Deep inside the earth, extreme pressure and heat transform sandstone into quartzite. This natural stone countertop is resistant to stains, etching, and heat, making them an almost maintenance-free countertop. Quartzite is less porous and denser than many other types of natural stones. Depending on the application site, quartzite may not need to be sealed or may not need to be sealed very often.
Quartzite has a Mohs Hardness rating of seven, making it harder and more durable than granite. Many homeowners prefer quartzite because it offers a variety of looks. Whether you are looking for a white countertop with minute flecks of color or a bold and beautiful countertop with gold veining, you can find just what you are looking for with quartzite countertops.
Quartzite Countertop Finish Options
Quartzite is offered in a variety of finishes. Each type of finish creates a different look and feel in your kitchen or bathroom. When deciding on the countertop finish option that you want, you should consider how you will use your countertops, the overall design of your home, and how much light you want to be reflected back into your space.
- Polished Quartzite – A polished finish is created by sanding the surface with finer and finer grit sandpaper until the surface has a glossy appearance. Polished quartzite increases the color emphasis of the stone and makes the veins pop. In addition to this, a polished quartzite countertop reflects light back into the room better than other finish options.
- Honed Quartzite – A honed finish is created by sanding the surface of the quartzite; however, the sanding ceases once a smooth, satin finish is reached. Honed quartzite countertops are typically lighter in color and have a flatter appearance. Honed countertops offer minimal light-reflective, and the background and vein coloring are reduced.
Both finish types have wonderful benefits. If you want a bright area that looks pristine, you may want to choose a polished finish. Conversely, if you are worried about scratching or etching a honed surface may be a better choice.
No matter which finish you choose, there are measures that you can take to reduce the risk of scratching and etching. For example, using a cutting board and never sliding heavy items across the countertop can reduce the risk of scratches. The risk of etching can be reduced with a high-quality quartzite sealer.
A sealer also helps reduce the risk of staining; however, there are no sealers that can guarantee your countertop will not stain. Spills still must be cleaned up when they occur. A polished countertop does offer a little more stain resistance than honed countertops. Unlike a honed surface that has open pores and is more susceptible to stains, polishing closes many of the pores in the stone and provides a natural barrier to stains.
Edge Profile Options for Quartzite Countertops
Quartzite can be cut into a number of edge profiles. The edge profile that you choose can change how the countertop looks and feels. For example, an ogee edge profile creates an elegant and classical look. This edge pulls the eye to the edge, where the contrasting colors are more pronounced. Ogee edge profiles are great on rounded and organic shapes in the kitchen and bathroom.
Waterfall edge profiles are very popular in contemporary kitchens. The waterfall edge is typically done on kitchen islands; however, they can also be done at the end of the row of cabinetry. With this edge profile, the countertop extends to the floor, creating a bold statement.
The triple pencil edge produces a thicker edge and is best when coupled with bold design elements like heavy cabinet hardware, attention-grabbing light fixtures, or dark-colored countertops. The polished standard countertop works in traditional and contemporary homes. This classic shape features a flat front. Polished standard countertop edge profiles allow your countertops to blend in seamlessly, allowing you to accent your favorite dishes, appliances, etc. on your countertops.
Pros and Cons of Quartzite Countertops
Quartzite is a beautiful natural stone that is an excellent alternative to marble countertops. The colors and veining present in quartzite are similar to marble; however, quartzite is much more durable than marble. Quartzite countertops and backsplashes are beautiful in the kitchen and bathroom. Yet, these countertops also have a few disadvantages that should be considered when shopping for countertops.
Advantages of Quartzite Countertops
- Beautiful Like Marble – If you love the look of marble countertops but do not want the upkeep of marble, you will love quartzite countertops. Quartzite does not require the maintenance and upkeep that marble requires.
- Durability – Quartzite is an extremely durable natural stone. Even with extensive use, the stone’s finish will not wear down, nor will any issues develop for many years.
- Low Maintenance – Quartzite counters are so easy to keep clean. Make a mixture of water and soap to wipe down your countertops. Always wipe up spills quickly to prevent staining your countertops.
- UV Resistant – Quartzite is UV resistant, which means it will not fade if it is exposed to direct sunlight. Quartzite countertops can be used in bright, sunny rooms or even outside.
- Heat Resistant – Because quartzite is a natural stone, it can withstand the high temperatures found in the kitchen. Do you have a hot pot in your hand and need to set it down? No problem! On a quartzite countertop, you can set hot pans, pots, and appliances on the countertops without worrying about damaging the surface of the stone.
- Etch Resistant – Quartzite, especially polished quartzite, offers some protection against etching. However, spills must be wiped up immediately, especially acidic substances like fruit juices, wine, or vinegar.
- Scratch Resistant – Quartzite is a hard stone and offers some resistance to scratching. Choosing quartzite that has veining or gray patterns can help to minimize the appearance of scratching.
- Versatile – Quartzite comes in a range of color schemes, allowing you to find a pattern that works with your home’s overall design scheme. The natural stone countertops have unique veining and coloration
Disadvantages of Quartzite Countertops
- Expensive – Quartzite countertops are more expensive than many other natural stone countertops. In addition to this, the construction and installation of quartzite countertops are also more costly.
- Nonuniform – Unlike quartz countertops, quartzite counters do not have a uniform appearance. Throughout a slab, you may see several patterns, colors, and veining throughout the countertop.
- Difficult to Install – The hardness of quartzite, intricate designs, and curves of a countertop require a lot of time and skill. The designer must use diamond cutting blades to make the cuts.
- Sharp Objects – Although quartzite is extremely hard, the countertops can be scratched or damaged with sharp objects or knives.
- Sealing – Although quartzite is hard, it does require sealing to help protect against staining and etching.
- Heat – Although quartzite countertops are heat resistant, they cannot withstand high temps for an extended period of time. If a hot pot or pan is left on the countertop, the countertop can actually melt.
How to Clean and Maintain Quartzite Countertops
Quartzite countertops are exotic, beautiful, and durable. These countertops are also resistant to many common kitchen liquids. Caring for quartzite is similar to caring for granite countertops. Use a soft cloth and dust the countertops daily. Every time you use the countertops or spill something on them, you will need to wipe them down with a damp cloth and a small amount of dishwashing liquid. After the counters have been wiped down, rinse them using a clean wet cloth and dry with a paper towel.
Another option is to use a countertop cleaner formulated for stone countertops like Method Granite and Marble Cleaner Spray. With this cleaner, there is no need to rinse. Simply spray your cloth until it is damp, give your countertop a quick wipe, and viola clean countertops!
Citrus based cleaners, vinegar, or abrasives can damage the surface of the countertop. The acidic properties in these cleaners can destroy the sealer, causing your countertop to become dull looking and vulnerable to stains.
If a stain occurs, make a paste of baking soda and water or use a commercial stain removing poultice. Apply a thick layer of paste to the stain and cover the area with plastic wrap. Allow the paste to sit overnight. Wipe the paste away and rinse using a damp cloth. If any trace of the stain remains, repeat the application until the stain is gone.
Sealing Quartzite Countertops
Quartzite is formed when sandstone is placed under pressure and heat deep within the earth. The sandstone crystalizes and forms interlocking crystals that make quartzite durable and hard. However, these crystals can have pores (spaces) between the interlocking crystals. These pores can allow liquids to seep into the stone and cause stains. Applying a quartzite sealer to your countertops can help decrease the porosity of the stone and help reduce the risk of stains. For the best results, the sealant should be applied annually.
Topical stone polishes contain acrylics, natural waxes, or polyurethanes. The application of these sealers is simple; however, they can wear quickly. Topical stone sealers like Stonetech Professional Stone Polish protects your countertops. This neural p-H formula is a gentle and water based, making it an excellent choice for countertops. To use simply spray the surface down with the stone polish, spread the polish with a cloth evenly, and then buff to a brilliant shine.
A penetrating sealer that contains silicates penetrates the stone surface and seal pores to repel water. This type of sealer lasts much longer than spray on polishes. Miracle Sealants Impregnator provides an invisible barrier to protect against staining. The formula is UV resistant, which means it will not yellow when exposed to sunlight. Once the impregnating sealer has fully cured, it is food safe. However, for best results, always use a cutting board when chopping food and a hot pad or trivet when placing hot pots and pans on the countertop.
Honing and Polishing Your Quartzite Countertops
Although quartzite countertops are durable, over time, your countertop can develop holes, chips, cracks, and discolorations. If this occurs, the quartzite can be honed and polished by a countertop specialist. The countertop specialist will use diamond polishing pads to remove discolorations and dullness. If any chips, cracks, or holes remain, the professional will use a specialized epoxy to fill in these areas. Finally, once the epoxy has dried, the stone specialist will polish the countertop to blend the patch.
How Much Do Quartzite Countertops Cost?
Quartzite is an excellent alternative for marble countertops. Quartzite is approximately ten times more durable than marble and costs roughly half the price of marble countertops. The average cost of quartzite countertops is $90 per square foot. There are inexpensive quartzite countertops that run as low as $50 per square foot and expensive countertops that run as much as $120 per square foot.
The variation in cost is due to two factors. First, how rare the coloration and veining of the slab of quartzite can affect the price. Secondly, the price is determined by where you live. For this reason, homeowners cannot go by price alone when determining the quality of the stone countertop.
In addition to the cost of materials, labor costs can vary greatly. If you live in an area that does not have any countertop specialists who have experience installing quartzite countertops, you may need to hire a stone specialist crew from another city, which can increase the labor costs substantially.
Finally, the installation costs can be affected by the difficulty of the installation. If you have numerous corners or unique shapes, it will take more skill and more time to install the quartzite countertops. Furthermore, the edge profile chosen can affect installation costs. Intricate edges like the ogee edge require additional expertise and time to create. Conversely, simple edge profiles like a bullnose or square edge are much simpler and, therefore, less expensive.
Quartzite is the answer to homeowners looking for a countertop that is durable and can withstand the demands placed on it in a kitchen. If you love the look of marble but do not want the upkeep and maintenance required by marble countertops, quartzite is a great alternative.
Quartzite is extremely hard, which means you will be unable to cut the slab for yourself. A stone fabricator is needed to design and fabricate your countertops. Because quartzite countertops are extremely heavy, the installation should be left to a team of countertop specialists. If the countertop is not appropriately handled, the countertop could break, making it necessary for an entirely new piece of countertop to be ordered and fabricated.
Most stone yards will carry a few varieties of quartzite. However, some stone yard may mistakenly label quartz or certain types of marble as a quartzite. In order to determine if the slab you are looking at is quartzite, get a sample, and try to scratch the surface with a knife. Quartzite should not be able to be scratched by a knife blade.
Once you have chosen a quartzite slab, you will need to find a countertop specialist. Contact a few countertop specialists’ companies in the area and get a quote. * Tip – A high quality countertop specialist will want to come to your house to measure your countertops and look for any potential problems that may arise. Once you have found a countertop specialist and the measurements have been taken, your quartzite countertop will be fabricated according to your exact specifications. Once the countertop has been manufactured, your stone specialist will install your countertops.
Quartzite countertops are beautiful and provide you with a durable surface. The countertop will not yellow when exposed to sunlight. Additionally, once sealed, a quartzite countertop will repel most liquids, reducing the risk of staining.