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Question DetailsAsked on 3/31/2014

Is there a difference between quartz and quartzite?

I want quartz countertops in my kitchen. When I search for quartz I am often shown samples of quartzite. Is there a difference with regard to cost, durability, care, installation or any other differences?

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2 Answers

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"Quartz" just means it has to have Quartz (silicon dioxide) as the primary ingredient - the main ingredient on many white or yellow sand beaches. "Quartzite" is a specific rock type manufactured by mother nature, made almost always by high temperature and pressure on sandstone which partially melts and fuses the sandstone into a very hard rock, more scratch resistant than granite (whose translucent white grains are also quartz) or almost any other stone, and fairly close to but generally not quite as good as granite in toughness and cracking and dent resistance, because it was not fully melted during the formation process like granite was.


So, unless it says Quartzite, it is almost certainly artifically made by mixing quartz sand into a resin mix to make a synthetic or "cultured" or "engineered" stone product. Because of the sand in it, which is much harder than the resin, it will be more scratch and dent resistant than a pure resin countertop, though somewhat more brittle also, and of course can be mixed with coloring agent and other minerals to give unique and exotic patterns. Because synthetics are "cast" or poured rather than diamond sawn, quartz countertops are generally far cheaper to make than pure quartz Quartzite - and therein lies the rub.


Not all Quartzite is pure quartz. For instance, a muddy sand like along some of the Gulf of Mexico coast, or a lime sand like most Caribbean beach sand, when changed into Quartzite, has a lot of non-quartz material in it that can make the resulting stone more brittle, subject to denting and etching and staining, etc. Therefore, with Quartzite the characteristics of the specific piece of stone can vary a great deal, particularly since just like with marble and volcanics there is a lot of very cheap low-grade material coming out of places like Sri Lanka, india and eastern Europe that may be porous, etchable, and easily stained.


Because of this, you can get both Quartz and Quartzite from about $40-60/SF (for the countertop material only), which is similar to many of the common granites, all the way up to about $200/SF for the highest grade pure quartz Quartzite.


Most installers, I think, find that they get a lot more complaints about denting, staining, and etching from Quartzite than from Quartz products, and more on both than from Granite. Quartzite and Granite both need at least annual sealing to avoid staining and etching. Granite and Quartzite you can put hot things on, though occasionally the thermal shock will cause it to spall (pop out a small piece) so that is not a good practice - Quartz is a plastic matrix so hot things can melt it, just like with Corian or Formica or Laminate. The Quartzite should last a lot longer than Quartz and generally does not need total resurfacing, though being a bit more porous surface will stain much easier if not kept fully sealed, which is also true of all stones.


Here are a couple of articles that go into the differences in more depth that might be of interest to you:

http://countertopinvestigator.com/qua...


http://info.marbleandgranite.com/blog...


And here are a couple of prior questions with multiple answers on the same issue:

https://answers.angieslist.com/whats-...


https://answers.angieslist.com/What-p...

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

0
Votes

It can get confusing!

Both quartz and quartzite are natural stones. Both are probably one of the hardest surfaces you could use for a kitchen counter. Unless you go crazy you can cut right on them without any damage and they are both stain resistant unlike marble or sandstone tops. I am not a geologist but from what I understand it is the difference in how Mother nature formed them.

Where it gets more confusing is that many kitchen places are refering to some of the manufactured stones as quartz. They are made of I think it is 95% quartz that is crushed and mixed with an epoxy to produce slabs for counters, you can sometimes see air bubbles on the bottom of the samples they have in the showroom. They are almost as hard as the natural product and one advantage is if you need two pieces to make a top the seam will be less noticed in man made vs natural. Some are hard to tell from the real stones and it has gotten to where some are so natural the seams may show if they have a swirl in the pattern.

I think anyone of them would make a great counter that will outlast the cabinets they are on!


Don

Answered 5 years ago by ContractorDon




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