Quartz and quartzite are two popular choices for kitchen countertops, but they are not the same material. They offer differences in looks, durability, care and price that you should know about before making your selection.
Let us explore quartzite and quartz countertops and the different strengths and weaknesses they present.
Understanding Quartz and Quartzite
Quartzite is a naturally occurring metamorphic rock. It is created when sandstone is subjected to extreme heat and pressure caused by tectonic plate compression in the crust of the earth. The stone is mined and sawn into slabs which are later precisely cut to become countertops. The tops are polished and sealed for beauty and durability.
Quartz countertops are often called engineered countertops because they are fabricated from natural silicon dioxide and synthetic materials. Loose quartz makes up about 93 percent of the material. It is blended with a binder and pigment and formed into countertops.
Quartz vs. Quartzite Countertops
Here is a comparison of quartz and quartzite that will help you decide which material is right for your bathroom or kitchen countertops project.
Appearance: It’s impossible to say that one material is more attractive than the other, since beauty is subjective for each of us. Quartzite is generally found in white to gray. Pink and red hues are a result of iron oxide in the stone.
Yellow, blue, green and orange quartzite results from the presence of other minerals. Regardless of the color, the quartzite will have streaking caused by varying degrees of pressure in its formation and the random presence of iron oxide or other minerals.
Quartz, because pigment can be added, is available in a much wider range of colors for you to consider. The way the countertop material is formulated gives it the appearance of natural stone such as granite or marble.
The bottom line in appearance is that if you want natural stone, quartzite is your choice. If you’d like a more diverse selection of colors and patterns to consider, you’ll find it in quartz.
Hardness and Durability: Quartzite is harder than granite, so it is quite durable. It withstands heat very well. Quartz is hard too, but not quite as hard as quartzite. The resin used in manufacturing quartz countertops is a plastic, so it is prone to melting in heat above 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Where quartz has an advantage over quartzite is that it is less prone to denting and chipping because it is more flexible. Both countertop materials can be scratched by sharp objects, and a cutting board should be used.
Countertop Maintenance: Quartz requires very little maintenance. It wipes clean with a damp cloth. Abrasive cleaners should not be used on quartz, and they really aren’t needed. Ease of maintenance is the main advantage quartz countertops have over quartzite. In any event, as with all countertops, it is advisable to use cleaners designed for your type of surface.
Quartzite requires quite a bit more TLC. It must be sealed before use and re-sealed one or two times per year. Without a proper seal, stains can penetrate into the stone. This is a weakness shared by all natural stone including granite and marble. When properly sealed, quartzite cleanup is easy.
Let us not forget about Granite, Marble and Porcelain for Kitchen Countertops.