What Happens to Old Quartz Countertop

Quartz countertops have become increasingly popular in kitchens and bathrooms over the last couple of decades. Made from ground quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments, quartz counters are an attractive, durable, and low-maintenance option for home renovations. But what happens when it’s time to replace old quartz countertops? Here’s an in-depth look at the possibilities.

Reasons for Replacing Quartz Countertops

There are a few common reasons homeowners choose to replace their quartz countertops:

Changing Style or Color

Quartz counters are available in a wide range of colors and patterns. Over time, your style may change and you want a fresh update. New quartz options come out frequently, so upgrading allows you to get a more modern, on-trend look.

Damage or Wear

Although quartz is impressively durable, counters can become damaged from impact or heavy use. Cracks, chips, and scratches may occur. Heat damage is also possible if hot pans are placed directly on the surface. When damage accumulates, replacement is the best option.

Lifespan Reached

With proper care, quartz counters can last 10-15 years or longer. But at a certain point, counters may simply reach the end of their lifespan. Seams and caulking can deteriorate, affecting appearance. Preventative replacement avoids more significant damage down the road.

What Are the Options for Old Quartz Countertops?

When it’s time to swap out old quartz counters, you have several environmentally-responsible options to consider:


If the countertops are still in good condition, reuse may be possible. Quartz’s durability makes the material a good candidate for installation in a different area. Consider using them on a baking station, laundry room, or in a basement wet bar.

Creative DIY projects are another reuse option. Old quartz pieces can become tiles, cheese boards, trivets, shelves, and more with proper cutting and finishing. This prevents waste while giving the material renewed purpose.


Though not yet widely available, some quartz manufacturers and retailers now offer recycling programs. They collect old countertops and repurpose the materials. This keeps quartz out of landfills. Ask your local quartz supplier if they offer recycling or can direct you to a program.


One way to repurpose quartz is by donating usable pieces to organizations like Habitat for Humanity. They may be able to incorporate your old counters into building projects for those in need.

You can also check for options to sell quartz pieces for repurposing. Online materials exchange groups or salvage companies may take counters. Creative people transform all kinds of materials into new uses.

Responsible Disposal

When other options aren’t viable, responsible disposal is important. Check for quartz-specific recycling or disposal guidance in your area. Some waste management facilities can properly handle quartz.

Breaking down pieces also allows quartz to take up less space in the landfill. Just be sure to dispose of it safely to avoid injury from sharp edges.

Step-By-Step Process for Removing and Replacing Quartz

When you’re ready to tackle a quartz countertop replacement project, follow this step-by-step process:

1. Prepare the replacement surface.

Have new quartz slabs or alternative countertop materials on hand before beginning removal. Confirm accurate measurements and have pieces cut and ready to install.

2. Clear countertops completely.

Removing everything from the surface helps prevent damage to personal items. Take out appliances, fixtures, accessories, and decor items.

3. Photograph layout details.

Take photos of the current installation from multiple angles to reference later. Note where seams and edges fall. This helps replicate or improve details.

4. Remove sink/faucet fixtures.

Detaching sinks, faucets, soap dispensers, and any plumbing before lifting counters makes removal much easier. Consult a pro if unsure.

5. Detach countertops from cabinets.

Using a utility knife, cut any caulking beads securing counters to cabinets. Locate screw points and detach carefully.

6. Lift counters off and remove.

With fixtures detached and bonds cut, counters can now be lifted off the cabinetry. Be sure to use proper lifting techniques to avoid injury.

7. Clean and prepare cabinetry.

With counters removed, take time to clean cabinet surfaces thoroughly and make any needed repairs before new installation.

8. Install the new countertop pieces.

Following manufacturer guidelines, set new quartz or alternative countertop pieces in place. Use caulking/adhesives as needed.

9. Reinstall fixtures.

Attach sink, faucet, soap dispenser, and other fixtures in their original spots or optimized new locations.

10. Seal seams and edges.

Carefully apply caulk along all seams and edges surrounding sinks, faucets, and backsplashes. Smooth evenly. Allow time to cure properly.

11. Clean and polish surfaces.

Remove any installation debris and use a quartz-safe cleaner to polish and finalize your refreshed countertops!

FAQs About Replacing Quartz Countertops

What’s the best way to remove old caulking/adhesive?

Gently slicing through old caulking beads with a sharp utility knife is typically the easiest method. Adhesive may need some scraping. Avoid aggressively hacking or tearing.

Are quartz countertops hard to remove?

Quartz is a heavy material, so lifting precisely takes strength. Manageable removal comes down to proper technique – using enough support, leverage, and manpower. Calling in pros is an option if DIY seems difficult.

Can I install new quartz counters directly over old ones?

It’s not recommended to install new right on top of old. The uneven surface and extra thickness can lead to problems. Removing old provides the best base for fresh installation.

Is it possible to just replace sections rather than full countertops?

Partial replacement is definitely possible! Identify the specific areas needing improvement. Have new pieces cut and installed as needed, blending seamlessly into existing sections.

What’s the most sustainable quartz countertop option?

Reusing your current quartz counters in a new way is the most sustainable choice. If that’s not feasible, recycled content or recyclable quartz products are available. Or consider alternative green counter materials.

Are there ways to reduce waste when replacing quartz counters?

Being strategic with measurements, using scraps for other projects, donating usable sections, and breaking down pieces for efficient landfill disposal all help reduce wastage. Planning ahead is key.

What should I do with old quartz pieces if I can’t reuse, donate, recycle or sell them?

Check for options to dispose of quartz through your local waste management facility. If those don’t exist, breaking slabs into smaller pieces takes up less dump space. Just be sure to transport and discard safely.

Is it cost effective to just upgrade versus completely replace quartz counters?

It depends on your situation. If counters are generally in good shape, targeted upgrades like sanding/resurfacing, oiling, or color-tinting may be worthwhile. But if damage or wear is extensive, full replacement has more value.

What are signs it’s time to replace rather than upgrade my quartz?

Consistent cracks, deep scratches and etching that can’t be buffed out, significant heat damage, warped seams, and deterioration around sinks indicate quartz counters are beyond basic upgrades. Replacement extends longevity.

Key Takeaways

  • Popular quartz counters may need replacement after 10-15+ years when damage, wear, or changing style makes an update desirable.
  • Responsible options exist for old quartz countertops, including reuse, recycling, repurposing, and safe disposal.
  • Preparation is key for a smooth removal and replacement process. Carefully detach fixtures, remove counters, prep cabinets, install new pieces, and finish well.
  • Partial replacement of sections is possible for a cheaper upgrade focused on worn or outdated spots.
  • Eco-friendly quartz options and proper handling reduce environmental impact. Reuse delivers sustainability benefits.

Replacing outdated or worn quartz countertops provides an opportunity to refresh your space with crisp new style and long-lasting utility. By disposing of old pieces thoughtfully, the process can be kind to the planet too. With some smart planning and efficient technique, your kitchen or bath can get a gorgeous updated look you’re sure to enjoy for years to come.