Quartz and Quartzite: Similar Names, COMPLETELY Different Surfaces

Quartz and Quartzite: Similar Names, COMPLETELY Different Surfaces

March 08, 2018

Manmade quartz material from ColorQuartz (Photo via Instagram)

It happens on a regular basis: A couple comes into our showroom to explore their countertop options and they ask to see the natural “quartz” slabs we have available. Or sometimes they’ll ask to see the manmade “quartzite” surfaces. Quartz and quartzite sound the same, so it’s not surprising that folks are tempted to use the two terms interchangeably. However, we’d like to emphasize that quartz and quartzite are not the same. 

They’re both durable surfaces that make beautiful kitchen and bath countertops, and they both contain the mineral quartz. Quartz and quartzite have similar hardness and they both have long-lasting durability. But the two terms are not synonymous. 
Platinum Quartzite quarried in Brazil. 

As you may have guessed, one is manmade and the other occurs naturally in the earth. They also have different maintenance requirements, so it’s important to understand the difference when you’re shopping for kitchen or bath countertops.  
Confusion exists between the two even among professionals in the industry, so you’re not alone. Here’s a quick breakdown of the difference between quartz and quartzite


…is just about as popular as granite for today’s top countertop choices
…is manmade
… contains bits of crushed quartz mixed with resin and natural pigments
…has a consistent look throughout 
…is available in a wider range of colors, including those not found in nature 
…is made by a manufacturing brand, such as ColorQuartz and has consistent slab sizes, 125” x 62”
…is non-pourous; liquids, oils, and acids won’t harm the surface
…is scratch resistant
…can withstand heat of up to 320 degress


…is usually classified as a granite – typically a silica based stone
…occurs in nature
…is quarried into one-of-a-kind slabs
…has a strong resemblance to marble
... naturally contains a high volume of quartz 
…features the depth and detail you typically see in granite 
…is susceptible to certain acidic substances, which could etch the material if calcium is present, leaving dull spots behind

Quartz refers to the manmade material that’s made out of crushed up quartz particles. (Quartz, otherwise known as silicone dioxide, is one of the hardest and most abundant minerals on earth.) Quartz is a synthetic material that’s made in a factory by mixing quartz particles with resin and pigments together in a factory. Here at Marble & Granite, Inc., we carry ColorQuartz brand quartz. Slabs are fabricated in a similar fashion to natural stone. Quartz is non-porous, so it never needs to be sealed, making it easier to maintain than natural stone and comes with a lifetime warranty for staining. 

ColorQuartz is an exceptionally durable material. It’s stain, scratch, and chip resistant. One noteworthy fact about quartz, however, is that it’s not as high heat resistant as natural stone.  Due to the lower heat resistance of the polyester resins that bind the quartz together. You’ll want to use hot pads under pots and pans when you put them on the countertop. 

On the other hand, quartzite is a natural stone. It’s found in the earth just as Mother Nature created it. Quartzite is a metamorphic rock that originated as sandstone. It’s extracted from a quarry and formed into finished slabs. Since it is a natural stone, quartzite, much like marble and granite, requires regular sealing. In fact quartzite often closely resembles the look of marble, which is one reason it’s so popular. Quartzites are very hard, some even harder than granite, and are more resistant to etching than marble. (Etching is when acid reacts with calcium carbonate found in stone. It literally eats away a tiny but of the surface, creating dull spots known as etches.) 

TajMahal Quartzite from Brazil. 

If you’d like to see the difference between quartz and quartzite for yourself, schedule a consultation to visit one of our three northeastern showroom locations. We’ll be glad to show you around our well-lit warehouse so you can see and feel the difference up close and personal. Whether you visit our headquarters in Westwood, MA, our slab showroom in Milford, CT, or our new showroom in Albany, NY, our knowledgeable staff will help you decide which material is right for you. 



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