With so many different options available for countertop surface materials, it can start to feel like the differences between each are nearly impossible to distinguish—especially in the case of quartz vs. quartzite. Aren’t they just the same stone? Rock Doctor is here to break down the differences (and show you the similarities) in these two materials to help you make the best decision on the countertop material you are using in your home.
The compositions of quartz and quartzite are very different. Let’s take a look at the formation and composition of each type of stone.
Quartz is one of the most abundant naturally occurring minerals on earth. In fact, quartz is found in a variety of different countertop surfaces including granite, slate, and soapstone. However, quartz countertops are made from fabricated natural silicon dioxide and synthetic materials. Loose quartz makes up approximately 90 to 93 percent of the material in quartz countertops. Quartz countertops are made in a factory where ground quartz is combined with polymer resins and pigments to form a beautiful countertop.
Because quartz countertops are made with pigments, it is possible for the countertops to come in a variety of different color options, including blues, purples, oranges, and more. Additionally, the patterns within quartz countertops can be created to look a certain way.
Quartzite is a metamorphic rock that is created when quartz sandstone comes under extreme pressure and heat. Quartzite is generally created by tectonic plate compression within the crust of the earth. It is mined before it can be turned into the countertops that many people love.
Since quartzite countertops are natural, the colors are more limited than quartz countertops. Quartzite countertops generally come in shades of white or gray, but they can have a pink or red hue if the stone contains iron oxide. Other minerals can also cause other colorations. Additionally, the patterns seen in quartzite countertops are made when the stone forms, so they can’t be changed or created to look a certain way. In fact, no two quartzite slabs will look exactly the same. Typically, quartzite countertops have a veined pattern similar to that found in marble and granite, and it will likely look inconsistent from one end of the slab to the other.
These two countertops both contain a large quantity of quartz, which means that they are similar in many ways. For example, both quartz and quartzite will come in with at least a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. This means that both surfaces are harder than granite, which is usually around a 6.5. Both countertop types are considered to be durable due to their hardness.
Additionally, neither quartz or quartzite are known for problems with etching. Etching, which is often confused for staining, can appear as discoloration that looks like dark water spots.
However, since these two countertop types do have different compositions, they will also have different features. As a homeowner, it is important to understand the differences between the two surfaces.
Quartz countertops tend to look more uniform than natural stone surfaces like quartzite. These countertops are sensitive to heat above 300°F. Since quartz is non-porous, it is more resistant to staining than quartzite. Quartz tends to be a bit more flexible than quartzite, which makes it more resistant to chipping. Like quartzite, quartz is harder than granite. While quartz is more resistant to chipping than quartzite, it is more likely to scratch. And on quartz, every little scratch is going to look like an abnormality on the stone.
Quartz countertops are usually less expensive than quartzite options. Part of the reason that quartz it less expensive is because it is easier to produce. Quartz countertops range from $50 per square foot to $110 per square foot. With installation, you are looking to pay between $60 and $150 per square foot.
Quartzite, since it retains a lot of the granular texture of quartz-rich sandstone, will have a coarser look a feel. It tends to look more organic than the human-made quartz countertops. Quartzite countertops are heat resistant and slightly harder than granite countertops, which means that they are the hardest stone countertop option on the market. Quartzite is more scratch-resistant than quartz, and its patterns can help hide any scratches that do pop up. Since quartzite is a natural stone, it is porous. Its porous nature makes it more likely to stain than quartz.
Due to its hardness and the added challenges of producing a countertop from the mined stone, quartzite is usually more expensive to purchase and install than quartz. Quartzite, when fully installed, is likely to cost between $70 and $200. On the low-end, prices are fairly similar, but quartzite can be much more expensive than quartzite. For some homeowners, this leads them to quartz to save a little money.
Caring for quartz and quartzite can look a little different. While both require special care due to the natural stone contained in the countertop material, they do have slightly different care needs. Both should be cleaned with a stone surface cleaner like Rock Doctor’s Granite & Quartz Cleaner that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals that could damage the surface of the stone. You should also never use abrasive products on either material.
Quartz is made with a resin that binds the minerals together, which makes the surface non-porous. This means that quartz countertops don’t require frequent sealing like quartzite will. In fact, an initial seal on a quartz countertop will protect quartz countertops a lot better than quartzite, which will need to be resealed once a year. However, quartz countertops don’t tend to work well in outdoor settings, because the heat and sunlight can cause cracking and fading.
Quartzite is a porous material that needs to be sealed often to prevent any moisture from penetrating the surface. Additionally, frequent polishing is necessary to keep the stone looking beautiful. Overall, quartzite is going to require a little more maintenance than quartz, which is another reason why many homeowners choose to go with quartz countertops.
To learn more about caring for quartz or quartzite countertops properly, contact Rock Doctor today at 913-894-0288. Rock Doctor products can be purchased a The Home Depot, Menards, Lowe’s, and Amazon.