Replacing old or damaged quartz countertops can completely transform the look and feel of your kitchen. Quartz is an engineered stone made from natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. It is an extremely popular material for countertops due to its durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance. With proper tools and preparation, replacing quartz countertops is a doable DIY project. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to replace quartz countertops.
Selecting New Quartz Countertops
When selecting new quartz slabs, you have many options to choose from. Carefully consider the color, pattern, and style that will work best for your kitchen.
Quartz comes in a wide variety of colors from whites to dark greys and vivid tones like reds or greens. Neutral colors like white or light grey are popular choices as they fit most décor styles. If you want a pop of color, consider just using it for the kitchen island rather than all countertops.
The pattern of the stone gives quartz visual depth and interest. Quartz can mimic natural stone with flecks and veins or have uniform speckled patterns. Metallic and glitter finishes are also available to add shine and sparkle.
Quartz comes in different edge styles like standard square, beveled, ogee, and bullnose. The edge can be finished smoothly or roughly. Thickness generally ranges from 2 to 3 cm. Thicker slabs are more durable and suitable for heavily used surfaces.
Look for reputable quartz brands that use over 90% natural quartz in their products. Higher quality quartz is more resilient, stain-resistant, and scratch-resistant. Brands like Silestone, Cambria, Caesarstone, and Viatera are excellent choices.
Quartz is reasonably priced, costing $50-100 per square foot installed. More premium brands and exotic colors and patterns can be pricier. Measure your existing countertops to determine the total square footage needed. Factor in additional costs for demolition, disposal, and installation.
Preparing for Installation
Proper preparation is crucial for a smooth quartz countertop installation.
Remove everything from countertops including appliances and fixtures. Empty cabinets below the counters. Anything left behind risks getting damaged.
Cover floors, cabinets, and walls near the countertops with drop cloths. Use painter’s tape and cardboard to mask edges. Prevent dust and debris from falling onto surfaces during demolition.
Inspect plumbing like sinks, faucets, and soap dispensers. Repair or replace anything that is damaged or leaking beforehand.
Order New Countertops
Order quartz slabs cut to the measurements of your existing countertops with any customizations. Confirm timelines for template, fabrication, and installation.
Quartz countertop installation is complex. Hire an experienced professional installer unless you have the tools, skills, and helpers to take it on yourself.
Removing the Old Countertops
Demolishing and disposing of the old countertops properly is key.
Unplug and disconnect sinks, cooktops, or anything set into the countertops ahead of time. Remove them gently to avoid damaging the quartz.
Knock Off Countertops
Using a sledgehammer and pry bar, knock the countertop loose from the base cabinets. Break it up into smaller pieces for easy removal. Wear safety glasses and gloves.
Scrape off any leftover adhesive, grout, or caulk from the base cabinets using a putty knife. Clean thoroughly to prepare for new countertop installation.
Carefully carry countertop pieces out and load them into a dumpster or truck for proper disposal. Quartz is non-hazardous but very heavy, so take care.
Check Base Cabinets
Inspect cabinets for any damage that needs repairing before installing new countertops. Replace cabinets if necessary.
Installing New Quartz Countertops
Installing the new slabs is the most crucial step. Proper installation ensures durability and prevents leaks or cracks down the road.
Prepare the Space
Sweep and vacuum the empty countertop space thoroughly. Use painter’s tape to cover walls and backsplashes. Cover cabinets with plastic sheets to prevent spills and drips.
Test Fit templated Slabs
Have slabs delivered and test fit them on cabinets to ensure proper sizing before adhering. Make any final adjustments.
Using a notched trowel, apply heavy duty construction adhesive specially formulated for quartz to base cabinets. Spread evenly leaving no gaps.
Set Quartz Slabs
Carefully place quartz slabs one by one onto the adhesive, pressing firmly down to prevent air pockets. Use shims to level and spacers between slabs.
Use C-clamps along the seams where slabs meet. Keep them tightly compressed as adhesive dries per manufacturer instructions.
Clean Up Adhesive
Remove any squeezed out adhesive before drying using a putty knife and denatured alcohol. This prevents uneven spots along seams.
Once adhesive is fully cured, use color-matched caulk to seal all seams between slabs and edges. Wipe smooth with a damp cloth.
Finish up your new countertops with these final installation steps.
Following manufacturer instructions, reinstall kitchen sinks, faucets, soap dispensers and other fixtures using silicone caulk.
Carefully reconnect supply lines and drain pipes under sinks and faucets. Check for leaks and immediately fix any issues.
If edges are rough, use a files and sandpaper to smooth them. Break sharp corners and finish with a stone sealer.
Remove all dust, dirt, and residue from countertops. Use a stone cleaner and rinse well. Reseal yearly to prevent staining.
Remove Protective Coverings
Take down all plastic sheets, tape, and cardboard used to protect other surfaces after install completes.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
Quartz does not require regular sealing like natural stone. However, sealing it once a year will help prevent stains especially in heavy use areas. Use a stone sealer specifically designed for quartz.
Can you install quartz countertops over existing countertops?
It is not recommended to install quartz directly over old countertops. The adhesive will not bond well. Old countertops must be fully removed before installing new quartz.
Is it cheaper to install quartz yourself?
In most cases, DIY quartz installation costs only a little less than professional installation when factoring in labor and rental fees for tools. Professionals can install faster with better results.
What thickness is best for kitchen quartz countertops?
A thickness of 2-3cm or about 1 1/4 inches is ideal for residential kitchen quartz countertops. Go for 3cm thickness for heavy duty use like a chef’s kitchen or restaurant.
How long does quartz countertop installation take?
A typical install takes 1-3 days. The demolition and preparation work can be done in a day. Installation takes another 1-2 days depending on the size of the job. Total timelines range 2-4 weeks factoring in template and fabrication.
Installing new quartz countertops can entirely transform the look and functionality of your kitchen. By selecting appealing quartz slabs, properly preparing, removing old countertops, and expertly installing the new ones, you can enjoy stunning, durable countertops that will last for decades. Pay close attention to each step of the process and don’t hesitate to hire professionals when needed. With some time and effort, your dream kitchen with quartz countertops can become a reality.