Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular choice for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects due to their durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance. One of the most frequently asked questions about quartz countertops is how much heat they can withstand before becoming damaged. Here is a comprehensive guide to understanding the heat resistance of quartz countertops.
What is Quartz?
Quartz countertops, sometimes referred to as engineered stone, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The quartz content typically makes up 90-94% of the material, making it an extremely hard and durable surface. The resins bind the quartz particles together, while the pigments add color and pattern.
Compared to natural stone countertops like granite and marble, quartz offers superior resistance to stains, scratches, chips and cracks. The non-porous nature of quartz also makes it less likely to harbor bacteria and germs. However, like all countertop materials, quartz has limitations when it comes to heat tolerance.
Heat Tolerance of Quartz Countertops
Most quartz countertop manufacturers rate their products to withstand temperatures up to 212°F (100°C) before exhibiting signs of damage. Some ultra-high-end brands claim higher heat thresholds around 300°F (150°C).
For comparison, granite countertops are generally safe up to temperatures of 450°F (230°C). So quartz does not have as much heat resistance as natural stone.
What Counts as Excessive Heat?
Any heat sources that can exceed 212°F have the potential to cause damage to quartz surfaces. These include:
- Hot pans and pots from the stove or oven
- Slow cookers and roasting pans
- Portable cooking appliances like electric griddles
- Hot oil or grease from deep frying
- Some heat-generating kitchen appliances like instant pots
Exposing quartz countertops to these types of direct high heat can lead to discoloration, cracks, or peeling of the resin coating. The severity of damage depends on the temperature and length of exposure.
Best Practices to Prevent Heat Damage
While quartz countertops can stand up to brief contact with moderately hot cookware, best practices should be followed to avoid permanent damage:
- Always use trivets or hot pads when placing hot pans on the countertop.
- Don’t dump hot oil or grease directly into the sink. Allow it to cool first.
- Keep appliances that generate extreme heat limited to 200°F off the countertop.
- Avoid subjecting the same spot to repeated heat exposure.
- Immediately wipe up spills of hot liquids like coffee or tea.
- Do not expose outdoor quartz counters to prolonged sun or grill heat.
General household use of your kitchen should not pose any issue for quartz countertops. Damage occurs from extreme, direct heat over 200°F. With some basic precautions, quartz offers peace of mind against cracking, chipping or burning.
Does Heat Damage Quartz Permanently?
In many cases, brief contact with high heat will only scorch or discolor the surface resin coating on quartz countertops. This can often be sanded and re-polished to restore the original appearance.
However, prolonged exposure to extreme heat can cause more significant damage. Cracks, chips, and peeling resin are not repairable in most cases. The damaged section of countertop would need replacement.
Internal micro-fractures from heat can also develop into larger cracks over time. So even if no visible damage occurs initially, the countertop integrity could slowly weaken.
Tips for Protecting Quartz from Heat
- Keep appliances like crockpots and electric griddles off the countertop surface.
- Never cut food directly on quartz counters. Always use a cutting board.
- Set your stovetop burners to low or medium heat for most cooking.
- Allow cookware to cool slightly before placing on quartz.
- Avoid exposing quartz near heat sources like fireplaces or radiators.
- Use potholders to handle hot items from the oven.
- Install a kitchen backsplash to prevent wall-mounted oven heat from impacting counters.
- Add an insulating runner board for extra protection behind hot appliances.
With routine care and caution concerning heat exposure, quartz countertops will retain their beauty and function for many years before needing replacement. Understanding proper use will help prevent unnecessary heat damage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you put a hot pan on quartz?
Brief contact with a hot pan straight from the stove or oven should not damage quartz. But it’s best to use a trivet for very hot cookware to prevent the possibility of discoloration or superficial burns.
What happens if quartz countertops get too hot?
Extended exposure to temperatures above 200°F can cause quartz to crack, bubble or peel. The resin binders begin to break down under extreme heat. Discoloration may also occur.
Does quartz melt under heat?
No, quartz itself does not melt or burn. But excessive heat can damage the polymer resin coating. This resin provides the glossy finish and binds the quartz particles together. Once damaged, the resin cannot be repaired.
Can quartz withstand heat up to 350°F?
Most quartz brands only rate their products to tolerate temperatures up to 212°F. Some high-end options may claim thresholds around 300°F. But 350°F heat will likely damage standard quartz countertops over time.
Should you put foil under a hot pan on quartz?
Using foil under hot pans or appliances is sensible to prevent direct heat transfer to the countertop. Just ensure the foil is properly secured, as movement can also damage the quartz surface.
Quartz countertops offer gorgeous, low-maintenance surfaces that can withstand typical demands of busy kitchens. But like all materials, quartz has limitations for extreme heat exposure. Following basic precautions will ensure hot cookware, spills and appliances do not compromise the long-lasting durability of your investment. With proper care, quartz countertops will retain their resilient beauty for decades.