Replacing old tile countertops with fresh, modern quartz can completely transform the look and feel of your kitchen or bathroom. Quartz countertops are an excellent choice for DIYers since they are non-porous, scratch and stain resistant, and easy to clean and maintain. With some careful planning and patience, you can swap out those outdated tiles for beautiful quartz countertops in a weekend.
Gather Your Materials
Before starting any countertop replacement project, you’ll need to gather all the necessary materials. Here’s what you’ll need on hand:
- Quartz slabs cut to size for your countertops
- Silicone adhesive caulk
- Seam kit for joining quartz slabs
- Brackets to support underside of countertops
- Rags, acetone, and denatured alcohol for cleaning
- Router for cutting any openings needed in quartz
- Tape measure and straightedge for checking fit
- Safety gear – gloves, goggles, mask
Be sure to have all your quartz pieces cut to the exact dimensions of your existing countertops for a seamless fit. It’s also wise to order 10-15% extra in case you need to recut a piece during installation.
Remove Existing Tile Countertops
Before installing the new quartz countertops, you’ll need to fully remove the old tile. Here are the steps:
Remove everything from the countertops and place items in a safe area. It’s best to clear off countertops completely so tiles don’t get damaged during removal.
Check for Hidden Screws
Carefully inspect the edges and underside of countertops for any hidden screws or fasteners. Remove these first so tiles can be pried up cleanly.
Cut Caulk Seams
Use a utility knife to slice any caulk or sealant between the tile countertops and walls/backsplash. Cutting the caulk will make prying up the tiles easier.
Pry Up Tiles
Starting from an exposed edge or seam, work a pry bar under tiles to pop them up. Apply upward pressure to lift tiles but work slowly to avoid cracking.
Once tiles are up, scrape away any remaining thinset adhesive using a putty knife or chisel. Wear safety goggles and gloves during this messy process.
With adhesive removed, wipe down the countertop base with denatured alcohol to remove residue. Check for any uneven spots that may need patching.
Install New Quartz Countertops
With the old tile countertops removed, you’re ready for quartz installation. Follow these key steps:
Dry Fit Pieces
Lay quartz pieces in place without adhesive to ensure they fit correctly and seam edges align. Mark any areas needing adjustment.
Run a silicone adhesive caulk bead around the perimeter of the cabinet top as well as in a zigzag pattern across its surface.
Set Quartz Slabs
Carefully lay slabs in place, pressing down firmly to adhere. Have helpers to manage the heavy pieces. Wipe away any excess caulk.
Use C-clamps to tightly join the seam edges of adjoining quartz slabs while adhesive sets. Slowly tighten clamps to avoid cracking quartz.
Once adhesive has cured, unclamp quartz pieces. Fill the seam gap with adhesive caulk and use the seam kit to fuse the joint.
Adhere L-brackets underneath for added support, especially for overhangs. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for bracket placement.
If needed, install matching quartz backsplash pieces using silicone adhesive. Check for even alignment against wall.
Cut Outs for Sink and Cooktop
Most quartz installations require custom cutouts to accommodate sinks and cooktops. Here’s how to handle them:
Mark Cutout Area
Measure precisely and use a straightedge to mark cutout shape on the underside of quartz. Include seam allowance in dimensions.
Drill holes in the corners of the cutout area using a masonry bit. This will enable cleaner edge cuts.
Cut With Router
Use a router outfitted with a diamond-grit carbide bit to cut along cutout lines. Move slowly and keep router steady for clean cuts.
Carefully sand cut edges with 220 grit sandpaper to remove roughness. Vacuum to remove quartz dust when finished.
With the quartz cutout made, carefully install the sink or cooktop by adhering to the countertop underside per manufacturer instructions.
Clean and Seal New Quartz
As a final step, give new quartz counters a thorough cleaning and seal them to prevent stains:
- Wipe down all quartz surfaces with a mix of warm water and mild dish soap. Rinse thoroughly.
- Blot dry with clean soft cloths, checking for any adhesive residue to remove.
- Apply a penetrating quartz sealer evenly across all countertops per product instructions. Allow to fully cure.
- Buff dried sealer coating with a soft cloth to reveal lustrous, glossy quartz finish.
- Inspect final results and make any minor adjustments needed to achieve a perfect installation.
With proper care, your sparkling new quartz countertops will stay looking pristine for decades and completely transform your kitchen or bath into a luxurious space!
FAQ About Replacing Tile Countertops with Quartz
How long does it take to replace tile countertops with quartz?
For an experienced DIYer, expect the whole tile removal and quartz installation process to take 2-3 days from start to finish. Removing tile and prepping the counters is the most time-consuming part. The actual quartz installation can be done in a day.
Does quartz need to be sealed?
Quartz is non-porous, so sealing is not required. However, applying a penetrating quartz sealer after installation creates an added layer of protection against stains. Re-apply sealer once a year.
What are signs my tile counters need replacing?
Cracked, broken, or missing tiles, stains in grout lines, water damage, and a generally outdated style are all signs your tired tile counters are due for a quartz makeover.
Is special tools needed for cutting quartz?
A router outfitted with a diamond-grit carbide cutting bit is specially designed to cut quartz cleanly and smoothly. Alternative like a circular saw also work but may splinter edges.
How are seams between quartz slabs handled?
Adjoining quartz slabs are held tightly with clamps while adhesive sets. The seam is then filled with adhesive caulk and fused together using special two-part seam kits to create an invisible joint.
Replacing outdated tile countertops with elegant new quartz can make a huge difference in the look of your kitchen or bath. With proper planning and care, even first-time DIYers can tackle this project themselves and save significant money over hiring professionals. Just take it slow and get ready to enjoy stunningly beautiful quartz countertops for years to come!