When you are shopping around for the perfect stone for your new countertops, you may stumble upon quartzite. Not to be confused with quartz, quartzite is a naturally occurring stone that looks stunning in the kitchen or bathroom. However, there is one question you need to ask before jumping aboard the quartzite bandwagon: Does quartzite crack easily?
Let’s find out.
What is Quartzite?
To repeat: quartzite and quartz are not the same things. Quartzite is a type of metamorphic rock that occurs when chert or sandstone rich in quartz is exposed to extreme pressure and heat. Quartzite contains a lot of quartz, sometimes up to 99%, with the rest being mineral silica. But it is not the same thing. The material has a glassy look that, depending on the color, may mimic marble. Because of that, quartzite has gained much popularity.
How is Quartzite Countertops Made?
Being that quartzite is found out in the world, it is much like marble and granite in that it doesn’t need much processing. The natural stone is quarried and then cut into slabs for purchase.
However, quartzite is a little too porous to serve as a countertop without some kind of sealant. Otherwise, it would soak up all kinds of liquids. For that reason, quartzite is often coated in wax, acrylic, or polyurethane. This seal will wear down every 1-2 years. In order to keep your quartzite counters from getting etched, stained, scratched, chipped, or cracked, you need to replace this seal regularly.
Even then, quartzite has a tendency to get dull over time.
Does Quartzite Crack Easily?
According to the Mohs Hardness scale, quartzite is harder than both steel and granite. If you wanted to chop vegetables directly on the stone countertop, not much would happen. No, quartzite does not crack easily, but it can crack. There are some scenarios where this could happen. Were you to drop a cast iron pan or a heavy appliance onto the countertop, the surface could fracture.
The other scenario would be an abrupt change in temperature. Quartzite is susceptible to heat, especially if the countertop is older and has some wear and tear. Any exposure to extreme heat could shock the stone, causing thermal expansion. As the counter cools, you may notice that there are new cracks along the surface.
Does Quartzite Scratch Easily?
Even though quartzite does not crack easily, it can be damaged much like marble, granite, or quartz. Quartzite countertops are sealed with a strong polymer-based sealant that absorbs into the porous surface, preserving the structure of the stone. These sealants will also repel any liquids that could otherwise seep into the stone.
Damage to the countertop happens when those sealants start to get old and cracked. When that happens, the porousness of quartzite becomes its downfall. Without any protection, the natural pores and cracks throughout the stone could worsen. That is when you start to see minor scratches on the surface.
In short, with a seal, your quartzite countertop is so strong that it will do more damage to knives and pans than those items would do. Once the seal is gone, quartzite is much more susceptible to damage.
Causes of Minor Damage to Quartzite
You already know that quartzite can be cracked from heavy impacts or by thermal expansion. What other things could damage your stone countertops? First off, anything that is harder than quartzite, such as the diamond in an engagement ring, could scratch the surface. Handle your jewelry with care around your quartzite counter. Secondly, abrasive chemicals may damage the sealant and affect the stone underneath.
You should also avoid any hard impacts against the corners and edges of the quartzite counter, where the material is thinner. Though rare, hitting a hard surface against the counter corners can cause them to chip. Lastly, never stand on your quartzite countertops.
What To Do If Your Quartzite Countertop is Cracked or Scratched
Again, quartzite is not going to crack easily, and it will take some effort to actually make a noticeable fissure in the stone. Should you find a crack in your quartzite, you will need to call in a professional team to have it repaired. The contractor will fill in the crack with some quartzite epoxy and then seal the entire surface again with some sealant. You will have to be careful from then on about reopening the crack.
For small scratches, the fix is simple. You will need to polish the top layer of the countertop with a light abrasive. After the scratch is no longer visible, you can then polish the counter and seal it with an appropriate sealant.
Renovate Your Home With Marble Concepts
Does quartzite crack easily? No, but it is possible to damage your countertops. Now that you know how durable quartzite can be, you may be thinking that it is the right stone for your kitchen renovation. If you are ready to get brand new quartzite countertops installed or would like to explore more options, give Marble Concepts a call at 215-396-7393. Our professional team is here to answer your questions or provide a quote.