The Differences between Quartzite and Quartz for Kitchen Countertops
Homeowners in the US now prefer quartz countertops to any other material for their kitchens, with granite countertops coming in at a close second. Quartz countertops have been in the market for over four decades, so it is about time. Considering that its original purpose was as a manmade alternative to natural stones, this is quite an accomplishment. The fact that quartz countertops are much more readily available and more durable than most natural stones might have something to do with this victory.
However, despite being so popular, most people do not really know much about quartz countertops. In fact, many confuse engineered quartz with quartzite, mostly because they sound so similar, some quartz stones actually look like quartzite, and both make great kitchen countertops. You should know the differences between quartzite and quartz for kitchen countertops if you are considering putting in one or the other.
One of the biggest differences between quartzite and quartz stone is the nature of the stone. Quartzite is a lot like marble in the sense that it is a natural and metamorphic stone. Unlike marble that forms from limestone or dolomite, however, quartzite forms from quartz sandstone. It forms interlocking crystals and streaks of quartz visible to the naked eye. It has a naturally glassy texture, which makes it ideal for countertops, backsplashes, floors, and walls. Industrial uses include road construction.
Quartzite comes in a range of colors from white to gray, and sometimes in blue, green, red, yellow, pink, and orange depending on the presence of other minerals such as ferrous oxide. You can find quartzite in quarries all around continental Europe, US, Canada, and the UK.
On the other hand, quartz stone is not a natural stone. It is an engineered product using a patented process called Bretonstone. Engineered quartz does have a high amount of quartz like quartzite, but also includes pigments and resins in the mix. It is a very durable material with the look and feel of natural stones, and available in several top brands such as Cambria, Caesarstone, and Silestone.
Quartz stone is an engineered product, so manufacturers can make it look like anything they want. Some look like granite, others look like marble, and still others look like quartzite. As it happens, you can conceivably mistake quartz stone for quartzite.
However, some people claim quartz stone that mimic quartzite is not as natural looking as the real thing, so they choose granite instead. This is because granite do approximate the look of quartzite because of its visible grains, and it is a natural stone, so it’s a win-win for purists.
That said, quartz stones do come in some very attractive colors and designs, so it can be hard to decide between the two types of countertop materials. In many cases, the clincher is availability. Quartzite is a natural stone, so it is not always available in the color or design you need. Quartz stone, on the other hand, is always available for the asking.
Quartzite and quartzite are generally tougher than granite, so that gives them an advantage. The high quartz content is responsible for this, as quartz is one of the most scratch-resistant minerals in the world. If toughness is a big factor for you, as it should be for kitchen countertops, you should know that pure quartzite is tougher than quartz stone. However, colored quartzite loses some of that toughness because of the inclusion of other minerals.
Quartz stone also tends to be chip or dent less than quartzite because of the polymer resins in its mix. On the downside, the resins have a melting point of 300°F, so it makes quartz stone less resistant to heat. This is not a problem with quartzite.
Quartz countertops are almost maintenance free because it is non-porous. It will not stain or need sealing, unlike most natural stones. They only need a daily wipe down with a mild dish soap solution, clean water, and soft rags. For removing surface stains and grease, you can use regular glass cleaner. A 3% hydrogen peroxide in a sprayer is enough to disinfect the countertops.
Quartzite is a natural stone, so it has some level of porosity. You need to seal it like granite and marble to keep it stain free. Other than that, you care for it the same way as quartz stone, and its naturally glass-like texture makes it even easier.
Buying a slab of quartzite and quartz stone is the about same per square foot, depending on the type of stone you choose. The price is between $60 and $100, not including fabrication and installation costs.
If you require cutouts or non-standard shapes for your kitchen countertops, you can expect to pay more per square foot for quartzite. This is because quartzite is extremely tough, so the labor and equipment required to cut it can drive up the cost. In some instances, these can be even more per square foot than the cost of the material. Because kitchen countertops typically require some cutting, you can generally expect quartzite countertops to be more expensive overall than quartz countertops.
Quartzite and quartz stone are very similar in many instances, but different in important ways. The differences can help you decide between quartzite and quartz for kitchen countertops. Overall, quartz stone is a more practical choice for many homeowners.
Granite ASAP can be your best resource for quartz countertops if you are in the state of Virginia, including the cities of Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, Fairfax, Chantilly, Herndon, Centreville, Tysons, and Washington DC. We offer free estimates and quotes for any of your kitchen countertops and remodeling needs.
We carry a wide range of the best engineered stone brands in the country and natural stone slabs. Over 100 colors of granite and marble slabs are available for inspection at our Chantilly, Virginia showroom.
If you prefer engineered stone, we can offer you products from the Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and MSI brands, each one carrying the manufacturer’s warranty. You can choose what you want and we will deliver it ASAP!
Feel free to ask any questions over the phone, or get in touch using our contact form today!