Confused about the difference between quartz and quartzite? What is soft and hard quartzite? Why are some quartzite more expensive than others? This article will answer these questions and be your guide to quartzite.
When shopping for countertops, you will come across quartz and quartzite countertops.
Even though their names are similar, they are actually different.
Quartzite is a natural stone, quarried from the Earth. It is a metamorphic rock formed when quartz-rich sandstone undergoes high heat and pressure under the Earth’s surface. They are usually white or gray but some come mixed with impurities, making them red, pink, orange, or blue.
Quartz is an engineered product, a mix of 90% crushed quartz and 10% resins and pigments. Quartz countertops can be made to look like natural stone or have a uniform pattern. They come in many colors.
What makes quartz great is that it’s nonporous and easy to maintain. It also won’t stain or etch, does not need sealing, and is less prone to mold, mildew, fungal and bacterial growth.
Quartzite is also nonporous, but not always to the same degree as quartz. Stain resistance is different for each slab of quartzite. It depends on how tight the minerals are bonded together, so sealing is recommended once a year.
Both quartz and quartzite countertops are super durable and have high heat resistance. Quartzite is slightly more heat resistant because it has no resin. (Resin used in quartz have melting points of 300 degrees.)
Having said that, it’s still a good idea to place heat proof pans or trivets on your counter before you put hot pots and pans on top.
A common belief is that quartzite is susceptible to etching and requires sealing. True quartzite (hard quartzite) is one of the hardest materials and does not etch. Those that etch are mislabeled marble, calcite and or dolomite. You will see them labelled as “soft quartzite”, “calcitic quartzite”, and “dolomitic quartzite” and have only some properties of quartzite.
Soft quartzite often fall between 3 and 7 on the Moh’s hardness scale. It is softer than the true quartzite (rated at 7) but harder than marble (rated at 3).
A good way to find out if you have true quartzite is to scratch test a sample tile with glass (rated at 5.5). If it withholds, then it’s true quartzite. Another way is to put lemon juice or vinegar on it for 15 minutes to see if it will etch and lose its shine.
Some popular quartzite varieties include:
Mother of Pearl
La Dolce Vita
The cost of quartzite countertops is variable with the quality. It is generally less expensive compared to marble and can be the same price as granite and quartz. True quartzite, though, can be hard to come by and cost more than soft quartzite.
After you’ve decided on your stone, you will want to consider the edge profile and finish. Until more recently, most homeowners chose the polished finish. Now, you can also have the option of a honed or leather finish.
Polished finish is glossy, and highly reflective. It is smooth and shows the color of your stone with vibrancy.
Honed finish is matte with little shine. They work well if you want to conceal flaws or scratches.
Leathered finish is in between honed and polished. It retains a lot of the stone’s natural color and is great for hiding fingerprints and water marks.
If you’re looking for a natural stone that’s stronger than granite, then quartzite might be for you. It requires annual resealing but its natural beauty will make your kitchen stand out.
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