Will Quartz Countertops Crack?

Quartz countertops are popular options for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects due to their stylish appearance, durability, and low maintenance requirements. However, some homeowners may be concerned about the possibility of quartz countertops developing cracks over time. Here is a comprehensive guide on whether quartz countertops can crack and what causes it, along with tips on how to prevent and repair cracks if they do occur.

What is Quartz?

Quartz is an engineered stone made from crushed quartz crystals combined with polymer resins and pigments. The exact composition varies between quartz brands and product lines, but quartz typically contains over 90% ground quartz crystals bonded together by 7-15% resins.

The resins form a matrix that surrounds and bonds the quartz particles into a highly durable, non-porous, stain-resistant, and low-maintenance countertop material. Quartz is harder than natural stone like marble or granite and does not require routine sealing. The resins also allow quartz to be molded into consistent slabs with uniform coloring and patterns.

Can Quartz Countertops Crack?

Quartz countertops are designed to be highly resilient and crack-resistant. However, no material is completely immune to cracking under certain conditions. Quartz can potentially develop cracks, but it is much less prone to cracking compared to natural stone countertops.

Here are the key factors that determine the likelihood of quartz countertop cracks:

Quality of Installation

Improper installation is one of the leading causes of countertop cracking. Seams between quartz slabs must be tightly bonded using adhesives designed for solid surfaces. The countertop also needs to be fully supported underneath by secure cabinetry and underlayment.

Any instability, gaps, or misalignment where two quartz slabs meet can put stress on the material and lead to cracking over time as the countertop settles. Hiring an experienced quartz fabricator and installer is essential for preventing cracks.

Thickness of the Slab

Thicker quartz slabs are more resistant to cracks than thinner pieces. Most manufacturers recommend a minimum thickness of 2 centimeters (cm) or 3/4 inches. Going with 3 cm or 1 1/4 inches provides even more durability.

Thinner quartz less than 2 cm used for vertical applications like wall cladding or tub/shower surrounds has a higher chance of cracking since it lacks reinforcement.

Quality of the Quartz Material

Reputable quartz brands engineer their products to minimize the risks of damage. Higher-end quartz contains more quartz content for enhanced strength and less resin that can become brittle over time.

The quality of raw quartz crystals and manufacturing process also affects durability. Inferior quartz is more prone to cracking. Stick with top brands like Caesarstone, Cambria, Silestone, and Viatera.

Exposure to Heat

Excessive heat exposure can damage the resins in quartz and cause cracking around cooktops or baking/hot zones. Using insulating pads orHot surface’ stickers when placing hot pots and pans directly on quartz protects vulnerable areas.

Avoid exposing quartz to temperatures above 150°F (65°C). The material can withstand brief exposure to heat up to 212°F (100°C ), but cracks may form if the heat source is left for an extended time.

Impact from Heavy Objects

Quartz has impressive impact resistance for a counter surface. However, excessive force or blows from extremely heavy objects dropped on a concentrated point can potentially crack quartz. Keep this in mind when handling heavy pots, appliances, etc. around your quartz counters.

Structural Issues

Home foundations naturally settle and shift over time, which puts stress on connected surfaces like countertops. If the cabinets or supports under quartz are compromised due to base issues, it can lead to cracking from the pressure.

Any major changes to cabinetry or layouts after installation also risks damaging quartz seams and integrity. Have cabinets/supports inspected to ensure they can accommodate new quartz if undertaking a remodel.

Normal Thermal Expansion

Quartz does experience a small degree of natural thermal expansion and contraction as temperatures fluctuate, mostly during seasonal changes. Usually this normal movement will not affect properly installed countertops.

But if quartz is unsecured or constrained at seams/edges, over many years the repetitive expansion and contraction could potentially lead to minor surface cracks. Ensuring the countertop has room for natural minor movement reduces this risk.

How to Prevent Quartz Cracks

Follow these best practices to minimize the risk of your quartz countertops developing cracks:

  • Carefully check seams where quartz slabs join for any gaps, lippage, or height differences. Seal gaps properly.
  • Use adhesives specifically designed for bonding quartz. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for full curing time.
  • Support overhangs, corners, joints etc. with additional framework as needed.
  • Select thick 3 cm slabs and reputable quartz brands for maximum crack resistance.
  • Allow space between quartz and walls/edges for natural thermal expansion. Never constrain movement.
  • Always use heat trivets, hot pads, and insulated backing for heat sources. Avoid direct high heat on countertop.
  • Immediately wipe up spills, particularly hot liquids. Repeated hot spills in one area can damage quartz.
  • Handle heavy objects carefully around quartz to prevent concentrated impact blows.
  • Inspect cabinets/supports to ensure they are level and sufficient for new quartz installation.
  • Hire only experienced, specialized quartz installers. Ask about cracking warranties.

What To Do If Your Quartz Countertop Cracks

Quartz cracks are rare, but can happen in some situations. Here are some options if you notice a crack developing:

  • For minor hairline cracks under 1 mm, use a coloring agent like a permanent marker to camouflage it.
  • Small cracks up to 3 mm wide can be filled with a quartz repair kit containing colored epoxy filler.
  • Larger cracks may require professional repair by cutting out and patching the damaged section. This avoids full replacement.
  • If cracks are severe enough, a full quartz countertop replacement may be necessary. Review warranty terms.
  • Identify the cause of cracking and address any underlying issues before installing new quartz.
  • Consider adding brackets, supports, or backsplashes during reinstallation to reinforce vulnerable areas.

Do Quartz Countertop Warranties Cover Cracking?

Most major quartz manufacturers provide limited warranties to the original owner against certain manufacturing defects. Warranty periods range from 10 years to lifetime, depending on the brand.

Whether cracks are covered depends on the warranty terms:

  • Many warranties only cover defects present at time of installation, not later damage from cracking.
  • Cracks clearly caused by installation errors, improper use, underlying structural issues etc. are not covered.
  • Some warranties may provide partial coverage for cracks up to a certain size threshold, such as 3 mm wide.
  • Damage from excessive impact or force is generally excluded from coverage.
  • Coverage for crack repairs vs full replacement varies by brand. Read warranty details carefully.
  • Warranties for DIY quartz versus professionally installed are often different.

To receive benefits for any cracks that do qualify, you will need to submit a claim with proof of purchase and documentation of the damage. Be sure to understand what scenarios the warranty protects against before assuming cracks will be covered.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cracks in Quartz Countertops

Can you repair cracked quartz countertops?

Minor cracks in quartz less than 3 mm wide can often be repaired through expert filling with color-matched epoxy resin. More severe cracks usually require replacing sections of the countertop or a full replacement.

Do quartz countertops crack around the sink?

Cracks around sinks are possible but preventable. Make sure sinks are fully supported, the cutout does not constrain quartz movement, and no seams intersect near the sink. Take care not to bang heavy pots/pans near the sink.

What causes cracks in quartz?

The main causes of quartz cracks are poor installation, insufficient structural support, excessive impacts, extreme heat exposure, major foundation/cabinet changes, and low-quality quartz material. Thermal expansion can also contribute over many years.

Should I be concerned about cracks in new quartz?

It’s natural to worry about cracks developing in a new install. But if reputable materials are used and properly installed, the risks are very low. Inspect closely for any manufacturing defects right away. Later cracks usually stem from external factors.

Can quartz cracking be prevented?

Proper installation and care practices minimize the chance of quartz cracks. Using heat pads, allowing space for movement, avoiding thin slabs/unsupported overhangs, and hiring experienced installers greatly reduce risks. But some chance of cracks still exists with any material.

How long does it take for quartz countertops to crack?

Quartz cracks can develop any time from installation onward, but often take repeated factors like long-term heat or weight stress. Minor cracks within the first 1-2 years point to installation issues. Most cracking related to natural movement occurs over many years.

Should I get 3cm or 2cm quartz?

3cm (1 1/4 inch) quartz provides the best crack prevention for floors/countertops. 2cm (3/4 inch) is the minimum recommended, but provides less strength. Go with 3cm for heavy use areas, longer spans, or where support underneath is limited.

What thickness is best for a quartz countertop?

The ideal thickness for nearly all quartz countertops is 3cm or 1 1/4 inches. This provides enhanced durability and crack resistance compared to the 2cm minimum. Go with 3cm slabs unless you have tight space constraints or need to match existing thinner counters.

Can you put heavy appliances on quartz?

Quartz can support most heavy appliances. But concentrated weight pressing on a small, unsupported section could potentially cause cracks over time. Use fixtures or supports under large appliances, and handle them carefully when moving across the counters.

Key Takeaways: Will Quartz Countertops Crack?

  • Engineered quartz countertops are highly resistant to cracks due to their durable composition. But cracks are still possible under certain conditions.
  • Major causes of quartz cracking include poor installation, thin slabs, low quality quartz, excessive impacts, and extreme heat exposure over time.
  • Selecting reputable quartz brands, 3cm thick slabs, experienced installers, and preventing heavy impacts minimizes the risks.
  • Small cracks can often be repaired, but larger cracks may require a professional patch job or partial/full quartz replacement.
  • Quartz warranties may provide some coverage for manufacturing defects causing cracks, but usually exclude damage from external factors.
  • With proper care and maintenance, quality quartz should remain resilient for many years before any cracks potentially begin developing naturally over time.