Induction cooktops and quartz counters -- need a physics lesson!

MizLizzieApril 17, 2013

I know there are a lot of induction experts and science minded folks here so thanks in advance for answering a dumb question. A poster on the Kitchen Forum posted today about a new quartz countertop cracked by a hot pot.

I'm going from granite to quartz, and from electric to induction. In the past, I have put somewhat hot pots on my granite, probably foolishly. With induction, my cooktop will stay cool, I know. But the pots . . . ? They will be just as hot as ever, right? They will be just as apt to crack quartz coming off an induction hob as they would coming off a gas hob or a conventional electric hob, right?

And if anyone knows, quartz (specifically Cambria) is more apt to crack than granite, right? Or is it the other way around? Thx!

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The pot itself would get hot enough to damage the Cambria.
Granite is pretty much "Bullet proof", most "True Granites" anyway.

We had our granite 7 years now and it still looks as new.

Click the link below to see the "warning about hot pans" from the "Cambria Website.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cambria Website

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 12:14PM
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Empty hot pots and pans , from induction cooking and elsewhere, should be initially air cooled on some sort of trivet like arrangement, silpat, hook, cold oven rack, etc. Never use water or place on a room temp solid surface to speed cooling.

Quartz counters are mainly of the cured and polished aggregate type and quite strong. There is also the awesome quartz veneer counter which is much more delicate.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 8:46PM
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I would suspect that the countertop cracked due to force rather than heat. You can damage granite by impact. To be on the safe side, use some kind of cooling rack. I often put hot pots on my wooden boards to cool down.

In our previous home I had soapstone counters which were completely impervious to heat. They scratched and chipped easily and needed a fair amount of maintenance, but they withstood high temperatures without flinching.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 9:11PM
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If I recall the post in question over on the Kitchen Forum, the quartz counter top did not crack when the hot pan was placed on it - it scorched. The resin that holds all the itty bitty quartz particles together is very strong, but not totally heat-proof. The affected parts of the counter cannot normally be repaired - it is difficult, if not impossible to buff out or otherwise fix the damage.

A post in the same thread referenced an earlier post about someone who cracked his granite by trying the same trick - placing an oven-hot pan on it. It is theorized that his granite had a week spot or fissure in it, and it reacted to heat stress by cracking.

Both incidents would be minor tragedies in most households, considering the cost of these counter materials. And both could have been easily prevented by using trivets.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 9:32PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Trivets and cutting boards are REQUIRED with ANY counter surface. If you treat it just like the laminate that you may be replacing, you will have no issues.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 10:49PM
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As noted above, soapstone is pretty inert to heat, although at extreme temperatures it changes to another form useful for electrical insulators.

Granite is an aggregate, and can have moisture in its interstices. If a very hot pan is placed on it, the expanding water vapor could cause spalling.

Surfaces like Corian are based on aluminum oxide loaded Plexiglass (methyl-methacrylate) and will melt, burn, or otherwise be damaged.

I am not sure what resin is used in the so-called quartz counters, but I would follow the advice above and always insulate.

Metal counters are pretty insensitive to heat, but if formed over wood, extreme heat could pass through the metal and damage the wood underneath.

Tile would seem to be safe, but all hard surfaces are best protected with a hot pad to avoid both scratching and chipping.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 11:10AM
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And the hardest thing for the induction inexperienced is to learn to not walk away form the cooktop unless a timer is set based on experience. Pans will heat rapidly, liquid can boil over, water can evaporate, and the pan passes 500F. Most induction units will detect this and shut down before they are damaged, but not before the pan has become extremely hot, and there is likely a mess to deal with.

So don't walk away at settings much above 3 until sufficient experience is gained. At boost power, it may only take two minutes to boil a small pot of water, and less than 10 minutes for just about any pot that will match a given hob.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 11:20AM
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You put nice topic for the conversation which is very helpful for knowing more about induction cook-tops.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 2:06AM
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Remember that with induction, you don't actually have to move the pot unless you need the hob for something else. When instructions say "remove from heat," I just turn off the hob. Yes, the area is hot from the referred heat, but nothing like on a radiant electric, where you can still continue to cook after turning off the juice.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 4:22PM
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