Quartzite Vs Marble Countertops: What is the Difference

Date: April 28, 2020
Author: Jon Smith
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Ask anyone who has visited a stone yard about their experience, and they will tell you there are so many different types of stones that it can seem impossible to decide on a countertop surface. Stone yards are filled with many different countertop options, including granite, marble, and quartzite. Deciding on which stone to use in your home can be difficult. Today, we are going to compare quartzite and marble. You will find out about the different finish options, the durability of each stone, the makeup of the stone, the average cost, and much more.

Chemical Makeup of Marble and Quartzite

Quartzite and marble are both metamorphic rock, which means they are formed under high heat and pressure. Quartzite is formed from quartz sandstone. As the individual particles of quartz recrystallize cool, they develop a smooth, glass-like stone that looks similar to marble. Quartzite is typically gray or white. Conversely, marble is formed from sedimentary carbonate rocks. Carbonate is pure white; however, when other minerals are present, it creates the swirls and veins found in most marble. Both of these stones look absolutely beautiful and feature gorgeous veining and markings.

The Look of Marble and Quartzite

The two beautiful natural stones have many of the same features. Both stones feature veining, a light background ranging in color from white to medium gray. The background coloring of quartzite and marble is determined by any minerals found in the area while the stone is cooling. For example, if iron is found in nearby water, the marble or quartzite may have a reddish or pinkish background color.

The colors of marble can be anywhere from white to green, pink, gray, and black. Some of the common minerals found in marble include garnet, mica, wollastonite, and chlorite. Quartzite, on the other hand, can range from purple, yellow, black, brown, green, and blue. Some of the common minerals found in quartzite include iron oxide, zircon, magnetite, rutile, and even fossils.

How Much Does Quartzite and Marble Cost?

When it comes to determining the price of marble or quartzite countertops, the two major factors are the rarity of the stone and the availability of the stone locally. Pure white slabs are pretty common; however, finding a slab that has beautiful veins of pinks, blues, are green are not as common and will cost more.

The price of marble or quartzite countertops can vary greatly, depending on the type, size, grade, and origin. The average price for marble countertops is around $60 per square foot; however, you can find inexpensive marble countertops for as low as $40 per square foot to high-end marble countertops costing more than $100 per square foot. Quartzite is a little more expensive, with the average price being $90 per square foot. Inexpensive quartzite averages $60 per square foot, and the more expensive quartzite slabs can cost $125 or more per square foot.

Durability, Etching, Staining, and Scratching of Marble and Quartzite

Etching occurs when natural stone is subjected to an acid. When the acid comes in contact with calcite, a chemical reaction occurs, causing the stone to become dull and damaged. Some of the most common acidic products that etch marble include juices, ketchup, vinegar, and certain cleaning supplies. Although these chemicals will not etch quartzite, certain cleaners that contain hydrofluoric acid will etch the quartzite.

The porosity of the stone determines how stain resistant the stone countertop is. The porosity of marble and quartzite vary from stone to stone, depending on the chemical makeup of the stone. The best way to protect against staining is to use a sealer designed for natural stone surfaces. Sealers fill the pores in the stone and slow down how quickly liquids are absorbed. Most stone experts recommend that you seal your marble or quartzite countertops annually.

The hardness of marble vs. quartzite is quite different. Marble has a Moh’s Hardness Rating of about 3, while quartzite has a rating of approximately 7. This means that marble is much softer and will scratch easier than quartzite.

Finish Options for Marble and Quartzite

Marble and quartzite can be finished in a variety of ways. Each type of finish creates a different look and feel. Each finish has different properties that should be considered, including light reflection, slipperiness, stain-resistance, and much more. Let’s look at the top four finish options for quartzite and marble

  • Polished – Polished natural stone is absolutely stunning. The polishing process creates a beautiful, glossy finish that offers an amazing light reflection. Polished natural stone is the most popular finish. The high gloss is created by polishing the surface with diamond discs. Polished stone looks great in both traditional and contemporary homes.

Although polished stone is beautiful, it has a few disadvantages that should be considered. First, scratches show up on the polished stone. If you have a busy family or pets, you may not want to choose a polished stone for your countertop or floors. In addition to this, a polished stone becomes very slippery when it is wet; therefore, it should not be installed in the wet areas of your home.

  • Honed – Honed natural stone provides your home an old-world look. This finish for your stone countertops gives you a buttery finish that you will love. Honed stone resists scratches, making it the perfect choice for kitchens and other high traffic areas. A honed finish naturally reflects light for a warm feeling. Honed stone is created by using abrasives that remove small bits of stone.

Although honed stone is great at creating warmth within a space, however, this finish is more prone to staining than other finishes. The milling process that creates this finish makes the stone more porous than other finishes. One way to counteract this effect is to use a high-quality stone sealer every six to nine months.

  • Tumbled – Tumbled stone is created by tumbling the natural stone with sand, rocks, and other types of abrasives. Tumbling creates small chips and holes on the stone’s surface. Tumbled natural stone has a smooth feel. The worn finish adds warmth to your home.

If you like distressed finishes, you will love the look and feel of tumbled stone. Tumbled stone is great for wet areas in your home because it provides more grip than other finishes. Tumbled natural stone floors are perfect for bathrooms, entryways, and other areas of the home where the floors may get wet.

  • Brushed – A brushed finish makes the stone look like it was installed years ago. This finish provides an antique, yet natural look. Brushed natural stone is created by brushing the surface of the stone with different abrasives.

If you love antiques and want to make your home have an aged and worn look that is warm, yet refined, look no further than brushed natural stone. Brushed stone is porous and must be sealed frequently to reduce the risk of staining. Furthermore, due to its rough surface, dust collects on the stone; therefore, you must clean the natural stone often.


As you can see, there are many things to think about when deciding between quartzite and marble. Both stones have advantages and disadvantages that should be considered; however, one thing remains true for both marble and quartzite – they are absolutely stunning and will provide you with many years of beauty in your home.

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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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