Today’s homeowners have many options when it comes to countertop surfaces, including quartz and quartzite. While these names may sound alike and these materials do share some common qualities, they are two completely different types of stone.
What are Quartz Countertops?
Quartz is an engineered material consisting of at least 90 percent of crushed quartz powder (one of the earth’s hardest minerals), resin and coloring. Its appearance is similar to marble and granite, but its size and thickness, as well as its veining, streaking and patterning, are more uniform.
Additionally, through the addition of pigment, quartz can be made in a broad range of colors and patterns which are not found in naturally occurring materials.
Quartz is hard, durable, and non-porous, making it appealingly resistant to stains and scratches.
Another benefit of quartz is that even if it does get stained or scratched, it maintains its color beneath the surface.
Quartz is also relatively maintenance-free, and can easily be wiped clean with a damp cloth. This makes it an excellent choice for homeowners who value durability.
For these reasons and more, quartz received top marks from Consumer Reports in its “Countertop Buying Guide.”
See also: Can a Quartz Countertop Take the Heat?
What are Quartzite Countertops?
Unlike manmade quartz, quartzite is a naturally occurring stone found in the earth. It forms over time when heat and pressure are applied to sandstone. It is then mined and cut into one-of-a-kind slabs, each with its own unique veining and coloring.
Quartzite has the detail and depth that characterizes granite, but is more limited in terms of color. It is most commonly found in shades of white and gray, but can also be pink, red, yellow, blue, green or orange depending on what minerals are present.
Quartzite is even harder than quartz so it’s slightly more durable in terms of its ability to withstand high temperatures without melting.
However, as with all natural stone, quartzite is also more prone to denting, chipping and staining. It can also be damaged by contact with acidic substances, which can leave dull spots behind.
Because of these vulnerabilities, quartzite requires more maintenance than quartz. Proper sealing — both before use and throughout the year — is essential for preventing stains from penetrating the stone.
Choosing Between Quartz and Quartzite Countertops
Due to their winning combination of elegance and durability, quartz and quartzite are both wonderful surfaces for kitchen and bath countertops. If you love the aesthetic of natural stone, quartzite may be the more fitting design choice.
However, if you’re willing to consider a manufactured alternative, quartz not only has unique benefits, but may also cost less: While quartz and quartzite are comparable in cost, quartzite can cost more than quartz per square foot because the cutting process involves more time and skill.
While choosing between quartz and quartzite can be a daunting process, there’s good news for homeowners. Whether you end up going with the natural stone or its engineered alternative, you can look forward to an alluring — and enduring — end result.
At Arch City Granite & Marble in St. Louis, we stock full slabs of Quartzite colors like Taj Mahal, Zermatt, Florida Wave, White Macaubas as well as Quartz, so that home owners can compare the two kinds of materials side by side.
There is no substitute to the experience of looking at full slabs of stone before making right selection of your kitchen countertops.