When remodeling your home and choosing a material for your countertop, quartz and quartzite often get mistaken for one another. Although they are both derived from natural stone, they actually have many different qualities that can significantly impact the way you maintain them. In this month’s blog, we are walking you through their qualities so you can pick the perfect material for your space.
Man-Made vs Natural Stone
The first and possibly least-known difference is that quartzite is a natural stone formed by the metamorphic process, where rock meets heat and high pressure beneath the earth’s surface. It is then mined as is and cut into slabs.
Quartz, however, is man-made and engineered to reach its finish. It’s very common for our customers to come in requesting natural stone (we are Wisconsin Granite after all!). But what they don’t know is that man-made quartz countertops are still derived from natural stone, which makes up around 90% of the material. They are, however, engineered by being mixed with pigment and silicone before being formed into countertops and it’s this process that changes its qualities.
Variations of the Material
Given that quartz is man-made, it can be customized in a number of ways. Flecked or veined patterns can be added to create a unique finish and even mimic other natural stones such as granite or marble. Similarly, pigment can be added to the material, which means the overall finish can vary dramatically in color as well. They typically range from deep pink and violet to lighter blue and orange hues.
In contrast to that, quartzite cannot be altered. Although there can be some variation depending on the presence of iron oxide, which can give the stone a pink or red hue, the slabs typically come in white or gray shades.
Durability and Maintenance
Man-made countertops are rarely as hard as their natural stone counterparts and it’s no different with quartz and quartzite. As natural stones go, quartzite is actually a harder material than granite which means it’s durable and can withstand a high level of heat. It does, however, require more ongoing maintenance. Quartzite has to be re-sealed on average twice per year to avoid any stains penetrating the stone, a process needed for many other natural stone countertops too. Once sealed, the clean-up is relatively easy.
Despite being man-made, quartz is also quite durable. One of its greatest advantages is that it’s a non-porous surface, meaning little maintenance is needed overtime, and wiping clean with a damp cloth should do the trick – although it is advised to steer clear of abrasive materials, which are rarely needed on this type of surface. It is important to note that it’s not quite as durable as quartzite. As plastic is used in the formation of quartz, it can’t withstand the same amount of heat as quartzite, capping out at around 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Price and Budget
At their foundation, the price of both materials is pretty similar, although there are differences when it comes to installation and custom design. Given that quartz is man-made, it can quite easily be molded into any design which makes it more affordable. In contrast, quartzite is a natural stone and often requires custom cutting. This can quickly increase the overall cost of installation.
Your countertops can change the entire aesthetic of a room, and it’s equally important to consider how it will work with your lifestyle. So whether you’re looking to remodel your existing kitchen or bathroom with an all-natural stone countertop or you’d like something a bit more customizable, it’s clear that quartz and quartzite have a lot to offer.
If you’d like more information on our quartz and quartzite options, contact a member of our team or stop in to see us in our showroom!