Quartzite is commonly confused with quartz, sometimes with marble or granite. A quick search online might show that quartzite is the best of both granite and marble. However, most manufacturers mislabel quartzite making it appear better or worse than it is. One thing is true; quartzite is not the same as quartz, marble, or granite. So, what is quartzite?
What are Quartzite Countertops?
Unlike quartz countertops, which are not made entirely of the mineral quartz, quartzite countertops are made of quartz entirely. Quartzite forms after sand grains are compressed to form sandstone. Over time, the sandstones, covered underground, undergo more heat treatment and compression to form a dense and durable rock.
So, what is quartzite rock made of? Because quartz sand is light-colored, the quartzite rock appears whitish. However, additional sands from the beach or desert sand dunes might give the quartzite stone hues of blue, green, or iron-red. Irrespective of the colors, the main component making quartzite countertops is quartz – which is a great thing because quartz has unique characteristics making it easier for you to tell it apart.
What is Quartzite Stone Countertop? Is It Better than Quartz Countertop?
Quartz countertops are confused with quartzite countertops. The main difference between the two is that quartzite counters are made of natural stone while quartz counters are made of quartz, resin binders, and pigments. While both of them cost almost the same, quartz countertops are preferred for their ease of maintenance and durability. You can see more differences between these two countertops on Caesarstone.
There is no way to change the color of quartzite countertops. These countertops are whitish with a splash of iron-red, blue, or green – most of them are white. Quartz countertops, on the other hand, appear in any color. These tops are made with ground quartz stone mixed with resin binders and pigments of any color that you can imagine.
Both countertops will look like natural stones. Quartz counters, however, can spot any natural stone look including granite and marble. Whether you need a textured, patterned, or plain color countertop, you can have it with a quartz counter. If you need a wide color range, go for quartz; if you need a whitish or grayish natural stone, go for quartzite.
Quartzite holds better than granite and marble. Quartz is also hard but the resin binders make it a little less hard than quartzite. However, the two are still harder than any other countertop. Both are able to withstand high temperatures, up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
The hardness of quartzite is advantageous as it makes it less prone to heat damage. However, unlike quartz, quartzite is prone to chipping and denting as it is not flexible. As such, quartz counters still win. Note that both counters scratch when a sharp object is used on them.
Quartz countertops outlive all other countertops even with minimal maintenance. Actually, a search online might show that quartz countertops do not need any maintenance. You only need to wipe the surface clean with the right cleaners and you are done.
Quartzite, on the other hand, requires sealing and resealing once or twice in a year. Unlike quartz, quartzite is porous and allows liquids to seep in. This can lead to the formation of stains and propagation of bacteria. This is a weakness of all-natural stone including marble and granite. The engineered quartz countertops are nonporous making them better than other countertops on the market.
Resistance to Acids
Both quartz and quartzite countertops are resistant to acids such as vinegar and lemon juice. If you have the answer to “what is quartzite stone?”, you know that the stone is hard. It will not etch if exposed to acids. However, the acids might seep into the countertops causing a stain. On quartz countertops, the acids might discolor the resin binders used in the engineering of the countertop. If the countertop is white or light-colored, the damage is not clearly visible. If the countertop is colored, the damage appears as a white patch. However, both the counters will not etch from exposure to acids.
Testing Your Quartzite Countertop
The main problem with quartzite countertops is that they are mislabeled. Granted, you may not be getting real quartzite. Luckily, there is an easy test, the glass test.
If you really need quartzite countertops, the easiest way to buy one is to test the rock you buy to ensure that you have real quartzite. To conduct this test, you need a glass tile. Look for a rough edge on the countertop and try scratching the glass tile with the edge.
The glass tile will either form a scratch, feel slippery under the quartzite or scratch to release powder. Real quartzite is very hard and will scratch the glass tile to leave a deep scratch – you can hear the glass tile grind through the rough edge. If the glass tile is faintly scratched or slips through without any scratch, then that is not real quartzite.
If you cannot find a rough edge to scratch the glass tile, find a hidden edge of the countertop and try scratching it with the tip of a knife blade. If you know what is a quartzite stone, then you know it will not scratch. Any rock that easily scratches is marble or any other natural stone and not quartzite.
You can also test with lemon juice or vinegar if you are wondering what is a quartzite rock made of. Pour a little vinegar or lemon juice on the countertop and leave it for 15 minutes. Wipe off the acid and see if the rock is affected. Fifteen minutes is not enough for the liquid to seep through but enough to etch a rock. If the rock etches, it is not real quartzite.
Quartzite is a great countertop material when compared to granite and marble. However, if you compare it to quartz, it has a couple of shortcomings. Because the two cost almost the same, you can take advantage of quartz and enjoy a great looking and easy-to-care-for counter.