Problems With Quartz Countertops: Read This Before You Buy

Date: April 24, 2020
Author: Jon Smith
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Thankfully you have a resource like CountertopAdvisor.com to lead you in the best direction and to educate you on the problems you may have with quartz countertops. Continue reading this if you have been considering the purchase of quartz countertops. You must educate yourself first.

Quartz countertops are relatively new, but they have a loyal group of customers because of their great qualities. The wide range of colors and patterns and their durability are all appealing. But, these beautiful slabs of quartz come with their own issues or problems. Poor manufacturing, hard to remove stains, cracking, and fading of colors are all something new owners of quartz countertops have to contend with. These issues can be frustrating and ruin the experience of purchasing the countertops in the first place.

However, there is a ray of sunshine. The most prominent issues have solutions. Where there are no solutions, there are preventive steps to keep your countertops looking new. Read on to the following quartz problems, and how you could fix, or even prevent them from happening.

Price Issue

Deciding to install quartz countertops is not something to be chosen lightly. They are expensive and require training to install. On average, a high-quality quartz slab is around $125 per square foot to install and purchase. If modifications need to be made, the cost will only go up. For example, sink cutouts, special edging, and other enhancements add complexity and cost. To estimate the cost of countertop installation, you need to know the square footage and the countertop space. If a homeowner wanted a 25 square foot countertop, it would cost them between $2,500 and $4,000, depending on the materials they want and installation fees.

Installers carry out a number of modifications during installation. Some of these modifications are:

  • Fabrication - Professionals cut and smooth the slab to the needed shape and size. The measurements are very precise, and the more complicated the shape of the slab, the pricier it could be. This step of the installation process is highly important. It can and will look odd, or not fit the countertop correctly if this step is not done right.
  • Adding Supports - Areas that need extra support, or do not have cabinets will need it installed. That reduces the risk of the countertops breaking or cracking. This involves adding extra wooden beams to the wall or securing them to close by cabinets.
  • Leveling - This is an important part of the installation. Installers can raise or lower the level of cabinets as needed. This lowers the risk of the countertops cracking and makes sure it is all smooth and level.

The price of installation is for good reason. Don't fall for a contractor who promises high-quality materials and a low price.

Discoloration Problems

Nobody wants to see it. The appearance of staining, dullness or discoloration is something no owner of a quartz countertop ever wants to see. Sometimes it could be assumed that the sealant was incorrectly applied and resulted in damage to the quartz countertops. The first reaction might be to call the installer of the countertop and complain. Sometimes the stains can be removed and the discoloration will only be on the surface of the countertops.

The most common reasons for discoloration to quartz are:

  • White spots from harsh cleaners - Unfortunately, this is permanent. There is no solution to fix the marks left behind from chemical cleaners.
  • Soap Buildup - Residue from soap often remains on cleaned surfaces and requires rinsing and wiping with water to remove it. To figure out if it is soap residue look at if the surface is oily, streaky, or dull. If it can be scratched off or rubbed off with a cloth, it is most likely soap residue. To avoid this happening, use soap in moderation and completely wipe the surface clean. It is important to completely remove soap residue before it dries; afterward, it can become even harder to remove. The use of denatured alcohol is great for cleaning quartz. Be sure to mix it half and half with water.
  • Hard Water - If your water source comes from a well, hard water is probably familiar. Because of the iron, calcium, and magnesium in the water, it leaves deposits on the quartz. These spots are like the ones that appear on showers. Hard water deposits are ugly and difficult to remove. In fact, it is often so hard, that sometimes people believe that their countertops are permanently damaged. Removing hard water deposits can be removed with some hard work. There are cleaning products made just for this situation. However, it is important to choose a product that is safe to use on quartz countertops. An often suggested solution, Ammonia, is one of the worst things that could be put on quartz. It would certainly damage the countertop. To prevent this from happening at all, make sure to wipe up the hard water before it has the chance to dry.
  • Color fading from exposure to sunlight - This issue is mostly to be worried about when installing quartz in an outdoor setting. There is little to worry about with indoor quartz countertops, as they are UV resistant. However, outdoors, the sunlight can be much harsher. Fading will result, with darker quartz being especially prone to this.
  • Manufacturing defects - These can appear as lines, rough spots, white spots, or other irregularities in the color or pattern of the quartz. These defects cannot be fixed and the manufacturer or installer will have to be approached.

Heat or Burns Issues

Quartz countertops are heat and burn resistant, but only to a certain point. Most quartz countertops can theoretically handle up to 400 degrees F. But, by subjecting the countertop to a swift change in temperature, they could crack.

Another scenario is if you have removed a hot pot from the stove-top. You cannot set down the pot directly onto the quartz countertop. The resin that was used to form the countertop is not as heat resistant as quartz. If you place a hot pan onto the quartz, the resin will burn or scorch. The result is a mark and damage that cannot be fixed.

To avoid this, always use a pad to keep the heat away from the surface of the countertop. Make sure to use one that is safe for cooking, as it will be thick and durable enough to withstand the heat and keep your countertop safe. Unfortunately, quartz has a tendency to yellow or discolor in areas often used to set down hot items like a pot or pan. It may not happen the first few times but this is a quartz problem you should be aware of.

Seams Pose a Problem (Sometimes)

Seams can cause you to have problems with quartz. They look ugly and ruin the appearance of countertops if done incorrectly.

They are formed when two slabs of quartz are put together to make one large piece. No matter how much we would want seams to not exist, it simply isn't possible for them not to. There is little chance that the perfect slab for your kitchen exists without the need for other slabs to be added on.

Even though seams may have to exist, they don't have to be ugly. Professional installers will seamlessly knit the two slabs together and the resulting seam should be barely noticeable from about 5 feet away. You will likely always feel or see your seams.

Professional countertop providers should always try to find the best possible seam placement. Also, seams don't harm the quartz and have no effect on the longevity of the countertop. If done correctly, the seams would be tight and durable.

Even though seams cannot ever be removed, they can still be unnoticeable. The choice of quartz matters when considering seams. Different colors and patterns will show seams more. Lighter colors are more prone to this, while darker colors are not as susceptible. The pattern matters as well. If you desire light-colored quartz, choose one with a smaller pattern. If it is darker quartz, pick one with more patterns.

Not DIY Friendly

Quartz countertops are not a reasonable project to take on yourself. Unless you have the tools to accurately measure the slab perfectly and a high budget, DIY is not recommended. Even slabs you can pre-purchase are not the best solution, because most homeowners do not have the tools needed to cut them down to the needed size. The sheer weight of the slabs also poses a problem. Moving a large one on your own is not feasible, as they can weigh hundreds of pounds. If you make a mistake cutting the slab, or crack it during transport, there is nobody to blame except yourself.

It is always better to hire an expert who is experienced with quartz countertops. They can take care of the entire process from beginning to end and remove most of the stress. They have the tools and experience to cut countertops precisely. They have a team of workers who can safely transport the slabs without risk of damaging them.

It may be stressful to choose a great contractor, but it will be a lot less pressure on you to do a good job. Quartz countertops are an investment and it is important to know that they will turn out great.

Do Quartz Countertops Stain

Yes. Unfortunately, quartz countertops can stain. No matter how much we wish it to not be true, the expensive investment of quartz countertops can be ruined with a spill or misuse of cleaning products. Being careful to use the correct cleaning materials on quartz countertops is a mistake many people make.

Once a quartz countertop is stained, it can be extremely difficult, or impossible to remove the spot, depending on what the stain was caused by. Many different surfaces have the same issue, but because of the high price tag attached to these countertops, keeping them clean is an important issue. Even though they can stain, quartz countertops are reasonably resistant to doing so. However, it is still up to you to keep them clean. Spilled drinks, food scraps, and other substances have the chance to stain quartz countertops.

It can be easy to say, “I’ll clean it up later” or “I’m too busy.” But by doing so, you run the risk of forever staining the countertops and ruining their clean look. To keep your countertops looking like the day they were installed, make sure to promptly clean up any messes. It is important for quartz countertop owners to take good care of them.

Quartz is resistant to heat, but if the temperature gets too high, you can damage your quartz countertop. The reason is in the resin. A quartz countertop is an engineered surface. Natural quartz material is combined with a special resin (epoxy glue) to form a countertop. A quartz countertop is made up of nearly 93% quartz with the rest being the resin and pigments. The resin can only withstand temperatures of around 150 degrees. That means if you are taking a pan out of your oven or a hot pot from your stove, you cannot set it down directly on your quartz countertop. The resin will burn and may cause permanent damage. The way to avoid burning your countertop is simple. All you need to do is set hot objects on a hot pad or a metal trivet. This removes the risk of burning your countertop.

Removing Stains

So, what happens if the worst occurs and your quartz countertop acquires a stain? There are some solutions in the form of various cleaning products. Which one to use depends on the type of stain and the size. Unfortunately, some stains and spots cannot be removed. Some can be cleaned but will leave behind a discolored area. Areas stained by certain chemicals will always have a bleached spot.

  • Glass Cleaner - For easier stains, store-bought glass cleaner and a scrub pad can work. The stains must be small, and only surface level for this method to work. It is important that the scrub pad be non-abrasive. That will reduce the risk that the surface of the quartz is damaged while scrubbing.
  • Diluted Bleach - By mixing one part bleach and eight parts of water, diluted bleach can be used to remove some stains. However, this method is risky and may cause damage to the quartz.
  • Magic Eraser - This method can work. However, be careful and test it out on small areas of the countertop first. It may cause further damage to the countertop because it is abrasive.

There is no easy method to remove stains. That is why mopping up spills and other food right away is important. Don't say "I'll do it later." Take good care of the investment you made. One trick that I use is getting quartz or granite dust and placing it on a paper towel wet and using it as an abrasive to wipe the countertops if you have a stain or metal transfer mark. This is a useful tip for white quartz countertop owners.

Bad Installers

The quality of installation is a major factor in how quartz countertops will hold up in the years to come. For example, if the countertops were installed in your kitchen, they should be able to withstand years of daily use without cracking.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know which contractor would work the best with your needs. There are many contractors out there that are inexperienced, use poor materials, or are simply malicious. Of course, most companies do want to provide excellent customer experience, but there are those that can and will take advantage of customers who did not do research.

Buying quartz countertops can be exciting, but it is important to go slowly. Take time on each step of the project to make sure everything turns out the way you want it.

Working with a bad installer can be an easy way to ensure you end up with a poorly installed, or broken, countertop. Of course, there are ways to make sure you find a great company to work with. A good installer will attach your countertops the right way.

How To Find A Good Installer

Now you know you want quartz countertops installed in your home. Who do you choose to do the work for you? Should you go with the cheaper option or the more expensive option? Usually, the more expensive countertop providers have better quality. I would always go with a company that has at least a bridge saw but water jet and CNC are the best quality machines to cut quartz countertops with and helps to remove any potential quartz problems.

Ask For Recommendations

Never open a phone book or look on the Internet for a random contractor. There is nothing better than reviews from people you know and trust. Try to find someone who has had countertops installed similar to the ones you would want to purchase. Ask about the quality of the service, the pricing, and how the countertops turned out overall. If you can find multiple reviews from the same place, that would be even better.

Research and More Research

If you don't know anyone with personal experience, turning to an online search engine is the next solution. On there, the list of all countertop installers will be readily available. Make sure to take time and read through every review. The length of time a business has been open can also be telling; the longer they have been around, the more likely it is that they are a reputable company.

Conduct Interviews

Once you have narrowed down the selection of installers to less than five, give them a call. There are many important questions you can ask over the phone that will help you decide which contractor to choose from. Questions such as: How long has your company been installing countertops? How experienced are your employees? How long does the average job take? and when would you be able to start? Are all great, informative questions. Multiple interviews should be conducted so that the best choice can be made.

Get Written Estimates

Written estimates are important. Once you have gone over a few interviews, you can choose to get some written estimates from the companies you liked the most. Of course, they will need to come to your home to make the estimate. They will ask a series of questions like what type of countertop do you want, what color, and so on. By collecting a few estimates, you can make the best choice.

Poor Quality Quartz Brands

There are many different kinds of quartz countertops out there and not all of them are created equal. While there are pristine quartz countertops, there are lower quality options. Quartz countertops that are of low quality could be made with up to 30% synthetic materials. Those countertops are prone to cracking, stain easily, and are overall of poor quality. Some manufacturers and installers could attempt to fool you into believing that these poor quality countertops are made of premium materials at a cheap price. Never believe that. Great quartz is expensive. The poor quality really shows the longer you own it. Usually, higher quality quartz options are made in the USA, Spain, and Brazil.

  • Shade Differences - One of the appealing factors of quartz is the uniform color across its surface. Poor quality quartz lacks that. In the same slab, there could be multiple different colors, which ruins the look. Quartz should be uniform in color.
  • Spots & Smudges - The surface of quartz could be marred by smudges and spots when it is of poor quality. No amount of cleaning or polishing would be able to remove the blemishes.
  • Small Holes - Throughout the quartz small holes could appear on the surface. This ruins the smooth surface and causes rough, or even sharp sections. More could chip off over time, or a part could snap off entirely.
  • Poor Surfaces - Some manufacturers will coat their countertops in resin coats and materials that should not be put on. When those surfaces are used nearby, or with food, it can be harmful.
  • Uneven Thickness - When a quartz slab is uneven in thickness, it can make the installation harder. It also raises the chance for the countertop to break in the thin areas.
  • Resin over Quartz - Sometimes, there will be more resin than quartz in a countertop. The layers and layers of resin have been built up over a thin layer of quartz to give it the appearance people expect.

Any slab with these kinds of defects should not be sold, but often dishonest manufacturers will try to trick buyers into it. Do not be fooled. Always understand that good quartz is not cheap and never will be. This may be one of the biggest purchases you've made for your home and of course, you want it to turn out perfect. If you want to purchase a quality brand quartz then check out our brands of quartz page. We will never recommend anything of poor quality. I have personally worked with every quartz brand I recommend.

If you have had any bad experiences with a countertop company no matter where you are located please do let us know.

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About Jon - Website Owner

Jon Smith

Hi, my name is Jonathan Smith. I have been in the granite business for many years and have worked my way up from an installer helper to an installer and then a countertop business owner. 

I started my countertop company with very little and grew extremely fast because of my knowledge and helpfulness. I started this countertop resource for 1 main reason. That reason is that there are no countertop websites with all the correct information and none of them are from an industry expert like myself. 

I am still in the trade every single day installing countertops, educating people on the type of material they are using for their homes, and making people's dream kitchens a reality.

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