Quartzite Q & A

Quartzite Q & A

July 24, 2014

Quartzite is a decorative stone that makes an exceptional countertop material. Noted for its resistance to abrasions, heat, and stains, quartzite is a pretty popular material. It’s marble-like in appearance but has many of the properties of granite. However, since most consumers hear more about granite and marble than they do about quartzite, we get a lot of questions about this particular material. Here are answers to some of the most prevalent questions we hear— a primer for anyone unfamiliar with the attributes of quartzite:

What is quartzite? Isn’t it the same thing as quartz?
Nope. Though they sound similar, quartz and quartzite are not the same thing. Both make excellent surfacing material for countertops and more, but it’s important to recognize the distinction. In a nutshell, quartz surfacing is man-made and quartzite is found in nature.

Quartzite Countertop

Quartzite countertop by Feinmann, Inc.; photo via Houzz

Formed deep in the earth’s crust, quartzite is made when sandstone (predominantly silica) and natural quartz are together, under tremendous amounts of heat and pressure. The empty grains of sandstone are filled with quartz, making the quartzite an extremely hard material. Quartz surfacing, on the other hand, is engineered in a factory by combining raw quartz with resins, binding agents, and pigments, which are then formed into slabs. ColorQuartz, for example, is the brand of quartz surfacing we offer.

Pure quartzite is usually white or grey in color, although it can be found in various shades of pink and red due to the presence of iron oxide. Other minerals can also cause quartzite to have a yellow or orange hue.

How durable is quartzite?
Durability is best measured by “hardness.” On the Mohs scale (which characterizes the scratch resistance, or hardness, of minerals), quartzite measures around 7 (on a scale of 1 through 10, with 10 being the hardest.) By comparison, granite measures between 6 and 6.5 and marble measures between 4 and 4.5. So, quartzite is less likely to scratch than marble and granite. The hardness of quartzite makes it extremely resistant to water absorption, heat, and scratches. And since quartzite contains silica, it has a very high resistance to anything acidic, which makes it a perfect choice for kitchen countertops.

Quartzite Island

Quartzite island by Threshold Interiors; photo via Houzz

It’s important to note, however, that while strong and durable, quartzite is not bulletproof. There are instances when a particular block of quartzite can have traces of calcium carbonate, which can be a cause of localized etching if that particular section comes into contact with anything acidic (think fruits, colas, wine, tomato products, and even some cleaners.) But even in this situation, quartzite will give you more time to clean up before it starts to etch.

Countertop in Super White Quartzite

Beautiful countertop in Super White by Boston Fabrication; photo via Marble and Granite, Inc.

Does quartzite require special cleaning and maintenance?
It may be cleaned with a damp, soft cloth, and perhaps even a mild disinfectant, if needed. (Though, please note that it’s always best to double check with your stone professional or fabricator before you purchase, no matter what kind of natural stone surface you’re working with.) With quartzite, just like with marble, quick clean up is key, especially when dealing with anything acidic. A stone sealant will add an extra layer of protection too, but as always, check with your supplier or fabricator to confirm your surface maintenance.

Have more questions on quartzite or want to see this distinctive material in person? Give us a call at 877.39.STONE.


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