The Difference Between Quartzite and Granite

The Difference Between Quartzite and Granite

September 01, 2017

Quartzite is often compared to granite in terms of hardness and durability, but it’s important to know that these two types of natural stone are not the same. Since quartzite comes in colors that are trending right now, such as light gray and white, it is a popular countertop choice in today’s neutral-toned kitchen designs. It also looks a lot like marble, which many agree is the epitome of luxury when it comes to natural stone countertops. 

Granite is an igneous rock known for being very hard. Quartzite, on the other hand, is a metamorphic rock composed almost entirely of quartz, the hardest material on earth. Basically, quartzite comes about when quartz-rich sandstone is altered by the heat, pressure, and chemical activity of metamorphism. These conditions recrystallize the sand grains and the silica cement that binds them together, making it even harder. Both granite and quartzite are very hard, but on the Mohs scale of hardness (from 1 to 10, with 10 being hardest) quartzite has the slight edge. It measures around 7 whereas granite measures around 6 to 6.5. 

While quartzite is slightly harder than granite, it’s important to understand that it’s not bullet proof. Quartzite does have one particular flaw that you won’t see in granite: etching. 

Etching is surface damage in the form of a dull mark on natural stone. It happens when acidic substances come into contact with countertops, floors, walls, or anywhere you may have natural stone. Some common household items are notorious for etching, including lemons, colas, ketchup, and even some cleaning products. In some quartzite slabs, there can be traces of calcium carbonate—a 
substance that reacts very easily to acid. If these areas come into contact with acids, this can cause localized etching. Mild etching still feels smooth and can be removed with a polishing powder. Deeper etches feel rough and may be cloudy looking. If this happens, you’ll need to reach out to a stone restoration professional. However, there are a few protective measures that you can take to help avoid etching: Choose a honed finish over a polished finish or add a stone sealant for an extra layer of protection. 

Here are a few gorgeous quartzite slabs we have in stock: 

It also bears mentioning that “quartzite” and “quartz” are not the same material. Though the names sound alike, quartzite is made by Mother Nature, whereas quartz surfacing, such as ColorQuartz, is made by man. It can be easy to confuse the two so pay close attention. 

Both quartzite and granite are beautiful countertop choices that offer style, practicality, and longevity. Whether you’re looking for quartzite, granite, or any other surfacing material, Marble and Granite, Inc. can help. Visit our warehouses in Westwood, MA or Milford, CT where you can browse through our slabs in person. Give us a call at 977-39-STONE. 


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