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What Is the Difference Between Quartz and Quartzite?

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Quartz and quartzite, from the names, it sounds like they might be the same thing, right? Well, you might be surprised to learn that the two materials are actually quite different. Homeowners choosing between the two for their new countertops should know that the two materials differ in composition, appearance, maintenance, and durability. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the topic of quartzite vs. quartz, discussing the differences between these two often confused stones.

The names of these two countertop materials are misleading. They sound similar, but they’re not, and it’s important to understand the differences before deciding which material is right for your home’s countertops.

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Table of Contents

I. Overview of quartz

When stone countertops first became popular, granite was the obvious choice for many homeowners. In recent years, however, an alternative—quartz countertops—has really taken off. Unlike granite, which is cut from natural stone and then sealed, quartz is real stone that has been worked and sealed into a protective resin. As a result, quartz countertops can be like almost anything: They can take on patterns, colors, and looks that natural stone doesn’t.

Marble and granite are rocks, while quartz is a mineral made of silica; it is also the most prevalent mineral found in the Earth’s crust. Although pure quartz is transparent, impurities present in it give it a variety of beautiful colors. Some of the highest quality quartz is used in jewelry and even sculpture. The best part: there’s no sealing required, and it’s scratch, etch, and heat resistant.

While quartz occurs naturally, quartz countertops are man-made. To create quartz countertops, manufacturers must use a mixture of ground quartz stone (about 90%) and resins and polymers (about 10%). Many “quartz countertops” can be a mix of ground granite, marble, and other natural stones. These are more accurately called artificial stones.

Properties of quartz

Element

Unlike marble and granite, which can be mined, polished and sold, quartz countertops must be manufactured. The reason is that about 90% of the quartz used for countertops is natural quartz stone that is ground and mixed with about 10% resin. Because these countertops are manufactured, the look can be customized to mimic marble, granite, or any other color.

Surface design

Although quartz countertops are engineered, their surface is very attractive. Quartz is real stone that has been worked and sealed into a protective resin. As a result, quartz countertops can be like almost anything: They can take on patterns, colors, and looks that natural stone doesn’t. Because quartz countertops are manufactured, they come in many different styles, including those that replicate natural stones like granite and marble. Another benefit of these surface designs is that they are non-porous, which sets them apart from granite and marble. This means that quartz countertops do not require the same sealing as granite and marble countertops.

Quartz countertops seem to come in a variety of colors and patterns. To tell if you’re looking at real stone or engineered countertops, look closely at the pattern on the counter. Every granite or marble slab is unique. In the case of natural stone, no two areas of the stone will look identical. Because quartz slabs are manufactured, they tend to be fairly uniform in color and consistency, with little variation in pattern and texture. However, as new ways of engineering quartz plates emerge, the possibilities of things to do with this material are always increasing, so it’s hard to be sure.

Homeowners often turn to quartz as an alternative not only to granite and marble, but also to materials like solid surfaces. While quartz is comparable to granite and marble, it is of better quality than solid surface countertops. The table below shows the advantages and disadvantages of quartz.

Advantages

1. Variety: Quartz countertops come in more color and design variations than granite or marble, which means they can go with more kitchen styles.

2. Maintenance Free: Unlike granite, quartz countertops are permanently resin-sealed and do not require periodic resealing.

3. Durable: Quartz, while not invulnerable, can withstand everyday wear and tear and is stain-resistant.

4. Solid: Quartz is inherently non-porous.

5. Flexibility: Quartz also has a degree of flexibility, which increases its resistance to chipping, breaking, or other damage

Disadvantages

1. Not heat resistant: Unlike granite countertops, quartz countertops cannot withstand high heat and may be damaged or discolored by the heat. You’ll want to keep using hot pads and trivets when cooking or baking.

2. Manufacture: Granite and marble slabs convey the beauty of natural stone, while quartz countertops have a manufactured “finished” look. This will appeal to some, but make sure you’re comfortable with it before buying.

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II. Overview of quartzite

Quartzite is a natural stone. It has many attractive properties that make it ideal for kitchen countertops and other work surfaces.

Wikipedia defines quartzite as: Quartzite is a hard, foliated metamorphic rock that was originally pure quartz sandstone. This definition is very concise and doesn’t offer much explanation. The rest of the page in the reference link above explains more about quartzite in a scientific and technical way. In this discussion we will discuss some specific technical details, but we will also focus on the practical aspects of this interesting natural stone.

Quartzite is a very hard natural stone that exists due to intense heat and pressure acting on natural sandstone deep in the earth. These forces gradually transformed the sandstone into quartzite. As a result of this process, quartzite can take on various appearances. It will also have varying degrees of porosity and absorbency.

Another metamorphic rock, quartzite, forms when sandstone is subjected to extreme heat and pressure. Because of its texture and color, it is often mistaken for granite or even marble.

Properties of quartzite

Quartzite usually comes in a lighter color, but can be any color. The above-mentioned quartzites are divided into the following 3 groups:

– Intermediate Quartzite: Intermediate quartzite has a mixture of grainy and crystalline appearances. These quartzites tend to be more porous than the next class of quartzites.

– Crystalline Quartzite: Crystalline quartzite has a glassy, crystalline appearance, with no grains visible even with a magnifying glass.

– Mixed Stone Quartzite: Mixed Stone Quartzite is exactly what it sounds like; quartzite mixed with other stone types. The color of this stone will be varied and varied.

As you can see, the porosity of the stone will vary, as will its appearance. This is perhaps one of the reasons for the increasing popularity of this material. It has the potential to appeal to different types of people. No wonder it is used quartzite countertops.

Advantages

Quartz and quartzite countertops are often confused with each other—quartzite is a natural stone slab quarried from the earth. It is produced when sandstone is transformed by natural processes of high pressure and temperature. Here are some reasons why homeowners choose quartzite for kitchen countertops:

1. Color and Pattern: Quartzite is most commonly found in light shades such as cream, light gray, and beige. These are usually similar to marble, with a similar grain pattern, so you can get the look of natural marble without a lot of maintenance. Also available in dark and exotic shades such as blue and pink.

2. Durability: Quartzite has a hardness similar to granite, and unlike granite and marble, true quartzite will not etch when exposed to acidic liquids. It’s stain-resistant, but not as good as granite—especially for light-colored counters.

3. Care and Maintenance: For daily care, mild cleansers work well. For a deeper clean, use a cleaner formulated for natural stone. Quartzite countertops require regular sealing to keep them water and stain resistant. However, if cared for properly, they will remain beautiful for decades.

4. Countertop Edges: Quartzite is slightly softer than granite, so it will be easier for your fabricator to customize with different countertop edges.

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III. Comparison—quartz and quartzite

The biggest difference between quartz stone and quartzite is that quartzite is a man-made material, while quartzite is a natural stone. Quartz and quartzite are different and distinct materials: quartz is a man-made engineered surface, while quartzite is a natural stone quarried from quarries around the world.

1. Ingredients

Confusion between quartz and quartzite is often due to the fact that quartz refers geologically to a crystalline mineral containing silicon and oxygen. Natural quartzite slabs consist of sandstone rich in the mineral quartz. Quartz countertops are primarily composed of these crushed quartz minerals and the resin that holds them together. Quartz is composed of 90-93% quartz mineral and 7-10% resin.

2. Color

Quartzite is usually white or light gray in color, but the minerals in the stone can take on pink, gold, or reddish-brown hues. Quartz countertops are made from the same quartz crystals found in quartzite, but a man-made process combines the crystals with resins, paints, and other materials such as glass shards. This process results in a very durable, non-porous countertop material that comes in a variety of colors and designs.

In addition to the difference in composition, quartz and quartzite are also quite different in style.

Quartz can be made to look like any stone, and comes in many different shades and patterns. If you have a specific color or want a consistent pattern throughout your slab, then quartz countertops may be a better choice for your home. Due to the material within, quartz countertop colors occupy an almost infinite range. They can even take on the look of natural stones like marble or granite.

Quartzite is often mistaken for marble or granite because it has the fine grain of marble and similar colors and patterns to some types of granite. Those looking for a natural look and lots of movement may prefer quartzite countertops.

Quartzite countertops, on the other hand, are mostly made using natural materials. Therefore, the color of quartzite countertops is more limited. You will be dazzled by the shades of the purest quartzite from white to gray. Any other color, such as orange quartzite, is due to the presence of other minerals or substances.

3. Durability

Another big difference between quartz and quartzite is the care routine and durability of each material. The bonding process makes quartz extremely durable as it helps to draw out air, making quartz a non-porous hard surface and therefore resistant to chipping, scratches and bacteria.

Quartzite is a fairly hard stone, but it is less dense than quartz and can stain easily in heavily used areas such as kitchens. Quartzite requires sealing to prevent contamination of the surface, while quartz requires little maintenance.

4. Price

Quartz countertops are priced similarly to quartz stone. Quartzite and quartz can cost anywhere from $60 to $100 per square foot. However, this is only the cost of materials; from the perspective of installation costs, there is a large gap between quartzite and quartzite.

Since quartzite is a natural stone, more complex countertop installations, such as waterfall countertops, require custom cutting, which adds significantly to the cost.

Quartz can be molded to fit almost any imaginable application or design, significantly reducing costs. This makes it a more effective material to keep up with countertop trends.

In intricate jobs, quartzite will cost more. This is because quartz can be poured into molds to create almost any shape. Quartzite must be cut with a diamond blade, a process that takes time and skill. The more complex the job, the more the quartzite costs per square foot than the quartzite. As with most countertop installations, it’s best to find a reputable contractor to do the job.

Like nearly all natural materials, quartzite can be expensive. Quartzite costs an average of $70 to $200 per foot. Beyond that, if your space is large, you may want to buy a lot of excess quartzite to match each piece and finish the counter installation. On top of that, damage can occur during installation, necessitating the purchase of more quartzite.

Quartz stone costs $60 to $150 per square foot. This is because quartz is manufactured and does not have to be sourced in the same way as quartzite. No extra material is required, as quartz guarantees consistency from board to board. Perhaps most importantly, damage to quartz during installation or cutting is rare. Overall, quartz can save you thousands of dollars for a number of reasons.

5. Hardness and durability

Quartzite is harder than granite and therefore very durable. It is very heat resistant. Quartz is also hard, but not as hard as quartzite. The resin used to make quartz countertops is plastic, so it melts easily at temperatures above 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

The advantage of quartz over quartzite is that it is less likely to dent and chip because it is more flexible. Both countertop materials can be scratched by sharp objects and a cutting board should be used instead.

6. Countertop maintenance

Quartz requires little maintenance. Wipe clean with a damp cloth. Abrasive cleaners should not be used on quartz, and there is really no need for them. Ease of maintenance is the main advantage of quartz countertops over quartzite. Regardless, as with all countertops, it is recommended to use a cleaner designed for your surface type.

Quartzite needs more TLC. It must be sealed before use and resealed once or twice a year. Without a proper seal, the stain may seep into the stone. This is a common weakness of all natural stone, including granite and marble. Quartzite is easy to clean up when properly sealed.

7. Installation

Due to the porous nature of quartzite, it can be difficult to install. Sometimes cutting or joining a section can cause it to break. You always need to buy extra materials to get the job done. Additionally, quartzite is not strong enough to be cut into many unique shapes and patterns. Due to its fragility, only the most basic counter styles can be installed with quartz stone.

Quartz, on the other hand, can be cut into any shape or size you need. It is also easy to install as it is not fragile. Since it’s easy to cut and install, you only need to buy enough space, saving you money and reducing waste.

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IV. How to clean quartz stone countertops and quartzite countertops?

The cleaning considerations for quartz and quartzite are very different.

The sealant on most quartzite countertops wears away and must be replaced 1-2 times a year. We’ll explore this in more detail shortly, but the important thing to understand when it comes to cleaning is that you have to clean up spills on quartzite very quickly.

Many people who don’t know how to clean quartzite countertops don’t realize that the sealer doesn’t need to wear off completely for spills to stain the porous natural stone. Even a worn sealant isn’t resistant to liquids like wine or ketchup if the spill is left unattended for too long.

To avoid this, practice good quartzite countertop cleaning habits by wiping up spills immediately with a damp rag. For daily cleaning, add mild soap to water and soak rag in water.

The main advantage of quartz countertops is that they are significantly more resilient. Quartz is non-porous and will not absorb liquids. Quartz countertops can still get dirty, though, so it’s best to clean up spills as soon as possible. One doesn’t need to worry about leaks like quartzite does.

With both of these countertop materials, avoid abrasive cleaners.

V. Conclusion

Quartz does not compete with quartzite, and in discussions of quartz vs. quartzite, there is really no comparison. While the natural appearance of quartzite is very beautiful, quartzite is just as attractive, comes in more color options, and is more practical for use in high traffic areas. In summary, while one of the stones is a man-made engineered stone (quartz) and the other is a natural product (quartzite), both are high-quality options depending on your project. Both quartz and quartzite are ideal hard surface options for kitchen countertops, bars, bathroom vanities, fireplace surrounds, tables, and more. Choosing between these two board options comes down to personal preference, aesthetics, and project requirements. Whether you choose quartz, quartzite, or any of our other gorgeous stones, our stone experts will help you find the perfect hard surface for your project needs.

George Marble has the widest range of quality, elegant, beautiful and durable natural stone in the world today, including marble, granite, quartzite and onyx, as well as a range of engineered surfaces, including quartz and porcelain slabs, and we welcome the opportunity throughout the decision to assist you in the process and design process. We are committed to helping you create the home of your dreams and invite you to visit our showroom and let our experts and creative consultants help you choose the perfect surface for your home. As each project is unique, we approach each project with the utmost care, paying special attention to each client’s specific needs, budget, lifestyle and style preferences. Please contact us or visit our showroom.

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