When shopping around for a new countertop, you may find yourself overwhelmed with all the available options. Whether you are looking for elegance or versatility, there is a countertop for you. One of the most durable materials you can purchase is called quartzite. But what is it? And is it engineered like quartz? Welcome to Quartzite 101, where your frequently asked questions about this commonly mislabeled natural stone are answered.
Quartzite is a naturally formed metamorphic rock that comes from sandstone. Due to being exposed to heat and pressure under the Earth’s crust for long periods, the sandstone starts to change, forming into other materials like quartzite. The time spent under pressure alters the overall quality of quartzite. For instance, if the pressure was lower than normal, the stone may feel grainy to the touch. A more crystallized quartzite will feel smooth and contain fewer pores.
In order to be called quartzite, the stone must contain at least 80% quartz. And no, not the manufactured quartz.
Due to the names and base material being very similar, it is a common misconception that quartzite and quartz are the same things. In actuality, they are very different.
Quartzite is all-natural. It comes from a quarry, much like marble or granite. The high-end quartzite that is used in the kitchen is between 90-99% quartz and a little bit of silica to bind it together.
Quartz countertops are manufactured. Real quartz is ground into a fine powder then mixed with polymer resin and pigments, baked, and cut into slabs. Quartz contains about 90-94% quartz and up to 10% polymer resin. Being that quartz is man-made, it can come in virtually any color you want.
On the Mohs Hardness Scale, natural quartzite is between a 7 and 8. Quartz is between 6 and 7. Knife blades won’t cut through either stone, but quartz is more likely to etch and scratch if you cut directly on it.
Can Quartzite Get Etched or Scratched?
No, quartzite does not etch or scratch. Not without some effort. The stone is harder than a knife blade. Such properties mean that it will stand up to wear and tear rather well. However, while it might be tempting to cut and chop directly on the countertop, it is still wise to use cutting boards and other utensils. Although the blades themselves won’t cause damage, liquids from whatever it is you are cutting will!
Should Quartzite Be Sealed?
Yes, quartzite should be sealed. Quartzite is a hard material, meaning that it will not get scratched or etched easily. However, due to its composition, it is porous. Liquids will soak in and stain the stone. Because of that, it is recommended that you seal the quartzite upon installation and then again around the same time every year.
You may notice that it is time to renew the sealant when the area around the sink starts to get darker than the rest of the countertop. Fortunately, applying a new coat of sealant does not take long, especially if you call in a professional like Marble Concepts. You may also want to use cutting boards, trivets, and spoon rests to prevent your quartzite countertop from staining or growing dark.
How Do I Clean a Quartzite Countertop?
Quartzite is very easy to clean. For everyday cleaning, a soft cloth, warm water, and soap will be more than enough. Larger messes and spills may require a specially formulated cleaner for natural stone. Never use solvents, ammonia, or 100% bleach on your counters, as it could damage them. Furthermore, if you have soft quartzite, anything with acid is also not recommended, including vinegar. Only true quartzite can withstand acid.
Is Quartzite Good for a Kitchen Countertop?
Yes, it is! There are a couple of advantages that make quartzite ideal for kitchen countertops. First, quartzite is harder and more durable than granite. Next, quartzite does not etch easily. Yes, it is porous and prone to staining, but you do not have to worry about it looking dull right away. There are some slabs of quartzite that are called “soft,” which means that they will wear more like marble.
For those who love baking, quartzite is very heat-resistant. You can put a hot pan or plate on the countertop without it getting damaged immediately. Compare that to quartz, which will melt at 300 degrees F.
Quartzite is also easy to maintain. Cleaning is a breeze, as is routine maintenance. In short, quartzite counters are a superb material for your kitchen. This is definitely one material you want to consider for your next home improvement project.
What Colors Does Quartzite Come In?
One of the disadvantages of quartzite is the lack of color options available. Generally, natural quartzite comes in a range of whites and grays. You may also find slabs that have some green, red, or pink, depending on how much iron is present. Some slabs will also contain veining, much like marble, adding a level of uniqueness to each piece.
Get a Natural Stone Countertop from Marble Concepts
Quartzite is a beautiful, all-natural stone made with quartz and silica. Although it does not have a wide range of colors of granite or man-made quartz, it is still one of the best countertop materials around. If you are considering installing quartzite countertops, make sure you consult a professional from Marble Concepts first. Marble Concepts has many years of experience working with natural stone. We can assist you in finding the right slab, installation, and maintenance. Give us a call at 215-396-7393 or fill out the contact form today.