Last Updated on December 28, 2023 by Share My Kitchen
Choosing the right countertop material for your house can be a hard task. It needs to be able to fit all of your practical needs while still appeasing the eye. It should blend in with the rest of the kitchen in harmony while still standing out on its own.
Quartzite and quartz are stones that are often mixed up with each other due to their similar name, yet they couldn’t be more different. Keep reading to find out all of their differences and see which one is the right choice for you.
Arguably the most important difference between quartz and quartzite is the fact that one of them is a natural stone and the other one is engineered.
Quartzite is a metamorphic stone that naturally occurs in the crust of the earth. In other words, the extreme heat and pressure that exists underneath the crust compresses molecules to the point that they form extremely hard and dense stones.
On the other hand, quartz is an engineered stone. It is made up of half naturally occurring materials and half manufactured materials. The natural half of it is comprised of quartzite. Leftover quartzite parts are crushed into very small particles and up-cycled into quartz slabs.
The manufactured materials that are mixed into quartz are mostly resins and binders that help strengthen the material and add structural integrity. Pigments are also added to the mix to give it the color and patterns for aesthetic purposes.
Although as a base, both are the same, how that base is handled creates all of the differences between the two extremely popular options. It can be said that all of the differing qualities they possess stem from the fact that one is left in its natural state and the other is mixed in with manufactured ingredients.
The porousness of a stone will inherently affect many of its features ranging from its strength to how easy it is to clean. Porousness refers to the structure of the stone. Porous stones have tiny holes all over them that could allow outside factors to get into the stone and create unwanted consequences such as stains, bacterial growth, mold, or discoloration.
Non-porous stones such as quartz have a structure that is solid and without any entrance points for outside factors to get into the stone. Therefore they are more resistant to said unwanted consequences such as mold and stains.
As quartzite is a natural stone, it is a porous stone similar to other natural stones such as marble. However, that doesn’t mean that it is a weak stone that will easily show wear and tear.
Although it is a porous stone, it is possible to make it non-porous by sealing it using resins similar to the ones that are used during the manufacturing process of quartz. Sealing will cover up the pores and make the surface of the quartzite slab impenetrable, thus making it more long-lasting and resistant.
Usually, professionals recommend resealing the countertops once a year. However, if you notice that the sealant has worn off before the one-year mark, you should reseal it just to be safe. Once the sealant has worn off the stone will once again be vulnerable to outside factors.
You don’t have to worry about sealing or resealing it with quartz as the resin is already mixed into the stone. This allows it to be permanently resistant to the factors that can cause damage to natural stones, thus it is an effortless and easy-to-maintain stone.
Color and Pattern Variety
Pure versions of most natural stones such as quartzite and marble will have a solid cream color. What gives them the different colors and patterns that have become their signature look are actually considered imperfections.
Different minerals that are mixed into the stone during its creation process will affect the colors and shapes of the patterns. Depending on the intensity of the minerals that are mixed in, these colors can affect the base color of the stone or manifest as a splash of color instead of the signature veins and patterns.
Although there are many color options for quartzite, it is still limited to colors that can be naturally found. Moreover, unique colors and patterns that are harder to find will cost more due to their rarity.
For example, finding pure white slabs or slabs with very bright and vivid colors is hard, therefore they can be costly and out of budget. For that reason, quartz can be a great option if you are looking to spice up your space with countertops that can bring liveliness or be the centerpiece.
Although quartz has more options, quartzite possesses an unmistakable and inimitable natural aura. Its organic feel brings a unique look to the space it is installed in and pairs amazingly with other natural elements such as hardwood floors or cabinetry and decorative plants.
The cost of the countertops will depend heavily on the specific slab you are interested in. The quality of the stone, the thickness of the slab, how rare of a type it is and other similar factors will significantly influence the final price tag. Moreover, additional design elements such as edge treatments will also add to the cost.
Keeping all of that in mind, quartz usually tends to be more affordable compared to quartzite. However, a very thick slab of high quality quartz can cost more than a thin and average quality slab of quartzite. The diverse variety in price points is a great advantage for anyone looking to renovate their kitchens.
Regardless of the specific stone you are looking for, you are more than likely to find a type of it that fits within your budget. The best way to go about it is to be upfront about your budget with your sales assistant. They will be able to help you find options that fit your aesthetic desires and durability needs without breaking the bank.
One of the factors that determine the durability of the countertops will be the hardness level of the stone. Softer stones such as marble will be more susceptible to damage that can be caused by sharp objects or pressure on the surface, whereas hard stones like granite will hold their shape for years to come. Both quartz and quartzite are known to be strong options for countertops. They are usually around 7 on the Mohs Scale, which is a very high score.
There can be softer versions of both stones depending on their quality, however, even lesser qualities will still be very hard and durable.
Quartzite is highly resistant to high levels of heat. As it is created in the crust of the earth under extreme heat and pressure, it is resilient to any amount of heat that can be made in a residential kitchen or bathroom. On the other hand, quartz is unfortunately not as resistant to heat. Although the natural materials in it are resistant, the manufactured materials that are mixed in are not. Therefore, it is recommended to always use trivets on quartz countertops.
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