What Causes Quartz Countertop To Turn Brown

Quartz countertops are popular choices for modern kitchens and bathrooms due to their durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance. However, some homeowners have noticed brown spots or discoloration developing on their quartz surfaces. What causes this type of damage, and is there anything that can be done to restore the countertops’ original color?

Common Causes of Discoloration

There are a few potential reasons quartz may turn brown or develop dark spots over time:

Heat Exposure

Excessive heat from hot pans, baking dishes, or appliances can scorch some quartz surfaces. This causes burning and brown discoloration. Quartz is fairly heat resistant, but consistent exposure to temperatures above 150°F may start to cause damage.

Sunlight Exposure

Like other materials, quartz can become discolored from excessive ultraviolet (UV) light exposure. Countertops near windows get more UV exposure from the sun, developing brown spots and fading over time.

Chemical Reactions

Acidic substances like lemon juice, vinegar, and certain cleaners may etch or discolor quartz surfaces with prolonged contact. Alkaline chemicals like oven cleaners can also react with quartz and change its color.

Physical Impacts

Hard impacts, scratches, and scuffs make the quartz more vulnerable to chemical damage and discoloration over time. Cracking from an impact can also expose inner layers and create brownish blemishes.

Poor Quality Installation

Low quality installation or seam work leaves gaps that allow liquids and debris to seep under the countertop finish. This leads to staining and discoloration around the seams.

Manufacturing Defects

In rare cases, a defect in the original quartz material or production may cause premature discoloration. Natural variations in quartz mineral content can also create changes in color over time.

Best Ways To Prevent Discoloration

Since heat and chemical damage are the most common causes of spots and fading, here are some tips to keep your quartz looking like new:

  • Use trivets or hot pads under hot cookware to prevent burning the surface.
  • Seal any exposed edges with a specialty quartz sealer to prevent moisture infiltration.
  • Clean up spills quickly and avoid exposing the countertop to acidic substances for long periods.
  • Use a UV-protectant polish to limit sunlight damage.
  • Have your countertop professionally cleaned and resealed once a year.

Restoring Discolored Quartz

If you already have brown spots or fading, don’t despair. You have a few options to restore the original appearance:

Polishing Compound

Specialty polishing products are designed to buff out etching, scratches, and discoloration in quartz. Use a buffing pad and rub the compound over affected areas in circular motions. This can effectively remove superficial stains.

Bleaching/Whitening Chemicals

For deeper stains, applying a bleach or whitening product specifically formulated for quartz can lift discoloration without damaging the surface. Consult your countertop supplier to find an approved whitening solution.

Professional Resurfacing

For extensive damage, a full resurfacing by a countertop pro may be needed. This involves buffing down the top layer of the quartz and re-polishing it to look like new again. This is done rarely and will result in a loss of material.

Preventing Future Discoloration

Once your countertop is restored, be diligent about preventing future damage:

  • Use cutting boards for food prep instead of cutting directly on the quartz.
  • Wipe up spills immediately after they occur.
  • Avoid exposing your countertops to harsh chemicals.
  • Have your quartz professionally sealed every 1-2 years for maximum protection.
  • Use towels or silicone hot pads under any heat-generating appliances like crockpots.

With proper care and sealing, your quartz countertops should maintain their beautiful, uniform appearance for many years before needing restoration again. Be sure to address any discoloration right away to prevent permanent damage.

Frequently Asked Questions About Discolored Quartz

What is the most common cause of spots on quartz?

Heat damage from hot pans, dishes, or appliances resting directly on the surface. Using trivets and hot pads can help prevent burning and subsequent discoloration.

Can you bleach stained quartz countertops?

Yes, you can use a specially formulated whitening/bleaching product to remove stains from quartz surfaces. Check with your quartz supplier for a recommended brand. Take care not to over-apply bleach as this can damage the finish.

Does quartz change color in sunlight?

Over time, sunlight exposure can cause fading and discoloration on quartz countertops. Using a UV-protectant sealant can help minimize color changes from sun exposure. Keeping blinds partly closed also reduces constant UV exposure.

How do you remove yellow stains from quartz?

For yellow discoloration, try an alkali-based countertop whitener designed for quartz. Mix as directed and apply to stained areas with a soft cloth, allowing it to sit for 15 minutes before rinsing clean. Avoid acidic cleaners which may worsen staining.

Can you buff out stains in quartz yourself?

Superficial etching and stains can be gently buffed out using a soft pad and quartz polishing compound. But deep set stains or extensive damage is best left to a professional fabricator for resurfacing. Avoid polishing too aggressively on your own.

Does sealing prevent quartz from discoloring?

Sealing your quartz countertops every 1-2 years creates a protective barrier against stains and etching damage. Sealers prevent moisture and chemicals from penetrating the surface, helping resist discoloration and extend the life of your countertops.


Quartz countertops are susceptible to discoloration over time when exposed to excessive heat, sunlight, impacts, and chemicals. But with some preventative measures and regular sealing, you can keep them looking like new for many years. At the first sign of spots or fading, use a specialty cleaner or polishing compound made specifically for quartz. For best results restoring badly damaged countertops, hire a professional fabricator to re-finish and seal the surface. With proper care, you can enjoy beautiful, durable quartz countertops that resist ugly discoloration.