Quartz countertops are a popular choice for modern kitchens and bathrooms due to their durability, aesthetics, and low maintenance. However, there are some limitations on exposing quartz surfaces to high heat. Here is an in-depth look at why you should avoid putting hot items directly on quartz.
What is Quartz?
Quartz countertops, sometimes called engineered stone, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The quartz makes up over 90% of the material, making it very hard and scratch resistant. The resins bind the quartz particles together to form a durable, non-porous surface.
Compared to natural stone counters like granite and marble, quartz offers superior stain, scratch, and heat resistance. The resins make quartz less prone to cracking and chipping. Quartz counters are available in a wide array of colors and patterns to suit any decor.
Why Quartz Can’t Take High Heat
While quartz is designed to withstand moderate heat exposure, there are limits. The resin binders that hold quartz counters together can be damaged by excessive heat. Here are the key reasons to avoid exposing quartz to very high temperatures:
The Resin Can Burn
The polymer resins that bind quartz particles together have a maximum heat tolerance of around 150°C (300°F). Exposing them to temperatures beyond this threshold can cause the resin to burn, discolor, or even melt. This can permanently damage the structural integrity of the countertop.
Thermal Expansion Creates Cracks
When quartz heats up, the material undergoes thermal expansion. The quartz particles expand at a different rate than the resin binder. This differential expansion induces internal stresses that can cause cracks or fractures. Repeated exposure to heat cycles accelerates this thermal fatigue.
Sudden Temperature Changes Cause Cracks
Exposing any section of a quartz countertop to rapid swings in temperature, such as setting a hot pan on it, can generate enough thermal stress to crack the surface. The abrupt temperature change causes parts of the counter to expand while other areas remain stable.
Discoloration and Burn Marks
Excessive localized heat can scorch or discolor quartz surfaces. This damage is usually permanent. Darker colors and solid surfaces are more prone to visible heat marks. The burnt areas ruin the uniform appearance of the countertop.
What Temperatures Can Quartz Withstand?
Quartz manufacturers indicate these counters can withstand intermittent exposure up to 150°C (300°F). However, it’s best to keep prolonged direct heat below 100°C (212°F).
- Warm pots, pans, and dishes generally won’t damage quartz.
- Brief contact with hot hair styling tools or baking dishes fresh from the oven is okay.
- Sustained exposure to temperatures above 100°C should be avoided.
For perspective, here are some common items and their temperatures:
- A just-boiled kettle: 100°C (212°F)
- Coffee machine brewing temperature: 90-96°C (194-205°F)
- Hot skillet or baking sheet from a 177°C (350°F) oven: ~150°C (300°F)
- Typical cooking pan on a stovetop burner: 130-230°C (265-450°F)
- Hot iron or curling iron: ~180-220°C (365-430°F)
Best Practices to Protect Quartz from Heat
Here are some simple habits to safeguard your quartz surfaces from heat damage:
- Use heat trivets – Place trivets or hot pads under any hot cookware, dishes, or heat-generating appliances. This insulates the quartz.
- Give pans time to cool – Don’t directly place a hot pan on quartz right off the stove or out of a hot oven. Allow it to cool for 10-15 minutes first.
- Use the back burners – When cooking, use the back stove burners more. Pans on back burners are less likely to transfer excess heat to the countertop when removed.
- Avoid high-temp appliances – Don’t directly expose quartz near the counter edges to heat from appliances like crock pots, griddles or electric frying pans.
- No hot pans in sinks – Never put a hot pan directly into a quartz sink. The confined space intensifies heat exposure.
- Warn houseguests – Inform guests and babysitters about your quartz care precautions. One mishap can damage the counter.
With some simple precautions, your quartz counters should withstand normal kitchen use for many years. Just don’t treat them as a stovetop or trivet!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you put a hot pan on quartz?
It’s best not to place a pan directly on quartz if it is above 100°C/212°F. Allow pans to cool for 10-15 minutes first. Always use hot pads or trivets with hot cookware.
What happens if you put a hot pan on quartz?
Exposing quartz to excess heat from a pan can burn or discolor the surface. Repeated exposure to high heat can also cause cracks or fractures in the countertop over time.
Can quartz counters withstand heat?
Quartz has moderate heat tolerance. It can withstand brief exposure to temperatures up to 150°C/300°F. However, prolonged heat above 100°C/212°F can damage the resin binders in quartz.
Is it OK to put a cast iron skillet on quartz?
Only if the cast iron skillet has been allowed to completely cool after cooking. Cast iron holds heat very well, so a hot skillet off the stove can damage quartz.
Can you put a griddle on a quartz countertop?
No, devices like griddles, crockpots, or electric skillets that radiate prolonged direct heat should not be placed directly on quartz. Use a trivet underneath.
Quartz offers superior durability and low maintenance compared to natural stone countertops. However, the resin binders that make quartz so strong also limit its ability to withstand high temperatures. With some simple precautions, it’s easy to enjoy beautiful quartz surfaces for years without damage from heat exposure. Avoid prolonged direct contact above 100°C/212°F and always use trivets or pads with hot items. educating household members and guests is also key to keeping quartz counters looking pristine.