What Damages Quartz Countertops?


Quartz countertops are an incredibly popular choice for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects due to their durability, aesthetics, and ease of maintenance. However, while quartz is remarkably resilient, it is not completely impervious to damage. Knowing what can potentially harm quartz counters enables homeowners to take preventative measures to protect their investment and maintain the beauty of their countertops for years to come.

Heat Damage

One of the most common causes of damage to quartz countertops is excessive heat exposure. While quartz can generally withstand brief contact with moderately hot pans or dishes straight from the oven, prolonged direct heat exposure can cause permanent damage.

What Causes Heat Damage

  • Placing very hot pans, especially cast iron, directly on the countertop.
  • Allowing the bottom of an oven-safe pot or pan to rest on the counter while cooking at high temperatures.
  • Exposing the countertop to open flames, such as when flaming desserts or drinks.
  • Leaving a hot pan unattended on the countertop for an extended period.

Signs of Heat Damage

Heat damage on quartz countertops may appear as:

  • Discoloration or scorch marks.
  • Small cracks, pits, or craters in the surface.
  • A change in luster where the countertop appears dull or matte.

Preventing Heat Damage

To prevent heat damage:

  • Always use trivets or hot pads when placing hot pans on quartz.
  • Take care when removing items from a hot oven, allowing pans to cool slightly before setting down.
  • Don’t leave anything you’ve cooked or heated up directly on the countertop.
  • Avoid exposing quartz to open flames.

Impact Damage

Quartz is extremely hardy, but excessive impacts can cause nicks, cracks, and other damage.

Causes of Impact Damage

  • Dropping heavy, dense items on the countertop, such as appliances, pots, glassware, etc.
  • Allowing hard or sharp falling objects to strike the surface, like knives, tools, or cutlery.
  • Putting excessive force on a small point on the counter, such as stepping or kneeling on the countertop.
  • Using the countertop as a cutting surface can lead to impact damage from knives over time.

Signs of Physical Damage

Look for:

  • Visible nicks, cracks, or chips along the countertop edge or surface.
  • Small indents or compression marks, usually near an edge or seam.
  • Areas that appear crushed or flattened.

Preventing Impact Damage

  • Use cutting boards instead of cutting directly on the counter.
  • Don’t treat quartz counters as step stools — don’t kneel or step on them.
  • Keep heavy appliances off countertops during cleaning or maintenance.
  • Use coasters under glasses and place delicate items gently.
  • Add cushioned pads to the bottom of heavy pots and pans.


While quartz resists scratches better than other natural stone, it is not scratch-proof. Continuous scraping or rubbing can abrade the surface over time.

What Can Cause Scratches

  • Dragging rough or sharp objects across the surface.
  • Using abrasive scouring pads and powders to clean.
  • Cutting directly on the counter without a board.
  • Allowing sand, dirt, and debris to grind against the surface.

Identifying Scratch Damage

Scratches may appear as:

  • Fine superficial lines, especially on dark quartz colors.
  • More pronounced scrapes or scuffs with visible depth.
  • A generally faded, worn look to the surface finish.

Avoiding Scratches

  • Use cutting boards, trivets, and hot pads.
  • Clean with a soft sponge or cloth and non-abrasive cleaner.
  • Avoid using scrapers, scouring pads, or powders to clean quartz.
  • Keep counters clear of grit, sand, and other abrasives.
  • Immediately wipe up spills, especially from acidic substances.


Quartz countertops are non-porous and resist staining better than natural stone. However, prolonged exposure to certain materials can cause stubborn stains.

What Can Stain Quartz

  • Wine, coffee, and other deeply pigmented liquids.
  • Oils, grease, and fats left on the surface.
  • Ink, dyes, or colorants from paper, packaging, etc.
  • Certain medications and cosmetics.
  • Acidic foods like lemon juice.

Identifying Stains

Stains often appear as:

  • Isolated spots or rings in colors that contrast with the surrounding countertop.
  • Discoloration that penetrates below the surface, rather than sitting on top.
  • Variations in finish texture or luster.

Preventing Stains

  • Immediately clean spills, especially from staining substances.
  • Use coasters under glasses and bottles.
  • Avoid leaving cleaning products, soaps, oils, etc. resting on the quartz.
  • Clean thoroughly with a quartz-safe cleaner after prepping pigment-rich foods.
  • Reseal quartz every 1-2 years with a penetrating sealer.

Etching and Dulling

While quartz’s polish is extremely resilient, constant exposure to harsh chemicals can progressively dull and etch the surface over time.

What Causes Dulling and Etching

  • Acids such as citrus, vinegar, wine.
  • Alkaline cleaners like oven sprays or degreasers.
  • Repeated use of abrasive scouring powders.
  • Allowing spills to sit without cleaning.

Signs of Etching Damage

  • Overall loss of luster and light reflection.
  • Visible erosion of the polished finish.
  • Increased porosity and susceptibility to staining.

Avoiding Dulls and Etches

  • Use only pH-neutral quartz cleaners.
  • Rinse spills quickly, especially acidic substances.
  • Limit use of abrasive powders and scouring pads.
  • Reseal and polish quartz regularly with specialty products.

What Damages Quartz Countertops: Summary

Quartz offers unparalleled durability for busy kitchens and baths. However, ongoing care and maintenance is required to preserve their flawless beauty. Avoid prolonged heat exposure, blunt force impacts, abrasives, harsh cleaners, and staining agents. With proper care quartz countertops will maintain their like-new appearance for decades. Implement preventative measures, act quickly when accidents occur, and care for your quartz properly to protect it from damage.

Heat Damage on Quartz Countertops

What Types of Heat Damage Quartz?

There are a few different ways that excessive heat exposure can damage quartz countertops:

  • Thermal Shock – This occurs when a very hot pan comes into contact with a relatively cool quartz surface. The sudden change in temperature can create small fractures under the surface.
  • Melting – Direct, sustained contact with temperatures above 300°F can potentially melt a damage quartz resin binder. This will leave burn marks or pits.
  • Discoloration – Very high heat can cause areas of quartz to change color permanently, typically appearing darker or yellowed.
  • Cracks and Chips – Rapid heating or cooling of the quartz can cause small stresses in the material that lead to surface cracks, divots, and chips over time.

What Temperature Can Damage Quartz?

Quartz countertops are generally heat resistant up to about 150°C or 300°F. Above this threshold, prolonged direct contact with hot cookware can potentially damage the solid quartz chunks and polymer resin that makes up the material. Even lower heat can damage quartz when exposure is sustained.

How to Prevent Heat Damage on Quartz

Protecting your quartz countertops from excess heat is important to preserve their beauty. Here are some tips:

  • Always use hot pads or trivets when setting hot pots, pans, bakeware, etc. on quartz.
  • Allow cookware to cool briefly before placing directly on countertops after cooking.
  • Avoid exposing quartz to open flames from cooking.
  • Take care when removing items from hot ovens not to place directly on counters.
  • Don’t leave heated appliances like kettles, coffee makers, or crockpots running directly on quartz.
  • Limit heat exposure duration through quick placement of hot items on trivets.

Taking proper precautions allows you to use your quartz-topped kitchen safely for all your cooking needs!

Impact Damage on Quartz Countertops

What Causes Mechanical Damage to Quartz?

Though incredibly durable, quartz counters can show mechanical damage from excessive impacts. A few things that commonly lead to nicks, cracks, and chips include:

  • Falling Objects – Dropping heavy pots, appliances, etc. directly onto the quartz can crack or chip the surface on impact.
  • Bumps and Collisions – Accidentally bumping the edge of counters with solid objects like chairs or appliances can crack and chip the countertop.
  • Excessive Weight – Applying concentrated excessive force in a small area, such as stepping on the counter, can damage quartz.
  • Sharp Impacts – Abrupt forceful impacts from sharp objects like knives or tools can puncture or scratch quartz.
  • Seam Failure – Repeated hard impacts near seams can degrade adhesive bonds causing unevenness.

How Can Mechanical Damage be Prevented?

You can help prevent mechanical damage on quartz counters by:

  • Using cutting boards instead of chopping directly on the counter.
  • Lifting heavy objects onto counters instead of dragging.
  • Avoiding placing excess weight on a small area.
  • Installing cushioned pads on appliances.
  • Not using quartz as a step stool or surface to kneel on.
  • Taking care when setting down glassware and cookware.

With proper care, your quartz counters can withstand years of regular use without significant wear and tear. Handle them with care to prevent costly damages.

Scratching Damage on Quartz

What Typically Causes Scratches on Quartz?

Though resistant, quartz can become scratched over time from:

  • Cutting, Chopping, and Scraping – Using sharp knives or utensils directly on the counter eventually abrades the surface.
  • Abrasive Cleaners – Scouring powders, sponges, and cleaning tools wear down the polish.
  • Grit and Debris – Granular dirt and grime act like sandpaper if ground into the counter.
  • Metal Marks – Dragging unprotected metal cookware across the surface slowly scratches.
  • Jewelry Contact – Rings and other jewelry pieces scrape quartz with metal edges and abrasive gemstones.

What Do Scratches Look Like on Quartz?

Scratch damage on quartz can appear as:

  • Superficial thin faint lines, most visible on darker quartz.
  • Deeper pronounced scrapes that catch the light and show clear depth.
  • General hazy appearance from widespread fine abrasions.
  • Visible worn paths through high traffic areas.
  • Metallic streaks from pots, knives, keys and other metal objects.

How to Prevent Scratching on Quartz

To help avoid scratch damage:

  • Use cutting boards instead of chopping directly on quartz.
  • Clean with soft clothes, sponges, and non-abrasive cleaners.
  • Avoid harsh scrubbing powders or scouring pads.
  • Place felt or rubber pads under appliances and tableware.
  • Keep the counter clear of debris that could grind into the surface.

With proper care, quartz countertops can stay smooth and scratch-free for many years.

Staining of Quartz Countertops

What Substances Can Stain Quartz Surfaces?

Though resistant, prolonged exposure can lead to stains on quartz from things like:

  • Dark Liquids – Coffee, wine, juice, and soda can seep into stone and discolor it.
  • Oils and Grease – Food prep messes that contain fats or oils can leave behind stubborn marks if left uncleaned.
  • Strong Chemicals – Harsh cleaners, dyes, bleach, ink and some cosmetics can react with the stone.
  • Rust – Iron-containing water or objects can oxidize and leave rust discoloration.
  • Mold and Mildew – Dampness and moisture can allow dark fungal and microbial growth.

What Do Stains Look Like on Quartz?

Staining on quartz counters may appear as:

  • Isolated spots that are darker or differently colored than surrounding areas.
  • Rings, streaks, and other irregular shapes in contrasting colors.
  • Spots that remain even after thorough cleaning.
  • Set-in discoloration rather than residue sitting on the surface.
  • Changes in finish texture like rough patches.

How to Avoid Staining on Quartz Surfaces

To prevent stains:

  • Clean up spills immediately, especially from dark liquids.
  • Use coasters, trivets and cutting boards to protect the surface.
  • Rinse cleaning chemicals thoroughly after use.
  • Reseal quartz every 1-2 years with a penetrating sealer.
  • Keep quartz dry with ventilation and quick clean-up of spills.

With proper cleaning and maintenance quartz countertops can stay stain free for many years.

Dulling and Etching of Quartz Countertops

What Causes Dulling and Etching on Quartz?

While quartz maintains its polish well, the buildup of damage over time can dull the surface. Causes include:

  • Acids – Things like citrus, vinegar, and wine degrade the shine.
  • Alkaline Cleaners – Harsh degreasers and soaps have high pH that etches quartz.
  • Abrasives – Powders, scouring pads, and scrubbing erode the polished layer.
  • Unsanitary Conditions – Bacteria and grime slowly degrade the finish if left uncleaned.
  • Sun Exposure – UV rays and sunlight can slowly break down the surface over many years.

What Do Dulling and Etching Look Like?

You may notice:

  • Loss of reflectivity and luster, appearing darker and matte.
  • Visible erosion of the polished finish in streaks or patches.
  • Increased surface roughness and porosity.
  • Higher susceptibility to staining and discoloration.
  • A generally grimy, unclean look.

How to Prevent Dulling and Etching of Quartz

To maintain the quartz finish:

  • Use only pH neutral cleaners designed for quartz.
  • Clean up spills quickly, especially acidic liquids.
  • Avoid abrasive pads and powders.
  • Have countertops regularly re-polished and re-sealed.
  • Limit direct sunlight exposure with window treatments.

With proper care you can preserve the like-new polish and luster of your quartz counters for years.

Maintaining Quartz Countertops

Regular Maintenance

  • Clean quartz weekly with a soft cloth or sponge and a mild pH-balanced cleaner.
  • Rinse any cleaning agents thoroughly and avoid leaving residue.
  • Blot up spills immediately to prevent stains, especially wine, oil, or pigments.
  • Use trivets, cutting boards, and coasters to protect the surface.
  • Reseal quartz every 1-2 years with a penetrating stone sealer.

Preventing Damage

  • Keep quartz away from direct high heat or flames.
  • Don’t place excess weight on a small area of the countertop.
  • Avoid using quartz as a cutting surface or stepping area.
  • Lift objects onto counters to avoid impact damage.
  • Keep abrasives like knives, powders, etc. away from the surface.

Ongoing Care

  • Have quartz counters professionally re-polished every 3-5 years.
  • Repair minor chips and scratches with a quartz repair kit.
  • Address stains quickly with dilute hydrogen peroxide or ammonia.
  • Replace severely damaged areas with help from a countertop pro.

Enjoy Your Quartz Countertops!

With regular cleaning and by avoiding damage-causing activities, you can keep your quartz counters in pristine condition for decades. Follow these maintenance tips to get the most longevity and enjoyment from your investment.