Homeowners trying to decide which material to use for their kitchen or bathroom countertops can be forgiven for getting confused on the differences between quartz and quartzite. While the names are similar, they are in fact different materials. Quartz is man-made while quartzite is a naturally occurring material with unique patterns.
Both quartz and quartzite have their pros and cons when used as countertops in the home, and it’s useful to compare and contrast some of the main features of the two to guide design decisions. Among the factors to consider are the composition of the material, its strength and longevity, its overall appearance, and whether the goal is to mimic some other type of stone.
Unlike factory-produced quartz, quartzite is a naturally occurring metamorphic rock that was once sandstone but underwent changes due to heat and pressure. The rock is usually white or gray, and it’s the quartz crystals within it that produce its glossy look. Some types of quartzite feature other colors such as red or gold depending on their mineral content. This creates a resilient stone with vibrant patterns – making quartzite so popular for use in home countertops.
In contrast, quartz is man-made by combining quartz crystals with additives such as resins in order to produce a strong material that can be produced in an extensive range of patterns and colors. It is often used as an alternative to granite or marble because it can be made to look like those materials.
Quartzite countertops are incredibly strong and can withstand a lot of use without any major risk of damage. They’re also easy to clean, and these features make them a natural fit for busy rooms like the kitchen or bathroom. But because quartzite is a natural rock, it will need to be sealed once a year in order to protect the countertops against damage from water or other spills.
Because quartz is produced in a factory, it doesn’t require the same level of sealing or other upkeep that quartzite needs, so might be a better option if less hassle is the overall goal.
One of the many reasons that homeowners like quartzite is the fact that no two pieces are the same. Because the rock is naturally formed, each piece has a unique mix of colors and patterns. This means that there’s never a risk of one home having the same countertop as another if quartzite is the base.
Although this natural appearance can be seen as an asset by many designers, some want a more uniform appearance. That’s where quartz is preferable because it can be produced in a factory in the exact same styles and colors for each slab– so you’re sure to have a match from one counter to another. The man-made production also means that installation tends to be easier as the slabs have machine-precise smooth edges.
Whether homeowners use quartz or quartzite for their countertops, the end result will be something beautiful – and the toughest decision will be which one to use.