Quartz countertops are an incredibly popular choice for kitchens and bathrooms due to their durability, aesthetics, and low maintenance. However, even quartz can become damaged over time with regular use. If your quartz countertops have lost their luster or have noticeable etching, scratches, and stains, restoring them to their original beauty is possible with the right techniques and products. This comprehensive guide will provide detailed steps for how to properly restore quartz countertops to help them look as good as new.
Cleaning and Prepping the Surface
Before restoring the shine and appearance of your quartz countertops, it is essential to thoroughly clean the surface to remove any dirt, debris, residue, or buildup that may affect the restoration process. Here are the recommended steps for prepping quartz countertops before restoration:
Remove Everything from the Countertop
Clear everything off the countertop – small appliances, kitchen tools, dish racks, etc. Having a completely clear workspace will allow you to access and focus on the entire surface during restoration.
Use a pH-Neutral Cleaner
Clean quartz with a gentle pH-neutral cleaner specifically formulated for stone surfaces. Avoid using harsh cleaners like bleach, ammonia, vinegar, etc. as these can potentially damage and erode the quartz. A mild dish soap diluted with warm water also works well.
Scrub the Entire Surface
Use a soft sponge or cloth with your pH-neutral cleaner to gently scrub every inch of the countertop. Pay close attention to heavy stain areas. This deep cleaning helps remove stubborn residue before restoration.
After scrubbing the cleaner over the surface, rinse several times with clean water to remove any traces of cleaning solution. Make sure all cleaner is lifted – leftover residue can interfere with restoration products.
Wipe away all moisture with a soft, lint-free cloth or allow to completely air dry. Do not attempt to restore quartz until the surface is 100% dry.
With the countertop fully cleaned, prepped, and dried, it is ready for the restoration process.
Restoring Etching and Scratches
Etching and light scratches are common on quartz countertops, especially around the sink area. Acidic foods and spills can cause etching while regular use creates superficial scratches. Here’s how to reduce and restore etching and scratches:
Sand the Area
Use 400 grit sandpaper to gently sand the affected areas in a circular motion. This helps smooth and minimize the appearance of etching and scratches. Take care not to apply too much pressure which can damage the surface.
Clean Again After Sanding
After sanding, clean the sanded areas again with a pH-neutral cleaner to remove all sanding residue. Rinse and dry thoroughly after cleaning.
Apply Quartz Polish
Choose a high-quality quartz polish specifically designed for restoring quartz surfaces. Apply a small amount of polish to the etched/scratched areas using a soft cloth.
Buff Until Restored
With the polish applied, buff and rub the areas vigorously with a clean cloth until they appear smooth and restored. Take care not to spread polish outside of the affected areas.
Remove Excess and Reseal
Make sure to carefully wipe away all excess polish from the countertop. Once scratches are removed, use a quartz sealer to help protect from future etching or scratching.
With this process, you can significantly minimize and often completely remove light scratches and etching damage on quartz countertops.
Repairing Damage from Heat
Exposing quartz countertops to excessive heat can cause damage in the form of cracks, discoloration, and bubbling. Unfortunately, heat damage cannot be fully repaired, but it can be minimized with these steps:
Sand Down Bubbled Areas
If heat caused bubbling on your quartz, use a manual scraper or sandpaper to smooth and flatten the raised areas. Be very gentle to avoid damaging good areas.
For any heat-caused discoloration, applying a few thin coats of quartz polish can help disguise it and make it less noticeable. Buff well between coats.
Use a Sealing Product
Applying a heat-resistant sealer designed for quartz countertops can help minimize the appearance of cracks or discoloration caused by heat damage.
Prevent Further Damage
Avoid exposing the countertop to extreme heat in the future by using trivets and hot pads. Heat damage cannot be completely undone, so prevention is key.
While the effects of heat damage on quartz cannot be completely eliminated, strategic sanding, polishing, and sealing can help restore the look as best as possible. Being careful about exposing quartz to excessive heat will prevent further damage.
Removing Stains from Quartz Countertops
Quartz is less prone to staining than other countertop materials due to its non-porous nature. However, spills allowed to sit for long periods can result in stubborn stains on the surface. Here are helpful tips for removing different types of stains from quartz:
Dried Food Stains
For dried-on food spills like coffee, tea, wine, juice, etc. use a razor scraper to gently lift off any residue before cleaning with a pH-neutral cleaner. Avoid using excessive pressure which can scratch.
Grease and Oil Stains
Degrease oil stains with a mix of mild dish soap and warm water. For tough grease stains, spray with a degreasing cleaner before scrubbing. Rinse and dry thoroughly after cleaning.
Ink, Marker, or Pen Stains
Dab ink stains gently with a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol. Avoid aggressive scrubbing. Most ink can be lifted after a few rubbing alcohol applications.
Hard Water Stains
For white hard water stains, make a paste with baking soda and water and gently rub onto the stained area using a soft cloth or sponge. Rinse thoroughly after application.
Disinfecting Solution Stains
Many disinfectants and cleaners can leave cloudy white stains on quartz. Use a stainless steel cleaner and soft cloth to gently buff the stained areas. Avoid harsh scrubbing.
With the right cleaning methods and products, most stains can be removed from quartz countertops to restore their original polished finish.
Repairing Chips and Cracks
Chips, cracks, and missing pieces are serious quartz countertop damage that requires professional help to properly repair. Here’s an overview of quartz chip/crack repair:
Clean and Dry the Area
Before repair, ensure the damaged section is fully cleaned with a pH-neutral cleaner and dried completely. Remove any loose pieces and debris.
Use Epoxy Adhesive
Professionals use a specialized epoxy resin adhesive formulated for quartz to fill in any cracks or replace chipped off pieces and bond them seamlessly into place.
Apply New Quartz as Needed
For sections with missing quartz, new quartz material can be cut to size and bonded flush into the space using the epoxy adhesive. The new quartz blends right in.
Sand and Reseal
Once fully bonded, the repaired section is sanded smooth and then cleaned and resealed with a quartz sealer for optimal protection.
Consider Professional Help
Because the repair process involves specialized tools and adhesive, extensive chip and crack damage is best left to quartz fabrication professionals for proper repair.
With the right adhesive products and methods, damaged sections of quartz can be repaired and made to look like new again. Severe damage will require hiring a pro.
How to Restore the Shine
Restoring the glossy finish and shine of dulled quartz countertops is key to making them look their best. Follow these best practices:
Address Etching and Scratches First
Before polishing, make sure to sand and restore any etching or light scratches which can impact shine. Start with a smooth surface.
Clean Entire Surface Thoroughly
To ensure proper polishing, first clean the entire countertop with a pH-neutral cleaner. Remove all residue and dry completely.
Apply Quartz-Specific Polish
Use a polish specifically designed for use on quartz surfaces. Granite or marble polish can contain abrasives that damage quartz.
Buff to High Shine
Work the quartz polish into the surface with a soft cloth using circular motions. Buff and rub until the desired sheen is achieved uniformly across the surface.
Seal Properly After Polishing
Once fully polished, properly seal the quartz with a quartz-specific sealer to help maintain the restored shine and glossiness.
With the right quartz-formulated polish and some elbow grease, you can restore the high-gloss factory finish of your quartz countertops.
How to Maintain Quartz Countertops
Once your quartz countertops have been restored, proper maintenance is key to keeping them looking beautiful long-term. Here are the best quartz care and maintenance tips:
Use Trivets and Potholders
Always set hot pots, pans, etc on trivets to protect quartz from excessive direct heat which can cause damage.
Clean Spills Quickly
Don’t let spills sit on the surface. Quickly wipe up food, liquid, grease spills as soon as possible using a soft cloth.
Use Gentle pH-Neutral Cleaners
Clean with non-abrasive pH-neutral cleaners designed specifically for quartz and stone surfaces. Avoid harsh cleaners.
Reseal Every 6-12 Months
Reapply a quartz-specific sealer every 6-12 months to enhance stain resistance and maintain the counters.
Avoid Abrasive Scouring Pads
Do not use rough sponges, brushes, or pads for cleaning which can scratch the surface over time.
Inspect for Damage Regularly
Check quartz counters periodically for signs of damage like scratches, chips or cracks which are easier to repair when caught early.
Proper maintenance helps preserved the cosmetic appeal and longevity of quartz countertops in kitchens and baths.
FAQs About Restoring Quartz Countertops
Can you use bleach or other harsh cleaners on quartz?
No, avoid using harsh chemicals like bleach, Windex, vinegar, etc. on quartz surfaces which can potentially damage and erode the material over time. Always use gentle, pH-neutral cleaners specifically formulated for quartz and natural stone.
Is it possible to polish out deep scratches and etching on quartz?
No, deep scratches and etching cannot be removed with polishing on quartz surfaces. You can minimize the appearance with sanding and polishing but may need a professional resin treatment to fully repair significant damage. Light scratches and etching can often be restored with DIY methods.
Should I reseal my quartz countertops after restoring them?
Yes, it is recommended to reseal quartz with a quality quartz sealer after restoring the surface to help protect it going forward. Ensure proper prep and application of the sealer for maximum effectiveness and longevity.
Can I use a car wax or automotive polish on my quartz counters?
No, avoid using any polishing products designed for use on cars, floors, granite, etc. Always choose a polish specifically engineered for use on quartz surfaces to prevent possible damage to the material.
Is restoring quartz countertops something a DIYer can do or best left to a pro?
Many quartz restoration techniques like polishing out scratches or removing stains can absolutely be DIYed with proper products and methods. But extensive damage like chips, cracks, and missing pieces are best left to the professionals for proper repair.
Regular cleaning and polishing combined with using trivets and sealers will keep your quartz counters in great shape. But if your quartz does show wear and damage, don’t replace your countertops just yet! With the right techniques and a little elbow grease, it is possible to successfully restore quartz countertops to their original beauty or better in many cases. Use this comprehensive guide to learn the proper restoration methods to repair etching, scratches, stains, and dulled areas. With some work, it is possible to make dull, damaged quartz look brand new again.