Pros & Cons of Quartzite Countertops
Discovering Quartzite Countertops and Surrounds
Before discussing the pros and cons of quartzite it is very important to understand that quartzite and quartz are not the same material. Many people confuse these two when, in fact, they are totally different in origin and physical nature. Quartzite is a natural stone material. It begins life as sandstone which is transformed over eons by heat and pressure deep within the Earth’s crust. Quartzite is quarried, cut into slabs, and used for countertops, fireplace surrounds, wall coverings, stairs, etc.
On the other hand, quartz, not to be mistaken with the natural crystal, is a man-made building material. Quartz is manufactured from a mixture of crushed stone, sand, color additives, and polymer resins.
- … is a hard and durable material that is well suited for use as a countertop, wall or floor tile, stairs, fireplace surround, and other home and building applications. At about 7 on the Mohs scale for hardness, quartzite is slightly harder than granite which runs in the range of 6 to 6.5 Mohs.
- …resists heat and staining better than marble, provided that it is properly treated at least once a year with a recommended sealer.
- …has the beautiful look and feel of marble but it is actually harder and easier to maintain than marble.
- … is easy to clean―just use soap and warm water for everyday spills and cleanup. No special cleaners are needed, just remember to seal it at least once a year.
- …is UV resistant so it is perfect for use in sunrooms or on the patio because it won’t fade or darken in direct sunlight.
- …costs less than manufactured quartz, plus it resists heat and stains much better. While the use of a trivet or potholder is highly recommended on any countertop, the resins used in man-made quartz can melt or degrade when in contact with hot surfaces.
- …is a versatile natural stone that’s on a par with granite for beauty and durability. It will complement any beautiful kitchen, bath, or living space.
- …usually costs more than granite because it is rarer.
- …is more prone to etching, scuffing, scratching, and staining than granite. Typical kitchen acids like orange juice or vinegar will etch quartzite, as will household cleaners and bleach. Grape juice, red wines, coffee and tea will stain unless wiped up immediately. Pots, pans, knives and even china can scuff and scratch quartzite surfaces.
- …quality can vary so beware as a buyer of discounted quartzite and so-called “soft quartzite”. There is no such thing as “soft quartzite” because all real quartzite is hard mineral―remember it should have a Mohs scale of about 7. Some sellers might even try to pass off dolomite (Mohs scale ~ 4) or even soapstone (Mohs scale 2-3) as quartzite. The key here is to know your retailer.
- …is not suited for the typical DIYer. These slabs are heavy and should always be cut and installed by a professional with trained helpers.
In conclusion, remember that all quartzite is not alike and that real quartzite is hard, is quarried as a natural stone, and is not related to the more expensive man-made quartz. Quartzite is available in many natural shades, colors and random patterns to give beauty, form and function to any room in your home. While quartzite can grace any room with exquisite, natural beauty, remember that it must be treated to prevent permanent scratching and etching.Learn more about Quartzite Countertops