What Can Scratch Quartz Countertops?

Quartz countertops are popular in many homes due to their durability, aesthetics, and low maintenance requirements. However, they are not completely scratch-proof. Certain materials and improper use can cause scratches on quartz surfaces. Knowing what can damage quartz counters allows homeowners to take preventive measures to keep their countertops looking pristine for years.

Materials that Can Scratch Quartz Countertops

Diamonds and Other Jewelry

Diamond rings and other jewelry pieces with diamond or emerald edges are hard enough to scratch quartz. The sharp facets on these gems can leave behind fine scratches not easily visible to the naked eye. Even jewelry pieces with ruby, sapphire, or topaz stones may potentially cause scratches due to their hardness.

Homeowners should avoid placing their diamond rings, bracelets, or necklaces directly on the quartz counters. It is better to remove such hand jewelry when working in the kitchen to prevent inadvertent scratches. Place a soft towel on the counter when handling diamond jewelry to further minimize chances of damage.

Sand and Grit

Sand and grit particles from the outdoors can inflict scratches on quartz. Sand carried on shoes can get lodged under pots or appliances dragged across the counters. Quartz has high scratch resistance but sand grains are harder. Over time, they can cause superficial hairline scratches.

Wipe quartz tops frequently with a microfiber cloth to remove any sand or grit particles before they get ground into the surface. AvoidDumping beach bags, muddy or sandy shoes, or gardening tools directly on quartz counters.

Knives and Sharp Blades

Sharp knives used daily in the kitchen can potentially scratch quartz countertops. Serrated bread knives, paring knives, chef’s knives – when dragged across the surface under pressure – can damage the quartz. The hard metal blades can scrape and cut through the material leaving behind scratches and nicks.

Avoid slamming knives on the quartz and always use a cutting board for food preparation. Do not slice fruits or shred vegetables directly on the counter. The impact of the blade edge can nick the quartz over time. Store knives in racks instead of tossing them loose in drawers to prevent dulling of the blades. Keep serrated knives extra sharp to minimize drag marks on countertops.

Taps, Rings and Belt Buckles

Metal objects like faucet spouts, sink drain fittings, cabinet hardware, belt buckles, and rings can inflict fine scratches on quartz counters due to contact and grinding. Even smooth metal surfaces rub against the quartz each time the sink is used, gradually dulling the finish.

Use care when reaching across quartz tops to avoid contact between metal accessories and the surface. Remove hand jewelry before doing kitchen tasks. Install undermount sinks and coordinating quartz sink drain covers to minimize abrasion damage.


Pots, pans, and bakeware with unprotected undersides can scratch quartz when slid across the surface. Ceramics, cast iron, and aluminum in direct contact with the counter while cooking or moving can erode and scratch the quartz.

Always use hot pads and trivets under hot cookware. Do not slide metal pans, ceramic dishes, or bakeware on the countertop. The forceful movement eats away at the surface coating. Lifting cookware straight up instead of pushing or dragging it across the quartz prevents scratching.


Kitchen tools like mixers, blenders, and food processors have hard bases that can damage quartz when moved around. The constant grinding motion of the metal or plastic underbelly against the counter will eventually mar the finish.

Place a protective pad or cutting board under kitchen appliances in use. Do not bang utensils or scrape the bases while mixing or blending. Store countertop appliances in a cabinet instead of permanently leaving them out. The continuous contact degrades the quartz over time.

Porcelain and Ceramic

Ceramic dishes and platters, porcelain utensils and sink basins can scratch quartz counters during daily use. Though ceramics have a smooth glazed finish, they are slightly softer than natural stone quartz. Forceful contact between porcelain and quartz creates very fine scratches.

Be gentle while placing ceramic tableware in sinks to avoid chipping edges against the quartz. Do not rub porcelain dishes or platters on the counter to clean away residue. Consider a deep stainless steel sink instead of a porcelain sink basin to prevent scratching at the sink rim area.

Glass and Crystals

While glass does not scratch quartz, it can cause damage if it breaks on the counter. Dropped drinkware, shattered china, and broken vases leave behind chips and gouges in quartz. The fragmented glass pieces scrape the surface, creating permanent indentations and pits.

Clean up broken glassware immediately using a vacuum cleaner and damp cloth to remove all debris stuck in crevices. Avoid striking glass sharply on quartz to prevent cracking. Use coasters under stemware and decanters to prevent accidental glass fractures directly on the countertop.

Keys and Coins

Quartz counters develop superficial scratches over time due to contact with hard objects like keys, coins, and accessories. Though not easily visible up close, the hairline marks scatter light when viewed from certain angles.

Do not slide keys or loose change across the quartz surface. Remove loose items from pockets when leaning over the counters to avoid inadvertent markings. Use a tray to hold metallic objects like keys so they do not make direct contact with the quartz.

Construction Materials

Quartz worktops can get scratched during kitchen renovation if adequate precautions are not taken. Tools like screwdrivers and sandpaper marks, nails scratch and construction debris dent the surface. Adhesives inadvertently spilled over the edges can also damage quartz.

Cover existing quartz tops with cardboard and heavy construction paper during renovations. Mask edges with painters tape to avoid spillage of adhesives like epoxy or putty. Use cutting boards to protect small areas when using power tools or working with hardware.

Causes of Scratching on Quartz Countertops

Improper Cleaning

Using harsh chemicals and abrasive scouring pads leads to scratched quartz. Cleaners with acids and alkaline ingredients wear out the finish. Scouring powders, stainless steel scrubs, and cleaning tools with coarse textures also damage the surface over frequent, aggressive cleaning.

To remove stuck-on spills, scrape gently with a plastic putty knife instead of scrubbing vigorously. For routine cleaning, wipe with a soft microfiber cloth and mild soap and water. Avoid powder cleansers, solvents, bathroom cleaners, and tub and tile sprays.

Lack of Cutting Boards

Cutting food items directly on the counter dulls kitchen knives and erodes the quartz. Fruits like melons and tomatoes release juices onto the surface as they are sliced. The acidic fluids etch the vulnerable areas around scratches causing them to enlarge gradually.

Use wooden, plastic, or rubber cutting boards for food prep. They are inexpensive, sanitize well, and protect underlying counters. Place hot pans, dishes, and bakeware on boards instead of setting them directly on quartz. Trivets and hot pads are inadequate for heat protection.

Moving Appliances

Dragging heavy appliances like stand mixers, blenders, and food processors abrades quartz surfaces causing ugly scratches. These tools have rough plastic or metal bases that damage quartz when pushed forcibly across the counters.

When relocating small appliances, lift and reposition rather than sliding them. Place a kitchen towel under movable appliances before using to prevent scratching. Alternatively, use silicone, felt or rubber pads under their bases for both heat and scratch protection.

Improper Use

Quartz is marketed as highly durable, yet improper use can damage the material. Sitting, stepping or leaning on the counters stresses the surface making scratches more likely. Cutting directly on the quartz, gouging with tools, and imprinting with heavy pans mars the beauty.

Take care to avoid standing, kneeling or jumping on the quartz. Do not pound meat or hack bones directly on the counters. Quartz is sturdier than natural stone but still requires gentle handling for a prolonged flawless appearance. Follow manufacturer guidelines for appropriate use.

Quality of Installation

Poor installation techniques also increase chances of scratching. Uneven seams, lips between slabs, jagged corners, and wide gaps trap debris and make quartz prone to scratches. Improperly leveled counters become damaged under the weight of appliances.

Choose experienced installers specialized in quartz fabrication and finishing. The pieces should align perfectly with smooth barely visible seams. Corners and edges must be rounded and finished properly. The installers must follow guidelines for support and stabilization.

Lack of Sealants

Quartz slabs are pre-sealed at the factory but may require periodic resealing after installation. Quartz is porous though less than natural stone. Over time sealants wear away, exposing vulnerable spots. Regular reapplication of sealants minimizes etching and scratching.

Consult installers and manufacturer guidelines regarding sealants. Penetrating sealers work best for quartz compared to topical versions. Reapply every 1-2 years depending on usage. Sealing quartz grout lines also prevents moisture entry and substrate damage.

How to Prevent Scratching of Quartz Countertops

Use Trivets and Hot Pads

Use trivets, hot pads or silicone mats under any heated kitchenware before placing on quartz counters. The insulation prevents thermal shock as well as scratching from cast iron pans, baking sheets, ceramic casseroles, and other abrasive bases. Avoid setting extremely hot items directly on quartz.

Choose thick, well-padded trivets to provide adequate air circulation underneath hot pans. Replace felt or fabric trivets once they become compressed and thin. Opt for round trivets over rectangular pads to allow air flow from all sides. Place hot pans gently on trivets instead of sliding over the quartz.

Cut on Designated Boards

Keep separate cutting boards in the kitchen for slicing, dicing, mincing, and chopping. Use the appropriate sized board for the job at hand. Small boards allow better control for tasks like peeling vegetables. Large carving boards are ideal for uncooked meats and poultry.

Select boards made of wood, bamboo, recyclable plastic or rubber. These have adequate heft to withstand pressure from sharp knives. Sanitize cutting boards properly after each use. Replace warped, cracked or deeply scratched boards that can damage underlying counters.

Clean Routinely with Care

Use a soft microfiber cloth to wipe quartz after every use. Microfiber has split fibers that trap particles effectively. Avoid abrasive paper towels, bristle brushes, and sponge scouring pads. Use a gentle soap-water solution instead of harsh cleansers.

Rinse any spills immediately to avoid staining. For stuck-on messes, scrape gently with a plastic spatula. Use a blunt scraper or putty knife to lift debris without scratching the surface. Apply minimal pressure and wipe in the direction of the polish lines.

Install Properly

Hire professional quartz fabricators for templating, cutting, shaping, polishing, and installation. Ensure corners and edges have rounded smooth profiles. The installers must position and secure the pieces appropriately on sturdy cabinetry.

Seams should be tight with very thin grout lines. Separate pieces must align evenly with the substrate and adjacent countertops. Uneven or poorly supported counters become prone to chipping and cracks. Improper installation leads to irreparable damage.

Use Quartz Cleaners

For regular maintenance, use specialized quartz cleaning solutions instead of generic surface cleaners. Quartz-specific cleaners contain non-abrasive ingredients tailored for the materialâ€TMs resin coatings. They help dissolve soils without dulling the finish.

Avoid vinegar, citrus, alkaline soaps, or acidic bathroom cleaners that etch quartz. These lead to loss of polish that makes scratches more visible. Check cleaner labels and opt for quartz-recommended brands. Seek advice from your installer.

How to Remove Minor Scratches from Quartz

Use a Diamond Polishing Pad

Minor scratches and scuffs on quartz can be reduced by using a handheld electric polisher with a diamond pad attachment. Select a variable speed polisher that allows working on delicate surfaces. Diamond polishing pads come in varying grits – opt for 3000 to 7000 grit for quartz.

Work in small areas using minimal pressure. Keep the polisher moving constantly to avoid over-grinding depressions. Carefully follow the grit sequence from coarse to fine. Wipe with denatured alcohol between pad changes. Rinse thoroughly after finishing.

Apply QuartzPolish

Specialized polishing solutions can help reduce superficial scratches on quartz. Use a product designed for engineered stone like QuartzPolish that contains proprietary polishing powders. Avoid polishes with abrasive fillers that may further scratch quartz.

Use a soft lint-free cloth to work the polish onto scratched areas using circular motions. Clean excess thoroughly. Repeat if needed for very fine scratches. These polishes temporarily fill scrapes but may not mask deep damage. Follow manufacturerâ€TMs instructions.

Use Baking Soda Paste

For light scratches, make a paste with baking soda and water. Baking soda is mildly abrasive but will not damage quartz. Rub the paste onto affected spots using a soft brush or sponge. Let it sit briefly before rinsing. Repeat if needed.

Avoid other “home remedies” like vinegar or lemon juice that can etch and dull quartz. Do not use harsh abrasives like titanium sponges. Test baking soda paste on a small, inconspicuous section first to check results. This works best for very fine, shallow marks.

When to Call a Professional for Quartz Scratch Repair

  • Deep gouges exposing the substrate require professional help.
  • Long scrapes affecting a large surface area. Sanding, polishing, and re-finishing are needed.
  • Severely damaged corners, edges, or chunks of material missing. May require quartz patching or replacement.
  • Permanent stains or heat damage that alter the color and texture.
  • Etch marks, pits, and discoloration due to chemical exposure.
  • Poorly matched tones after DIY polishing of scratches. Mismatched areas become more noticeable over time.
  • Clustered fine scratches that give the surface a foggy appearance. Overall resurfacing is required to restore clarity.
  • Recurring appearance of scratches due to ongoing improper use or lack of prevention. Needs root cause assessment.

How Professionals Repair Badly Scratched Quartz

Assess Damage

The repair technician will first inspect the quartz to determine the nature and extent of damage. The age of the installation, finish, exposure levels, and usage patterns help identify effective solutions. Some minor damage may be rectified onsite while others require fabrication shop repairs.

Smoothen Edges

For chips around edges and corners, the damaged sections are smoothed down using diamond rasps and fine sanding pads. Small pits or voids can be filled with color-matched polymer compounds. The repairs are shaped and finished to blend seamlessly.

Refinish Surfaces

Severely scratched flat expanses are sanded down to remove all markings based on the depth of damage. Progressive diamond polishing pads in 150 to 3000 grits are used to restore the quartz finish. This removes about 1/64” material. A clear sealer is applied for protection.

Resurface Countertops

Badly scratched or damaged large areas of a counter may need resurfacing. The slabs are removed and sent to the fabrication shop. Using specialized routers, 1/16” – 1/8” material is shaved off to eliminating all defects. The freshly revealed surface is then re-polished and installed.

Replace Sections

For deep gouges and extensive damage localized to small areas, the affected quartz may be cut out and replaced. The undamaged surrounding material is protected while the section is refabricated to match the existing pattern, finish, and dimensions. The replacement piece is then seamlessly integrated using adhesives.

How to Clean Quartz Countertops after Scratch Repair

Dust Off Debris

Use a vacuum cleaner attachment or soft brush to gently remove leftover sanding debris and dust from the repaired areas after finishing. Take care around edges and corners while cleaning to avoid new damage. Minimize pressure and wipe in direction of polish lines.

Wash with pH-Neutral Cleaner

Clean the newly smoothed or refinished sections using a mild pH-neutral cleaner safe for quartz. Avoid acidic or alkaline cleansers that can erode exposed areas. Use a soft microfiber cloth and minimal moisture. Follow up with a quartz polish or sealer if suggested by your installer.

Inspect Seams and Grout

Check that any repairs around the sink, backsplash, or seams have been re-grouted appropriately and meet the existing finish standards. Sealer may be needed if freshly grouted areas are rough or show residue. Ensure gaps have not been created and perimeter caulking is intact.

Feel for Smooth Transitions

Gently run your fingers across the repared sections to ensure consisten smoothness throughout the surface. There should be no uneven bumps or dips between original and refreshed areas. All transitions along cut lines must be seamless and imperceptible.

Verify Appearance

Examine the quartz surface under adequate counter-height lighting from multiple angles. Repaired sections should be indistinguishable from the unaffected areas. Color, finish, sheen, and tone should match exactly. There should be no scattered light reflection from residual fine scratches left behind.

FAQs about Scratches on Quartz Countertops

What are the main reasons quartz counters get scratched?

Dragging rough cookware, lack of cutting boards, improper installation allowing debris accumulation, abrasive cleaners, and aggressive scouring are key reasons quartz gets scratched. Quartz is less prone to scratching than marble or granite but still requires some care to retain its pristine factory finish.

What kinds of cleaners can damage quartz?

Avoid harsh alkaline or acidic cleaners, vinegar