Quartz countertops are an increasingly popular option for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects. Made from crushed quartz blended with resins and pigments, quartz offers an attractive, durable, and low-maintenance surface. However, even this hardy material requires some basic care and maintenance to keep it looking like new. Here are the best tips for protecting and caring for quartz countertops.
Cleaning Quartz Countertops
Regular cleaning is the best way to protect the appearance and integrity of quartz countertops. Here are some best practices for keeping quartz sparkling:
Use Mild Cleaners
Harsh cleaners like bleach, ammonia, or abrasive scrubs can damage the surface sealant on quartz. Stick to mild liquid dish soap, stone cleaner, or a 50/50 vinegar and water solution. Avoid heavily alkaline or acidic cleaners that can etch the surface over time.
Clean Spills Quickly
Don’t let spills sit. Wipe up food and liquids promptly to prevent staining. For dried-on messes, use a non-abrasive scrubbing pad and lift the residue.
After cleaning, rinse the surface well to remove any soapy residue which can attract dirt. Wipe dry with a soft cloth.
Deep Clean Regularly
In addition to daily wipe-downs, give quartz a thorough deep cleaning once a week. Use a specially formulated quartz cleaner and work it into the surface with a soft brush or sponge. This lifts embedded grime from textured areas.
Check the Finish
Quartz has an impervious glass-like finish that resists scratches and stains. However, improper cleaning can damage this layer over time. Periodically inspect the finish for signs of wear. Reseal if needed.
By using the right cleaners and techniques, quartz countertops can stay looking fresh and flawless for decades.
Protecting Quartz from Damage
In addition to cleaning, taking steps to actively protect quartz from damage will maintain its durable beauty. Here are some useful precautions:
Use Cutting Boards
Never slice or chop directly on the counter. Always use a cutting board to protect from scratches and nicks that can harbor bacteria.
Minimize Heat Exposure
While quartz is heat resistant, prolonged direct heat exposure can cause cracking or discoloration. Always use trivets or mats under hot pans and baking sheets.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals
Keep paint removers, oven cleaners and other caustic chemicals away from the countertop. If accidental exposure occurs, flush the surface with water immediately.
Handle Spills Gently
Don’t scrub or scour stains aggressively. Blot up liquid spills gently, then clean with a soft sponge using minimal pressure. Aggressive scrubbing can damage the surface.
Apply clear silicone edge buffers to cushion against impact from falling objects like pots or appliances. This protects vulnerable corners and edges.
With some care and forethought, it’s easy to prevent chips, scratches, stains and other damage that can compromise quartz over time.
Maintaining and Restoring Quartz Countertops
With regular cleaning and protective precautions, quartz countertops will stay gorgeous for years. But if signs of wear do occur, there are ways to maintain, restore and rejuvenate the surface.
Sand Out Light Scratches
For light surface scratches, use 400 grit sandpaper to gently smooth and blend the area. Increase grit up to 1000 for a polished look. Avoid exposing different aggregate levels.
Small chips can be filled with a colour-matched quartz repair kit available online or from hardware stores. Follow kit directions for invisible seamless repairs.
Reseal When Needed
Quartz can lose its surface gloss over time. Every 2-3 years, reseal the surface with a stone sealer formulated for quartz to restore shine and protection.
Deep Clean for Stubborn Stains
To remove stubborn stains like wine or grease, use a poultice paste made with household ingredients like flour, hydrogen peroxide and mineral spirits. Let sit for 24 hours then rinse.
Refinish Heavily Damaged Areas
Sections with extensive damage may need professional refinishing. This involves buffing out blemishes mechanically and re-polishing the surface to a uniform appearance.
With the right maintenance regimen, quartz countertops will stay resilient and dazzling for a lifetime.
How to Choose a Quartz Countertop
When selecting a quartz countertop, considering the following factors will help you pick the perfect surface:
- Color – Quartz is available in a vast array of colors – from elegant whites to bold vibrant hues. Choose a shade that complements your décor.
- Pattern – Options like veining, flecks and swirling lend quartz the look of natural stone. View slabs in person to see patterns.
- Finish – Matte finishes hide fingerprints while glossy options give a wet look. Consider the amount of upkeep desired.
- Thickness – Thicker quartz around 2-3 cm is best for heavily used surfaces like kitchen counters. Opt for 2 cm for bathrooms.
- Durability – Look for quartz made from over 90% crushed quartz for enhanced resilience and hardness.
- Quality – Stick to reputable high-end brands like Caesarstone, Cambria and Silestone for optimal quality.
- Warranty – Quartz typically comes with 10-15 year manufacturer warranties against defects.
By balancing design with practical factors like durability, it’s easy to find the perfect quartz countertop to suit your needs.
Caring for Quartz Countertops Year Round
Caring for quartz requires varying techniques depending on the season. Here are some tips for protecting quartz counters all year round:
- Intensify cleaning during summer when higher temperatures and humidity can breed bacteria.
- Disinfect the surface after preparing meats to prevent food-borne illnesses.
- Wipe up juices, sodas and condiments quickly to avoid permanent stains.
- Use coasters under all glasses and bottles to prevent etching from condensation.
Fall and Winter Care
- Routinely disinfect the surface during cold and flu season when germs spread rapidly.
- Immediately clean up spills of dark liquids like red wine and coffee to prevent stubborn staining.
- Take care when placing hot dishes from the oven directly on the countertop.
- Avoid using ice scrapers or sharp objects to remove stubborn debris that could scratch.
- Give the counters a deep clean after a long winter. Use a scrub brush and quartz cleaner to remove built-up grime.
- Inspect closely for any etching, chips or cracks that may have occurred over the winter. Begin repairs.
- Reseal if needed to renew the protective barrier after heavy winter use.
- Shake out and launder any towels used to prevent bacterial buildup over time.
By tailoring care to the conditions of each season, quartz counters will stay pristine and germ-free year-round.
Top Quartz Countertop Brands
For exceptional quality and performance, opt for quartz countertops from leading brands like:
Caesarstone pioneered engineered quartz surfaces and remains an industry leader. Their countertops offer innovative style, durability and low maintenance. Popular patterns include Fresh Concrete, Rough Concrete and Rugged Concrete.
Known for constantly advancing quartz technology, Silestone creates over 90 unique colors and textures. They lead in sustainability, use natural quartz and have certified low VOC emissions.
Focusing on natural stone looks, Cambria offers designs that resemble marble along with abstract options. They also have matte finishes that resist marks and fingerprints.
LG Viatera combines natural quartz with high-performance resins for stain, scratch and heat resistance. Their range includes stylish solid hues and patterns.
Zodiaq pioneered many quartz innovations and was the first food-safe certified brand. Their bold colors and natural patterns emit low VOCs.
With such quality options available, it’s easy to find the perfect durable and stylish quartz countertop to fit your home and lifestyle.
Pros and Cons of Quartz Countertops
Quartz counters offer many benefits along with some downsides to consider:
Pros of Quartz Countertops
- Extremely durable and scratch resistant
- Stain proof and water resistant
- Mold, mildew and bacteria resistant
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Heat and scorch resistant
- Available in wide range of colors and patterns
- Matches well with many kitchen designs
- Long manufacturer warranties of 10 years or more
Cons of Quartz Countertops
- Higher cost than granite or marble
- Can lose glossy shine over time
- Neutral colors lack natural stone appearance
- Joints needed for installation can be noticeable
- Not fully heat or scratch proof despite resistance
- Can chip or crack if subject to impact
Despite a few disadvantages, quartz countertops are one of the best options for kitchens and bathrooms wanting to combine stylish good looks with complete practicality. Their durability and longevity make them a sound long-term investment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Quartz Countertops
Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about quartz countertops:
Is Quartz Better Than Granite?
Quartz is harder, more durable and scratch resistant than natural stone like granite. It is also stain proof and requires less sealing. However, granite offers a more natural unique look.
Are There Different Grades of Quartz?
There are no specific grades, but higher priced quartz usually indicates higher purity and resilience. Stick to quality name brands versus discount options.
What Detergents Are Safe for Cleaning Quartz?
Mild liquid soap or dish detergent are safe for daily cleaning. Avoid alkaline, acidic or abrasive cleaners. Only use cleaners specifically designed for natural stone/quartz.
Can You Cut on Quartz Countertops?
Avoid cutting or chopping directly on quartz. Always use a cutting board to prevent scratches and nicks that allow bacteria growth.
How Often Should I Seal My Quartz Countertop?
Quartz rarely needs sealing unlike granite. At most, reseal quartz every 2-3 years when the surface loses its shine. Use a specially formulated quartz sealer.
Do You Need To Be Gentle with Quartz?
Quartz is very durable but should still be treated gently. Don’t drop heavy objects on it and use trivets for hot pans. Preventing damage upfront is easier than repairing it.
Is Quartz an Environmentally Friendly Choice?
Since quartz counters are man-made, they are more eco-friendly than mined natural stone that depletes resources. Many brands also now use recycled content.
Can You Have Seamless Quartz Countertops?
Quartz installs in sections, so seams are typically visible. Pros can minimize seam appearance with tight precision cuts and color-matched filler. Large slabs limit seams.
With the right selection, care and maintenance regimen, quartz countertops can be a beautiful and functional addition to any kitchen or bath for decades to come. Following the tips in this guide helps ensure your quartz surfaces stay protected, spotless and intact even with heavy daily use. Implement preventive measures like using cutting boards, trivets and buffers. Clean quartz often with gentle stone-safe cleaners. Avoid harsh chemicals or scrubbing. Periodically inspect for wear and restore coated finishes when needed. Address any damage right away before it worsens. With some basic diligence, quartz countertops will maintain their like-new radiance and durability for the lifetime of your home.