Quartz countertops are a popular choice for modern kitchens and bathrooms due to their durability, aesthetics, and low maintenance. However, like any surface, quartz can become worn, scratched or lose its luster over time. Sanding is an effective way to refresh the look of quartz countertops and remove imperfections from the surface. With some basic tools and techniques, DIYers can sand their quartz countertops and restore them to a like-new condition.
What You’ll Need to Sand Quartz Countertops
Sanding quartz countertops doesn’t require fancy tools, but having the right supplies will make the job easier. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Sandpaper – Start with 220 grit and then use 400, 600, or 800 grit in progressing sequence to achieve the desired smoothness. Select sandpaper that’s designed for sanding stone surfaces.
- Sanding Block – This provides an easy grip and ensures the sandpaper makes flat, even contact with the surface.
- Orbital Sander (optional) – For large surfaces, an orbital sander can save time and effort. Use one designed for stone surfaces and take care not to apply too much pressure.
- Masking Tape – To protect areas you don’t want sanded, use painter’s tape to mask off edges and fixtures.
- Soft Cloths – Have some on hand to wipe away sanding residue as you work. Microfiber cloths work well.
- Isopropyl Alcohol – This safely removes remaining dust or residue after sanding.
- Safety Gear – Wearing goggles, gloves, and a dust mask is recommended when sanding.
How to Sand Quartz Countertops
With the right supplies assembled, you’re ready to revitalize your quartz countertops through sanding. Follow these key steps:
1. Clean and Prepare the Surface
Start by removing everything from the countertops and cleaning thoroughly with an all-purpose cleaner or isopropyl alcohol. This removes any dirt, grease, or debris that could clog the sandpaper. Use a plastic putty knife to scrape off any tough spots of grime.
Once cleaned, do a visual inspection of the overall condition. Take note of any deep gouges or imperfections that may require extra work.
Finally, use painter’s tape to mask off any areas you don’t want sanded, like the edges and any fixtures. For best results, lay the tape so that only about 1/16 inch of the countertop’s edge is exposed. This keeps the sanding localized to just the top surface.
2. Start Sanding with 220 Grit
It’s best to start sanding quartz with a medium grit sandpaper, around 220 grit. This effectively removes small scratches and wears down the surface. Begin sanding in a circular motion, applying even pressure as you work.
Pay attention to problem areas with deeper scratches or defects. You may need to focus here longer to remove the imperfections. As you sand, frequently wipe away any residue with a soft cloth.
Be patient and sand the entire surface thoroughly at the 220 grit stage before moving to a finer grit. Depending on the extent of damage, this first round of sanding may take 30-60 minutes.
3. Progress to 400 or 600 Grit Sandpaper
After sanding with 220 grit, the countertop should have a notably smoothed appearance. Next, switch to a finer 400 or 600 grit sandpaper. This polishs the surface for an even smoother feel.
As you did before, systematically sand the entire surface in broad, circular motions. Make sure to frequently wipe away any excess dust to keep the sandpaper clean and effective. Pay extra attention to any problem areas to ensure they are flush and even with the rest of the surface.
4. Finish with 800 Grit for Maximum Smoothness
For most quartz countertops, sanding up to 600 grit is sufficient to restore the appearance. But to achieve an ultra-smooth finish, do a final sanding with 800 or 1000 grit. This extra-fine sandpaper puts on the finishing polish.
As before, work methodically across the entire surface, applying even circular motions until achieving your desired luster. This final sanding stage typically takes 15-20 minutes. The countertop should now have a consistent, smooth sheen from edge to edge.
5. Clean Up Sanding Residue
With the sanding complete, thoroughly clean the surface to remove all dust and debris. Wipe down with soft cloths dampened with isopropyl alcohol. This effectively cleans sanding residue from the microscopic pores of quartz.
Pay attention that any areas masked off with tape are also cleaned before removing the tape. Remove all masking and inspect that edges are free of sanding dust.
Finally, use a plastic putty knife to remove any dried residue in crevices or corners. Avoid using metal tools which could scratch the surface.
Once cleaned up, the quartz countertop is revitalized and ready to use! Properly sanded, quartz has a like-new appearance and silky smooth feel.
Tips for Sanding Quartz Countertops
Follow these pointers to get the best results from DIY sanding of quartz:
- Always sand in the direction of the existing polish lines for best results.
- When using an orbital sander, avoid applying too much pressure which can damage the surface.
- Wet sanding is not recommended for quartz since water can penetrate the material.
- For deep scratches, start with 100 grit sandpaper to effectively smooth them out.
- Change sandpaper frequently to keep it sharp. Old, worn sandpaper is less effective.
- Clean frequently to remove dust that can clog and diminish sandpaper.
- Wear a dust mask, gloves, and eye protection when sanding. Quartz dust is hazardous if inhaled.
- Work methodically and thoroughly to ensure an even, consistent appearance.
- If there are any pits or chips in the surface, consult a professional rather than DIY repair.
With some moderate effort, DIYers can successfully sand their quartz countertops to restore the elegant, smooth surface. Just take care to work systematically through the grits, cleaning frequently as you sand. With these techniques, your countertops will have a fresh, like-new sheen.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sanding Quartz Countertops
Sanding quartz to remove scratches or imperfections is doable as a DIY project. Here are answers to some common questions about the process.
Can I sand my quartz countertops myself?
Yes, DIY sanding of quartz countertops is certainly possible with some basic tools and techniques. It requires a bit of physical effort but doesn’t require professional expertise. Just be sure to follow proper sanding methods and use the right supplies.
Will sanding remove scratches from my quartz?
In most cases, yes. Sanding with 220 grit sandpaper is an effective way to remove light scratches, scuffs, and etch marks from quartz. Deeper gouges may require starting with a rougher 100 grit. Focus extra effort on damaged areas to smooth them out.
How many grits to sand quartz countertops?
Start with 220 grit, then move up to 400 or 600 grit for polishing, and optionally 800 grit for ultra-smoothness. Sand thoroughly with each grit before progressing. Too aggressive of a jump in grits can create uneven scratch patterns.
Can I use a power sander on quartz?
Yes, an orbital sander can be safely used if you take proper precautions. Maintain a light touch to avoid excessive pressure. Use the proper sanding pads designed for stone. Move constantly to prevent uneven wear. Hand sanding also works, just with more manual effort.
How can I get a smooth finish after sanding?
Finish by sanding with 800 or 1000 grit sandpaper using light, circular motions. Clean thoroughly with isopropyl alcohol and water to remove every speck of dust. Then use a quartz polish to seal and protect the smooth sanded surface.
How long does it take to sand a quartz countertop?
The time required depends on the size of the countertop. But expect 30-60 minutes per grit over the whole surface. So in total, plan on 2 to 2.5 hours including cleanup for a medium kitchen countertop. Extra time will be needed to address any deeper imperfections.
Can I damage my quartz countertops by sanding?
If proper sanding techniques are followed, the risk of damage from DIY sanding is low. The key things that can damage quartz are using excessively coarse sandpaper, applying too much pressure, and uneven sanding. Taking your time and checking your progress minimizes any risk.
Is it better to sand or refinish quartz?
Sanding is preferable for quartz rather than refinishing the top. Refinishing involves applying new material onto the surface, which is more prone to chip or peel over time. Sanding removes imperfections from the original material for a more lasting result.
What’s the average cost to have quartz countertops sanded professionally?
If hiring a pro, expect to pay around $4-6 per square foot for sanding quartz countertops. So a medium sized 25 sq. ft. kitchen countertop would cost $100 to $150. Extra fees apply for repairs or deep scratch removal.
Sanding is an effective DIY technique to revitalize aged or damaged quartz countertops. While it requires some physical effort, the process is straightforward with proper supplies and methods. Sand out flaws with 220 grit paper, then polish to the desired smoothness with finer 400-1000 grit. Extra attention to deep scratches can help blend repairs into the surface. With some patience, your countertops will look fresh and renewed. Just be sure to work carefully and clean up completely afterwards.