Quartz vs Quartzite Kitchen Countertops – What’s The Difference?

Your friend just had you over for a cup of tea and was beaming over their new quartzite countertops. You loved its sumptuous appearance and feel and started pricing countertops for your new kitchen. But you were quoted quartz prices. Are the two materials the same?

In this post, I’ll explain the difference between quartz and quartzite, what the materials are as well as their pros and cons. So you’ll know which material is best for you.

Let’s get into it!

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What Is The Difference Between Quartzite And Quartz?

Simply put, quartzite is a natural stone, whereas quartz is a man-made stone.

Quartzite starts as sandstone that is rich in quartz and then turns into quartzite after being subjected to intense heat and pressure over millions of years. It is quarried straight from the mountain face and sliced into slabs measuring approximately 1400mm X 3000mm.

Quartzite often appears as a dramatic worktop with bold colours, large mineral inclusions, and active designs.

Quartz is made up of dust and small aggregate leftover from the granite and quartzite quarrying process and is combined with polymers and resins and formed into similar-sized slabs as natural stone. Some quartz manufacturers use up to 90% stone aggregate in their slabs.

Since quartz is mass-produced, it generally features a more consistent appearance in neutral tones and textures. Modern printing processes create veining and marbling that look almost like real stone.

As the production techniques continue to improve for quartz, its price has fallen over the past decade. While you can pay a premium for rare and unique natural stone slabs, in general, you will pay about the same to have custom quartz or quartzite countertops installed in your home.

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What Is A Quartz Countertop?

Quartz countertop in kitchen

A quartz countertop is made out of large slabs of man-made quartz. The slab is crafted out of ground granite and quartzite dust which is mixed with resins and formed into sheets. The slabs are subjected to intense heat and pressure to turn them into an extremely durable material.

Quartz can be manufactured to mimic the look of natural marble, granite, and soapstone.

Your custom countertop installer first takes a precise template of your kitchen or bath after the base cabinets are in their final position. Robotic saws cut the quartz slab to match the measurements. It arrives at your home in one or two pieces. The weight of the quartz generally holds it in place, but a bead of adhesive ensures that the quartz stays in place. Matching resins make the seams practically invisible.

Quartz is about as hard or harder than granite, which ranks around 7 on the Mohs scale. Marble is softer at 5 and quartzite can reach a 9 on the Mohs scale. While a hot pot will not crack quartz, it can discolour the surface due to the small amount of resin that binds it. You should use a cutting board to avoid scratching the smooth surface.

If you are shopping for worktops, quartz will give you the greatest range of options. While natural stone is sold as singular slabs, you can find quartz in solids, patterns, stone appearance, and every look in between. Extra-large kitchen projects benefit as each slab of quartz will match other pieces from the same manufacturer.

Pros of Quartz Countertops:

  • Huge variety of colours and patterns
  • Can order multiple slabs for a perfectly matched large worktop
  • Harder than marble while looking almost like it
  • Extremely durable material that can last for decades
  • Non-porous (doesn’t need sealing)
  • Seams are nearly invisible

Cons of Quartz Countertops:

  • Quartz can stain and scratch (although very tough)
  • Can be damaged by high temperatures

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What Is A Quartzite Countertop?

Quartzite Countertop

A quartzite countertop will be a unique surface unlike any other in your neighbourhood. Cut from a mountain face, every slab of quartzite features distinct colouring, veining, and inclusions. It often appears as a dramatic countertop full of life and personality and is cut specifically to fit your kitchen using computer-operated robotic saws.

It’s one of the hardest stones used to craft countertops, with a Mohs rating of 8 or 9. It resists scratches better than a granite or quartz countertop, but can still be marred by a cutting knife. The use of cutting boards is recommended. It will not discolour if subjected to a hot pot, but hot pads are still recommended. You will need to seal it once a year or so to maintain its shining surface.

Some quartzite is extremely expensive, while other slabs can be on par with granite or quartz slabs. The cost of cutting and installation will be the same. Newly opened quarries often produce a fresh look that is desirable and will rate the highest price. Quartzite is often sourced for upscale homes and luxury hotels.

Pros of Quartzite Counters:

  • Unique beauty unlike any other countertop on your street
  • An extremely hard surface that better resists scratches and stains
  • New stones keep home decor fresh and exciting

Cons of Quartzite Counters:

  • Prices have a huge range from affordable to exclusive
  • Needs sealing approx. every 12 months
  • Difficult to source a pair of slabs that will match well for hidden seams
  • A limited and ever-changing selection

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Which Is More Expensive Quartz Or Quartzite?

Quartzite is generally perceived as the more expensive choice when compared to quartz. However, prices vary dramatically for both materials. Quartz runs between £225/sq.m and £900/sq. m. while quartzite can be found between £400/sq. m and £1500/sq. m. You can see there is significant overlap. Installation costs will be comparable for the two surfaces. 

The best custom countertop installers will encourage you to first find a look that you love before deciding on the actual material to use for your kitchen renovation.

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Final Thoughts…

There you have it! Everything you need to know when comparing quartz and quartzite.

While the two materials sound similar there are some very important differences to understand when comparing the two countertops. Make sure you understand these differences and know what material it is you are looking at before making a purchase.

So, will you go for quartz or quartzite in your new kitchen?



Michael from Kitchinsider.com

Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for around 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.