How to Select Quartz Countertops

Selecting new countertops for your kitchen or bathroom remodel involves careful consideration of factors like budget, installation, durability, style, and maintenance. With so many options available, it can feel overwhelming to choose the best material to suit your needs. If you’re leaning towards quartz, this comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about selecting, buying, and installing quartz countertops.

What is Quartz?

Quartz countertops, sometimes referred to as engineered stone, have become an increasingly popular choice for home renovations in recent years. Quartz is made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with polyresin binders under heat and pressure. This process allows manufacturers to engineer the material with precise color patterns, textures, and consistency.

The result is a highly durable, non-porous surface that replicates the look of natural stone but requires very little maintenance. Unlike solid surface materials, quartz is resistant to scratches, staining, etching, and heat damage up to a certain point. And because quartz doesn’t require sealing, it’s an ideal low-maintenance option.

While more affordable than natural stone, quartz does come at a higher price point than laminate, wood, or some solid surfaces. However, the superior durability and worry-free maintenance of quartz make it a worthwhile investment for most homeowners.

Pros and Cons of Quartz Countertops

Before deciding on quartz, consider some of the key pros and cons:


  • Extremely durable and scratch resistant surface
  • Requires very little maintenance
  • Resists staining, etching, and burning
  • Non-porous so doesn’t require sealing
  • Antibacterial properties inhibit bacterial growth
  • Available in a wide variety of colors and patterns
  • Seamless appearance if properly installed
  • Heat and impact resistant
  • Doesn’t easily chip or crack like natural stone
  • Relatively affordable compared to natural stone


  • More expensive than laminate or tile options
  • Can experience damage under extreme impact
  • Limited heat resistance (not ideal for baking pans)
  • Seams may be more apparent on darker colors or larger installations
  • Cannot be restored or polished like natural stone
  • Doesn’t have the unique veining patterns found in natural stone
  • Not as environmentally friendly as some options

While quartz has some limitations in terms of heat tolerance and impact resistance, its non-porous nature and durability under normal household use make it an excellent choice for busy kitchens and bathrooms.

How to Select the Right Quartz Countertop

With hundreds of varieties available, selecting your perfect quartz countertop involves considering a few key factors:

1. Color and Pattern

One of the best aspects of quartz is the wide range of colors, patterns, and textures available. Natural stone-like patterns with gray veining are popular, but you can also find quartz made to mimic marble or concrete. Solid colors in polished or matte finishes provide a modern, streamlined look.

Consider the existing decor in your home, particularly paint colors and cabinetry. Neutral quartz patterns tend to be versatile, while bolder colors make more of a design statement. Be sure to view a few slab samples to get a sense of the true color and texture.

2. Use of the Space

Where your new quartz countertops will be installed is a critical consideration, as different areas have unique functional needs.

For heavy use spaces like kitchens, prioritize durability and heat resistance. Look for quartz engineered to withstand impacts, stains, and temperatures up to 300°F.

Bathrooms and laundry rooms will benefit from quartz’s water-resistance, but don’t need as much heat tolerance. Focus on a non-porous, stain-resistant variety.

Bar areas or decorative installations can maximize quartz’s visual appeal. Consider polished finishes and patterns mimicking luxurious natural stone.

3. Budget

Quartz is priced within a range of $50-120 per square foot installed. Factors like brand, color, and pattern complexity impact the price. Some ways to reduce costs include:

  • Opt for a mid-range brand over premium names
  • Choose a solid color or minimal pattern
  • Look for remnant pieces from a supplier
  • Keep the layout simple to reduce cutting and seams

Be sure to get quotes from a few fabricators and negotiate cost if possible. Many companies offer quartz that balances aesthetics, performance, and price.

4. Edge Profiles

The edges of your countertop play an important decorative role while also impacting durability. Typical edge options include:

  • Straight – Provides a clean, modern appearance
  • Bullnose – Rounded edge, softer aesthetic
  • Double Bullnose – Exaggerated rounded edge
  • Bevel – Angled with a flat trim
  • Ogee – Shaped in an S-curve
  • Dupont – Wavy, uneven edge

Bullnose, bevel, and ogee edges provide more impact protection on bar areas or islands. Decorative edges like dupont work best on sections that won’t endure heavy use.

5. Thickness

Standard quartz thickness is 3/4″, but thinner 1/2″ can also be used vertically for wall installations. For horizontal use, a thicker 1-1/4″ or 1-1/2″ option adds durability and a substantial, stone-like appearance for just a small upcharge. Thicker quartz is ideal for kitchen islands, bars, and workspaces that will see more wear.

6. Warranty

Quartz comes with manufacturer warranties up to 15 or 20 years. This protects against defects in materials and craftsmanship. Be sure to review what is covered under the warranty and its duration. Longer warranties typically equate to higher quality quartz.

7. Fabricator Reputation

Expert fabrication and seamless installation is crucial for beautiful, functional quartz countertops. Look for an experienced local professional with training in cutting and fitting quartz. Check reviews and inspect examples of their previous quartz work. Many reputable companies offer warranties on installation too.

By evaluating these seven factors, you can zero in on the ideal quartz variety and supplier for your home and budget.

How to Buy Quartz Countertops

Once you select a quartz style, purchasing involves precise measurement, template creation, final ordering, and installation scheduling. Here is a step-by-step overview:

Measure Carefully

Work with your fabricator to measure every section where new quartz will be installed. Measure the length, width, and any corners precisely to 1/16 of an inch. Any imprecisions at this stage will result in gaps or misalignments during installation. If replacing an existing countertop, measure its current dimensions as the new quartz will be cut to fit that space.

Make a Template

Your fabricator will create a template from your measurements to capture the exact shape and dimensions for cutting the slabs. Templates are typically made from cardboard, plastic, or wood. The template needs to include information on seams, edges, holes for sinks, and any irregularities in the existing cabinets or walls.

Select Your Slab

Using your measurements, the supplier will help you choose the best part of the quartz slab for your project. Certain areas of the slab may have color variations or blemishes that impact the final appearance. This is your chance to visualize how your countertop will look and make adjustments to the quartz pattern or color if needed.

Place the Order

Once the measurements are confirmed and slab portion selected, the fabricator will order the materials needed for your project. Expect a 50% deposit at the time of order, with the balance due upon installation completion.

Schedule Installation

Quartz fabrication generally takes 10 to 20 business days once ordered. Your installer will deliver the finished countertops and schedule the installation date(s). Make sure to arrange any plumbing and electrical modifications in advance so hookups can be reconnected promptly after installing the new countertops.

Follow these steps and work closely with your chosen fabricator to ensure a smooth quartz countertop installation.

Installing Quartz Countertops

Installing quartz requires skill and precision to achieve clean seams and proper support. Here is an overview of the quartz installation process:

1. Demolition

On installation day, your existing countertop and any walls or backsplashes that interface with the counter need removing. The installer will disconnect plumbing and electrical as needed before demolition.

2. Inspect Base Cabinets

With the old countertop gone, the installer will check that the base cabinets provide a smooth, level surface for quartz installation. Making any needed adjustments before moving forward.

3. Set the Countertops

The quartz slabs will be carried in, cleaned, and set in place. The installer checks each piece against the measurements and template. The countertops should align squarely with no overhang.

4. Clamp Pieces Together

Adjoining pieces are clamped tightly together. The installer may apply painter’s tape along the seam to keep the two sides snug together.

5. Clean Seams

Seams between quartz slabs need smoothing using specialty saw blades and diamond polishing pads. This meticulous process removes any bumps or ridges at the seams.

6. Secure Countertops

With the seams blended, the quartz pieces get secured to the cabinet bases. A bead of flexible adhesive seals the counters to the cabinets. Brackets, screws, or corbels add additional structural support if needed.

7. Seal Edges

Exposed edges around sinks, cooktops, and faucets are sealed with a waterproof clear resin. This prevents moisture from penetrating the tiny pores within the cut edges.

8. Final Touches

The installation is completed with any final electrical, plumbing, and backsplash modifications. The countertops get thoroughly cleaned and inspected to ensure you have a flawless finished product.

Working with a skilled and experienced professional is key to getting a beautiful and functional quartz installation. Avoid do-it-yourself quartz countertop projects.

Caring for Your Quartz Countertops

Part of the appeal of quartz is that it requires minimal maintenance compared to natural stone. Follow these care tips to keep your quartz counters looking like new:

  • Clean regularly – Wipe down with a soft sponge and mild soap and water. For stubborn stains, use a non-abrasive cleaner approved for use on quartz.
  • Avoid abrasive cleaners – Don’t use scrubbing pads, powders, or anything acidic that could dull the finish.
  • Blot up spills quickly – While quartz resists staining, you don’t want liquids pooling on the surface.
  • Use trivets and hot pads – Quartz can tolerate brief exposure to heat but using trivets and pads will preserve its flawless appearance.
  • Don’t cut directly on quartz – Use a cutting board to protect quartz from deep scratches or gouges from knives.
  • Clean up spills immediately – Acidic substances like wine, tomato sauce, or citrus juice should not be left on quartz surfaces for prolonged time periods.

With routine cleaning and avoidance of abuse, quartz countertops will retain their like-new beauty and performance for many years before needing replacement. Be sure to review your manufacturer’s care and maintenance recommendations too.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have some questions about quartz countertops? Here are answers to some common queries:

Is quartz heat resistant?

Quartz has moderate heat resistance, capable of withstanding exposure to normal cooking pans, dishes straight from the oven, and setting down hot items briefly. However, consistent direct high heat can damage quartz. It’s best to use trivets or hot pads when setting very hot cookware on quartz.

Does quartz stain easily?

Due to its non-porous nature, quartz does not absorb stains from spills and everyday use like some materials can. However, prolonged exposure to strong chemicals and staining agents can damage quartz. Be sure to wipe up spills promptly.

Is quartz susceptible to cracking?

Quartz is quite resistant to cracks due to its durability and flexural strength. However, subjecting quartz to strong impacts, heavy objects crashing down on it, or excessive weight in a concentrated area can potentially cause cracks.

Does quartz need to be sealed?

Unlike natural stone, quartz does not require periodic sealing. Its non-porous composition means it will not absorb moisture that necessitates sealing agents. However, suppliers often apply a penetrating sealant to the edges of cut quartz to prevent water ingress affecting structural integrity.

How long does quartz countertops last?

With proper care and maintenance, quartz countertops typically last 15 to 25 years before needing replacement. Their durability gives them twice the lifespan of most laminate counters.


With the right research and selection process, quartz countertops can transform the look of your home with a stylish, low-maintenance surface. Evaluating the color options, intended use, budget, edge profiles, thickness, and fabricator will help narrow down the perfect quartz for your project. Careful measurement, templating, purchasing, and professional installation are critical. Follow the care tips provided to enjoy durable, stunning quartz counters that stand the test of time. With this comprehensive guide, you now have all the information needed to successfully tackle a quartz countertop installation project!