What's more expensive: granite or quartz? The answer is quartz, and quartz countertops, made from crushed quartz and resin binders, are less porous and offer better waterproofing than granite, reducing the need to seal the material and reducing maintenance requirements. What's more, quartz is an attractive material that highlights any kitchen or bathroom.
What's Involved With Installation?
Installing quartz countertops yourself is a simple process requiring little more than cutting the counter to fit and then gluing it into place. No special installation tools, other than a circular saw, are necessary. For most DIY homeowners, this means a project that you can complete in a single afternoon, enabling you to enjoy your new countertop the very next day.
Preparing Cabinets for Quartz Countertops
If you're replacing an existing countertop, it's important to remove all glue residue from the top edges of the cabinet structure. You can usually do this with a stiff putty knife, but you may need a hammer and chisel in some instances. Take this opportunity to make sure the cabinet is level; it's more difficult to do this after the countertop has been installed.
How to Install Quartz Countertops
Step 1: Purchase the Countertop
Measure the space where you intend to install the countertop with a measuring tape. Subtract from the width of the space the size of the countertop backsplash. Purchase your quartz slab to fit as closely to the measurements as possible. You can cut quartz with a circular saw and diamond blade, as suggested by BuildDirect, but it's best to avoid cutting more than necessary.
Step 2: Mark the Countertop for Cutting
Test fit the countertop to the measured space by placing the counter on top of the cabinets that you're covering. Leave space at the rear to allow for the mounting of the backsplash. If cutting is necessary to make the counter fit the space, then mark a cutting line along the face of the countertop.
Place a strip of painter's tape centered on the cutting line across the surface of your countertop; then mark the cutting line onto the tape using a grease pencil. Remove the countertop from the cabinets and place on a sawhorse for cutting. Spray the tape along the cutting line with water to cool the saw blade.
Step 3: Cut With a Circular Saw
Put on a pair of work gloves and safety goggles to protect yourself from flying quartz chips. Use a circular saw with a diamond blade attached to cut the quartz. Start the cut from the edge of the countertop, pushing the blade along the line slowly with minimal force. Allow the blade to do the work of cutting through the quartz for you.
Keep the surface of the countertop wet by spraying it with the water as you go along until you've finished the cut you need. Check the fit again to make sure the cut was correct and then remove the rest of the painter's tape. Wipe the surface with a damp cloth to remove any residue created from cutting.
Step 4: Affix the Backsplash to the Wall
Mount the backsplash to the wall using construction adhesive brushed onto the back of the backsplash with a paintbrush. Check the level of the backsplash with a carpenter's level and make any adjustments necessary.
Step 5: Mount the Countertop
Apply a layer of the construction adhesive to the tops of the cabinets where the countertop will lie and along the rear of the countertop where it presses against the backsplash. Center the countertop over the cabinet and drop it down. You may have to adjust its position to get it to sit flush against the backsplash, but slide it as little as possible.
Fill the seams between the backsplash and the countertop with silicone caulk and then wait overnight for the caulk and adhesive to dry.
Larry Simmons is a freelance writer and expert in the fusion of computer technology and business. He has a B.S. in economics, an M.S. in information systems, an M.S. in communications technology, as well as significant work towards an M.B.A. in finance. He's published several hundred articles with Demand Studios.