Quartz countertops are engineered stone surfaces made of natural quartz particles combined with resins and polymers. They are an increasingly popular choice for kitchen and bathroom countertops due to their durability, ease of maintenance, and stylish appearance. However, while quartz countertops are remarkably resilient, they are not impervious to damage. Being aware of what can damage quartz and how to prevent it will help you keep your countertops looking like new for years to come.
Heat Damage on Quartz Countertops
One of the most common ways quartz countertops get damaged is through prolonged exposure to high heat. While quartz can generally withstand brief contact with moderately hot items, excessive heat can cause permanent marks, cracks, and discoloration. Here are some tips for avoiding heat damage:
- Use trivets or hot pads when placing hot pots, pans, or baking sheets directly from the oven or stove onto the counter.
- Don’t leave appliances like instant pots, crockpots, or electric griddles on the counter while operating.
- Be careful not to slide hot pots or pans across the surface.
- Use a cooling rack when removing hot items like casserole dishes from the oven.
- Allow adequate cooling time before placing hot pans or trays onto the counter after cooking.
- Take care when rolling out dough for cookies or pie crusts to avoid friction heat.
- An iron left face-down on quartz can cause scorch marks. Always use an ironing board.
- Place a towel or cloth under the ironing board feet to avoid excess heat transfer.
- Never put out cigarettes directly on a quartz counter. The cherry end can leave a burn mark.
- Use an ashtray and empty it frequently to prevent accidental burns.
With some simple precautions, it’s easy to cook, bake, and iron safely around quartz without causing damage from excess heat exposure.
Impact Damage on Quartz Countertops
Quartz is remarkably impact-resistant for a solid surface material, but excessive force can still chip, crack, or break the countertop. Follow these tips to avoid harm from impacts:
Take care unloading groceries
- Avoid letting heavy objects drop onto the counter from any height.
- Unpack fragile glass jars and bottles with care onto a towel or padded surface.
Gently handle dishes and appliances
- Refrain from slamming appliances, pans, mixing bowls, etc. onto the counter.
- Place delicate china and glassware gently onto the surface.
- Use a gentle touch when scrubbing the counters during cleaning. Overly aggressive scouring can damage the surface over time.
- Take care not to bang cleaning tools and appliances onto the counters.
Mind heavy furniture
- Use felt pads under any furniture legs resting on quartz to prevent scratches from shifting.
- Lift objects like barstools to reposition them, rather than dragging across the surface.
With some simple everyday precautions, it is easy to prevent chips, cracks, and heavy scratches from accidental impacts. Handle items with care around the countertops.
Cutting Damage on Quartz Countertops
Sharp knives and other cutting implements can damage quartz countertops if used improperly. Follow these guidelines for safe food preparation:
Use cutting boards
- Always use a cutting board for food preparation. Never cut directly on the counter.
- Consider using different boards for meat and produce to avoid cross-contamination.
- Replace warped, cracked, or spoiled boards that could impair cutting control.
Handle blades with care
- Avoid harsh chopping, cleaving, or pounding motions that can impact the counter underneath.
- Store knives securely in the block or a drawer when not in use. Never leave them loose on the counter.
- Take care when hand washing knives to avoid knocking the blade against quartz.
Slice with stability
- Anchor cutting boards properly so they don’t slip and strike the counter.
- For larger tasks, clear ample workspace and secure items being sliced.
With sound cutting board habits and safe blade handling, it is easy to prevent chip and scratch damage from food preparation tasks.
Staining on Quartz Countertops
Despite their non-porous composition, quartz counters can become stained without proper cleaning and maintenance. Follow these tips to avoid stains:
Clean up spills promptly
- Wipe up food and beverage spills as soon as they happen, before pigments have time to set.
- Pay special attention to spills containing oils, wines, coffee, and other staining substances.
Establish cleaning routine
- Use a quartz-safe cleaner to wipe down high traffic areas like around the sink after each use.
- Do weekly deep cleaning of the full counter to prevent buildup.
Exercise caution with chemicals
- Check cleaner labels and avoid bleach, oven cleaners, drain openers, etc. that can stain.
- Rinse off any soaps, cosmetics, or cleaners that contact the counter. Don’t let residue linger.
Protect from permanent inks
- Use trivets or placemats under printed documents to prevent ink transfer.
- Clean up any pen or marker spills immediately with alcohol to avoid soaking in.
With prompt attention to spills and messes, proper cleaning habits, and care around inks, stains can be easily avoided on quartz counters.
Scratching of Quartz Countertops
Quartz counters are impressively scratch-resistant, but not fully scratch-proof. Scratches happen gradually over time from daily wear and tear. You can minimize them by being careful with:
- Avoid dragging pans, pots, appliances, and utensils across the surface. Lift and set them down carefully.
- Use pan protectors under cast iron or ceramic cookware that could scrape.
- Opt for soft-bristled brushes and microfiber cloths instead of abrasive scouring pads.
- Use minimal pressure when cleaning stubborn spots to avoid scratching.
- Spread out work areas with cutting boards, trivets, and linens to avoid direct contact.
- Take care not to scrape metal bowls, silverware, cans, etc. across the counters.
- Use felt pads under any furniture legs or appliances that sit on the counters.
- Avoid using quartz as a workbench for hobbies involving sharp tools or hardware.
With some slight adjustments to daily habits in the kitchen, minor surface scratches can be largely prevented over time.
Other Quartz Countertop Damages to Avoid
Beyond the most common issues of heat, impacts, cutting, stains, and scratches, a few other problems can damage quartz:
- Hot pots and pans – Trivets are essential, since prolonged direct heat exposure can scorch.
- Standing moisture – Wipe up sinks and backsplashes after each use to avoid possible warping or discoloration.
- Harsh chemicals – Avoid prolonged exposure to alkaline drain cleaners, acetone, paint removers etc. that could etch.
- Radiant heat – Prolonged contact with very hot appliances like griddles could singe. Allow cooling first.
- Oil soaps – Greasy cleansers can leave residue leading to staining over time. Use specialized quartz cleaners instead.
- Direct sunlight – Intense UV light can slowly cause fading, especially for lighter quartz colors. Utilize window treatments.
How to Repair Minor Quartz Countertop Damage
If damage does occur despite preventative care, there are ways to improve the appearance of quartz:
- Light scratches can be smoothed by rubbing a wet sanding sponge in a circular motion. Start with 600 grit and work up to 3000.
- For mild stains, apply a poultice of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide and let sit 15-30 minutes before rinsing clean.
- Superficial scorches or marks often fade over time or can be sanded out professionally.
- Small chips or cracks can be filled in with color-matched kits available online or through quartz manufacturers.
For more severe damage like deep gouges, extensive cracking, or broken seams, professional countertop repair or replacement may be necessary. But with proper everyday care, most common quartz damages can be prevented outright, or managed successfully at home.
Protecting Your Investment: Caring for Quartz Countertops
Quartz offers unparalleled durability and longevity for kitchen and bath countertops. By following these best practices, you can help them look pristine for decades:
- Handle hot items carefully and use ample trivets and hot pads.
- Clean up spills promptly before they have time to set.
- Establish regular cleaning habits with quartz-safe products.
- Avoid direct cuts, chops, or blows with sharp objects on the surface.
- Use cuttings boards, placemats, pan protectors, and furnishings pads liberally.
- Lift pots, appliances, mixing bowls, and other kitchenware to reposition. No dragging.
- Take care to keep permanent markers, inks, and strong chemicals off the counters.
- Use window treatments to minimize intense direct sunlight exposure.
- Repair minor damages like scratches, scorches, or chips promptly and properly.
With some simple preventative measures, it is easy to keep quartz counters in impeccable shape. Follow these guidelines to protect your investment and achieve decades of beauty and durability from quartz surfaces.
Frequently Asked Questions About Damaging Quartz Countertops
Can quartz countertops be repaired?
Yes, most minor damage like light scratches, scorches, stains, and small chips can be repaired by a homeowner with the proper materials and techniques. For heavy damage, professional countertop repair or replacement may be required.
What happens if quartz countertops get too hot?
Prolonged heat exposure above 150 degrees Fahrenheit can cause quartz to discolor, crack, or create permanent marks. Always use trivets and allow heat-generating appliances to fully cool before placing on counter.
Can you cut on quartz countertops?
Never cut or chop directly on quartz. Always use a cutting board to avoid damaging the surface. Take care not to strike the counter when cutting for maximum protection.
Can hot pans damage quartz?
Yes, direct contact with very hot pots, pans, and bakeware can scorch or discolor quartz. Always use pads or trivets beneath hot cookware. Avoid sliding across the surface.
What cleaning products should not be used on quartz?
Avoid alkaline chemicals like oven cleaners, bleach, drain openers, etc. Also avoid oil-based cleaners or soaps that may stain over time. Use a cleaner formulated specifically for quartz.
Quartz delivers unparalleled durability, style, and ease of maintenance when chosen for kitchen and bathroom countertops. By understanding what can damage quartz and following the preventative steps outlined above, you can keep your counters pristine and damage-free for decades to come. With some simple precautions and proper care, quartz will maintain its beauty while withstanding the rigors of daily use. Be mindful of avoiding heat, impacts, cuts, stains and chemicals that can harm quartz surfaces. Follow these best practices to protect your investment and achieve lasting satisfaction from quartz countertops.