Quartzite vs. Quartz

Quartzite vs. Quartz

What’s in a name? Actually, there is a lot in a name when it comes to a couple of countertop materials you may have heard about. The names are so similar that sometimes people mistake one for the other. In fact, some might think that these are as confusing as a demi bullnose edge profile and a half bullnose edge profile. So it is with the surfaces called “quartz” and “quartzite”. Even though the names are very similar, the materials are different. In this installment of “This vs. That” we will look at these two materials. Are you ready? Get geared up for quartzite vs. quartz

Main Event – The Match Up

Each of these materials is a beast in its own right. Each surface has strong support and the industry makes tools specifically designed to work with both quartz and quartzite. Even though these strong surfaces have similar names they come from two different worlds. Like the boxers in the very popular movie that pitted the Italian against the Russian, these countertop materials are both as strong as you could ever need. Let’s take a look at the two opponents to get an idea of this quartzite vs. quartz matchup.

Quartzite – A Naturally Hard Contender

A nickname that might be appropriate for quartzite is “Nature Boy”. That’s right, quartzite is a natural stone that forms in the Earth. A tough competitor that is hard and beautiful. It lives in the realm of about 5-7 on the Mohs scale of hardness; proving it has the “true grit” to hold up under the normal wear and tear that stone countertops go through. However, it is just as elegant as it is tough. With an appearance so pleasing that it rivals marble’s attractiveness.

The hardness of quartzite affords it some nice features. It is scratch resistant and is able to take the heat that normal household use throws its way. It’s the naturally hard choice for a kitchen that requires the beauty and durability of natural stone.

Just like any other natural contender, staying tough and resilient requires that quartzite stays properly “conditioned”. Keeping quartzite sealed and treating it with the appropriate cleaner is what will keep this contender in tip top shape!

Quartz – The Synthetically Engineered Opponent

If we wanted a fear inspiring nickname for this contender, we would have to use one of a different flavor. Perhaps “Cyborg” would be a fitting fight name for quartz. This is because it is synthetically engineered to perform; you know like the Russian in that popular 1985 boxing movie. Quartz is purposely designed to perform well in a countertop match up in the home. Each feature deliberately honed to make a surface that will undergo much in the way of wear and tear as a kitchen countertop. Like most chemically enhanced fighters, quartz surfaces can take a great deal of adversity. Seemingly unphased when dealt an unexpected blow in the form of a spill or potential stain-causing substance.

Like the other contender (quartzite), this engineered competitor (quartz) is hard too. This makes it a suitable rival in the match up of countertop materials. Its hardness makes quartz a scratch resistant choice that is non-porous. The non-porous surface means it does not suffer from a spill. So it is stain resistant.

When it comes to keeping this synthetic “cyborg” in its best shape, it needs to have a good defense strategy. Because hot pans are the “body blows” that weaken this contender, “covering up” is key by using hot pads and trivets. Make no mistake though, quartz holds its own when it comes to serving as a durable countertop surface material.

Quartzite vs. Quartz In 3 Rounds

Let’s get a ringside seat for this battle of quartzite vs. quartz, the natural stone, quartzite and its engineered opponent, quartz. They will go three quick rounds; each of which focusing on a particular aspect of the stone’s ability to perform in specific ways. Let’s get ready to rumble!

Round 1 – Without A Scratch?

Which of these two countertop surfaces will endure round one without so much as a scratch? Neither. Why is that? The answer is because these materials are scratch resistant, not scratch proof. Both materials, quartzite and quartz are scratch resistant and will endure the day in and day out use of normal homes very well. However, they can be scratched so using a cutting board is recommended.

Round Two – Stain Resistance

In a head to head battle of stain resistance we would have to give the second round to quartz. Not that quartz is impervious to staining, rather, it is resistant to normal household substances that can stain surfaces. However, it is susceptible to some chemicals that can discolor it.

Quartzite is more porous that quartz so in order to help protect it from stains, it needs to be periodically sealed with a high quality sealer and cleaned with a pH neutral cleaner. Quartz on the other hand, needs only to be cleaned using a qualified cleaner. Although, sealing quartz is an option; there are quartz sealers available.

Round Three – Who Can Take the Heat?

Round three then, is when the heat is on. When it comes to heat resistance, both materials resist heat and there really is a need for this when it comes to countertop surfaces. Whether it is in the kitchen or the bathroom, there are heat sources that can pose a threat to a countertop.

Kitchens have hot pots and pans that can affect a countertop that is not able to withstand them. In the bathroom, curling irons and straightening irons generate heat. So, who wins this round? Well, we would have to give round 3 to quartzite.

Quartz combines natural minerals mixed with man made polymeric resins. On the other hand, quartzite is a natural metamorphic rock that exists by undergoing intense heat and pressure from the Earth. In short, quartzite has “been there, done that” when it comes to heat. But quartz, although it is heat resistant, can still burn if the heat is too high. In fact, fabricators have to be mindful of quartz’s sensitivity to burning when they are cutting and polishing it.

And the Winner Is

Looking at the results of each of the quartzite vs. quartz three rounds, it goes something like this:

  1. Round 1 – Scratch Resistance: Draw – both materials are scratch resistant and either one of them can be scratched if no reasonable precautions are taken.
  2. Round 2 – Stain Resistance: Quartz – quartz is non-porous and has extremely low absorption and quartzite must be sealed because it is more porous than quartz.
  3. Round 3 – Heat Resistance: Quartzite – quartz is made using some man made materials that can burn and discolor if they are exposed to a high enough temperature. Quartzite though is born through extremely high temperatures.

Based on the results listed above, the announcer’s closing words might go something like the following:

Ladies and gentlemen we have a split decision…

The end of that announcement could end with either quartzite as the winner or with quartz coming out on top. It just depends on what other factors are important to the one paying the tab.

In the end, both materials can make great kitchen and/or bathroom surface materials depending on what your design style and color palette requires. Whichever one you decide to go with though will require some regular attention; just like an athlete has to be attentive to his fitness to stay in good fighting condition.

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