Quartz Countertops: The Ultimate Buying Guide, Costs, and Care

Quartz countertops are one of the most popular choices for kitchen and bathroom remodels today. With their durable, low-maintenance, and stylish nature, it’s easy to see why quartz has become such a coveted material. This comprehensive guide will provide you with everything you need to know about quartz countertops, including a buying guide, average costs, care and maintenance tips, FAQs, and more.

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 makes up 90-94% of the material, while resins act as a binder and pigments add color.

The resins make quartz non-porous, so it does not need to be sealed. The quartz crystals make it incredibly hard and durable. In fact, quartz is one of the hardest natural materials on Earth, even harder than granite.

This combination of traits makes quartz an ideal material for busy kitchens and bathrooms. Quartz countertops are stain-resistant, scratch-resistant, heat-resistant, and water-resistant. They are also available in a wide array of colors and patterns to suit any design style.

Quartz Countertop Buying Considerations

There are a few key factors to consider when shopping for quartz countertops:


  • One of the best aspects of quartz is the vast array of styles and colors available. Quartz can realistically mimic patterns like marble, granite, and concrete. There are also solid color options.
  • Determine the overall look you want to achieve and choose a color and pattern that aligns. neutrals like white and gray are versatile. Bold colors like blue create a statement.
  • View quartz slabs in person before finalizing, as color variations are common.


  • Opt for quartz from reputable brand name manufacturers like Caesarstone, Silestone, Cambria, or MSI. They will offer the best quality.
  • High quality quartz is more resistant to damage. Low quality or cheaper quartz is prone to chipping.
  • A good warranty (10 years +) signifies a manufacturer’s faith in their product quality.


  • Standard quartz thickness is 3/4 inch (2 cm). Go with the thickest option possible, ideally 1 1/4 inches (3 cm) or more.
  • Thicker quartz is more durable and can better withstand impact. It resists warping or cracking over time.
  • Thicker material is best for heavily used surfaces like kitchen workstations.


  • Quartz must be cut and installed by a professional fabricator, so factor this into costs.
  • Choose an experienced local fabricator that comes highly reviewed. Visit their workshop to view finished work.
  • A quality fabricator will guarantee their fabrication and installation workmanship.


  • Consider how your space will be used. What tasks will be performed and what type of wear-and-tear is expected? This guides what thickness and colors work best.
  • Neutral solid colors can hide signs of use over time in busy kitchens.
  • Just because a store displays a sample does not mean that color/pattern is ideal functionally. Consult a design professional.

By keeping these factors in mind when selecting quartz, you can identify the best product for your space and needs. Do not compromise on quality – higher quality quartz will pay off in durability and longevity.

Average Costs of Quartz Countertops

Quartz is priced within the mid-to-upper tier of countertop materials. Here is a breakdown of average installed costs:

  • Quartz Countertops: $80 – $120 per square foot installed
  • Granite Countertops: $60 – $100 per square foot installed
  • Marble Countertops: $70 – $150 per square foot installed
  • Soapstone Countertops: $70 – $100 per square foot installed
  • Stainless Steel Countertops: $100 – $200 per square foot installed
  • Butcher Block Countertops: $30 – $70 per square foot installed
  • Laminate Countertops: $10 – $35 per square foot installed

The cost depends on several factors:

  • Pattern: Basic solid colors are the most affordable options. Patterns like marble-look and bold designs cost more.
  • Color: Whites and neutrals are typically cheapest. Vivid colors like reds and blues are more expensive.
  • Thickness: Standard 3/4 inch slabs cost less than the thicker 1 1/4+ inch options.
  • Fabrication: Simple cut-out shapes are cheaper vs detailed edge work and built-in accents.
  • Finishes: Any applied finishes like distressed details or polished finishes add cost.
  • Area Labor Rates: Material and installation costs vary regionally.

Always get an itemized quote from fabricators. Be sure it separates material costs per square foot and fabrication/installation labor costs including any travel fees. Most importantly, verify what is covered by warranties.

While quartz is an investment, the durability and longevity make it worth the cost for many homeowners. Proper care also helps quartz countertops retain their beauty for decades.

How to Care for Quartz Countertops

Caring for quartz is simple compared to other natural stone materials. Here are tips to keep quartz counters looking like new:

  • Quartz resists most stains, but wipe up spills quickly to prevent deep-set staining, especially from oils.
  • Use a mild soap and warm water to clean. Avoid abrasive cleaners.
  • Disinfect with a diluted bleach cleaner if desired. Quartz can handle bleaches without discoloration.
  • For stubborn residue, use a non-abrasive baking soda and water paste.
  • Annual resealing is unnecessary, but a quartz sealer can add extra protection.
  • Avoid exposing quartz to strong chemicals like paint removers, oven cleaners, etc. They can damage the resin.
  • Quartz is generally heat-resistant, but use trivets to avoid direct heat exposure from pots/pans.
  • While durable, quartz can chip under extreme impact. Handle heavy objects carefully.
  • Regularly wipe down quartz with a quartz polish/cleaner to keep the vibrant glossy sheen.
  • Check manufacturer guidelines for any specific maintenance recommendations.

With routine care, quartz countertops will stay looking fresh, clean, and damage-free for many years before refinishing or replacement is needed. The durability and low maintenance make quartz a practical yet stylish countertop material.

FAQs About Quartz Countertops

Is quartz better than granite?

Quartz and granite each have their own pros and cons. Key differences:

  • Appearance: Granite has a natural patina with more variation. Quartz offers more consistent coloring.
  • Durability: Quartz is harder than granite and very scratch resistant. Granite can develop nicks over time.
  • Maintenance: Quartz requires practically no maintenance. Granite needs annual sealing.
  • Cost: Quartz is typically pricier than granite on average. Granite is often seen as the more “luxurious” material.
  • Heat Tolerance: Quartz can withstand some heat exposure. Granite is more prone to potential burning.

For most homeowners, quartz offers the easier care and maintenance plus greater durability. But some still favor the prestige and natural beauty of granite.

How long do quartz countertops last?

With proper care and maintenance, quartz countertops can realistically last 20-25 years or longer before needing replacement. The quartz itself does not degrade or wear out over time. The resin binders can eventually break down after decades of use. But quartz will likely outlast lower quality materials like laminate by many years.

Can you cut on quartz counters?

Quartz is very durable, but to prevent damage over time it is still best to use a cutting board for chopping, slicing, or dicing. The impact of cutting directly on the surface repeatedly in the same spot could eventually result in nicks and scratches. But the occasional slice or cut directly on quartz won’t immediately damage the material.

Do quartz countertops stain?

Quartz has excellent stain resistance properties and does not easily stain like marble or other natural stone. However, prolonged exposure to strongly pigmented substances like wine, coffee, oils, or sauces could potentially cause some discoloration over time without prompt cleaning. But routine maintenance and wiping up spills prevents most staining.

Do you need to seal quartz counters?

Sealing is not necessary for quartz since it is non-porous. In fact, topical sealants only serve an aesthetic purpose on quartz rather than offering protection. The resin makes quartz already water resistant. Some homeowners opt to use quartz sealers regularly to enhance the glossiness and work against etching. But sealers aren’t required to prevent damage or wear.

Is quartz toxic?

Quartz surfaces contain natural quartz plus resin adhesives. When properly manufactured, quartz countertops are considered food-safe and non-toxic with zero health risks. They are commonly used in commercial spaces as well as homes without posing harm. Quartz emits extremely low levels of VOCs, comparable to other building materials. There are zero carcinogenic risks associated with quartz.


With the right selection, care, and maintenance, quartz countertops offer durability, functionality, and beauty all in one low-maintenance package. For homeowners seeking stylish, fuss-free counters that will last for decades, quartz is likely the ideal choice over materials like granite, marble, or laminate. While the investment cost is higher upfront, quartz ultimately saves money long-term with fewer repairs or replacements needed down the road. By following this quartz countertop buying guide, you can make the most informed decision for your next kitchen or bath remodel.