The Differences Between Quartz and Quartzite Countertops
Many people are enamored with the sight of quartz or quartzite at their friend or relative’s home, and then proceed to the stone seller, and tell the sales professional that they would like a similar product. “Would you like quartz or quartzite?” – They are usually asked. Unfortunately, the purchasers often don’t know the answer to the question – however, there is a fundamental difference between the two types of stones. This article will delineate the differences, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each stone type to help you make the right choice for your home.
Quartzite is a naturally occurring stone that is mined from the Earth, much like granite. Quartzite is cut into slabs from various quarries all over the world; then it is shipped to sellers or distributors, like Marble.com. Quartzite is marginally harder than marble and other stones, like limestone and travertine. The advantages of quartzite are that it is a naturally occurring stone, and offers a beautiful aesthetic that many consider similar to marble countertops. Many professional interior designers and homeowners prefer to have a naturally occurring stone in their home as opposed to “engineered stone” countertops, like quartz, because each slab is unique and distinct, just like a piece of art.
For some people, there is no substitute to natural quartzite. Some potential disadvantages are that, because it is a natural stone, the stone will need to sealed bi-annually with a Stone Sealer from Mr. Stone. The slab will also not be 100% uniform in mineral composition and appearance. For those individuals who prefer uniformity in composition and appearance, “engineered stone” is available as an alternative.
Quartz is an “engineered stone”, meaning that it is created from specialty manufacturers that mix fine natural stone with what usually is a polymer resin that will harden and produce a uniquely beautiful and strong surface. The advantages of quartz are that, in addition to being robust, it is uniform in composition, meaning that because it is manufactured, there are usually no changes in mineral composition throughout the stone, such as might occur in naturally occurring stone slabs that were mined from the ground. Thus, while quartzite does not have perfectly uniform physical properties throughout the stone slab, quartz countertops do.
The composition of quartz differs from manufacturer to manufacturer because each one uses a slightly different composition of resin that gives rise to different physical properties of the manufactured stone. The composition of the resin is often a trade secret of the manufacturer, so even the stone seller might not even know it.
Many people prefer to purchase a manufactured product over a natural product to know the precise physical properties, as opposed to the comparably unpredictable properties of a naturally occurring product.
“Engineered stones” are available in the broader array of colors and designs than naturally occurring quartzite, so the selection is one advantage of quartz countertops. For example, if you have a specific color of flooring or cabinets that you would like to match your countertops, purchasing quartz instead of quartzite would lead to an easier search for a match to your existing kitchen, as opposed to searching far and wide for a quartzite slab that would match your kitchen.