How to Shop for Quartz Countertops

Shopping for new quartz countertops can be an exciting yet daunting task. With so many options, colors, patterns and textures to choose from, it’s important to arm yourself with information to make the best decision for your home and budget. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about shopping for quartz countertops.

Understand What Quartz Countertops Are

Quartz countertops, also known as engineered stone, are made from ground quartz crystals combined with resin and pigments. The end result is a durable, non-porous surface that is resistant to scratches, stains and heat.

Some key advantages of quartz:

  • Extremely durable and long-lasting
  • Requires very little maintenance
  • Resists stains, scratches and heat
  • Non-porous so does not require sealing
  • Available in a wide variety of colors and patterns

Decide Between Quartz vs. Other Countertop Materials

Before deciding on quartz, it’s helpful to weigh it against other popular countertop materials like granite, marble, and solid surface.

Granite is a natural stone that provides a classic, high-end look. However it can be more prone to staining and etching than quartz. Granite requires yearly sealing to prevent damage.

Marble is gorgeous but very delicate and porous, making it susceptible to scratches, etching and stains. It requires frequent sealing and careful maintenance.

Solid surface (like Corian) resists stains and scratches but can be prone to damage from heat. Darker colors may show scratches more easily.

Ultimately, quartz provides unparalleled durability and maintenance ease compared to natural stone and solid surface. Its resistance to everyday wear and tear makes it a great option for busy kitchens.

Choose a Color and Finish

One of the biggest decisions is choosing a color and finish for your quartz countertop. Varieties are endless, but here are some tips:

  • Whites/Neutrals – Timeless colors like white and gray are extremely versatile and give a clean, contemporary look.
  • Patterns – Many quartz slabs incorporate unique veining and patterns for added visual interest.
  • Darker colors – Shades like black, navy and dark grays hide messes better than light colors.
  • Polished vs. matte – Polished has a glossy shine while matte has a subtly textured look. Matte hides fingerprints and watermarks better.

If you’re unsure where to start, bring home quartz samples from your fabricator to see how they look in your space. Natural and artificial lighting can impact color perception.

Determine Thickness Needed

Standard quartz thickness is 3cm (1.2 inches), which is suitable for most residential kitchen countertops. Go with 3cm if you’ll use your counters for regular meal prep and dining.

Upgrade to a thicker slab (like 4cm) if you’ll place heavy items or appliances on the counters often. Thicker quartz can better withstand impact from rolling pins or mixers without cracking.

Inspect the Slab Prior to Fabrication

Before your selected slab gets cut and fabricated, be sure to physically inspect it. Look for any noticeable flaws, discolorations or uneven patterns. It’s better to spot imperfections beforehand rather than after installation.

If possible, inspect slabs in both natural and artificial light. Shift lights to check for variations. What may look perfect indoors can sometimes look very different outdoors.

Consider Hiring a Professional

Installing quartz countertops requires specialized tools and experience working with quartz. For a flawless installation, consider hiring a professional fabricator/contractor.

Benefits of pro installation:

  • Precise seam placement
  • Smooth edges and profile details
  • Perfect alignment with backsplashes and sinks
  • Prevent cracks, chips or uneven surfaces

Just confirm upfront that the contractor has extensive experience with quartz. Paying a little more for a pro is worth it for long-lasting results.

Factor in Total Costs

When budgeting, be sure to factor in:

  • Countertop cost per square foot – Price can range widely based on color, pattern and thickness. Expect to pay $50 – $120 per square foot installed.
  • Fabrication – This includes cutting, edging, seams, holes for sinks, etc. Typically $150+ per slab.
  • Installation – If hiring a pro, expect to pay around $200 – $450 for full installation.
  • Secondary costs – Additional costs for plumbing, electrical, backsplash tile, etc. Factor an extra 10-15% of total budget.

Shop around and get quotes from 3-4 fabricators/contractors. Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true.

Ask About Warranties

Reputable quartz manufacturers back their products with 10-15 year warranties. Be sure to register your warranty with your receipt and slab barcode after installation.

Warranties cover only manufacturing defects – not improper installation or damage caused by impact or excessive heat. Warranties are not transferable if you sell your home.

Maintain Quartz Properly

While quartz resists most damage without issue, proper care will keep your counters pristine for decades.

  • Use cutting boards and trivets for hot items.
  • Clean spills quickly to prevent staining.
  • Avoid harsh cleaners and abrasive pads.
  • Reseal seams and polished edges every 3-5 years.

With proper care, your quartz counters will stay looking like new for a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is quartz cheaper than granite?

Quartz countertops tend to cost about the same as mid-range granite. Very high-end granite may cost more. Overall, quartz provides better durability and maintenance ease for the price.

How often does quartz need to be sealed?

Unlike granite, quartz does not require yearly sealing. At most, polished edges and seams should be resealed every 3-5 years as preventative maintenance.

Can you cut on quartz countertops?

Always use a cutting board to protect your counters. While quartz is extremely durable, cutting directly on the surface can potentially dull knives or scratch the surface over time.

Can quartz counters crack or chip?

Quartz is resistant to cracks and chips but is not completely invincible. Dropping heavy objects on edges or exposing counters to extreme impact or weight can potentially cause damage. Handle and care for quartz surfaces with care to prevent issues.

Is quartz stain proof?

While quartz has excellent stain resistance, it is not 100% stain proof. Spills like wine, oil and strong pigments should be cleaned quickly. Avoid exposing quartz to strong chemicals like paint removers or drain cleaners.


With proper research and planning, investing in quartz countertops for your kitchen or bath can be a decision you’ll appreciate for decades to come. Taking the time to understand your options, find the right color and pattern, and hire experienced professionals will ensure a successful project with stunning results. Treat your new quartz counters with care and they will retain their like-new beauty with minimal maintenance required.