Quartz countertops are a popular choice for kitchen and bathroom remodels thanks to their durability, easy maintenance, and stylish appearance. However, even this low-maintenance material requires some care and attention to keep it looking its best. Certain substances and cleaning practices can actually damage quartz and shorten its lifespan if you’re not careful.
Quartz countertops, sometimes called engineered stone, are made from ground quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. This makes them non-porous and resistant to scratches, stains, heat, and water. However, quartz is not completely indestructible. Over time, the wrong cleaners and abrasive substances can etch or dull the surface. Being aware of what can harm your quartz counters will help you take proper care of them so they always look as good as new.
What Is Considered Harmful To Quartz Surfaces
Many common household cleaners are too harsh for quartz countertops. Avoid the following:
- Vinegar – Being acidic, vinegar can dull and etch the surface over time. The same goes for lemon juice and other acids.
- Ammonia – Found in glass cleaners and all-purpose cleaners, ammonia can discolor quartz.
- Bleach – This harsh chemical will damage and discolor quartz.
- Abrasive cleaners – Any cleaners with gritty textures or abrasive ingredients like soft scrub can scratch the surface.
Stick to pH neutral cleaners specifically formulated for stone surfaces. Look for “quartz-safe” on the label.
Oils and Grease
While quartz resists stains much better than granite or marble, oil and grease can seep into pits and cracks over time, resulting in discoloration. Be sure to wipe up food prep messes and spills promptly. For dried-on grease, use a degreasing cleaner made for quartz.
Although quartz holds up to heat better than other stone, extreme direct heat can cause thermal shock, cracking the surface. Always use a trivet under hot pots and pans. Limit exposure to heat above 150°F.
Prolonged Sun Exposure
Like other stone materials, quartz can become discolored with long-term sun exposure. Keep blinds partially closed to limit intense sunlight shining directly on light-colored countertops.
Quartz is very hard and impact resistant, but solid blows can chip the edges and corners. Take care not to drop heavy objects on countertops. This is especially important with thicker edges which are more prone to chipping.
Any abrasive pads, scrubbing brushes or powders should be avoided as they will scratch the surface over time. Even wiping crumbs or dirt across the counter can cause fine scratches if done repeatedly. Use a soft sponge or microfiber cloth for daily cleaning.
Although quartz does not require sealing like granite or marble, allowing liquids like lemon juice, wine or bleach to puddle for prolonged periods can etch light spots into the surface over time. Always wipe up spills promptly.
Pressing extremely hard while cleaning can stress the solid surface of quartz. Scrub gently when needed, but excessive pressure is never required. Use a soft sponge and mild cleaner. Aggressive scrubbing or scouring risks damaging the finish.
Cracks and chips are more likely if quartz counters are not installed correctly. Hiring an experienced fabricator is key. Poor seam adhesion or inadequate structural support underneath can lead to cracks that allow damage to occur more easily.
Cleaning and Care Best Practices
Now that you know what to avoid using on quartz countertops, follow these care tips to keep them damage-free:
- Clear counters of clutter to avoid abrasive particles scratching the surface.
- Use a pH neutral stone cleaner and soft microfiber cloths or sponges only.
- Dry the surface after cleaning and disinfecting. Allowing moisture to pool can lead to buildup in cracks.
- Wipe up food and drink spills as they occur, especially oils, wines and coffee.
- Always use cutting boards and trivets. Never cut directly on the counter.
- Clean appliances like coffeemakers away from counters to avoid drips staining the surface.
Issues to Watch For
- Inspect for signs of damage like scratches, chips or discoloration regularly. Address small issues promptly to prevent worsening.
- Look for any cracks near seams or corners that could worsen or allow moisture underneath.
- Note if certain areas seem to be developing etching or dull spots so you can determine the cause.
- Small nicks and scratches can often be buffed out by a pro. Use a quartz repair kit for minor flaws.
- For chips or cracks, contact a fabricator. Damaged areas may need to be patched and re-polished.
- Replacing a section is an option for deep scratches or extensive damage limited to one area.
Schedule Deep Cleaning
- Every 1-2 years, schedule a professional deep cleaning. Hard water and mineral deposits that build up will be removed.
- A professional stone cleaner can also re-seal any tiny cracks that may have developed near seams and edges.
By being careful about what comes into contact with your counters, you can ensure your investment stays beautiful and functional for decades. Avoid anything too harsh, hot, or abrasive, and address any minor damage right away. With regular gentle cleaning and prompt attention to issues, quartz can withstand the demands of busy kitchens and bathrooms in style.
Common Questions About Caring For Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops add style and convenience to kitchens and baths, but caring for them properly requires knowing the answers to some key questions. Here are some frequently asked questions about protecting quartz surfaces:
Does Quartz Need to Be Sealed?
Unlike granite or marble, quartz does not require regular sealing. The resins it contains make it non-porous. However, periodic sealing by a pro near seams may help prevent moisture-related damage.
How Heat Resistant Is Quartz?
While heat resistance varies by brand, most quartz can withstand brief exposure to temperatures up to 150°F. Prolonged high heat can damage the solid surface. Always use trivets and avoid exposing quartz directly to heat sources.
Does Quartz Stain Easily?
Quartz is less prone to staining than other stone, but oil and acidic liquids can discolor the surface over time. Prompt cleanup of spills prevents most staining issues on quartz counters.
How Often Should Quartz Countertops Be Cleaned?
For heavy use kitchen counters, daily cleaning is recommended. Use a gentle quartz cleaner and soft cloth or sponge. For low use bathroom vanities, clean as needed when buildup appears but at least weekly.
Are DIY Quartz Countertop Repair Kits Effective?
For minor scratches and scuffs, DIY repair kits can often restore the finish. But significant damage like chips, cracks or deep gouges require a professional fabricator for the best results.
What’s Better For Kitchens, Quartz Or Granite?
Quartz is more durable, non-porous and low maintenance than granite. But granite offers a more unique, natural look. Quartz works better in busy kitchens seeing heavy daily use. Granite can make more sense for low-traffic entertainng space.
Is It Okay To Cut On Quartz Countertops?
Never cut or chop directly on quartz. Always use a cutting board to protect the surface from knife marks and nicks. The impact can chip the edges over time.
Factors That Shorten The Lifespan of Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops are a long-lasting investment that can maintain their good looks for over 15 years with proper care. However, certain factors can result in your counters not lasting as long as expected:
Using abrasive cleaners, scouring pads, acidic products, or scrubbing too aggressively damages the finish, causing etching and dulling over time. Always use a pH neutral stone cleaner and gentle motions.
Allowing Spills and Stains to Set
Promptly wiping up oils, wine and other staining substances prevents permanent discoloration. But allowing them to puddle for long periods etches the surface. Clean up messes ASAP.
Not Using Cutting Boards
Letting knives directly contact the quartz dulls the surface with scratch marks and can chip edges. Always use boards to protect counters when chopping and cutting.
Exposure to Hot Items
While quartz can take brief contact with hot pots or falling embers, prolonged direct heat can crack and damage the solid surface. Use trivets and boards under appliances.
Not Cleaning Up Food and Crumbs
Letting salt, spices and cooking debris sit on counters leaves abrasive particles that scratch and scrape the surface when wiping. Keep counters clutter-free.
Adding Stress to Overhangs
Climbing, leaning heavily and putting excess force on unsupported counter overhangs can crack them over time, resulting in costly repairs. Avoid stressing overhangs.
Direct sunlight breaking down resins over many years can make quartz appear faded or discolored. Use window treatments to protect very light counters from intense UV light.
If seams and edges are not adequately sealed during installation, moisture intrusion can cause cracks, chips and discoloration around joints. Hire an expert installer.
Not Addressing Minor Damage
Ignoring little scratches and chips leads to more visible flaws over time as damage spreads and worsens. Take steps to repair minor imperfections before they expand.
Using Quartz Outdoors
Quartz countertops are designed for indoor use. Outdoor installation where they are exposed to weather extremes will quickly damage the surface and seams.
With proper precautions and care, your quartz investment can stay looking pristine and avoid preventable damage. Handle spills promptly, avoid direct sunlight and heat, use trivets, and gentle daily cleaning will all help your counters look their best for decades to come.
Maintaining The Beauty of Quartz Countertops In Kitchens
As an extremely popular choice for today’s kitchens, beautiful quartz counters make a stylish statement and provide carefree functionality. Maintaining their good looks over the years involves following some quartz-specific care tips:
Choose The Right Cleaners
- Use only pH neutral cleaners labeled safe for quartz. Avoid vinegar, bleach, ammonia, or abrasives that can etch and dull the finish.
- Look for cleaners that add shine while cleaning to enhance luster between deep cleans.
Handle Food Prep Spills Properly
- Immediately wipe oils, wines and coffees that spill to avoid permanent staining.
- Clean dried on sauces or grease deposits with a degreasing cleaner made for quartz.
- Always cut on boards, not directly on the counter to prevent nicking.
Limit Exposure to Heat and Sunlight
- Use trivets, boards or hot pads under any heat generating appliances or hot pans.
- Adjust window coverings to protect light colored quartz from intense direct sunlight.
- Avoid letting hot pots or baking sheets sit directly on the surface.
Inspect and Address Flaws Promptly
- Look for scratches, chips or cracks regularly to fix them before they worsen.
- Use a repair kit to fill small chips and blend scratches. Seek pro help for significant damage.
- If seams show staining, have a pro re-seal them to prevent moisture intrusion.
Deep Clean and Re-seal Periodically
- Have quartz counters professionally deep cleaned every 1-2 years to remove buildup.
- Re-sealing by a pro as needed will keep seams and edges from allowing moisture under the surface.
Adjust Usage To Avoid Damage
- Cut only on designated boards to avoid dulling the surface.
- Don’t stand on counters to prevent stressing unsupported overhangs.
- Place delicate glassware and dishware gently to avoid chipping edges.
By tailoring your usage and care to quartz’s specific needs, your kitchen counters will maintain their like-new appearance and perform beautifully for many years. Simple preventative care is the key to enjoying durable, damage-free quartz countertops that stay looking fabulous.
Maintaining Bathroom Vanity Quartz Countertops
With their superior water resistance, non-porous quartz countertops are highly popular for bathroom vanities. However, some care practices are important for keeping them looking beautiful in a damp environment:
Clean vanity countertops at least weekly using a quartz-safe cleaner to prevent buildup of soap scum, toothpaste and hair products that can etch the surface.
Promptly Dry Spills and Splashes
Immediately wipe up spills and splatters from daily grooming routines to prevent staining from liquids like makeup remover or hair dye.
Avoid Storing Bottles and Jars Directly On The Surface
Keep medicine cabinets or wall shelves to hold bathroom items. Storing bottles directly on the counter leaves rings over time.
Inspect Grout Lines
Check any grout between quartz counter and tile backsplash regularly for mildew growth. Clean and re-seal compromised grout to prevent moisture issues.
Use Trivets For Hot Styling Tools
Never place hot curling irons, flat irons or other styling tools directly on quartz. Use a heat resistant trivet or mat under hot items.
Install Backsplash Properly
Be sure any tile backsplash is installed with caulk-filled joints to prevent moisture intrusion behind quartz that can damage seams.
Don’t Force Faucets
Take care not to over-tighten faucets, or lean heavily on the counter when using them. This can stress or crack quartz around the faucet.
Clean Up Kids’ Messes Promptly
Immediately wipe up toothpaste blobs, smeared soap and other bathroom messes little ones leave to prevent stains setting into the surface.
With regular care appropriate to a damp environment, quartz vanity tops stay beautiful and practical additions that hold up well, despite daily exposure to water and humidity. Taking a few precautions will maintain their good looks.
How To Protect Outdoor Quartz Countertops and Surfaces
While quartz countertops are designed for indoor use, they are also popular options for outdoor kitchens, pool areas and patios in warm climates. Here is how to best protect outdoor quartz surfaces:
Have Seams Professionally Sealed
Outdoor temperature swings make it crucial to have a pro apply a flexible waterproof sealer along all seams and edges to prevent moisture intrusion.
Limit Direct Sun Exposure
Position quartz surfaces out of direct sunlight whenever possible, or use umbrella shade covers to protect the surface from intense UV rays which cause faster discoloration outside.
Clean More Frequently
Clean outdoor quartz at least twice weekly to prevent build up of pollen, dirt, leaves and other outdoor residue that can stain if allowed to sit.
Rinse Off Chlorine
After swimming, promptly rinse off pool chemicals and chlorinated water from outdoor counters and surfaces to avoid discoloration and etching issues from chemical exposure.
Install Properly Against House
Having an overhang above the counters and a moisture barrier behind will help protect siding from water intrusion where counters meet exterior walls.
Check For Cracks Regularly
Inspect closely for any hairline cracks in seams or corners that outdoor temperature fluctuations could worsen. Have a pro re-seal any emerging cracks right away.
Bring Cushions and Umbrellas Inside
Don’t allow fabric from patio cushions or umbrellas to stay wet on counters overnight. The moisture can seep into pores or unsealed cracks, freezing and expanding in cold weather.
Avoid Heavy Impact
Take care not to drop grill lids, firewood, or other heavy objects on outdoor quartz surfaces which can more easily chip or crack without the proper structural support of interior cabinetry.
With some additional maintenance measures, quartz can be an attractive, user-friendly surface that extends living spaces outdoors. Just be diligent about protection from sun exposure, weather extremes and potential impact damage.
Unique Benefits of Quartz Countertops
Understanding the advantages that quartz offers helps explain why it has quickly become one of the most popular choices for today’s kitchen and bath remodels:
Made from ground quartz crystals blended with resins, quartz counters resist scratches, stains, impact and heat better than many alternatives.
Quartz requires very little maintenance, just gentle cleaning with soap and water. No sealing or polishing needed.
With non-porous surfaces that resist microbes, quartz counters are highly hygienic, perfect for kitchens.
From sleek solid colors to glittering speckled patterns, quartz offers design versatility. Countless options match any decor.
Quartz contains no volatile organic compounds and emits no radiation, making it safer and more eco-friendly than many other counter materials.
Heat and Scratch Resistant
Quartz stands up to hot pans and resists scratches from knives and daily wear and tear better than solid surface or laminate options.
Easy Replacement and Repair
Minor damage like chips and scratches can often be sanded and buffed out. Larger areas can be seamlessly patched by the fabricator.
Increased Home Value
Durable, low maintenance quartz counters that stay beautiful over time can significantly boost the value of your kitchen or bath remodeling investment.