What Adhesive for Quartz Countertops? A Complete Guide

Installing quartz countertops can transform the look of your kitchen or bathroom. With their durability, low maintenance, and variety of colors and patterns, quartz countertops are a popular choice for many homeowners. However, proper installation is key to ensuring your countertops last for years to come. One important decision is selecting the right what adhesive for quartz countertops.

Choosing the best adhesive is crucial to a successful quartz countertop installation. The wrong adhesive can lead to countertops that don’t bond properly, resulting in cracks, gaps, or even collapsed countertops. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about choosing and using adhesive for quartz countertops.

What is Quartz?

Before we dive into adhesives, let’s briefly go over what quartz countertops are.

Quartz countertops are engineered stone made from quartz particles combined with polymer resins and pigments. Quartz is an exceptionally hard mineral, making countertops very durable and scratch-resistant.

Unlike natural stone countertops like granite or marble, quartz slabs are manufactured in factories under precise conditions. This allows for consistent coloring, minimal maintenance, and customized designs.

While more affordable than natural stone, quartz counters are more expensive than options like concrete, laminate, or tile. The higher cost comes from quartz’s superior performance and aesthetics.

Advantages of Quartz Countertops

There are many reasons quartz has become popular for kitchen and bath countertops:

  • Extremely durable – Quartz is nearly indestructible under normal use. It withstands heat, stains, scratches, and chips exceptionally well.
  • Low maintenance – Requires very little regular upkeep. Simple cleaning with soap and water maintains its beauty.
  • Resists stains – The nonporous surface makes it stain resistant. Spills are not absorbed into the material.
  • Variety of colors and styles – Manufacturing process allows exact color matching and unique patterns. Styles mimic look of natural stone, concrete, metals, and more.
  • Fewer seams – Large slabs mean fewer seams on countertops compared to materials like granite.
  • Non-reactive – Won’t react to acids or foods, so no need to seal.
  • Sanitary – The nonporous surface inhibits germs and bacteria growth. Easy to disinfect.

With the right installation, quartz offers unparalleled durability and worry-free maintenance for your kitchen or bath.

How is Quartz Installed on Countertops?

Quartz countertops are installed in a multi-step process:

  1. Prepare the base cabinets – Base must be flat, level, and stable to support countertops.
  2. Make template – Template is made of exact countertop dimensions to cut slabs precisely.
  3. Fabricate and cut slabs – Manufacturer or fabricator cuts slabs to specifications based on template.
  4. Install countertops – Slabs are secured to cabinet base using adhesive and seam filler is used between adjoining slabs.
  5. Finish edges – Exposed edges are polished and finished.
  6. Seal seam – Once installed, the seam between slabs is sealed for invisible look.

Proper installation depends on skill, precision, and using the right materials like adhesives. Improper bonding can ruin the look and stability of quartz countertops.

Why is Adhesive Important for Quartz Countertops?

Adhesive is critical to creating a flawless quartz countertop installation. Here’s why proper bonding is so important:

  • Strong support – The adhesive provides a robust structural bond between the quartz slab and the cabinet base. This keeps the countertop firmly secured in place over years of use.
  • Prevents shifting – Adhesive prevents the heavy quartz from shifting, slipping, or detaching from the base. This maintains stability and correct positioning.
  • Allows seamless look – Adhesive creates an imperceptible seam between adjoining slabs for a unified appearance.
  • Withstands vibration – The adhesive bonds to absorb vibrations from appliances like blenders to prevent cracks and loosening over time.
  • Compensates for imperfections – Minor base imperfections can be compensated for by the adhesive thickness and bonding properties.
  • Dampens sounds – Adhesive helps dampen noises of items placed on the countertop.

Choosing the best quartz adhesive maximizes strength, stability and aesthetic beauty of the installation.

What Makes a Good Quartz Countertop Adhesive?

With adhesive being so crucial, it’s important to understand how to select one that will properly bond quartz slabs. Here are characteristics to look for:

  • Strong bonding – Adhesive must create an extremely robust, rigid connection between the countertop and cabinet base.
  • Flexibility – Ability to allow slight movement without cracking or losing bond strength.
  • Thixotropic properties – Gel-like consistency that becomes less viscous under pressure. Allows the adhesive to flow into gaps.
  • Non-shrinking – Should not shrink or pull away as it dries. Maintains contact over all glued surfaces.
  • Waterproof – Must cure into a waterproof bond to withstand kitchen and bath environments.
  • Non-reactive – Cannot be affected by cleaning agents, spills, moisture, or foods.
  • Quick set time – Bonds and cures rapidly to allow completing the installation process without delays.
  • Easy application – Should be easy to dispense and apply smoothly with a trowel.

Using an adhesive made for stone that exhibits these traits is vital for proper quartz installation.

Types of Adhesive for Bonding Quartz Countertops

There are a few main types of adhesive used to secure quartz slabs to countertops:

Silicone Adhesive

  • Silicone formulated specifically for bonding stone.
  • Flexible to absorb vibration and shifts.
  • Strong adhesive power with non-shrinking properties.
  • Waterproof and non-reactive when cured.
  • Allows positioning adjustments during installation.
  • Popular choice but can be more difficult for DIYers to use.

Epoxy Adhesive

  • Two-part epoxy adhesives designed for stone fabrication.
  • Very rigid and durable bond.
  • Allows little flexibility once cured.
  • More time-sensitive application with short working times.
  • Used by many professional installers.

Polyester Adhesive

  • Polyester resin formulas made to bond quartz or stone.
  • Similar bonding strength and properties as epoxy.
  • Lower cost option.
  • Very low odor during application and curing.
  • Can have shorter work times which can be tricky for DIY jobs.

Acrylic Adhesive

  • Acrylic-based adhesive for quartz and solid surfaces.
  • Combines strong bonding power with flexibility.
  • Easier for DIY installation than epoxy or polyester.
  • Good option for small countertop jobs.
  • Longer cure time than other adhesives.

In general, professional fabricators tend to use epoxy or polyester adhesives for their very strong rigid bonds and rapid cure times. For DIY installations, flexible silicone or acrylic formulas are easier to work with. Always consult manufacturer guidelines.

What Adhesive Should Be Used for Quartz Kitchen Countertops?

For quartz kitchen countertops, a high-performance silicone, epoxy, or polyester adhesive formulated for stone installation is recommended.

Kitchen counters undergo heavy usage and constant exposure to water, food spills, vibration from appliances, and shifting from leaning or sitting on them. The adhesive used must create an exceptionally robust, rigid, and permanent bond.

Epoxy or polyester adhesives are ideal for higher performance, but the fast set times can make application tricky for DIYers. Flexible silicones offer simpler installation for homeowners. Check that any adhesive used meets kitchen certification standards.

Avoid multi-purpose adhesives lacking the strength and waterproofing needed for survival in tough kitchen environments. Always follow manufacturer guidelines carefully.

What is the Best Adhesive for Quartz Bathroom Countertops?

As in kitchens, silicone, epoxy and polyester adhesives made for stone and quartz are best for bathrooms.

The hot, humid, wet environment demands adhesives that can withstand moisture and heat without breaking down over time. Condensation from sinks, tubs, and showers means bonding surfaces may often be damp.

Silicone adhesive is a good choice for the bathroom, as it allows slight flexibility to prevent cracks from sink anchors shifting or tub vibrations over years of use. Make sure the silicone is formulated for quartz and achieves proper bonding strength when cured.

For homeowners, acrylic adhesives can also be effective for bathrooms if silicone seems too tricky to work with. Avoid cheap generic adhesives. Harsh cleaners used in bathrooms make it crucial to have a durable non-reactive bond.

Can You Use Liquid Nails to Install a Quartz Countertop?

Liquid nails is an all-purpose adhesive caulking designed for construction and remodeling jobs. While sometimes used by DIYers for countertops, liquid nails is not an ideal choice. Here’s why:

  • Not designed for bonding quartz materials. Lower strength may not properly support heavy stone.
  • Not waterproof when cured. Bathroom humidity and spills can degrade the adhesive over time.
  • Some formula dry rigid and may not flex to account for sink anchor movement.
  • General construction adhesive rather than made specifically for countertops. Other choices bond better.

Liquid nail could be used as a last resort for minor jobs or temporary installs. But for permanent quartz countertop installation, a high-performance silicone, epoxy or polyester adhesive is a far better option. Consult manufacturer guidelines before using liquid nails.

How to Apply Adhesive for a Quartz Countertop Installation

To ensure proper bonding, adhesive must be applied correctly following the steps below:

  • Ensure base cabinets are secure, level, and completely dry.
  • Clean all bonding surfaces of dust, oils, or debris for maximum adherence.
  • Tape off any areas like walls to prevent adhesive dripping.
  • Prepare the adhesive according to manufacturer instructions. Mix two-part epoxy formulas thoroughly.
  • Apply adhesive evenly across the base using a serrated trowel. Maintain the recommended thickness.
  • Most adhesives involve laying a thin layer on the slab as well.
  • Carefully position and lower the countertop slab into place. Apply even pressure across its surface.
  • Make any alignment adjustments within the working time of the adhesive used.
  • Add additional support braces until the adhesive initially cures and hardens.
  • Follow all adhesive guidelines for proper set times before use and full cure times for maximum strength.
  • Always clean up any squeezed out adhesive before it dries using the cleaning solvents recommended.

Taking care to properly mix, spread, and set the adhesive ensures the quartz slabs will remain strongly bonded to the base.

How Long Does Quartz Countertop Adhesive Take to Cure?

Cure times vary significantly for quartz adhesives from 1-3 hours for initial set-up to 24 hours or longer for full curing.

Here are typical working, set, and cure times:

  • Silicone – 30-45 minute working time, 2-4 hour initial set time, 24-48 hours full cure time.
  • Epoxy – 15-25 minute working time, 1-3 hour initial set time, 24 hours full cure time.
  • Polyester – 10-20 minute working time, 1-2 hour initial set time, 16-24 hours full cure time.
  • Acrylic – 20-30 minute working time, 3-5 hour initial set time, 36-48 hours full cure time.

The initial set time indicates when the adhesive is hardened enough for moving and installing the next slabs. Complete full hardening takes longer.

These times are estimates and vary based on temperature, humidity, surface porosity, and amount used. Always follow manufacturer advised times.

Can You Install Quartz Countertops Without Adhesive?

It is not recommended to install quartz countertops without adhesive. Adhesive is essential to form a permanent rigid bond and withstand years of use.

Attempting to install without adhesive may lead to a countertop that shifts, detaches from the base, or completely collapses. The heavy stone slab depends on adhesive to remain firmly anchored.

Sometimes thin beads of silicone are used underneath just the seams between countertop slabs. But this is not enough support on its own—full spread adhesive is always required.

Leave adhesive out, and you end up with an unstable installation prone to failure and safety issues. Don’t skip this vital step!

Common Problems Caused by Improper Adhesive Use

Using the wrong adhesive or applying it incorrectly can ruin a quartz installation and require starting over. Here are common issues to avoid:

  • Bond failure – Countertop detaches from base completely due to weak adhesive. Major safety risk.
  • Shifting – Slabs move out of alignment due to inadequate bonding strength.
  • Cracks and gaps – Inflexible adhesive causes cracks in slabs when normal movement occurs.
  • Warping or sagging – Insufficient support from adhesive allows slab to warp under its own weight.
  • Staining – Adhesive oozes out and leaves unsightly discolored stains on surface.
  • Reaction with chemicals – Low-quality adhesive reacts with cleaners or spills.
  • Growth of mold – Non-waterproof adhesive allows moisture underneath that grows mold.
  • Noises – Poor sound damping from bad adhesive transfer noise to the counter.

Frequently Asked Questions about Adhesive for Quartz Countertops

What adhesive works with quartz?

The best adhesives for quartz countertops are silicone, epoxy, or polyester formulated specifically for bonding stone and engineered quartz slabs. Acrylic adhesive can also work for some applications.

Does quartz need adhesive?

Yes, proper adhesive is mandatory for quartz countertop installations. Adhesive forms a critical structural bond between the heavy slab and the base it sits on. It prevents detachment, cracking, and slipping over time.

What adhesive do you use for quartz countertops?

Silicone, epoxy, and polyester adhesives designed for stone installation are most often used. Professional fabricators frequently use epoxy for very rigid bonds. Silicone is commonly used for DIY jobs due to flexibility and easier application.

Should you use silicone or epoxy to install quartz countertops?

Either silicone or epoxy can be used to successfully adhere quartz countertops. Epoxy forms a stronger, more rigid bond while silicone allows a bit more flexibility. Epoxy has shorter working times, making silicone often easier for DIY installs.

How long does quartz adhesive take to set?

Initial set times are typically 1-3 hours for epoxy and polyester adhesives and 2-4 hours for silicone. However, complete cure and full strength may take up to 16-48 hours depending on the exact adhesive used. Always follow manufacturer advised times.

Can you put quartz countertop on top of existing countertop?

It is generally not recommended to install a quartz countertop directly on top of an existing countertop. The adhesive will not bond properly to laminates or other materials. The old countertop surface must be removed and a new proper base prepared for quartz installation.


Installing quartz countertops transforms the look and function of kitchens and baths. With the right skills and proper use of quality what adhesive for quartz countertops, stunning countertops can be created to last for decades.

Be sure to select silicone, epoxy or polyester adhesives specifically formulated for adhering quartz and stone. Carefully follow all manufacturer application instructions. Allow the full recommended cure times to ensure your countertops are firmly bonded to withstand years of heavy use.

With this helpful guide, you now have all the information needed to choose the perfect adhesive and successfully install beautiful, durable quartz countertops yourself or with professional help. So go ahead and get ready to upgrade your space with quartz!