Quartz countertops are a popular choice for many homeowners due to their durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance. However, some people wonder if quartz counters can burn or scorch from hot pans and spills. Here is a detailed look at whether quartz countertops can burn and how to prevent damage.
What is Quartz?
Quartz countertops, also known as engineered stone, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The quartz content typically ranges from 90-94%, with the rest composed of polymer resins and dye.
The resins bind the quartz particles together to form a hard, non-porous surface. The pigments add color and pattern. When fabricated into slabs and installed as countertops, quartz has an attractive, stone-like look but requires less maintenance than natural stone.
Can Quartz Countertops Burn?
The short answer is yes, quartz counters can burn under extremely high, sustained heat. However, quartz is much more resistant to burns than other countertop materials like laminate or solid surface.
Here are some key factors regarding quartz heat resistance:
- High heat threshold – Quartz can withstand brief exposure to temperatures up to 300°F before damage occurs. This high heat tolerance makes it unlikely to burn from hot pans or spills during normal kitchen use.
- No thermal shock – Sudden, extreme temperature changes can damage some materials. However, quartz does not experience thermal shock and can handle both heat and cold without cracking or breaking.
- Localized damage – Direct contact with very high heat may damage a small quartz surface area. But the heat will not spread or cause unseen internal damage as it might with other materials.
- Permanent burns – Although unlikely under typical use, prolonged direct heat above 300°F can discolor or scorch quartz. Unlike some materials, these burns do not repair or “self-heal” over time.
So in summary, quartz has excellent heat resistance compared to other countertop options. But extremely high, focused heat over an extended time may cause permanent damage in a localized spot.
How to Prevent Quartz Burns
While quartz countertops are quite resilient, it’s still best to take some basic precautions against accidental burns:
- Use heat trivets or hot pads under very hot pots, pans, and bakeware.
- Don’t put flaming foods or dishes directly on the counter.
- Avoid prolonged heat exposure from appliances like crockpots or electric griddles.
- Don’t let hot hair care tools like curling irons or straighteners sit directly on the counter.
- Clean up spills quickly to prevent hot liquids from soaking in.
- Install a backsplash to protect the wall-counter joint from splatters.
- Don’t place heat-generating small appliances like toasters or coffee makers directly on quartz.
With routine care and common sense, quartz countertops should provide years of beauty and durability without any burns or scorch marks.
Signs of Heat Damage on Quartz
It’s important to recognize the signs of heat damage on quartz counters so any affected areas can be repaired or replaced as needed:
- Discoloration – Scorched areas turn lighter or darker than the surrounding countertop. The change is permanent.
- Etching – Severe heat chemically etches glossy quartz, creating a rough, frosted appearance.
- Cracks/blisters – Extensive damage may cause the resin binders in quartz to bubble or crack.
- Smoke/charring – In extreme cases, burning may produce actual smoke, ash, or charring damage.
Even if the damage is minor, it’s best to contact a countertop professional for repairs. Left untreated, heat damage can compromise quartz strength and lead to more extensive repairs down the road.
Factors That Increase Burn Risk
Certain quartz colors, designs, and installation factors can potentially increase susceptibility to burns:
- Light colors – Quartz made with lighter pigments is more prone to visible scorching than darker options.
- Large design patterns – Splatters on patterned quartz can distort the design and make burns more noticeable.
- Poor fabrication – Improper seam placement during manufacturing can create weak points vulnerable to heat damage.
- No backsplash – Exposed counter edges above ranges or cooktops lack protection from rising heat.
- Thin material – Most quartz slabs are 3cm thick. Thinner material (2cm) may be more vulnerable to damage.
- Undermount sinks – Without a rim above the countertop, the area around an undermount sink is exposed to heat and spills.
Being aware of these burn risks allows homeowners to make educated quartz choices suited for their particular kitchen.
Comparison of Quartz Heat Tolerance vs Other Materials
How does quartz compare to other countertop materials when it comes to resistance to heat damage? Here is an overview:
- Granite – Natural stone is very resilient against heat. Granite can withstand temperatures up to 500°F.
- Marble – As a softer stone, marble is more prone to etching, discoloration and burns under 300°F.
- Laminate – Laminate counters have a heat threshold around 175°F. Prolonged contact can delaminate or blister.
- Solid surface – Materials like Corian® can experience damage starting at 280°F. Localized burns may require seamless repairs.
- Wood – Any direct heat above 150°F can scorch,warp or split a wood countertop. Trivets are essential.
- Tile – Ceramic or porcelain tile withstands heat up to 600°F. Cracking is more likely from sudden temperature change.
- Concrete – As a natural material, concrete resists heat up to 300°F. It can stain and requires frequent sealing.
- Stainless steel – An ideal choice for heat tolerance (up to 500°F), but prone to scratches and noise.
So while granite beats quartz for absolute heat resistance, quartz performs admirably compared to most other options. Just be sure to use reasonable care when exposing quartz counters to high temperatures.
Tips for Using Quartz Around High Heat Areas
For homeowners who plan to install quartz countertops near cooking areas or ovens, here are some useful tips to prevent accidental burns:
Around Stoves and Ranges
- Select a darker quartz color or small-scale pattern to hide potential burns.
- Opt for a full-height backsplash of a non-combustible material like ceramic tile or metal.
- Install the backsplash before the countertop for seamless protection from heat and moisture.
- Leave a gap between the backsplash and countertop to allow heat to escape, avoiding direct conduction.
- Never leave flame-hot pots or pans in contact with the backsplash or countertop.
Around Built-In Ovens
- Keep a several inch gap between the oven and countertop edge.
- Use a heat-resistant countertop spacer designed for this purpose. Don’t just leave a gap.
- Install an extended height backsplash to protect the wall as well as the counter.
- Ensure the oven doesn’t vent hot air directly under the countertop. Adjust vents downward if needed.
For Portable Appliances
- Place hot appliances on trivets or pads, never directly on quartz.
- Unplug appliances when not in use. Leaving them plugged in can generate residual heat.
- Allow appliances to fully cool before storing in a cabinet over a quartz counter.
With careful installation and usage habits, homeowners can safely utilize quartz around even the hottest kitchen appliances.
How to Repair Burn Damage on Quartz
If heat damage does occur on a quartz countertop, repair options depend on the severity:
Minor discoloration or etching – Light scorching can often be gently smoothed and polished out using fine grit sandpaper and a quartz polish compound. Avoid applying too much pressure, which can damage good areas.
Localized burn spot – For small burns under 3 inches, consult a countertop pro about filling with colored epoxy filler. This preserves the counter slab.
Burns over seams – Damage along seams may require replacing the entire affected quartz sections. This prevents cracks or gaps from forming later.
Extensive damage – For wide-spread burning across large areas, a full quartz countertop replacement may be required. This also provides a chance to select a more heat-resistant color or pattern.
Other damage – Heat may break down the resin in quartz causing cracks and bubbles. This type of damage cannot be repaired, only replaced.
With quick attention, the right materials, and pro techniques, minor quartz burns can often be made less noticeable. But severe or extensive damage will likely require replacing sections or the entire countertop.
Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Quartz Heat Damage?
Since accidental kitchen burns are somewhat common, many homeowners wonder if their insurance policies help pay for countertop repairs. Here are some key considerations:
- Standard policies – Typical homeowner’s insurance only covers damage from specific perils like fire, storms, or water leaks. Normal heat damage from cooking would not qualify.
- All perils coverage – Upgraded policies with broader “all perils” coverage provide more options, but may still exclude gradual damage like burns.
- Proof difficulties – Even with adequate coverage, proving the damage was sudden and accidental often poses challenges.
- renoProtection warranty – Quartz makers like Silestone® offer limited warranties covering accidental damage. But burns must be reported immediately and other conditions apply.
- Small claims potential – Homeowners may potentially take installers to small claims court if improper fabrication significantly contributed to heat damage.
While not impossible, homeowners face obstacles getting insurers to pay for countertop heat damage. Prevention remains far more practical than attempting repairs through insurance claims.
Are Quartz Counters a Good Choice for the Kitchen?
Despite their potential to burn, quartz counters remain a smart investment for busy kitchens that value beauty, durability, and easy maintenance. Here’s a quick summary of pros and cons:
Pros of quartz counters:
- Attractive natural stone appearance without sealing
- Resists stains, scratches, chips better than granite
- Low maintenance compared to most materials
- mold-resistant and non-porous
- Highly durable for decades of use
- Heat and scorch resistant under typical use
Potential cons to consider:
- Less resistant to extreme heat than granite
- Permanent burning can occur under rare circumstances
- Repairs sometimes visible on lighter quartz colors
- Higher cost than laminate or tile
- Limited color and edge profile options
For most homeowners, the pros far outweigh the minimal risks of heat damage. With reasonable precautions against direct high heat exposure, quartz counters offer stunning good looks paired with rugged durability.
Key Takeaways about Quartz and Heat
- Quartz counters can burn under extreme heat but have good resilience under normal circumstances.
- To prevent damage, use reasonable care when exposing quartz to high direct temperatures.
- Minor quartz burns may be repaired but severe damage requires replacing sections.
- Homeowner’s insurance usually does not cover gradual countertop burns.
- With proper installation and care, homeowners can fully enjoy the benefits of quartz counters for years.
Will a Quartz Countertop Burn? – FAQs
Many homeowners have unanswered questions about the risks of damaging quartz counters with high heat. Here are some frequently asked questions with detailed answers:
Can you put a hot pan on a quartz countertop?
You can briefly place a hot pan on quartz but should use caution. Very high temps over 300°F could damage the resin binders if contact is prolonged. Under normal kitchen use, quartz can withstand hot pots off the stove for short periods. But extended direct contact with extremely high heat may cause gradual discoloration. Using trivets is wise to limit risk of any burns.
How hot does quartz countertop get from stovetop?
With proper installation, a quartz counter near a typical residential stovetop may reach temperatures around 150-175°F. This falls well below quartz’s heat tolerance threshold. Placing trivets between hot cookware and countertops keeps surface temperatures even cooler. As long as the counter itself doesn’t exceed 300°F, heat damage is very unlikely from routine cooking.
What happens if you put a hot pan on engineered quartz?
Resting a hot pan briefly on an engineered quartz counter is generally safe if extreme temperatures are avoided. However, prolonged direct contact exceeding 300°F could potentially burn the binding resins, creating discolored or rough spots. The damage starts small but grows with repeated exposure. Trivets help prevent this issue. Quickly wiping spills and allowing cookware to cool before setting it down are also wise precautions.
Can Quartz countertops withstand heat?
Within reason, yes. Of all the countertop materials, quartz has among the highest heat tolerances, resisting temperatures up to around 300°F. This makes it very unlikely to burn under normal cooking conditions. Still, direct contact with extreme heat from flames, appliances, or very hot pans may damage resin binders over time. Reasonable care will allow quartz counters to withstand years of high heat.
Is Quartz more heat resistant than granite?
Quartz has excellent heat tolerance but cannot quite match granite’s resilience. Natural granite withstands brief temperatures up to 500°F without issue. Quartz tops out around 300°F before possible damage occurs. However, both materials provide sufficient heat resistance for typical residential use. Granite may be preferable for avid home chefs who frequently cook at very high temperatures.
Should you put a trivet on quartz countertop?
Using trivets or hot pads is strongly advised to prevent accidental quartz burns. While quartz can briefly withstand hot items, direct prolonged exposure to temperatures over 300°F risks potential damage. Trivets also prevent cracking or crazing of sink areas by dispersing moisture. For optimal protection, consider heavy trivets with rubber feet to limit heat conduction to counters.
Can you put a griddle on a quartz countertop?
Portable electric griddles easily exceed safe temperatures for quartz counters. Most residential models reach over 400°F. Prolonged direct contact at these temperatures can cause severe quartz burns. Instead, use griddles on trivets or tables, never directly on the counter. Take care to prevent spatters which may also damage quartz. Consider using griddles outdoors or in garages to avoid risk entirely.
Is an instant pot too hot for quartz?
Modern electric multi-cookers like Instant Pots® rarely exceed 300°F internally, even on the highest settings. This makes them safe for use near quartz counters when operated properly. However, take care to prevent steam leaks around the lid which could potentially damage counter surfaces over time. As always, use reasonable precautions like trivets when setting down the hot inner pot after cooking.
How to Choose Heat-Resistant Quartz for the Kitchen
When selecting quartz counters for heavy-use kitchens, it helps to consider options that resist heat damage. Here are tips for choosing more heat-tolerant quartz colors, patterns, and thicknesses:
Pick Darker Neutral Tones
Quartz made with darker pigments hides potential burns better than light colors. Gray, black, brown, and deeper earth tones help minimize the appearance of minor scorch marks. Neutrals also fit well with nearly any cabinetry and décor.
Some heat-friendly dark options include:
- Basaltina in Dark Ash
- Silestone Helix in Noka
- Cambria Brittanicca in Midnight
- MSI Calacatta Laza in Noir
- Caesarstone Piatra Grey
Choose Smaller Stone-Look Patterns
While large dramatic quartz patterns are trendy, they show scorching and other damage more noticeably. Micro-flecked particulate designs better disguise imperfections.
Smaller natural stone patterns like these add dimension with less risk:
- Quartz Master Sparkle Quartz in Crystal White
- Vicostone Carrara Mist
- Pokarna Eternal Calacatta Gold
- Hanstone Bellezza
- Wilsonart Metallic Sage
Select Full 3cm Thickness
Quartz slabs come in standard 3cm and thinner 2cm sizes. The full 3cm depth better resists impact damage that may later lead to heat-related cracking. Steer clear of “thin quartz” selections if heat resistance is a priority.
Add Professional Fabrication
Avoid DIY quartz kits with seams placed in high heat zones. Pro precise seam placement and reinforcement prevents gaps where burns could penetrate deep into the countertop layers.
Consider Heat-Resistant Edges
Quartz counters with exposed edges see more intense heat from cooktops. Full bullnose edges better shield quartz. Or pairsquared edges with extra height backsplashes for maximum protection.
Weigh the Benefits of Quartz
Even with heat precautions, quartz still provides homeowners reliable durability, easy care, and resistance to many negatives of natural stone. Countertop burns remain relatively rare with responsible usage. For most homeowners, quartz delivers the best balance of form and function.
Using Trivets and Hot Pads on Quartz
Placing protective barriers under hot items is the easiest way to prevent quartz burns. Trivets and hot pads absorb heat and minimize direct contact. Here are helpful tips for choosing and using trivets on quartz counters:
Opt for Heat-Resistant Materials
Look for trivets made of metal, stone, glass, or ceramic instead of flammable materials. Options like silicon or wood insulate less from extreme temperatures. Stick with materials rated to at least 300