in addition to brackets.
- Check for backsplashes, endsplashes and any other special installation considerations.
- Look to see if sinks/faucets are drop-in or undermount installation.
Understanding how the original countertop was put in will help immensely when removing it and prepping for the new installation.
Demo the Old Countertop
With the countertop cleared off and installation details noted, you can start removing the existing quartz:
1. Use a circular saw to cut the caulking bead along the wall and backsplash (if present).
Make sure cuts go through the caulk but not too deep into the countertop. This allows you to separate the countertop from the walls.
2. Check for any adhesive or thinset mortar used under the countertop, in addition to brackets.
Use a mallet and chisel to carefully chip away at any adhesive evident. Having the countertop free from the cabinet base makes removal much easier.
3. Insert pry bars under the front edge of the countertop and gently pry up.
Apply force slowly to avoid cracking the slab. Have someone help hold the freed section up as you continue this along the length of the countertop.
4. Once you can get underneath, use a reciprocating saw to cut through any brackets or supports.
Wear safety glasses as metal pieces will fly. Some vigorous prying and wiggling will be needed to fully free the countertop.
5. Make precise cuts with the circular saw to break the countertop into manageable sections for removal.
Have an assistant help lift and maneuver pieces out.
6. Use a shop vacuum and razor scraper to remove any remaining caulk, adhesive, thinset or quartz bits left behind on the cabinet base.
You want a clean foundation for the new countertop installation.
7. Carefully detach any laminate countertop on rear splashes or islands. Pry it up and away from the substrate.
Now that the old quartz countertop is fully removed, do a thorough cleanup of the entire area. Repair any cabinet damage. The space should be clear and ready for your new quartz!
Install the New Quartz Countertop
You have your new quartz slab, now it’s time for installation. Follow these steps closely for a seamless appearance:
1. Dry fit the quartz pieces on the cabinet base before adhering.
Cut outs for the sink and cooktop need to align properly. Also check that seams between pieces are tight – use seam tape for support.
2. Once you have a proper dry fit, do a final clean of the base cabinets with denatured alcohol.
3. Read and follow the adhesive manufacturer’s instructions for application.
Apply the thinset mortar evenly across the entire cabinet base using a notched trowel. Don’t apply too much that it oozes out the sides when you set the quartz.
4. Carefully lay the first quartz piece in place, pressing down firmly to adhere.
Have helpers to lift the heavy pieces. Ensure edges align with cabinet perimeter.
5. Continue setting the other pieces, leaving prescribed space between for seam tape.
Use caulk guns to apply a steady bead of adhesive along all seams. Remove any squeezed out excess.
6. Let adhesive fully cure per manufacturer directions before moving on.
Typically 24-48 hours. Use shims if any pieces become unleveled during curing.
7. With adhesive cured, clean any dried thinset or caulk from the quartz seams and polish with sandpaper.
Be cautious around edges. Wipe surface with denatured alcohol.
You now have a pristine new quartz countertop installed! On to the final touches:
Complete the Installation
You’re in the home stretch now. Finish up your quartz countertop installation with these final steps:
1. Apply color-matched caulk along all seams and edges.
Wipe with a damp cloth to smooth out the caulk bead. Let dry completely.
2. Reinstall any appliances like sinks, faucets, soap dispensers.
Use a bead of clear silicone caulk around sinks. Don’t overwhelm quartz seams with caulk.
3. If you removed a backsplash, re-apply new backsplash tile.
Use thinset mortar suitable for both tile and quartz materials. Let set fully before grouting.
4. Lastly, put back any cabinets, drawers, shelves or removed accessories.
Reinstall countertop appliances. Don’t place heavy items on countertop for at least 24 hours.
5. Clean your new quartz well with a PH-neutral cleaner.
Avoid harsh chemicals. Use trivets and cutting boards to maintain the surface.
Stand back and admire your new, gorgeously installed quartz countertop!
FAQs About Replacing Quartz Countertops
Still have some questions about taking on a quartz countertop installation project? These frequently asked questions may help:
Is it cheaper to replace just the countertop or the cabinets too?
In most cases, you can save money by keeping the existing cabinetry intact and only replacing the countertop. New cabinets add a significant cost.
Can I install new quartz countertop over the old one?
It is not recommended to install one quartz countertop over another. Removing the old provides a smooth, even base for the new install.
What thickness should I choose for a quartz replacement?
Standard quartz thickness is 3 cm (1.2 inches). Thicker options of 4-5 cm are available but not always required.
What about the edges? Do I need to replace those?
Often just having the main surface replaced is sufficient. But edges can be swapped out too if really worn or damaged.
Is it okay to install different quartz patterns together?
A single continuous pattern is best. But coordinating patterns can work if planned carefully. Consult your fabricator.
How soon can I put items back on the quartz after installing?
It’s best to wait at least 24 hours for the adhesive to fully cure before placing anything heavy on the new quartz.
Is quartz repair or replacement more cost effective?
For extensive damage across a large area, replacement may make more sense than patching in repairs. Evaluate on a case by case basis.
How easy is it to remove an undermount sink from quartz?
Use a reciprocating saw to carefully cut the caulk bead. Pry up gently. Some adhesive may also need removal.
Replacing your dated or damaged quartz countertop can breathe new life into your whole kitchen or bath. With proper planning and care, this is a project any motivated DIY-er can take on! Follow the steps outlined above and soon you’ll have a stunning new quartz surface to enjoy.
Installing a new quartz countertop requires time and diligence, but it can be an attainable DIY project if you follow the right steps. Always put safety first by donning protective gear and working carefully. Thoroughly prep the existing countertop space and have all your new materials and tools on hand before getting started. Carefully remove the old quartz, clean up the base cabinets, then meticulously install the new slabs. Finish up by re-installing any appliances, sinks or backsplashes. Completing a quartz replacement yourself saves on installer fees, though you can always hire a countertop pro if needed. In the end, your patience and hard work will pay off with gorgeous new quartz countertops to update your home for years to come.