Quartz vs quartzite – what’s the difference? Which is the best option for your project? Find all of the answers and more in this guide!
With similar names, it’s no wonder that these two popular countertops are often confused or misunderstood! Many homeowners mistakenly believe that these are two names for the same thing, but in fact, these are two very different products!
Both quartz and quartzite are popular options for bathroom and kitchen countertops. Each one is beautiful with its own pros and cons. It’s important to understand your options so that you can select the best countertop material for your needs.
When we did our primary bathroom remodel, I knew right away what the overall design should look like. I picked out my cabinetry easily, and didn’t hesitate to use marble on the floors and in the shower. Despite the care required for marble, I was confident it would be fine.
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But when it came to the countertop? Well, I knew that makeup spills would happen and I wouldn’t be as diligent as needed if I were to use marble. So straight away, I knew quartz was my best option.
But in planning our current kitchen remodel, I decided that I wanted to install quartzite countertops, despite how much I love the quartz in our bathroom!
When tackling a remodel or renovation project, countertops make up a large portion of the expense. Countertops are an investment meant to last, so you want to ensure you choose a material you love but that also fits your needs and your budget. So quartz vs quartzite – which should you choose?
What is Quartz?
In a nutshell, quartz is a man-made material, sometimes referred to as engineered stone. Quartz countertops are made from crushed pieces of naturally occurring materials, such as quartz, granite, marble, and more. These crushed particles are then bound together with polymer resin during the manufacturing process. This creates the solid, non-porous surface referred to as quartz! So while quartz countertops do have ground quartz in them, they have other material as well!
You’ve probably heard of some of the top quartz manufacturers, like MSI, Ceasarstone, Cambria, Silestone, etc. Each manufacturer has their own formula when it comes to the percental of natural material that is within each quartz slab, but generally, quartz slabs are 90%-95% crushed stone, with the remainder being resin, pigment, or even sparkles!
What is Quartzite?
Unlike quartz, quartzite countertops are 100% natural stone formed from Sandstone under heat and high pressure. There is no “manufacturer” when it comes to quartzite since it is a natural material. Instead, quartzite slabs must be quarried from deep within the Earth’s surface. When referring to origin, instead of a manufacturer, you might hear a reference to a country. For example, quartzite from Brazil, Italy, etc.
Quartz Slabs – Appearance
Quartz countertops were originally designed to compete with natural granite and marble, but with the added bonus of being easy to care for. Over time, though, quartz has developed its own look. So while you can find quartz slabs that look like either granite or marble, you can also find slabs that have a unique look of their own! These counters come in bright shades, with glittery flecks, or even like concrete!
Given that they are manmade, quartz slabs have a uniform appearance. Within the same color, each slab will be identical. There is no need to go and pick out your specific slab when ordering quartz.
The slabs themselves are perfectly rectangular *since they are formed in a mold), with each one being the same (each manufacturer will have their own specific dimensions).
When it comes to appearance, you’ll have a ton of options! The pigments added during the manufacturing process mean that almost any color or hue imaginable is possible. Veins are often added to mimic natural stone, but you can also find speckles or even sparkles.
Quartzite Slabs – Appearance
Quartzite slabs are known for their natural beauty and unique patterns, colors, and veining. Since quartzite is a natural stone, no two slabs are identical, making each one a unique work of art.
Quartzite slabs can come in a range of colors, from soft whites and grays to bold blues and greens. Some slabs may have veins of contrasting colors running through them, while others may have a more uniform appearance. Some quartzite slabs also have a sparkling effect due to the presence of mica minerals in the stone.
The appearance of quartzite slabs can vary depending on the quarry location and the amount of natural impurities present in the stone. Each supplier might have a batch of the same quartzite, but each will look completely different from one another.
With natural stone, it’s important that you go and pick out your exact slabs to ensure you get the ones you really love. And remember, no two are alike! Your friend might have installed a quartzite slab 5 years ago that you love. But when you go to shop for yours, that same slab might have the same name but look totally different! The same slab harvested from a different location in the quarry can have a very different look.
Here’s a look at Mont Blanc, which is currently quite popular where I live. Both are sold by the same supplier, but they are just two different batches mined from different areas of the quarry.
Quartz vs Quartzite: Cost Comparison
The cost of quartz and quartzite slabs can vary depending on several factors, such as the quality of the material, the color, and the location of the quarry. But in general, quartzite slabs tend to be more expensive than quartz slabs. Here are some general cost comparisons:
- Quartz: The cost of quartz slabs typically ranges from $50 to $150+ per square foot, depending on the quality of the material and the brand.
- Quartzite: The cost of quartzite slabs typically ranges from $100 to $250+ per square foot, depending on the quality of the material and the location of the quarry.
It’s important to note that these prices are just general guidelines, and prices can vary depending on the specific supplier, location, and other factors.
Each retailer, or supplier, will have their own pricing, so it’s always a good idea to get multiple quotes from different suppliers. Compare the costs and quality before making a final decision.
Regardless of material, the installation costs are affected by the size and complexity of the job, the location of your home, and the experience of the installer. The edge profile you choose will also affect the price. More complex profiles require more work to create and therefore, cost more.
While both quartz and quartzite have similar countertop installation costs, you may find that the quartzite costs a bit more due to the installer (fabricator) having to cut the natural slabs down to size. This extra work often results in a higher price.
Maintenance & Durability Comparison
Both quartz and quartzite countertops are known for their durability, but there are some differences between the two.
Quartz countertops are engineered stone made up of 90%-95% natural quartz and 5%-10% resin, pigments, and other additives. This means that they are non-porous and highly resistant to stains and scratches. They are also more flexible than quartzite, making them less likely to chip or crack. In general, quartz countertops require minimal maintenance, and any spills or stains can be easily wiped away with a mild soap and water.
Quartz countertops are so easy to clean! You can find my Cleaning and Stain Remover Tips in this guide.
Quartzite countertops, on the other hand, are made of natural quartzite stone, which is a very hard and dense material. While it is more resistant to scratches and heat than most other natural stone materials, it is not completely resistant to staining, since it is a porous material. For this reason, quartzite countertops need to be sealed periodically to protect against staining and etching.
In summary, both quartz and quartzite countertops are durable and long-lasting, but quartz is generally considered to be slightly more durable and easier to maintain due to its non-porous surface. However, if you prefer the natural beauty of quartzite and are willing to put in a bit more maintenance effort, it can also be a great option.
Pros & Cons of Quartz
Pros of Quartz Countertops
- Very low-maintenance and easy to clean with just a damp cloth and dish soap
- Resists stains due to its non-porous surface
- Antimicrobial and resists moisture, bacteria, mold, and mildew
- Wide array of colors and patterns to choose from
- Can be purchased as a pre-fab option which helps reduce installation/fabrication costs
- Doesn’t require sealing
Cons of Quartz Countertops
- Cannot withstand heat – hot pans, baking sheets, and curling irons cannot be placed directly on it
- Can be scratched – be careful with knives! A cutting board must always be used
- Man-made patterns can be repetitive or too uniform for some
- Considered a high-end material so despite being man-made, is not significantly less expensive than natural options
Pros and Cons of Quartzite
Pros of Quartzite Countertops:
- Durability: Quartzite is a very hard and dense material, making it highly resistant to scratches, heat, and chipping.
- Unique Beauty: Quartzite has a natural beauty with a range of unique patterns and colors that cannot be exactly replicated in engineered materials.
- Stain Resistance: Quartzite is naturally resistant to stains and etching if it is properly sealed and maintained.
- Versatility: Quartzite can be used for a variety of applications, including countertops, flooring, and wall cladding.
Cons of Quartzite Countertops:
- Cost: Quartzite can be more expensive than other natural stone materials and engineered quartz countertops.
- Porous: Quartzite is a natural stone and is porous, which means it can stain and etch if not sealed properly.
- Maintenance: Quartzite requires regular sealing to protect against staining and etching.
- Limited availability: While quartzite is becoming more popular, it is still less widely available than other materials, which can affect the price and availability. As a natural stone, if you see one you like and don’t purchase it, you might not find the same one again!
Overall, quartzite countertops are a great option for those who value natural beauty and durability, and are willing to invest in the proper maintenance to protect their investment.
Quartz vs Quartzite – Which is Best?
Well, the honest answer is that is personal preference! If budget is a factor or you want a more consistent look to your countertop, quartz might be the best choice for you!
Choosing between quartz and quartzite countertops really depends on your personal preferences and needs. Both materials have their pros and cons, so it’s important to consider the following factors before making a decision:
- Durability: Both quartz and quartzite are durable materials, but quartz is generally more resistant to scratches and stains due to its non-porous surface. Quartzite is a porous material and requires periodic sealing to protect against staining and etching.
- Appearance: Quartz and quartzite have different appearances, with quartz being an engineered material and quartzite being a natural stone. Quartz can be customized to mimic the appearance of natural stone, but some people prefer the unique beauty of natural quartzite.
- Cost: Quartz is generally less expensive than quartzite, but the price can vary depending on the quality and location of the supplier.
- Maintenance: Quartz requires minimal maintenance and can be easily cleaned with a mild soap and water, while quartzite requires periodic sealing and more careful cleaning to prevent staining and etching.
In my own home, I chose quartz for my primary bathroom because there was so much movement in the marble floors and shower that I wanted something more consistent in appearance and that was easy to maintain.
For my upcoming kitchen remodel, I really wanted the beauty of a natural stone where each area of the countertop would have a unique look.
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