ADVICE & TIPS, COUNTERTOPS

Quartz vs Quartzite Countertops – Pros, Cons & Differences

What is quartzite, is it the same as quartz? – As a kitchen designer, I get this question a lot. And with a definite rise in the popularity of quartzite right now, it’s something that’s coming up more and more.

While the two materials certainly sound very similar, there are in fact, some very important differences between the two.

In this post, I’ll be comparing Quartz and Quartzite, looking into what they are, how they’re different, and the unique advantages and disadvantages that each one carries. So you’ll know which material is best for you.

Let’s get into it!

What Is The Difference Between Quartz And Quartzite?

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

Despite their similar names, quartz and quartzite are two distinctly different materials with their own unique characteristics, advantages and disadvantages.

What Is A Quartz Countertop?

Quartz countertops are essentially a man-made stone.

When you hear the term “Quartz countertop,” what you’re really hearing about is engineered quartz.

Engineered quartz countertops are made from about 90-94% ground natural quartz, combined with around 6-10% polymer resins and pigments.

Marble effect Quartz countertop in kitchen
A very popular marble-effect quartz countertop

Quartz countertops have gained quite a reputation among leading brands like Silestone, Caesarstone, and Cambria. These brands offer an impressive range of colours, styles, and finishes that can rival the natural allure of stone while providing consistent quality and design.

When it comes to sizes, quartz countertops typically come in two standard thickness sizes: 3 cm (about 1.18 inches), which is more commonly used, and 2 cm (about 0.78 inches).

They also come in slab sizes of approximately 300cm to 325cm long (120 – 128 inches) by 140cm to 160cm wide (55 – 63 inches), although dimensions can vary by manufacturer.

why are quartz countertops so popular in kitchens?

Well, aside from the huge range of colours and finish options available, they are non-porous, meaning they won’t absorb liquids like porous materials do.

This non-porosity makes quartz highly resistant to staining, and you won’t have to seal them as you would with some natural stones.

Plus, they stand up well to scratches, making them a forgiving surface when your knife misses the chopping board.

These characteristics mean quartz countertops are relatively low maintenance. A simple wipe-down with mild dish soap and water is typically all you need to keep them looking pristine.

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Pros of Quartz Countertops

  • Durability: Engineered quartz is incredibly durable due to its composition. This translates to a surface that can resist chipping, scratching, and cracking under everyday kitchen use, significantly outlasting many other countertop materials.

  • Non-porous: Unlike some natural stones, quartz countertops are non-porous. This means they won’t absorb liquids, reducing the risk of staining and bacteria growth.

  • Low maintenance: Quartz countertops are great for the busy homeowner. There’s no need for regular sealing like with granite or marble. A simple clean with warm, soapy water is all it takes to keep your quartz countertop looking as good as new.

  • Consistent appearance: Since quartz countertops are engineered, they have a consistent colour and pattern, unlike natural stone which can have significant variations. This uniformity ensures that what you see in the showroom is exactly what you’ll get in your kitchen.

  • Variety of design options: Quartz countertops come in a vast array of colours, patterns, and finishes, thanks to the addition of pigments during manufacturing. From mimicking the look of natural stone to creating bold, contemporary hues.

  • Resistant to heat: While not invincible, quartz countertops are more resistant to heat compared to some other materials. This means they can withstand the occasional hot pot without damage, but it’s still best practice to use trivets or heat pads.

Cons of Quartz Countertops

  • Susceptible to heat damage: Although quartz countertops can handle heat better than some materials, they’re not completely heatproof. Extreme, sudden temperature changes or prolonged exposure to heat can cause quartz to crack or mark.

    It’s always recommended to use trivets or heat pads under hot pots and pans.

  • Visible seams: With larger countertop designs, seams in quartz countertops can be noticeable, especially with lighter colours. While these seams can be professionally minimized, they cannot be entirely avoided.

  • Not completely scratch or stain-proof: Despite quartz countertops being highly resistant to scratches and stains, they are not immune. Sharp objects can still scratch the surface if used forcefully, and certain substances can stain if left for extended periods.

    As with all countertop materials, proper care is crucial to maintain their beauty and longevity.

  • Cost: High-quality quartz countertops can be on the pricey side, typically more expensive than common granite, wood, or laminate options.

  • Not entirely natural: While this might not be a con for everyone, it’s worth mentioning that quartz countertops are not 100% natural stone. They are engineered from ground quartz and resins, and while this allows for a range of designs and colours, those desiring a completely natural stone countertop may be disappointed.

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What Is A Quartzite Countertop?

Quartzite is a natural stone, not a man-made product like quartz.

It starts its journey as sandstone and, under intense heat and high pressure over millions of years under the earth’s surface, transforms into quartzite. This results in a hard, durable and unique natural stone with a lot of charm and character.

Some popular types of quartzite include White Macaubas, Taj Mahal, and Sea Pearl. These types offer unique and stunning patterns that range from delicate waves to bold veins, just like the natural stones they are.

Each slab of quartzite has its own unique patterns and nuances – no two are identical, lending a distinct and personal touch to your kitchen.

Examples of kitchens with quartzite countertops
Different quartzite colour types

They are usually available in two standard thickness sizes: 2 cm (about 0.78 inches) and 3 cm (about 1.18 inches).

In terms of size, quartzite countertops are similar to quartz and commonly come in slabs approximately 290cm to 340cm long (115 – 135 inches) by 140cm to 200cm wide (55 – 80 inches). However, the dimensions can vary based on the quarry and the specific slab.

why are quartzite countertops gaining popularity in kitchens?

As a natural stone, quartzite is incredibly hard, ranking even higher than granite on the Mohs Hardness Scale. This robustness allows it to withstand the rigours of daily kitchen activities and makes it highly resistant to scratches.

Quartzite also has impressive heat resistance. Unlike many countertop materials, you can place hot pots and pans directly onto quartzite surfaces without fear of causing damage.

However, to ensure long-lasting beauty, it’s still good practice to use trivets or heat pads, particularly for very hot items.

But quartzite is not just about durability and practicality; it also shines in the aesthetic department. Boasting the unique, natural beauty that only Mother Nature can create, quartzite countertops make a stunning addition to any kitchen.

Their patterns and colours, formed over millions of years, add an authentic and exquisite touch that’s hard to replicate.

Pros of Quartzite Countertops

  • Hard and Durable: Quartzite is extremely hard and durable, even more so than granite. It’s well-equipped to handle the day-to-day activities of a bustling kitchen, offering high scratch resistance that can withstand knife nicks and everyday wear and tear.

  • Heat Resistant: Quartzite countertops excel in heat resistance. They can handle direct contact with hot pots and pans without damage, making them very kitchen-friendly. However, using trivets or heat pads remains a good practice to protect the surface.

  • Unique Aesthetics: Quartzite offers a distinctive, natural beauty that sets it apart. Every slab is unique with its pattern and colour variations.

  • Luxurious Look: Quartzite countertops can closely resemble marble with their rich veining and soft colours but are much harder and more resistant to staining and etching. This allows you to achieve that high-end, luxurious look without the high maintenance.

  • Natural and Eco-friendly: Quartzite is 100% natural, which can be a significant plus for those who prefer eco-friendly materials in their homes. Its extraction and processing have a smaller carbon footprint compared to engineered stones.

Cons of Quartzite Countertops

  • Cost: Quartzite tends to be more expensive than other countertop materials, including some types of granite and quartz. The cost can increase depending on the type of quartzite and the complexity of the installation.

  • Maintenance: Quartzite requires more maintenance than quartz. It needs to be sealed upon installation and resealed over time to prevent stains and keep it looking its best.

    Although it’s hard and durable, spills should be cleaned promptly to avoid potential staining. You should also avoid using abrasive cleaners as this may dull the surface and remove the sealant over time.

  • Limited Color Range: As a natural stone, quartzite comes in a relatively limited range of colours. Most quartzite is white or light in colour with varying degrees of veining.

    If you’re after a specific, non-traditional colour for your countertop, quartzite might not offer as many options as other materials like quartz.

  • Seams: Just like quartz, seams can be visible with quartzite countertops, especially in larger kitchens. Skilled installers can make these seams less visible, but they can’t be completely avoided.

  • Variability: Each slab of quartzite is unique, which can be both a pro and a con. On the one hand, you get a one-of-a-kind countertop; on the other, it can be more challenging to achieve a consistent look across your kitchen, especially if you need more than one slab.

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Quartz vs Quartzite Comparison

Here is a detailed comparison of Quartz and Quartzite to help you understand the key differences between these two popular countertop materials.

Origin & Composition

Quartz: Engineered material composed of 90-95% ground natural quartz with 5-10% polymer resins and pigments. Offers a wide range of colours and patterns, some mimicking natural stone.

Quartzite: Naturally occurring stone formed from sandstone under heat and pressure over time. Primarily composed of quartz grains, its unique colours and patterns come from other minerals present during its formation.

Durability & Maintenance

Quartz: Non-porous and resistant to staining; requires no sealing, making it low-maintenance.

Quartzite: Naturally harder and more scratch-resistant; heat-resistant but requires sealing to prevent staining due to its porous nature.

Aesthetics

Quartz: Provides a consistent appearance and can replicate the look of natural stones with various colours and designs.

Quartzite: Offers a natural, unique look with distinctive patterns and colour variations, each slab being one-of-a-kind.

Cost

Quartz: Ranges from $50 to $120 per square foot (£400/sq.m to £900/sq. m.), with premium options up to $150 per square foot. Installation costs are included, and prices vary by brand and design.

Quartzite: Starts from $60 to $200 per square foot (£450/sq.m to £1500/sq. m.), with rare varieties costing more. Prices include installation and vary by rarity and origin.

Cost Considerations: Overlap in pricing exists; however, consider total costs, including edging and cutouts. For quartzite, I always advise clients to personally select slabs at a stone yard due to its uniqueness.

Environmental Impact

Quartz: Engineered stone with a higher carbon footprint due to its manufacturing process.

Quartzite: A smaller carbon footprint as it’s a natural stone, though mining practices can affect this. Responsible practices are essential for both materials.

A slab of quartzite for a kitchen countertop
Dolce Sogno Quartzite

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Which is better quartz or quartzite?

Deciding whether quartz or quartzite is “better” comes down to your individual needs, lifestyle, and aesthetic preferences.

Quartz is non-porous, making it highly stain-resistant, and it doesn’t require any sealing, which makes maintenance a breeze.

It also offers a wide variety of colour and design options, thanks to its engineered nature. These properties make it a great choice for busy kitchens and those who prefer low maintenance.

Quartzite, on the other hand, boasts a hard, durable nature that is highly scratch and heat-resistant. With its natural, unique patterns, it adds a luxurious, one-of-a-kind aesthetic to any kitchen.

Despite requiring more maintenance than quartz (like sealing to prevent stains), it may be a perfect choice for those who prefer a natural stone with high durability and unique aesthetics.

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FAQs

Does quartz or quartzite stain more?

Quartzite is more prone to staining than quartz.

This is because quartzite, being a natural stone, is more porous than engineered quartz. These pores can absorb liquids and lead to stains. However, if properly sealed and maintained, quartzite’s vulnerability to staining can be significantly reduced.

Can You Put A Hot Pan On Quartz Or Quartzite?

When it comes to heat resistance and being able to put a hot pan down on them, quartzite has the upper hand.

Quartzite can tolerate direct heat from hot pots and pans better than quartz can. Quartz, while it can withstand short exposure to moderate heat, is susceptible to damage from high temperatures or sudden temperature changes.

However, I always recommend using a trivet or heat pad, regardless of whether you have quartz or quartzite countertops

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.

The choice between quartz and quartzite countertops depends largely on your specific needs, personal preference, and budget.

Both materials offer a long-lasting, durable, and beautiful surface for your kitchen counters.

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

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Author

Michael from Kitchinsider.com

Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 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.