Quartz vs.Quartzite: What’s the Difference? 


In order to make your best decision, it's important to understand the differences between quartz and quartzite.

Quartz and quartzite are both two high-end countertop materials that come from quartz. They are so often confused that even retailers might use the terms interchangeably. But Almena homeowners need to know the differences in composition, maintenance, durability, and looks. Keep reading to get the information you need to make your decision.


Quartzite is all natural.

Comprised of 90 to 99 percent quartz grains bound by silica, quartzite is a natural stone that can be appealing to environmentally-friendly homeowners because it's created in nature and only includes natural components. It's created beneath the earth's surface when sandstone rich in quartz is transformed under high heat and pressure. Quartz, on the other hand, is engineered and baked into slabs in a factory. It includes up to 94 percent ground quartz that comes from the earth. The remaining materials include polymer resins and pigments for color.


Quartz comes in more colors and patterns.

Pigments added to quartz help offer a wide range of colors. In addition, quartz can be veined or flecked in the factor to provide beautiful patterns across the slab. Quartzite is primarily in shades of gray or white, though iron oxide in the stone can gives red or pink hues. The pattern is also limited to what is created naturally.


Quartzite has an earthier feel.

Quartzite keeps the sugar-like texture of quartz-rich sandstone, giving a coarser feel that's desirable to those who want a more organic countertop. The resin binding ground quartz results in a smooth, seamless finish, giving a somehwat manufactured look.


Quartz repels moisture and microbes without sealer.

Because of the binding process, the engineered stone of quartz is non-porous and doesn't need to be sealed. The non-porous surface provides an effective barrier against mircobes and moisture, reducing the chance for permanent stains and bacteria. This makes it easier to keep clean, requiring only wiping up wet spills with a damp cloth or scrubbing dried spills with a soft sponge moistened with surface cleaner. Deeper cleaning can be done easily with a surface cleaner sprayed on the surface of the countertop and left for ten minutes before wiping it down with a soft sponge. Quartzite can be cleaned with the same methods, but the porous surface is vulnerable to stains and bacteria if it's not sealed before installation or re-sealed regularly.


Quartzite is more scratch- and acid-resistant.

RLanding between a seven and eight on Moh's mineral hardness scale, quartzite is slightly harder than quartz. A stray knife is unlikely to damage either material, but you wouldn't want to chop on a quartz countertop without a cutting board because of the potential damage that can come from the combination of food acids and resins in the sealant. Light knifework on quartzite does not cause etching. You should also note that some retailers sell a countertop material called "soft quartzite," which is a marble, which is highly vulnerable to etching. 


Quartzite can take the heat.

Feel free to use quartzite countertops without hot pads or trivets. However, the same cannot be said for quartz. The resin used to bind quartz melts at about 300 degrees Fahrenheit, which means trivets or hot pads are required.


Quartz is less expensive.

Quartz costs approximately $60 to $150 per square foot (installed) and quartzite costs approximately $70 to $200 per square food (installed). The difference is due to the complexity of creating slabs from quartzite. They must be cut with a diamond blade. Quartz is cheaper to create because it is mixed and poured into a mold of standard slab size and thickness.


Neither material is DIY-friendly.

Quartzite slabs weigh in at approximately twenty pounds per square foot, and quartz slabs weigh in at approximately 20 to 25 pounds per square foot. That means it can be difficult to use these materials in a DIY project.