Lustro Italiano > Stone Appearance > Quartz vs. Quartzite

Differences Between Quartz & Quartzite

It is easy to get confused when discussing stone countertop materials. Often times you can learn a lot about a material by its name. Other times you can't. For example, there are two stone surface materials that can be difficult to distinguish while researching stone surfaces; quartz and quartzite. Here, we will take a look at what each of these materials is and then we will discuss some practical differences that might affect which material you choose to use for your countertops.

Before we can compare quartz to quarzite, it is important that we explain what each is. Then we can take a look at their differences.

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What is Quartz

Trying to supply an answer to the question, "what is quartz?" is not as easy as it may seem at first. Why is that the case? Because, the term quartz is used to describe more than one substance. First, quartz is a mineral that is composed of silicon and oxygen atoms. In its purest form, it is very hard (registering a 7 on the Mohs scale).

Second, quartz is a term used to describe an engineered stone material from which countertops are fabricated. This material is referred to as 'quartz' because of its composition. For example, if you research various quartz countertop brands you will find that each is made up of crushed stone that contains a lot of the mineral quartz. And although there is usually polymer resin combined with the stone, the volume by weight is less than 10% in most cases. As a result, this material is referred to simply as "quartz".

So, under the quartz label, we have the engineered stone called "quartz" that is a composite made up of the mineral "quartz" along with polymer resins to bind the crushed stone together.

What is Quartzite?

Unlike quartz, which is an engineered stone, quartzite is a natural stone. In fact, it is a metamorphic rock that has previously been quartz sandstone. When exposed to heat and pressure however, the quartz sandstone is changed into quartzite. When this metamorphasis occurs, The grainy surface becomes smooth and shiny in appearance. Quartzite is made almost entirely of the mineral quartz and is usually white or light colored, since the mineral quartz is normally this color.

What Quartzite Is Not

Quartzite is not soft. It is harder than granite in most cases. However, there are occasions where unsuspecting consumers have mistakenly purchased marble that was labeled as "soft quartzite". This however, is a misnomer since true quartzite is very hard and is resistant to acidic liquids that marble is susceptible to. So, be careful when you are shopping for quartzite and make sure you are not getting a slab of something else that mislabeled as quartzite.

"Unlike quartz, which is an engineered stone, quartzite is a natural stone."

So, let's summarize what we have discussed thus far. Quartzite and the engineered stone that is referred to as "quartz" are both made up primarily of the mineral quartz. However, the natural stone quartzite contains no polymer resin and quartz (the engineered stone) does. Now that we have made the distinction between quartz and quartzite, let's see the practical differences.

Quartz and Quartzite Have Different Porosity

One area in which these two types of stone are different is how porous each stone is. Quartzite has a range of porosity whereas quartz countertops are non-porous. In practical terms, this means that you may need to seal quartzite depending on the stone. Conversely, engineered quartz does not need sealing because it is non-porous.

The non-porous nature of quartz is often cited as an advantage over natural stone. Since natural stone is porous, it often times (if not always) needs to be sealed. Another benefit derived from quartz's nonporous surface, is that it is stain resistant. This is not to say it is stain proof however; quartz can stain and is not stain proof. So be sure that you research how to remove stains from quartz. On the other hand, quartzite will receive stains to the degree it is porous.

Qartzite Is Heat Resistant

Saying that quartzite is heat resistant while discussing the differences between quartz and quartzite implies that quartz is not heat resistant. The truth is that both are heat resistant. However, quartzite is more resistant to heat than quartz is.

When you think about how each material is formed, you get an idea of how resistant each is in comparison to the other. Quartzite is formed under intense heat and pressure from its environment. Quartz, on the other hand is made up of the mineral quartz and polymer resin. The resin that is in the quartz material lessens its heat tolerance.

These are not the only comparisons that can be made between these materials. Yet, they make up perhaps the biggest differences. If you would like to see more comparisons between these materials you can see more in this article.

In this discussion, we have considered how quartz compares to quartzite. We have seen that although both of these materials are made up of the mineral quartz, they are not the same. Additionally, we have looked at how each has an advantage over the other to a certain degree. In the end, which surface you choose to go with will depend not only on how the stone looks, but also on which kind precautions you are willing to take when caring for and maintaining your stone countertop.