By Ken Redding
Quartz and Quartzite: How they are Different and Why One Might be Better for You than the Other.
In the niche artisan countertop industry the trend has gone away from granite for Kitchens and moved toward other materials, including marble. Marble countertops in a kitchen environment, while stunningly beautiful, present their own special challenges and will not be part of this discussion. I am going to address the differences (and similarities) between Quartz and Quartzite for Kitchen countertops.
The first obvious difference between the two is that Quartz is a man-made materials and Quartzite is a natural material. There are many varieties of each.
Quartz is made with a matrix of about 90% to 95% crushed natural quartz, pigment, and epoxy binder, and placed in a rectangular form (like concrete), to create slabs that replicate the look and size of natural stone slabs (avg size 120" X 60"). Because they can be pigmented, there is the opportunity for very light colors, including solid colors, and a large range of single neutral tones which, historically, whichare not available in granite. They are hard (7 on the Mohs scale) as well as scratch and stain resistant. The main advantage, maintenance-wise, is that Quartz countertops never have to be sealed.
Quartzite is a natural metamorphic stone formed from sandstone (sand). Quartzite's tend to be neutral in color, (whites, grays, ivory, beige etc.), but have a natural movement in them due to the metamorphic process. They also tend to look more like marble but are extremely hard (7-8 on the Mohs scale). While harder or as hard as Quartz, and very scratch and stain resistant, quartzites are not all the same, and should still be sealed for insurance. This should be done every 1-2 years.
From a design stand point, the use of Quartz or Quartzite is a much more personal choice. Do you require a solid, neutral color to compliment other materials, surfaces, and colors in your kitchen design? Do you have young children or a teenager that are less likely to clean up after themselves when they spill something? Do you want something that requires no maintenance except for day to day cleaning? Do you want something that has a manufactured pattern and/or veining that simulates marble? (Quartz faux marbles have made giant steps in this area) Then Quartz is probably for you.
On the other hand, do you want something unique that will be the dramatic centerpiece of your Kitchen while still being practical for maintenance? Do you want something that has the beauty of marble but is the hardest material available for countertops? Do you require a light colored veined material focal point to brighten up or compliment another solid color material in a transitional or contemporary design? Then Quartzite may be exactly what you require.
Quartz and Quartzite are both excellent materials for kitchen countertops. Contact Blue Pearl Stone to select an option that best suits your needs. - Ken Redding