If you judge quartz and quartzite by the sound of their names, they would probably appear the same to you. But to your surprise, these two materials are not the same. Instead, both are quite different.
While there are few similarities between the 2 stones, such as both are durable, water-resistant, and stain-resistant, they have some significant differences in terms of appearance, performance, and maintenance requirements.
In this article, we will discuss the significant differences between quartz worktops and quartzite worktops. But before that, let’s get to know them individually.
What is Quartz?
Quartz surfaces consist of 93 to 95% natural quartz particles that are combined with resin, binder, and pigments to create durable, non-porous material.
The appearance of quartz worktops differs by the size of tiny quartz particles they contain. This engineered surface is fabricated from synthetic materials and natural silicon dioxide and blended with pigments and binders. This mixture is further poured into a mould and compressed into slabs that are baked at approx. 200°F in a kiln till the time the resin cures. Once the mixture is cooled down, the tiles are further polished to have a beautiful sheen on their surface.
What is Quartzite?
Quartzite is a natural metamorphic rock, which originates as sandstone. The gaps within the sandstone are naturally filled with mineral quartz for more than thousands of years. After decades of fusing under pressure and heat caused due to tectonic plate compression, the natural quartzite stone is formed. It is a beautiful and sturdy material. It’s quarried in huge chunks that are further cut into slabs, polished, and sealed for durability. Due to the peculiarities of its formation, this natural stone is resistant to water and heat.
Quartz vs. Quartzite
Now, you know that quartz and quartzite are not similar. Despite containing the same quartz minerals, you must be wondering about are the real differences between these two materials. Without further ado, let’s find out:
What differentiates quartz from a quartzite is their origin. While quartz is an engineered, human-made stone, quartzite is an all-natural stone.
As mentioned before, quartzite begins as sandstone, and the natural process of pressure and heat fuse quartz crystals into the sandstone to created quartzite. On the other hand, quartz is a factory-made product from raw quartz mixed with resins and pigments.
That’s why quartzite classifies as metamorphic rock and quartz as a crystalline.
Since quartzite is a natural stone, it has an elegant, soft appearance. It is a perfect material to add natural charm to any home interior. It also has a more significant color and pattern options compared to quartz. In its purest form, quartzite forms in white to grey hues. But its presence may vary when minerals like silica, iron oxide, clay, and carbonate metamorphose together. This results in a wide variety of shades and patterns – from subtle earthy hues (brown, orange, gold, yellow, and green) through light pink and red tones to dramatic blacks and blues. They also have flecks like granite and veins like marble.
Quartz boasts a sleek, contemporary appearance that’s quite famous among modern homeowners. It provides consistent appearance with minimal variation and has pretty uniform colors and patterns compared to quartzite. Since quartz is engineered with controlled appearance, so it gives a similar color pattern throughout the entire slab surface. If quartz surfaces are scratched or chipped, the color underneath will be the same as on the top layer. The fabricators can use endless color pigments to create a wide range of color patterns. Even natural stone-like (marble-effect or granite-effect) they are available in the market.
The choice between quartz and quartzite is entirely your decision. The new quartz or quartzite worktop is ideal for adding amazing aesthetic appeal to a home interior and would last for several years.
Both surfaces are also easy to clean and upkeep. However, the significant difference between them is that your quartzite worktops would require periodic sealing for better protection. But quartz surfaces don’t need any sealing.
Just like other natural stones, quartzite is porous and needs re-sealing once or twice a year to protect its surface from staining or scratching. When it’s appropriately sealed, quartzite worktops won’t accumulate dirt and dust. Furthermore, you require little time to clean and maintain and, thus, keep them in good condition.
Quartz surfaces, on the other hand, are completely non-porous. Therefore, they are highly resistant to corrosion, staining, and bacterial growth. With additional bacteriostatic treatment, quartz worktops become hygienic for both kitchens and bathrooms.
The cost of both countertops is quite similar. The material begins at around £50 per square foot and goes up to £100 or more.
In complicated projects, quartzite costs more, just like granite worktop prices. It is because, the quartzite is cut using diamond blades to form into specific slabs, and this process is very time-consuming.
No matter what worktop material you choose, it is best to consult a reputable contractor for proper installation.