Even some design-savvy customers and industry experts can’t tell the differences between quartzite and quartz. Many even use the names interchangeably.
Each material has its pros and cons, so knowing the true facts is important, especially if you are considering either of these popular options for your kitchen countertop.
Here is a detailed comparison of quartz and quartzite countertops to help you pick the perfect one for your home.
Quartz & Quartzite Countertops: A Detailed Comparison
1. Quartzite Is Natural, Quartz Is Engineered
Consisting of 90-99% quartz grains bound by silica, quartzite is a natural stone. It’s formed beneath the Earth’s surface when sandstone rich in quartz is altered through high pressure and temperature and then mined and cut into slabs.
On the other hand, the quartz used in countertops is an engineered stone moulded and made into slabs in a factory. It’s composed of roughly 90% ground quartz (the actual mineral), with the remaining 10% being a mixture of resins, polymers, and pigments that vary by manufacturer.
2. Quartz Comes in More Colours and Patterns; Quartzite Retains Its Natural Look
Quartzite countertops have pros and cons, just like quartz ones. For instance, the pigments added to quartz can create a wide variety of colours, from light blues and deep pinks to violet or orange. Quartzite comes mostly in shades of white or grey, though iron oxide in the stone can lend a pink or red hue.
Because quartzite slabs retain the granular and sugar-like texture of quartz-rich sandstone, they have a slightly coarser, more organic look. Conversely, the resin that binds quartz gives the slabs a smooth and seamless finish but imparts a somewhat manufactured look.
3. Quartzite is More Scratch and Acid Resistant
Most homeowners are concerned whether their countertop will resist heat and staining, especially families with young children. Quartzite wins in terms of heat resistance, making it a prime choice for kitchen countertops. While a knife blade is unlikely to scratch either material, you wouldn’t want to chop food directly on quartz. This is because the acids and the resins in the countertop make it more prone to etching which is a form of acid erosion that results in dull white spots. Light knife scratches directly on a quartzite countertop will not cause such etching.
4. Quartzite Can Take the Heat
You can place hot baking dishes or pans on quartzite countertops. But the resin used to bind quartz melts at around 300°F. Therefore, a hot dish or pan could leave a permanent scorch mark on a quartz countertop.
5. Quartz Is Less Expensive
Like nearly all naturally-occurring materials, quartzite can be expensive. The average cost per foot for quartzite is $70 to $200. In addition, you will need to buy excess quartzite in case there is breakage during installation. If you are working with large spaces, you may need to purchase quite a lot of excess quartzite to match each piece and complete your countertop installation.
Quartz will cost you $60 to $150 per square foot. This is because it is manufactured and does not have to be sourced in the same manner as quartzite. Excess material is not required because quartz offers consistency across each slab.
6. Quartz Repels Moisture and Microbes Without Sealer
Different countertops call for different maintenance and cleaning methods. For example, because of its binding process, an engineered stone like quartz has a non-porous surface and doesn’t require sealing. Keeping a quartz countertop clean only requires wiping up spills with a wet cloth, or scrubbing dried stains with a soft sponge dampened with commercial surface cleaner. For routine cleaning, spray a surface cleaner over the entire countertop, let it stay for 10 minutes, and then wipe it down with a soft sponge.
While quartzite can be cleaned using these same techniques, its porous surface is highly susceptible to staining and bacterial invasions if not sealed before installation and annually thereafter.
Quartzite slabs weigh marginally less, at around 20 pounds per square foot compared to 20 to 25 pounds per square foot for quartz slabs. This means neither of these heavy materials is recommended for DIY countertop installation.
In a nutshell, installing quartz or quartzite countertops in your home will provide multiple benefits, including beautiful looks and easy maintenance. Despite their differences, both are high-quality countertop options and your decision is ultimately a matter of personal preference. Hopefully now you have the information you may need to make that decision.