It’s easy to automatically group quartz and quartzite in the same family, but there are differences. With quartz fast becoming a popular countertop choice for homeowners and others, those thinking about using it or quartzite should know the distinctions between the two before making a choice.
Quartz is almost always referred to as an engineered, man-made, hard mineral product. It is a durable product that consists of actual crushed quartz in combination with other elements in polymers, cement, resins and pigments. Most quartz is 93 percent stone while the remainder is 7 percent resin. Pigments are added to the mix to either create a solid color appearance or patterns.
Quartz Color and Pattern Choices
The appeal of quartz is in its selections of both solid colors and pattern choices, and these combinations usually cannot be duplicated in natural stone countertop products like granite or marble. Patterning in quartz can even be made to resemble marble and marble veining.
Advanced technologies in quartz manufacturing have allowed exacting reproductions of patterns and colors and with the durability of quartz, along with its resistance to scratching, fading, and the fact that it doesn’t have to be sealed, are all pluses in the quartz column.
Heat and Fading
Though quartz is durable, it is not resistant to heat and pot holders should be utilized when placing pans or other hot utensils or small appliances on its surface. In addition, fading can occur if quartz is situated in an area (outside) with direct sunlight. Light that comes through window areas should not cause problems with countertop fading.
Quartzite is a completely natural metamorphic stone and is one that is produced in a quarry and polished. Metamorphic rocks are created through intense heat in the deepest regions of the earth, and quartz sandstone is formed in this fashion. Quartzite is similar in appearance to marble and has a smooth and glassy finish and is usually white or gray in color.
Likeness to Marble
The popularity of quartzite is due to its marked likeness to marble. In spite of its similarity to marble, quartzite stones are much harder and are more reliable than marble countertops. Though quartzite is scratch and heat resistant, it does require sealing at least twice a year and may be susceptible to etching. It can be easily maintained and retain a look of newness for a number of years if it is regularly sealed with a high quality sealer.
Quartzite’s resistance to etching is not as susceptible to it as that of marble, but it can occur. Etching happens when acidic liquids react with the calcium in a metamorphic rock. When acidic liquids are spilled on quartzite, etching can occur as the liquid dissolves the top layer of the countertop area and rough spots occur. When and if this occurs, etching can be repaired through a small amount of polishing powder applied to the area or areas. Depending on the hardness of the quartzites, some can be more or less prone to etching.
Choosing Quartz or Quartzite
Either quartz or quartzites make quality choices in kitchen countertops. Though they have slight differences concerning maintenance and the sealing aspects, they both offer durability and beauty similar to other stones, so any decisions come down to individual needs and taste.
Quartz is a good choice for those who want full color or patterning and don’t necessarily like the appearance of marble or granite. Quartzite will provide the look of marble for those who prefer less maintenance and don’t want to deal with etching and scratching that can occur with real marble.
If you are unsure whether to choose quartz or quartzite for your kitchen or bathroom, or just have questions in general, complete the contact form and a representative will get back to you with the answers you need to make a decision on the countertops that best fit your needs and lifestyle.