Quartz countertops have become an increasingly popular option for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects in recent years. But with so many choices on the market, how do you know if quartz is the right material for your countertops? One of the biggest considerations is durability – after all, you want your countertops to stand the test of time.
So, is quartz durable for kitchen countertops? The short answer is yes. Quartz is an engineered stone made from ground natural quartz crystals blended with polymer resins and other materials. This combination creates a very hard, non-porous material that is highly resistant to scratches, stains, heat, and damage. Quartz scores very high on the Mohs hardness scale, rating around a 7 out of 10, making it more scratch resistant than granite. When properly sealed and cared for, quartz countertops can last for many decades in the kitchen.
Below we’ll explore in detail the durability and performance factors that make quartz an excellent choice for long-lasting kitchen countertops:
What Makes Quartz Countertops Durable?
There are a few key properties of quartz that contribute to its reputation as a strong, resilient material suitable for heavy-use kitchen surfaces:
The quartz crystals and polymers blended in the material create an incredibly hard, scratch-resistant surface. In fact, quartz is nearly as hard as traditional granite and harder than marble. This makes it very resistant to knife scratches, abrasions, and dents that can occur in the kitchen.
Unlike natural stone, quartz does not have microscopic pores that can absorb stains and harbor bacteria. The tight polymer binds the material together to make an impervious, stain-resistant surface. Liquids and oils simply sit on top rather than soak in. This makes quartz very hygienic and easy to keep clean.
Quartz holds up well to heat exposure better than many other countertop materials. Exposure to normal cooking temperatures will not damage properly sealed quartz. You can place hot pans directly on the surface without worry.
The combination of hardness and rigidity in quartz make it impact resistant. Dropping a heavy pot or pan is unlikely to chip or crack a quartz counter. It does not require as much gentle handling as a natural stone surface.
Durability Against Scratches
With a 7 on the Mohs scale, quartz stands up well to scratches from sharp knives or abrasive spills like sugars and salts. While no material is completely scratch-proof, quartz resists scratching and scuffing better than most options.
The non-porous nature of quartz makes it highly stain resistant. Common kitchen mishaps like wine, coffee, juice, or oil spills are no match for quartz. Simple wiping and cleaning is enough to remove these types of stains from quartz’s durable surface.
Chip and Crack Resistant
Chips, cracks, and excessive wear are not typically concerns with quartz countertops. The tightly bound nature of the material and lack of natural veins and fissures make it very resistant to damage. Cracks and chips are rare unless subjected to extreme impact.
Mold and Bacteria Resistance
The non-porous surface leaves nowhere for mold, mildew, and bacteria to grow. Quartz does not require sealing to become stain and microbe resistant. This makes quartz one of the most hygienic options for kitchen countertops.
Durability Against Sun Damage
Quartz’s color and polish are highly resistant to UV rays and sunlight exposure. Unlike some materials that can fade in color or develop a worn look, quartz retains its original factory finish for years.
The engineered nature of quartz leads to very consistent patterning and appearance. There are fewer random unique markings as found in natural stone. Quartz maintains a like-new look longer with even wear over time.
How Durable is Quartz Compared to Other Kitchen Countertop Materials?
Quartz is more durable and lower maintenance than many other kitchen countertop options. Here’s how it compares:
More Durable Than:
- Laminate – Laminate countertops are highly prone to chipping, scratching, burns, stains, and wear. Quartz is superior in durability.
- Wood – While beautiful, wood requires much more care to avoid water damage, scratches, and cuts. Quartz stands up better over time.
- Tile – Grout lines inevitably stain and chip with use. The surface of quartz is more seamless and resistant to damage.
- Concrete – Prone to cracking, etching from acids, staining, and chipping. Not as damage-resistant as quartz.
- Marble – Softer and much more prone to etching, stains, and abrasions than ultra-hardy quartz.
Similar Durability To:
- Granite – Quartz and granite have similar durability, hardness, and appearance. Granite requires more sealing but is naturally heat resistant.
- Dekton – This ultra-compact surface has similar scratch, stain, and heat resistance as quartz. Both are excellent choices.
- Soapstone – Soapstone is naturally stain-resistant like quartz but is softer and requires sealing.
Less Durable Than:
- Stainless Steel – More resistant to scratches and heat damage but prone to denting. Higher maintenance than quartz.
- Tile – Ceramic or porcelain tile is highly durable but prone to chipping at grout joints.
How Long Do Quartz Countertops Last?
With proper care and maintenance, quartz countertops can easily last 20-25 years in the kitchen. Many manufacturers back their quartz counters with a 10-15 year warranty, though the average useful life is over double that. There are a few factors that determine the functional lifetime of quartz:
Quality of Installation
An expert installation is key to maximizing the lifespan of the counters. Proper seam work, corner fabrication, and adherence to any manufacturer guidelines helps prevent future damage.
Frequency of Use
Quartz holds up wonderfully to heavy daily use, but constant extreme wear in a busy kitchen will impact longevity. The more cooking and prep that occurs, the more opportunity for exposure to damage.
Level of Care and Maintenance
Following manufacturer cleaning guidelines helps remove stains before they set and protects the finish. Resealing every 1-2 years ensures spills bead up rather than soak in over time.
Style and Color Chosen
More uniform, lighter quartz colors may better conceal superficial scratches and signs of wear. Busy stone-like patterns camouflage damage sites.
Quality of the Product
Higher-end quartz brands use more refined manufacturing processes and quality control. Opting for an industry leader over a budget brand yields better durability.
Maintaining and Caring For Quartz Countertops
While quartz requires very little maintenance compared to other surfaces, taking proper care of your investment will help it last longer. Here are some tips:
- Use cutting boards and hot pads to prevent direct knife and pan contact.
- Clean up spills quickly to prevent possible staining. For dried spills, scrape carefully.
- Use a PH-neutral stone cleaner and avoid harsh chemicals that can damage the finish.
- Reseal every 1-2 years with a penetrating sealer made for quartz.
- Avoid applying excessive pressure in one area when cleaning.
- Check manufacturer guidelines before using any cleaning products.
- Inspect for signs of damage periodically and address chips and scratches right away.
- Consider adding a warranty to cover replacement or repair costs outside of manufacturer defects.
Pros of Quartz Countertops
Along with exceptional durability, quartz offers many other benefits that make it a top choice for kitchen remodeling:
- Requires very little maintenance compared to natural stone.
- Resists stains, scratches, heat damage, and natural wear and tear.
- Easy to clean and keep sanitary.
- Available in a wide array of colors and patterns.
- Non-porous so liquids don’t penetrate the surface.
- Does not require annual sealing like granite.
- Less prone to damage from drops or impacts.
- Consistent patterning without natural stone flaws.
- Keeps its like-new appearance for decades.
- More affordable than natural stone alternatives.
Cons of Quartz Countertops
The biggest downsides of quartz countertops include:
- Can chip or crack if subjected to heavy impacts.
- Replacement and repair is expensive compared to materials like laminate.
- Limited heat resistance (avoid direct high heat exposure).
- Seams may be more apparent than natural stone.
- Some quartz lacks the natural uniqueness of stone.
- Quartz needs resealing every 1-2 years.
- Does not have the prestigious cachet of granite and marble.
- Higher cost than laminate, tile, concrete, and some other options.
Is Quartz Worth It for Kitchen Countertops?
For those seeking a durable, low-maintenance, and stylish countertop, quartz is absolutely worth the investment. The minor maintenance required is a small price to pay for decades of resilience. While quartz costs more than materials like laminate and wood, it offers a much longer useful lifespan in the kitchen. Over time, quartz yields an excellent return on investment and avoids frequent replacement costs. Homeowners seeking peace of mind from a highly functional, worry-free countertop surface find quartz well worth the higher initial price.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Quartz the Most Durable Countertop Material?
While not quite as indestructible as stainless steel, quartz is among the most durable options for kitchen countertops. It is harder and more resistant to damage than laminate, wood, tile, concrete, and natural stone.
Does Quartz Stain Easily?
No, quartz does not stain easily. The non-porous surface resists absorbing liquids, oils, and common kitchen stains. Spills that are wiped up quickly leave no trace. Dried on spills may require more cleaning but do not permanently stain a properly sealed quartz counter.
Is Quartz Scratch Resistant?
Quartz is very scratch resistant, rating 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. It stands up to sharp knives and abrasive spills better than most materials. While no counters are completely scratch-proof, quartz resists scratching and scuffs well with proper care.
Can You Cut on Quartz Countertops?
It is best to use a cutting board to protect quartz surfaces. However, the material is resistant to light scratches from incidental knife use. The occasional slicing directly on the counter will likely only leave superficial marks on quality quartz.
Does Quartz Need To Be Sealed?
Quartz does not require annual sealing like natural stone. However, reapplying a penetrating sealer every 1-2 years will keep the surface stain resistant. Sealing fills any microscopic pores opened with use and restores water beading.
Is Quartz Heat Resistant?
Quartz has moderate heat resistance. While brief contact with hot pans is okay, prolonged high heat exposure can damage the solid surface material. Quartz manufacturers advise using trivets and hot pads when placing extremely hot cookware on the counters.
Is Quartz Environmentally Friendly?
Quartz has some eco-friendly attributes, being composed partially of natural stone leftovers that would otherwise go to waste. Some brands use recycled materials and have achieved Greenguard Gold certification. Quartz lacks the high energy and water usage of natural stone mining and fabrication.
Does Quartz Need Special Cleaners?
PH-neutral stone cleaners are ideal for quartz surfaces. Harsh chemicals like bleach should be avoided. Simple mild dish soap and water is sufficient for daily cleaning needs.
Can You Repair Scratches or Chips in Quartz?
Unlike natural stones, quartz cannot be buffed and re-polished by a professional to remove damage. Superficial light scratches can often be minimized with cleaning. Deeper scratches and chips require full replacement of the affected section.
With strength, durability, resilience, and low maintenance requirements, quartz makes an exceptional choice for kitchen countertops designed to last. While no material is truly indestructible, quartz’s combination of hardness, stain protection, and scratch resistance enable it to maintain its refined, like-new appearance for decades of daily use. For those seeking top-notch performance with minimal upkeep, quartz offers an ideal blend of durability, style, and practicality. With some basic care and maintenance, quartz countertops will retain their beauty while withstanding everything busy kitchens can dish out.