How to Install Quartz Countertops (DIY)

Kitchen

Installation is Easy

DIY Quartz Countertops. Get professional results, no experience necessary.

Quartz Countertops

Engineered in a factory, Quartz countertops are made from ground quartz, polyester resins, and pigments for coloring. The biggest advantage over natural stone products like granite and marble is they never have to be sealed because quartz countertops are nonporous. Installing a quartz countertop is something any DIYer can do themselves. The few specialty tools you’ll need can be purchased for less than the labor cost of a professional install.

Workbench

First thing, build a simple workbench. The design doesn’t much matter as long as it’s sturdy and a little narrower than the quartz slab. This one was made from 2 x 6’s and fastened together with screws.

 

The Quartz Arrives

Now would be a great time to offer a couple of your strongest friends some beer and pizza to come over and help with the heavy lifting. You can purchase a Quartz slabs that are 26” wide by 108” long with the long edge already polished and 36” by 108” with both long edges already polished. Not only does it save lots of your time polishing, a slabs in these sizes are pretty easy for 2 or 3 people to handle. Another advantage of quartz compared to granite is you can haul it lying flat in the back of a pickup, whereas granite should be transported in a vertical position to reduce the risk of breakage.

 

Cut the Quartz

Install a diamond blade in your oldest worm drive Skilsaw and use a straightedge clamping tool guide to cut the slab to length. You’re going to want the overhang on the side to be approximately the same amount as the overhang on the front of the cabinet that you will be installing it on.

 

Cut the Quartz

Use the straightedge clamping tool guide to run the saw against. Slow and steady wins the race here. Did I mention that you’ll want to put on your rain gear right about now?

 

Cut the Quartz

For cuts that are longer than your straightedge, you could clamp a straight piece of wood or a level to the slab. Here we are free handing the cut because it will end up against the back wall where no one will see it anyway. Use a garden hose to trickle water on the blade while making the cut. 

 

Polish the Edge

Polish the edge with a wet polisher/ grinder. Just think of it like sanding a piece of wood, only a whole lot messier. Start with a 50 grit diamond pad and work your way up to 1000, removing the scratches from the previous grit as you go.  

 

Ease the Edge

As you are polishing, ease the top and bottom corners to match the small round over that was put on the front edge at the factory.  

 

Dry Fit the Top

Get your friends to set their beers down and help you pack the countertop into the kitchen. Check to see that the outside edge of the top meets the wall without any gap. We aren’t concerned about any gaps along the wall that will be covered by the backsplash, but nothing is more amateur hour looking than having a gap between the counter and the wall where you can see it. If your walls aren’t square…  

 

Trim the Wall

Use your oscillating tool to cut away the drywall so the countertop can slide far enough to have the front edge touch the wall tightly. It’s much easier to cut the drywall that cutting the quartz after all.

  

Cut Out for the Sink

The easiest way to cut the hole for a rectangular sink is to start by drilling a hole at each corner with your cordless drill  equipped with a 1 3/8” diamond hole saw. Here we’re using a top mount sink so the hole doesn’t have to be pretty. For under mount sinks, the process is the same but you’ll have to spend a fair amount of time grinding and polishing to make the hole look perfect.

Cut Out for the Sink

Use your Skilsaw to cut from hole to hole. Because of the diameter of the 7” diamond blade, the cut will not go all the way through the material at the corners. Take care not to overcut past the hole.

 

Cut Out for the Sink

Next use an angle grinder to finish the cuts at the corners. The cut line will need to be angled towards to center of the hole so you can make it all the way through. Note: The guard was omitted for clarity- never operate an angle grinder without the guard in place.

 

Cut Out for the Sink

You’ll end up with something like this. After removing the waste piece, use the angle grinder to nibble away the rest of the material in the corners.

 

Dry Fit the Top Again

Dry fit the top again and fit the other piece to be seamed.

 

Check the Seam

Make sure the seam is going to work. Hopefully, your cut was reasonably straight so it looks like this.

 

Tools and Supplies for the Seam

Two-part epoxy, putty knives, straight razor blades, and some scrap cardboard to mix on.

 

Mix the Epoxy

Mix the epoxy according to the manufacturer’s directions. 1:1. Add color if needed to match countertop color. Then spread on the two edges to be seamed.

 

Make the Seam

Push the two pieces together. Any extra epoxy will ooze out the top.

 

Make the Seam

Use a razor blade to check for alignment. Run the blade across the seam from each direction. If one piece is too low, you’ll feel the corner of the blade catch on it. Use shims to adjust the pieces so they are lined up perfectly front and back.

 

Make the Seam

Remove some of the excess epoxy with a putty knife and let dry.

 

Finish the Seam

After the epoxy has dried, use a razor blade to scrape off all of the epoxy, leaving a nearly invisible seam. Now it’s ready for backsplash and the finishing touches.

 

All Done!

Enjoy your new kitchen!

 

A Note About Safety

Safety is important. I can’t say it any better than my all-time favorite woodworker/ TV host, Norm Abram, so I’ll just leave you with his famous quote:

“Be sure to read, understand, and follow all the safety rules that come with your power tools. Knowing how to use your power tools properly will greatly reduce the risk of personal injury. And remember this: there is no more important safety rule than to wear these (Norm points to his glasses) — safety glasses.” 

-Norm Abram, New Yankee Workshop

 

Steve Wright

Steve Wright is a general contractor who over the last 30 plus years has built hundreds of new homes, ranging from first time affordable homes to multi-million dollar custom homes and everything in between.

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