When performing the home renovation of your dreams, it is completely natural to desire the most durable and dependable materials on the market. Quartz is one such material. Typically quartz not only comes in a dazzling selection of colors and styles but countertops made of engineered quartz share a few advantages over natural stones like marble or granite.
Such natural stone surfaces need to be sealed and resurfaced regularly to maintain their quality and beauty. Do quartz countertops, on the other hand, require such maintenance? And how are quartz countertops best treated to help them last?
The True Purpose for Sealing a Countertop
Sealing a stone countertop means providing the counter with a clear resin coating to protect the natural material from deterioration and staining. Without a dependable seal, stone can be easily discolored, marred, and even weakened by any chemicals that may touch it (including any cleaning solutions you may use).
In truth, one of quartz’s primary advantages over marble, granite, and slate is that they do not need to be sealed or resurfaced. This is due to the materials used in their manufacture: quartz countertops are roughly 93% natural stone and 7% resins and polymers (or somewhere in the vicinity). In essence, the “sealing” is already built-in. This makes quartz countertops fully non-porous and quite a bit more flexible than their 100% stone counterparts.
Some companies will offer to “seal” their quartz countertops. We recommend against this, as there is little point to spending the extra money. Worse, side effects tend to arise, including:
- As quartz is non-porous, any added sealant will likely not adhere to the surface, leading to flaking or sticky edges.
- Improperly applied sealants can leave an unsafe film on the surface, which can lead to obvious safety hazards.
- Quartz is different from natural stone, and sealants made for natural stone will not work properly. If used, it may cause your quartz countertop’s natural resistance to stains to deteriorate sooner.
Will Certain Chemicals Harm a Quartz Countertop?
While quartz is a very tough and long-lasting material, it is not completely impenetrable to the effects of certain chemicals. Avoid the following chemicals when treating or cleaning your quartz countertop:
- Any form of oxidizers, including bleach and vinegar. Chemicals with chlorine bases and cleaners that include sodium should not be used on quartz, as these can erode the stone surface, leaving microscopic pitting and cracks that can gather germs and other contaminants.
- Chemicals with “free radicals” should never be allowed to contact a quartz countertop, as the silica present in the quartz will react and begin to deteriorate.
- Contact with concentrated cleaning chemicals should be avoided (such as concentrated alkaline cleansers).
An important thing to keep in mind with quartz countertops (or any stone countertop material) is that staining is still possible. While the non-porous nature of quartz provides a good deal of protection, spills should be cleaned up with a clean cloth and gentle dish soap as soon as possible. Liquids high in acidity, for example, such as tomato juice and citrus of any kind, should be cleaned immediately lest staining or deterioration occur.
How to Protect Your Countertop’s Natural Seal
Here are some useful tips to help your home’s quartz countertops last longer.
- Don’t Use Abrasive Scrubs When Cleaning
Quartz is naturally resistant to staining and erosion, but it is possible to score and erode the smooth surface. When cleaning quartz, avoid using steel wool or hard-bristle brushes. You should also avoid using abrasive powders and cleaners, as scratching can result. Besides becoming less appealing to look at, a scratched and chipped quartz surface will also be more difficult to clean in the future.
- Simply Soak and Disinfect
If your countertop has a particularly hard and caked-on mess, resist the urge to scrape off the mess with a tool or abrasive. Instead, allow a gentle cleanser to soak through and loosen it before cleaning it off. You can also use warm water and hand soap. Afterward, simply use an alcohol-based disinfecting wipe. We also recommend using a mixture of two-parts isopropyl alcohol and one-part water for the perfect clean.
- Avoid Stains From These Everyday Materials
The following materials can etch and disintegrate either the resins or the silica present in your quartz countertops and should be avoided and/or cleaned up immediately:
- Paint remover
- Silver polish
- Nail polish remover
- Oil-based soaps and cleansers
- Oil-based paint
If nail polish is accidentally spilled on a quartz sink counter, use water-diluted vinegar and baking soda to help clean things up.
- Use Hot Pads and Cutting Boards
Quartz countertops are pretty tough and heat-resistant, but the binding resins present in the material means it can still discolor and burn under high temperatures. On average, resin can withstand up to 150° F without effect; any hotter, and you may begin to see problems. When in doubt, use hot pads and trivets to protect your counters from hot pots and pans, and especially from pressure cookers, deep fryers, and air fryers.
Finally, although it may be tempting to use your durable quartz countertop directly as a cutting surface, keep in mind that it is still possible to scratch it, mar it, and even break it. Always use a dependable cutting board when cutting vegetables, fruit, or fish (it will keep things more sanitary as well).
Choose Whitewater Kitchen and Bath for World-Class Quartz Countertop Installation in Salt Lake City, Utah
If you are currently building or remodeling your ideal home, let Whitewater Kitchen and Bath help design and install the kitchen and bathroom counters of your dreams! With a custom design studio and hundreds of different colors, textures, and materials to choose from, Whitewater Inc. has something for everybody. Contact us for a free bid, or visit one of our showrooms today in one of our two Utah locations!