How to Install Quartz Slab Backsplash


Installing a quartz slab backsplash can completely transform the look of your kitchen or bathroom. Quartz is an engineered stone that combines crushed quartz with resin and other materials to create a durable, low-maintenance countertop and backsplash option. Quartz comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns to match any décor. Unlike tile, quartz backsplashes are installed in large slab pieces, creating a seamless, upscale look. But installing them properly requires careful planning and precision.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk through all the steps for installing a quartz slab backsplash. We will cover how to choose the right quartz material, prepare the wall surface, cut and polish the slabs, adhere them properly, and finish with edges and seams for a flawless look. With proper planning and care, you can have a stunning quartz backsplash that will last for many years. Let’s get started!

How to Choose the Right Quartz Slab

When selecting a quartz material for your backsplash, you first need to decide on the color and pattern that fits your design vision. Quartz manufacturers like Caesarstone, Cambria, and Silestone offer many different options from solid hues to dramatic veining and patterns. Visit a stone supplier to view slab samples in person and get a feel for the quartz material.

You also need to consider:

  • Thickness – Quartz backsplashes are typically 3/4″ thick. Thinner 1/2″ slabs are more affordable but prone to cracking during installation. Go with 3/4″ thickness for durability.
  • Grain direction – Look at how the patterns run vertically or horizontally and choose slabs that align with your backsplash layout. This provides a uniform, seamless look.
  • Order extra – Order 10-15% extra material to allow for cuts, seams, and polishing during installation. Extra quartz can be saved for future repairs if needed.
  • Budget – Quartz is generally $50-100 per square foot installed. The more dramatic the pattern, the higher the price. Factor this into your budget.

Once you select the perfect quartz slab for your project, it’s time to prepare for installation day.

Preparing the Wall Surface

Installing quartz slabs requires a nearly flawless wall surface. Any uneven spots or protrusions will show through the thin material. Take time to properly prep the walls:

  • Clean thoroughly – Remove any existing backsplash tile, grout, or backsplash materials. Clean off any dirt, debris, or oils on the wall.
  • Repair drywall – Fill any screw holes or cracks with drywall compound. Sand smooth for an even surface.
  • Prime – Apply primer to seal the wall and create a uniform surface for the adhesive to bond to.
  • Check for plumb – Use a level to ensure the wall has no humps or depressions. Grind down any protruding drywall screws.
  • Mark stud locations – Use a stud finder to mark exact stud center locations. You will secure the quartz directly to the studs.
  • Lay out design – Map out your planned backsplash design with painter’s tape to visualize placement. Mark cutouts for outlets and any niche openings.

Proper prep now makes installing the quartz slabs much easier and minimizes the chance of cracks down the road.

How to Cut and Polish the Quartz Slabs

Quartz fabricators will deliver your slabs pre-cut based on the dimensions and layout you submitted. But you’ll still need to make precision cuts for outlets, niches, edging, and any seam placements.

Here’s the process professional installers use:

Cutting Tools Needed

  • Circular saw with diamond blade
  • Jigsaw with granite blade
  • Hole saw or angle grinder for cutouts
  • Carbide-tipped blade for trimming edges

Cutting Tips

  • Always cut upside down with the pattern side facing up.
  • Run saw slowly to avoid chipping.
  • Make multiple shallow passes rather than one deep cut.
  • Cut holes about 1/8” larger than plumbing fixtures.
  • Allow 1/16” gap between slab and wall for expansion.

Polishing Edges

  • Smooth any rough edges with 100-400 grit wet/dry sandpaper.
  • Use a hand polishing pad or angle grinder with 50, 200, 600, 1500 grit polishing pads.
  • Rinse well and wipe clean between polishing with each grit size.
  • Finish by buffing with a terry cloth pad or rag for maximum shine.

Cutting quartz has a learning curve, so practice techniques on scraps first. Take time polishing cut edges for a professional finish.

How to Adhere the Quartz Backsplash

Applying the right adhesive in all the right places is critical to a successful quartz backsplash installation. Follow manufacturer’s instructions exactly. Here are some general guidelines:

Choosing Adhesive

  • Use 100% silicone, polyurethane, or epoxy adhesives designed for stone.
  • Choose white adhesive to minimize visible seepage between slab and wall.
  • Acrylic adhesives don’t have the strength to support heavy slabs long-term.

Adding Support Brackets

  • Secure metal L-brackets to every stud along the top and bottom.
  • This provides added structural support as the adhesive sets.
  • Use shims if walls are uneven to prevent cracking.

Applying Adhesive

  • Run a continuous bead of adhesive along each stud top and bottom.
  • Dot adhesive in a grid pattern over the entire back of the slab, spacing dots 4” apart.
  • Use dime-size dots for best coverage rather than globs.
  • Too little adhesive causes gaps as the slab settles. Too much adhesive is squeezed out.

Pressing and Securing

  • Set slabs gently and press firmly for 1-2 minutes to flatten adhesive dots.
  • Use painter’s tape triangles in the corners to hold slabs in place as adhesive sets.
  • Don’t walk away! Support slabs and make alignment adjustments in the first 5 minutes.
  • Allow adhesive to cure fully per manufacturer instructions before grouting or polishing.

Follow these steps carefully for proper quartz bonding. Support brackets provide an extra safety net against slab slippage as the adhesive sets up.

How to Create Seamless Seams

For a stunning backsplash, you need to know how to create seamless seams where two quartz slabs meet:

Planning Seam Placement

  • Minimize seams by strategically planning the layout.
  • Place seams where they are less noticeable like corners or above ranges.
  • Mark exact seam location on the wall with painter’s tape.

Preparing the Slabs

  • Number slabs and dry fit them on a flat surface to identify the edges to be joined.
  • Cut mating edges with diamond blade for precise fit up.
  • Polish edges smooth with sandpaper up to 1500 grit.

Applying Adhesive

  • Run a 1/4” bead of adhesive along the seam line on the wall.
  • Apply adhesive on both slab edges – use just 3-4 dots so adhesive doesn’t ooze.

Pressing the Seam

  • Carefully align slabs and press together firmly starting at one end of the seam.
  • Work down the seam, pressing every 1-2” until entire seam is closed with no gaps.
  • Use painters tape along the seam temporarily as the adhesive sets.

Caulking the Seam

  • Let adhesive fully cure per manufacturer instructions before caulking.
  • Apply painter’s tape on each side of the seam to keep caulk line straight.
  • Fill the seam with clear 100% silicone caulk, wiping smooth as you work.
  • Carefully remove tape before caulk sets. Caulk disguises any slight seam imperfections!

With planning and precision, you can create quartz seams nearly invisible to the eye. Take your time pressing the slabs together for a snug, gap-free fit.

How to Finish Quartz Backsplash Edges

The finishing touches like edges and corners really elevate the look of a designer backsplash. Here’s how to treat quartz edges like a pro:

Polishing Edges

  • Carefully polish all cut edges again with wet sandpaper up to 1500 grit.
  • Soak sandpaper in water for smooth results and rinse slab frequently.
  • Finish by buffing edges lightly with a towels to achieve a uniform sheen.

Creating a Beveled Edge

  • Use 100 or 200 grit sandpaper on a sanding block at a 45° angle to create a beveled edge.
  • Softens the square edge and helps avoid chipping if you bump the edge.

Installing Edge Profile

  • For more finished look, apply metal, stone, or quartz edge trim using silicone adhesive.
  • Match the edge profile to your countertop edge or other backsplash trims.
  • Miter corners for refined detail.

Caulking Edges

  • Run a bead of clear silicone caulk along all edges where quartz meets wall.
  • Smooth the caulk with a finger before it fully sets.
  • Caulk creates a watertight seal between quartz and wall.

Beautifully finished edges give your backsplash the elegant look of carved stone rather than an ordinary tile job. Take time polishing every edge.

FAQs About Installing a Quartz Backsplash

What’s the best height for a quartz backsplash?

The standard height is 4” above countertops. But extending to bottom of upper cabinets creates a full backsplash look.

What thickness is best?

3/4″ thickness is ideal. 1/2″ is prone to cracking unless installed perfectly on flat walls by a professional.

What about using plywood instead of drywall?

Plywood provides an ultra-flat, stable surface that prevents quartz cracking. But the adhesive may not bond as well.

How soon can I grout after installing?

Wait at least 24 hours for adhesive to fully cure before applying grout or sealant to avoid chemical reactions.

What maintenance is required?

Simply use a stone cleaner and seal quartz once a year. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive pads that can scratch.


Installing a quartz slab backsplash brings designer style to any kitchen or bath. With proper planning and precision cuts, you can achieve a stunning backsplash with seamless seams. Preparing the wall surface, carefully polishing all cut edges, applying the right adhesive, and finishing with trim and caulk all contribute to a professional look. Expect the project to take 2-3 days with drying time required between steps. The visual impact is well worth the time investment to showcase gorgeous quartz!

With this detailed guide, you can feel confident tackling a quartz slab backsplash installation. Just take it slow and steady. Focus on precision with each step, and you’ll have a backsplash that wows for years to come.