What is quartz?
Did you know that quartz is the second most abundant mineral in the earth’s crust right behind feldspar? This igneous rock is composed of oxygen and silicon atoms and received its name from the Polish words “kwardy” and ” twardy” meaning ‘hard’. Some of the most common forms of quartz are amethyst, ametrine, rose quartz, carnelian, onyx, jasper, smokey quartz, agate, milky quartz, and tiger’s eye.
When speaking of quartz as a mineral, you’ll find that granite, onyx, quartz, slate and soapstone countertops all contain the mineral quartz in varying degrees.
You may be surprised to learn that quartz countertops are actually a man-made engineered stone countertop. These countertops are formed by combining around 90 percent ground quartz with 8 to 10 percent resins, polymers, and pigments, which in turn form a very hard granite-like surface.
What is quartzite?
Quartzite is an abundant and naturally occurring metamorphic rock. Quartzite’s name implies a high degree of hardness along with a high quartz content. Quartzite generally comprises greater than 90% percent quartz,while some contain up to 99% quartz. Quartzite has a glassy appearance and resembles beautiful marble, which has made it a desirable countertop material!
Quartzite countertops are produced after slabs of the natural stone are mined and precisely cut. Most quartzite is too porous to use as a countertop material in its raw form. Because of this, quartzite countertops are typically coated with a sealant such as polyurethane, wax, or acrylic.
The biggest difference between quartz and quartzite countertops is that quartz countertops are man-made or engineered material, while quartzite countertops are made of natural stone.
While quartzite countertops typically come in shades of white or light gray, the minerals in the stone can give off beautiful pink, gold, or reddish-brown hues. Quartzite is sometimes mistaken for marble or granite, as it has the delicate veining of marble and similar coloration and patterning to some granites.
A quartz countertop is engineered with quartz crystals, but can be mixed with differing materials, such as glass, to get a certain desired look.
Quartz Countertop Pros and Cons
- Very hard and durable
- Glossy sheen
- Stain-and-crack resistant
- Does not require sealing or resealing
- Comes in a wide variety of colors and designs
- Easy to clean with mild soap, water, and a soft cloth
- Can be expensive – around $60 to $100 per square foot
- Not heat tolerant
- Seams are inevitable for large countertop designs
- Difficult to install on your own
Quartzite Countertop Pros and Cons
- Looks Like Marble
- Durable and has high resistance to the acids that cause etching
- Low Maintenance once sealed
- UV Resistant
- Unique veining and natural colors
- Style versatility
- Prone to Scratches
- Costly – similar material costs to quartz but more expensive installation costs
- Porous and requires regular sealant maintenance
- Difficult to Install
We hope to have cleared up any confusion regarding the difference between quartz and quartzite countertops! These two countertop materials are great and extremely popular options for a modern kitchen, but are different styles of countertops.
Want to check out our selection of quartz and quartzite countertops? Check out our stone gallery on our website and be sure to reach out with any questions. We would love to help you choose the perfect countertop for your kitchen!