Quartz Vs Quartzite - Not the Same At All?

Date: December 16, 2019
Author: Jon Smith
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Quartz countertops and Quartzite countertops are often confused as the same thing because they have a similar name. They are actually two different materials.

Quartz Vs Quartzite - Difference

Quartz is a man-made material and quartzite is a natural stone that is extremely durable and has a lot of color options. Quartzite is actually my favorite material for countertops because of the durability as well as sheer beauty.

Quartz offers more color options as it is man-made and pigments are used to create the beautiful colors we know and love today. Quartzite has fewer color options but there are a ton of choices with quartzite.

What Is The Difference Between Quartz And Quartzite

Quartzite is a natural stone that measures 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Quartz, because it is made up of 90% natural quartz and resins it is also a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Both quartz and quartzite countertops are equally durable in terms of hardness but which is better? The answer is simple. Man-made quartz countertops are not very heat resistant so that really takes the durability factor out for man-made quartz countertops. Quartzite is very durable and extremely heat resistant which means it is better in terms of durability. 

Your Definitive Guide to Quartz Vs Quartzite

One of the most common misconceptions is thinking that quartz and quartzite are one and the same, when, in fact, these are two very different materials. Part of the reason for this misconception is down to the immense popularity of marble when it comes to natural stone, which tends to steal the thunder of all the rest, including granite and quartzite.

Notice we did not mention quartz here, and for good reason. Unlike quartzite, quartz is a man-made stone. If things have already started to sound too confusing, the following lines should break things down and explain the differences and similarities between quartz vs quartzite.

What Is Man-Made Stone

First, let's answer the question, “what is a man-made stone?” As the name implies, the term man-made stone refers to stones that are not mined for but rather engineered in a lab. The technology that’s used to make engineered stone was developed in 1963 by an Italian company that licensed their process to various other manufacturers under the trademark Bretonstone.

Manufacturers of quartz countertops and other items use the word quartz to represent one of the most abundant minerals found on earth; however, in reality, this quartz that is manufactured is man-made. While manufactured quartz can be considered mostly quartz since it does contain small pieces of quartzite, it is not pure quartz.

One of the best examples of “engineered” stones is quartz, which is engineered in a controlled environment. So, while both quartz and quartzite are materials that are commonly used for vanity tops, kitchen island tops, backsplashes, and various other uses, it is important to note that quartz is a man-made stone while quartzite occurs naturally and is quarried from the earth.

Eternal Calacatta Gold Silestone

Check out this marble-like Quartz slab called Eternal Calacatta Gold by Silestone. It mimics the look of Calacatta Gold Marble. You can see more Silestone Quartz options here on our website or by visiting Silestone's Website

What is Quartz

As mentioned earlier, quartz is man-made. It consists of tiny quartz chips, also known as quartz dust that is bound together using a polyester resin, ethylbenzene, additives, and pigments. The quartz particles may vary in size from 5 to half a millimeter small. The polyester resin is used to bind the minerals together. The mixture of pigments, resins, and mineral quartz is then poured out into a mold, where it hardens either into a slab or a specific shape, depending on the type of mold that is used.

While the manufacturing process may differ depending on the manufacturers, the making of quartz almost always involves some form of vibration, heat, vacuum, and compaction to cure the quartz slab into its final solid state. While quartz contains bits of quartzite, it goes through a special binding process that fuses the quartz with crystals with resins, pigments, and even tiny bits of glass that results in its unique and uniform appearance.

Advantages Of Quartz Countertops

Below we will outline all of the advantages of quartz countertops.

Uniform Appearance

With no individual stones or grains visible in the quartz dust, the quartz slabs used in kitchen countertops have a more uniform appearance, which is why quartz countertops and tiles are used in many kitchens and bathrooms. The resin that’s used to bond the quartz dust can also be tinted in any hue, which is the main reason why quartz is usually available in multiple colors and patterns.

Versatile Design

Quartz can also be made to look like any other stone, which makes them a great choice for those homeowners who have a specific pattern or color in mind for their kitchen countertops or bathroom countertops. Since quartz is a man-made stone that is manufactured in a controlled environment, different color resins can be used during the manufacturing process, which results in multiple color options and patterns. This is not possible if you’re going to go with naturally occurring quartzite, which only comes in a few colors.

Does Not Require Much Maintenance

One of the main selling points of quartz is that while it does need to be cleaned in order to maintain its appearance, it doesn’t require any heavy maintenance and is virtually maintenance-free. This is mainly because of the quartz dust or chips being suspended in resin. It does not require to be resealed.

The quartz surface is able to maintain its appearance for a long time just as long as it is kept protected from extreme heat and sunlight. As a result of the binding process, quartz has a non-porous surface that does not need regular maintenance, such as a sealant.

Microbes and Moisture Resistant

One area where quartz outshines quartzite is its ability to keep the buildup of moisture or harmful microbes at bay. The non-porous surface itself serves as a powerful barrier against the buildup of harmful microbes and also moisture. This makes it highly unlikely for a quartz surface to get easily stained or become host to a microbial invasion.

Versatility

The versatility of quartz makes it a nice alternative to those who are looking to get an alternate look and feel to the traditional granite and marble finishes. It’s important to note that engineered quartz is not recommended for outdoor use because of the exposure to elements that can end up damaging the quartz.

Affordable Price

When it comes to the price, it mainly depends on its use. While quartz is easier to cut and design according to one’s needs as compared to other materials such as quartzite, it is not necessarily cheaper than quartzite.

Disadvantages Of Quartz Countertops

Along with the advantages, quartz does have some disadvantages. Continue reading to learn all about the disadvantages of quartz.

Sturdy to an Extent

Since quartz comes in at 7 on the Mohs mineral hardness scale, it’s unlikely to get chipped or cracked by the blade of a knife. However, you should refrain from chopping directly on the quartz surface, as that can increase the chances of etching because of the interaction between the food acids and the resins in the countertop.

Can Crack in Extreme Heat

The surface of quartz can be damaged under extreme heat. Also, since quartz is considered to be UV unstable, this basically means that it tends to lose its color when exposed to direct sunlight. This is one of the main reasons why quartz is not recommended for outside use, especially if it’s going to be used in a region that gets a lot of sun exposure.

Tends to Stain Easily

Buying something that’s made out of quartz is a significant investment, so you’ll want to get the most bang for your buck. While quartz does give you the option of many colors and patterns, it also tends to stain easily.

It’s common for the resin used in the quartz to get stained by common household cleaning chemicals and oils, which is why regular cleaning of a quartz surface is necessary if you’re looking to maintain its appearance and color.

All you have to do is keep the quartz surface clean, especially after a spill, and it’s good to go. Use this cleaner for your quartz countertops.

Visible Seams

Quartz is a great option for countertops however the seams aren't always as seamless as you would like. The epoxy used to join two pieces of quartz together must be done well and the cut of the jointed quartz countertop pieces need to be perfect for a tight and less visible seam.

If you want the best then it is wise to choose a quartz countertop fabricator that has a CNC or waterjet saw to cut out the countertop pieces.

Not Scratch-Resistant

Because of its hardness, engineered quartz is most commonly used in high-traffic areas of a house or workspace, such as kitchens, hallways, and even walls. That said, engineered or man-made quartz is a sturdy material that is scratch-resistant, but to a certain degree.

This means that it’s possible for you to accidentally chip, scratch, or discolor the surface of the quartz. Also, it does not do well in high temperatures, which is why users should refrain from placing things such as a hot pot or a hot pan directly on the quartz – doing so could cause it to crack or break.

Can Engineered Quartz Be Similar to Natural Quartzite

One of the major confusions when it comes to quartz vs quartzite is that manufacturers of countertops usually refer to their products as made of “natural stone.” This particular type of phrasing can be found in the marketing of various companies and can mislead consumers.

Natural stone is not only made out of stone but is also naturally occurring. Some of the examples of natural stones include limestone, granite, marble, and, of course, quartzite. These stones are considered to be natural because they can only form in nature.

On the other hand, manufacturers that make quartz products need to include polyester resin and ethylbenzene, which are not found in nature. In fact, 90% of the materials that form the base of quartz items such as countertops, tiles, etc., are all waste products of other quarrying processes.

No natural stone is used in the making of quartz countertops, floor tiles, or other products. So, the short answer is no; engineered quartz cannot be similar to natural quartzite by a long shot.

What Is Quartzite

It is true that quartzite could possibly be one of the most confusing natural stones there is. The sad truth is that, more often than not, quartzite is wrongly labeled. One of the common ways that manufacturers misinform consumers is by labeling their products that are made from dolomite marble like quartzite. While many view natural stones as being one and the same, the main composition of quartzite usually gets maligned.

For those who are unfamiliar with the natural stone, quartzite is a metamorphic rock that’s made entirely from the mineral known as quartz. It’s important to note here that this naturally occurring quartz is very rare and not similar to man-made or engineered quartz, which is a material that’s commonly used for floor tiles, countertops, and so on.

Quartzite begins its journey as grains of sand. With time, these grains of sand fuse together to create sandstone. Once the sandstone is buried under layers of rock, under natural processes that include extreme heat and pressure, the sandstone is fused together to make crystalline quartz, which is commonly known as quartzite.

The dense and durable rock called quartzite that’s created when the sandstone loses its original shape and fuses with surrounding particles must then be quarried from deep beneath the surface of the earth.  The process of how quartzite is formed in many ways is similar to how individual snowflakes marge to create a solid form of ice called a glacier.

Quartzite Slab

Check out this Quartzite slab that could be confused with Quartz.

Advantages of Quartzite Countertops

Continue reading to learn the advantages of quartzite countertops.

Made of 100% Natural Quartz

Despite the color that the quartzite can take on in its natural environment, the main defining factor that separates quartzite from engineered quartz is the fact that the former is made from 100% natural quartz. It is important to note here that the quartz that’s being referred to is the naturally occurring quartz and not the man-made material, which is also marketed as quartz.

Extremely Strong

One does not have to be a geologist to appreciate the fact that quartzite is a natural rock, which means that rigidity and sturdiness are two of its main properties. When it comes to durability, while quartz is considered to be nearly indestructible, proper care is still required to make sure that you don’t end up chipping or cracking the quartz surface.

This usually occurs due to excessive heat, which can damage the quartz surface. Since quartzite is 7 on the Mohs mineral hardness scale, this means that quartzite is tougher than glass and is even harder than the blade of a knife.

Stain-Resistant

One of the main concerns of people looking to choose between quartz and quartzite is the ability of the material to stop stains from developing permanent marks on the surface.

Unlike man-made quartz, quartzite does not get stained when you drop vinegar, lemon juice, or even acid on its surface. On the other hand, the surfaces of other rocks, such as marble and engineered quartz, do get stained easily. Its sturdiness makes quartzite the perfect option for kitchen or bathroom countertops or other heavy-duty uses.

Durability

Quartzite is a lot sturdier and more durable as compared to engineered quartz. This means that the quartzite surface is not likely to get damaged easily and can last you a considerably long time when used as a countertop. Quartzite is also considered to be much better when it comes to dealing with the general wear and tear that comes with time. However, the quartzite surface still needs to be properly cleaned in order for it to maintain its appearance.

Excellent Heat Resistance

Unlike quartz, which normally tends to crack when exposed to extreme heat, quartzite is far sturdier. As a result, it can maintain its integrity even when exposed to the sun’s rays or the extreme heat of a hot pan. The excellent heat resistance that quartzite offers means that it can be used outdoors as well. The same cannot be said for quartz.

Disadvantages Of Quartzite Countertops

Single-Tone Color

Unlike quartz, which can be molded into any color, shade, or pattern during the manufacturing process, quartzite is a white, light-colored rock. That being said, the light color, which is the result of the light-colored quartz sand in the quartzite rock, can be manipulated by other factors.

These factors may include minerals that are carried by groundwater, which can result in the quartzite being either an iron-red, green, or bluish hue. Some common examples of these vivid colors of quartzite rock are Azul Macaubas or Van Gogh.

Attracts Microbes if No Sealant is Used

Another area where quartz etches past quartzite is its susceptibility to the build-up of microbes. The porous nature of the surface of quartzite makes it susceptible to bacterial invasions if not sealed using a sealant before installation. This is one of the main reasons why those who buy quartzite countertops have to top it with a natural stone sealer before it can be installed. The sealer needs to be soaked for up to 15 minutes before being wiped off the surface of the quartzite.

The Price Of Quartzite Countertops

When it comes to the prices, quartzite tends to be more expensive than quartz. This is mainly because, unlike quartz, quartzite countertops need to be quarried from the earth in slabs, which takes more time and effort. These slabs are later cut into smaller, manageable pieces, according to the end product.

Since quartzite is cut in one piece when it’s dug out of the earth, this means that the single-piece design is far more resistant to the environment. It’s also able to withstand more general wear and tear as compared to man-made quartz.

Where Can Quartzite Be Used

The versatility of quartzite means that it has a number of applications. This is one of the reasons why quartzite is commonly used in various areas throughout a house. The elegant appearance of quartzite, along with its sturdy build quality, means that it offers you the best value for your money.

When it comes to living spaces, quartzite can be installed as countertops in the kitchen or bathroom. Quartzite comes highly recommended for people who are searching for a highly functional and durable countertop for their kitchen. Since the kitchen is one of those areas of a house that receives the most traffic, you will want to get a countertop that can live up to the high demands of a kitchen countertop. Keeping that in mind, quartzite is the perfect choice for multiple uses throughout a living space.

Is Shadow Storm Quartzite

No shadow storm is actually a Brazillian marble. 

Shadow Storm marble may have similar characteristics and could have natural quartz imbed in it but it is still a hard marble.

I really want to clear something up that I hear very often from customers calling because another granite shop offered them a marble countertop but called it a quartzite. This is happening so often that it is really ridiculous how a company can lie to a consumer. This is a huge purchase and you don't want to choose the wrong thing. If this has happened to you then I would consider calling them to replace them with the proper product.

Choosing Between Quartz And Quartzite

You will find that when it comes to choosing either one from the two, both quartz and quartzite offer their fair share of qualities. When it comes to choosing between quartz vs quartzite, it mainly depends on personal preference. Some of the factors that you will need to consider when choosing between these two types of countertops are your taste and lifestyle preferences. For instance, do you have a particular color or look in mind? How much are you willing to spend? How much traffic will the surface of the quartzite or quartz have to deal with?

If you’re looking for something that’s built sturdier and will go the distance, then quartzite is the obvious choice. However, if you are looking for a particular color to go with the rest of your home or office space, then quartz will offer you plenty of options when it comes to hue, color, and patterns.

It also goes without saying that natural quartzite offers an exquisite natural stone look along with lasting durability, which makes it the ideal choice to use in areas where there is going to be a lot of traffic and use.

It’s important to keep in mind the many similarities and advantages of quartz and quartzite before you decide on which one you’d rather go with.

Conclusion

When it comes to quartzite vs quartz, the price, name, or origin of the stone cannot be used as a reliable indicator of what type of rock you’re purchasing. In fact, more often than not, it can be difficult to even tell quartzite apart from marble due to their somewhat similar appearance.

While the confusion surrounding quartz vs quartzite is understandable, since there’s a lot of conflicting information available online, exploring the various properties of both quartz and quartzite given here can help you make a more informed decision the next time you’re finding it hard to choose between quartz vs quartzite.

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About Jon - Website Owner

Jon Smith

Hi, my name is Jonathan Smith. I have been in the granite business for many years and have worked my way up from an installer helper to an installer and then a countertop business owner. 

I started my countertop company with very little and grew extremely fast because of my knowledge and helpfulness. I started this countertop resource for 1 main reason. That reason is that there are no countertop websites with all the correct information and none of them are from an industry expert like myself. 

I am still in the trade every single day installing countertops, educating people on the type of material they are using for their homes, and making people's dream kitchens a reality.

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