Quartz countertops have become an increasingly popular choice for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects in recent years. Often touted for their durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance, quartz counters are here to stay. However, some homeowners may be concerned about potential fading of these surfaces over time. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll examine whether quartz countertops will fade and what you need to know to keep them looking their best.
What is Quartz?
Before we dive into the fading question, let’s briefly go over what exactly quartz countertops are made of. Quartz is an engineered stone created from natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The exact ratio can vary between brand and color, but high-quality quartz typically contains over 90% ground quartz along with 7-10% polymer resins and pigments.
This combination results in a durable, non-porous material that can be fabricated into beautiful countertops, backsplashes, vanities, and more. The resins allow the material to be molded into desired shapes, while the quartz crystals give an attractive, stone-like appearance. The pigments introduce color variations to achieve different styles from light whites to bold blues.
Will Quartz Countertops Actually Fade?
With that background in mind, the main question remains: will the colors in quartz fade over time? The short answer is: minimal fading is expected in quality quartz surfaces with proper care and maintenance.
The resins and pigments used in quality quartz are designed to be colorfast and UV-stable. This means the materials are formulated to resist fading and discoloration under normal indoor conditions. With reputable brands like Caesarstone, Cambria, and Silestone, significant fading is not typical or expected.
However, this doesn’t mean quartz surfaces are impervious to any color change. Minimal fading is possible over an extended period of time. Exact timeframes vary, but color change may become noticeable after 5-10 years in some cases. Here are factors that contribute:
- Sunlight Exposure: Direct, prolonged sun exposure is the primary cause of fading in quartz counters. UV rays can break down the material’s resin binders and pigments. Sitting in front of a sunny window increases fading risk.
- Quality of Material: Lower quality or outdated materials may be more prone to fading. Opt for an reputable brand using the latest resin technology.
- Darker Colors: Bold darker colors containing more pigment tend to fade faster than lighter, more natural quartz patterns.
- High-Traffic Areas: Counters in heavily used kitchen workstations may show more wear over time.
With proper selection, care, and maintenance, significant fading should not occur. Any color change is gradual, mild, and to be expected after many years of heavy use.
Tips to Prevent Fading of Quartz Countertops
While quartz color change is minimal under normal conditions, you can take steps to further reduce any risk of fading or discoloration:
- Avoid Direct Sunlight: Don’t allow sunlight to beam directly onto quartz surfaces for extended periods. Use window treatments to control exposure.
- Quickly Clean Up Spills: Thoroughly cleaning up food and liquids as soon as possible prevents staining risks.
- Use Cutting Boards: Refrain from cutting directly on quartz. Use boards to protect the surface.
- Clean with PH-Neutral Cleaners: Only use non-abrasive cleaners designed for stone surfaces. Avoid harsh chemicals.
- Reapply Sealer: Sealing quartz every 1-2 years ensures optimal stain protection.
- Professional Maintenance: Periodic professional honing/polishing keeps quartz shining like new.
With conscientious care, high-quality quartz should maintain its luxurious appearance and color integrity for decades in the home. Be sure to discuss manufacturer warranty coverage related to excessive fading with your countertop provider.
Signs of Fading in Quartz Countertops
Quartz fading happens gradually over time, so you may not notice it right away. Here are some subtle signs that color change is occurring:
- Counters appear slightly duller or cloudier
- Dark spots develop, especially in high-traffic areas
- Whites take on a yellowish tint
- Bright colors look a bit muted
- Noticeable line where countertop meets window
- Polished finish loses some luster
Minor fading like this is common after 5+ years and does not necessarily indicate a defective product. But more severe fading or spotting within the first 1-2 years may signal something is wrong. Inspect closely under lighting to determine if color variation falls within normal aging or points to a bigger issue needing resolution.
Does Fading Affect Durability?
An important question surrounding quartz fading is whether it impacts durability. The good news is that mild fading from normal aging does NOT affect strength or function. It is primarily an aesthetic concern.
Quartz remains extremely durable even after some minor pigment fading. The quartz crystals and resin maintain structural integrity to resist chips, cracks, stains, and etches. You don’t need to worry about durability being compromised by typical color change over time.
With that said, it’s still smart to address any excessive fading or spotting issues that occur earlier than expected. Though not a safety hazard, allowing significant fading can detract from appearance and enjoyment of your investment. Consult your installation company promptly about potential manufacturer defects requiring remedy if this occurs.
How to Restore Faded Quartz Countertops
If your quartz counters end up showing more color change than desired after years of use, all hope is not lost. You have a few options to try restoring faded areas or even altering color:
The most effective approach is having countertops professionally honed and polished. This levels out the surface to remove etches and scratches that cause dullness. It also opens up the stone to accept a fresh round of sealing for renewed stain protection. Resurfacing can successfully minimize the appearance of fading.
Reapplication of Sealer
A simpler DIY first step is applying sealers made specifically for quartz. Quality sealers can enhance color and sheen between professional treatments. Be sure to use penetrating sealers formulated for stone rather than topical acrylics.
If aiming to change color more significantly, quartz dye kits are available. This allows you to shift light countertops to a darker tone. However, dyeing to achieve a lighter color is challenging. Completely resurfacing and repolishing may be better for lightening darkened counters.
For severe fading affecting large sections of countertop, replacement may ultimately make the most sense. Fortunately, small-scale local repairs are often feasible if the fading is contained to high-wear zones. Your installer can advise you on options.
With the right care, refreshed sealing, and occasional maintenance, your quartz surfaces can maintain their aesthetic appeal and function for many years before replacement is necessitated. Be attentive to any changes in appearance, avoid excessive sunlight exposure, and follow manufacturer recommendations. With a quality installation, major fading should not be a concern during your countertop’s lifetime.
Here are answers to some common questions surrounding potential fading issues with quartz countertops:
Does Quartz Fade in Sunlight?
Direct sunlight exposure can contribute to fading of quartz counters over time. UV rays break down pigments, especially in lighter colors. Keeping quartz out of prolonged sun can help minimize fading risk.
Do White Quartz Countertops Turn Yellow?
It is possible for white quartz to develop a yellowish tint after many years. Natural mineral content plays a role. Keeping surfaces sealed and professionally maintained helps whites stay bright.
What Causes Spots on Quartz?
Dark spots can form from spills becoming ingrained before cleanup. Metal marks from cookware or sinks can also occur. Proper sealing and avoiding direct sunlight helps prevent spotting.
What’s Better for Avoiding Fading: Matte or Glossy Finish?
Glossy polished quartz best resists fading and yellowing. The shinier finish allows grime to slide off while matte is more prone to holding dirt that can cause gradual color change.
Will Removing Sealer Cause Quartz to Fade?
No, striping off old sealer will not directly cause fading. But allowing quartz to remain unsealed for prolonged periods makes it vulnerable to staining and sunlight damage which lead to fading.
How Long Until Quartz Countertops Lose Their Shine?
With proper care, quartz can retain its polished sheen for many years. But around the 5-7 year mark, dulling becomes more noticeable. Professional restoration services can successfully renew gloss and color.
While no material is totally immune to aging, high-quality quartz countertops are designed to resist significant fading and discoloration for the long haul. Choosing reputable brands, keeping surfaces sealed, avoiding direct sunlight, and prompt cleaning of spills allows you to enjoy vibrant quartz surfaces for decades. With periodic professional maintenance to remove etching and restore sheen, visible color change should remain minimal.
For homeowners seeking stylish, low maintenance, and durable countertops, quartz remains a top choice that won’t easily fade. Pay attention for any spotting or dullness that develops, and be sure to contact your installer if you notice fading that seems premature or excessive. With reasonable care and periodic upkeep, quartz counters will stay looking radiant in your home.