What is Quartzite?

What is Quartzite?

December 01, 2016


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Fusion WOW Light Quartzite 

What is Quartzite?

Q: We are in the process of shopping for natural stone countertops. We’ve been weighing the pros and cons between granite and marble when another option that we’re not familiar with popped up in the conversation: Quartzite. What is quartzite and why does it seem to cost more than granite?

A: Excellent question! With the popularity of quartz surfaces today, there is often a lot of confusion about the differences between naturally occurring quartzite and manmade quartz, but the difference between quartzite and marble and granite can also be clear as mud for those new to the natural stone game. Lets try to clear it up…

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La Dolce Vita 

First of all, as already mentioned, quartzite is a naturally occurring stone created by Mother Nature. It is very similar in structure to granite. This is why quartzite gets lumped in with granite. (Even here at Marble & Granite, Inc., we categorize quartzite with our granite selections.) Though granite and quartzite share the same basic chemistry, they each have different properties. Both granite and quartzite are siliceous stones (meaning stone made of silica or quartz-like particles as opposed to calcareous stone, which is made mostly of calcium carbonate.) Although their basic chemical composition is similar, their formation makes quartzite and granite very different. Granite is an igneous rock found deep in the earth’s crust. It’s formed through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava. Quartzite, on the other hand, is a metamorphic rock—which means it’s transformed from one kind of rock into another. So quartzite is the result of sandstone altered by temperature and pressure to form quartzite. The sandstone recrystallizes, fusing itself together and becoming a strong, granular rock formation. Empty grains of sandstone are stuffed with quartz, which actually makes this new substance harder. This strong and durable material has a very high resistance to heat and stains, and since it’s made primarily of silica, quartzite has a very high resistance to anything acidic.

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 Maya Quartzite 

Quartzite is a very durable material that’s considered to be exceptional for countertops. It’s not bulletproof, however. Because it may contain traces of calcium carbonate, a substance that reacts very easily to acid, it may etch if it comes in to contact with acidic substances. Even household items like lemons, colas, and ketchup can cause etching.


Fantasy Brown 

In is purest form quartzite is white. However, it can contain impurities that can lead to some pretty incredible patterns and colors. (Like, Fantasy Brown, for example.) The tricky part, though, can be finding that pure quartzite material that will live up to its flawless reputation. The only way to know for sure that a material labeled as quartzite is the real deal is to test some samples with some acid. (Ask your stone expert for help with that, though.)

Basically, granite and quartzite are both beautiful natural stone choices that are strong and durable. But granite is more abundant than quartzite, making it easier to find and, in most cases, less costly. The purchasing process for quartzite can take longer too since you’ll want to take steps to confirm that you’re getting what you pay for. And because it takes longer to fabricate, you’ll see a higher cost there too. Of course, it also makes a difference “which” quartzite you’re looking at. The more rare the option, the more you can expect to pay.

It’s also worth noting that there can be a very wide range of performance within the family of quartzite, itself. Some are extraordinarily hard—even more so than some granites—and some can be as soft as a marble or limestone. 

When you’re shopping, don’t be afraid to ask questions until you’re satisfied that you understand what you’re buying and paying. If you’d like to learn more about quartzite, it’s attributes, care, maintenance, availability, and pricing, visit one of our two New England Marble & Granite, Inc. showrooms. We can show you the beautiful selection of quartzite we have in stock as well as alleviate any concerns you might have. Give us a call at 877-39-STONE.


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