Quartz and Quartzite: Which is for You?

Quartz and Quartzite: Which is for You?

Quartz and quartzite are both popular countertop materials which are known for their high durability and long lifetime. Due to their similarities however, quartz and quartzite are commonly confused.

Quartz is a man-made material comprised of 90 to 93% quartz minerals and 7 to 10% resin binding agent. Quartzite, on the other hand, is a natural stone material made up of quartz mineral-rich sandstone.

Before you decide on your countertop material, use this guide to learn the differences between quartz and quartzite.

Major Differences

Quartz and quartzite share many similarities, but the differences are distinct and important to be aware of.

Quartz tends to have more options for visual customization, while quartzite has a more natural aesthetic. Quartz is highly resistant to water and is relatively easy to clean and maintain. It is also more affordable than quartzite but is vulnerable to high temperatures such as cooking pans or baking sheets.

Quartzite is a porous material that requires regular sealing to prevent moisture from seeping into the natural stone. It is harder than quartz and provides a higher degree of scratch and heat resistance.

Appearance

Quartz and quartzite may look similar, but there are many notable differences.

Quartz may be dyed during the manufacturing process to create unique color combinations, patterns, and precise hues to get a specific appearance for the countertop. Quartz does not have the natural veining commonly seen in marble and quartzite.

Quartzite doesn’t offer the range of color and patterns of quartz, but it does have a distinct appearance that is hard not to notice. The stone retains a slight granular texture and often displays pink and red veining due to the iron oxide contained within.

Water and Heat Resistance

Countertops are typically installed in the kitchen or bathroom, where heat and water are in frequent use.

Quartz uses a water-repellant, resin binder in the manufacturing process that increases resistance to moisture and staining. This same resin is responsible for quartz’ vulnerability to heat. While the quartz materials themselves can stand up to high heat, the resin binder will start to melt around 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Quartzite is the better choice for a kitchen countertop, as its higher level of temperature resistance allows hot pots or pans to rest directly on the natural stone. The drawback to having a quartz countertop is the material being highly porous, leaving it susceptible to staining and water. You will need to seal your quartzite countertop regularly to protect it from water, oils, and other liquids.

Cleaning and Care

Before you install your new countertop, you should have a firm understanding of the care and cleaning requirements to keep it looking like new.

Quartz is relatively easy to keep clean due to its non-porous surface not being susceptible to water, oils, or other liquids. The resin binder stops moisture from seeping into the stone, allowing the user to clean the countertop with a soft sponge or cloth, and a store-bought or homemade surface cleaner.

Quartzite can be cleaned with the same simple process as long as the homeowner has already sealed the countertop. If the quartzite has not been sealed, using a water or liquid cleaner can result in lasting damage and staining throughout the natural stone. Due to this additional step, quartz is generally regarded as easier to care for and clean.

Durability and Maintenance

It’s also important to keep in mind the limitations of your countertop materials, as well as the maintenance requirements necessary to keep the countertop in good condition for years to come.

Quartz has a high level of natural durability and is also easier to clean and maintain. On the Mohs hardness scale, quartz ranks as a seven, meaning it is resistant to scratches, nicks, impact damage or abrasions. Additionally, the resin binder protects the material, so there isn’t any serious maintenance beyond regular cleaning.

Quartzite is even harder than quartz, ranking between seven and eight on the Mohs hardness scale. Due to this high level of durability, quartzite is more resilient to the aforementioned damages, as well as higher resistance to scratches, chips and dents. Quartzite needs to be sealed regularly to prevent water, oils, and other liquids seeping into the natural stone. You will need to plan to reseal your quartzite countertop every year or two to keep it protected.

Installation

Depending on the type of material, you may choose to install the countertop on your own. This is NOT recommended when working with quartz or quartzite.

Quartz comes in a wide range of shapes and sizes due to its convenient manufacturing process. This doesn’t reduce the weight of the engineered stone however, which can weigh up to 25 pounds per square foot. You will commonly see installers bring one or even more helpers to complete the job safely and carefully.

Quartzite countertops tend to vary less in size and shape, which can make them more difficult to maneuver and install. While quartzite weighs slightly less than quartz, it is still quite heavy at 20 pounds per square foot.

Due to these heavy weights, it is recommended to contact an experienced crew of professionals, such as our team here at Done Right Remodeling, to handle installation.

Cost

Quartz is engineered using quartz materials and a resin binder. Manufacturers can also add pigments to the engineered stone to give the countertop a custom pattern, color, or design. This type of quartz countertop may cost anywhere from $40 to $100 per square foot.

Quartzite is a natural stone material that must be cut into solid slabs. It retains the texture, color, and veining that makes natural stone so popular as a decor option. Quartzite does come in at a higher cost however, from anywhere for $80 to $210 per square foot.

Lifespan

Investing in a new countertop can be a costly project, so you should be aware of how long it is likely to last.

Quartz is one of the most durable countertop materials. It has a hard, moisture-resistant design that makes it ideal for busy kitchens or bathrooms. After being installed, quartz countertops will typically last 20 to 60 years with proper care, though warranties may not provide coverage for the entire lifespan of the material.

Quartzite is known to be harder and more resistant to heat than quartz, making it a better choice for kitchen countertops. Quartzite does need to be sealed regularly to be completely protected against water, oils and juices, but if it is properly maintained, it has a similar lifespan to granite, marble, and other natural stone countertops, ranging from 50 to 100 years.

The Verdict

If you are looking for a low-maintenance, water resistant countertop with a high level or durability, you will probably prefer a quartz countertop over quartzite. Quartz is more affordable and can be pigmented for a custom design, color, or pattern.

However, for those that don’t mind sealing and resealing their countertop regularly, quartzite can be an excellent choice. It’s resistant to high temperatures, abrasion damage, impact damage, and has an impressive lifespan.