Remodeling your kitchen? Looking for some insight on what material to use for your countertops? I’m sure you have come across the words “Quartz” and “Quartzite” many times during your research. What really is the difference, you’re wondering? Here at Mees Distributors Inc, we get the daily phone calls asking if we carry Quartz, and our answer is no. We do in fact carry a variety of Quartzite as well as other natural stones. Our response usually leads to the customers asking; what is the difference? They sound very similar while they are in fact two entirely separate materials, given they have some distinctive differences. Why does it matter? Well, it matters because the difference between these two materials translates to discrepancies in form and function. If you are remodeling your kitchen and want it to be functional for high traffic area, this is the best place to start.
What is Quartzite?
Quartzite is a metamorphic rock which begins as sand grains. Over time, the sand grains become compressed and stuck together forming sandstone. The sandstone is subjected to extreme heat and pressure caused by tectonic plate compression in the crest of the earth, forming a dense durable stone. Then, it is mined from a quarry in enormous chunks of rock and sawn into slabs. From there, it is cut and polished to make your countertops.
Quartzite is a natural stone from mother nature. It contains infinite color variations. Natural earth toned hues are most commonly seen, as well as white, grey and beige. These color variations are popular to the trends that lean towards neutral, lighter surfaces. Quartzite can be found in other colors such as pink, red, blue and green. The color depends on the amounts of iron oxide present, the region from which it comes, as well as the age of the stone. The color variation makes each slab unique (no two slabs are the same). The natural color depth and clarity of each individual slab is not something you could mimic.
Quartzite, like any natural stone is not indestructible. It is a porous stone, so it needs to be sealed to help protect the surface from moisture, staining and scratching. It is very durable natural stone that is not prone to etching. It is repellant of most acids that are used in cooking (like lemons and vinegar). An accidental spill will not stain or corrode your countertops. It is heat resistant to elements of extreme temperatures. No worries, if you decide to set a hot pan down on the countertop. Quartzite is more scratch resistant. If imperfections do occur, the broad range of color and veins of the natural stone are very helpful in disguising imperfections. It can also be very easily repaired. Typically, your countertop can be resurfaced and polished on sight.
What is Quartz?
Primarily, quartz is engineered from quartz mineral that consist of silicon dioxide. The minerals are found in ingenuous metamorphic and sedimentary rock, which is often colored by impurities. Quartz is 90-93% quartz minerals and 7-10% resins. It is an entirely manufactured synthetic material made in a factory. It is made out of stone chips, reins and other pigments. The minerals are ground coarsely together to produce a flecked appearance. Whereas, the finely ground minerals produce a smoother look. The minerals are ground by machines which add heat and pressure to fuse the minerals together. The color is fused in with added resins, polymers, pigments and other powdered or ground materials. This forms a hard, non-porous durable synthetic surface. The color of the stone is produced by added chemicals, reins, pigments and dyes to produce a variety of colors. Since it is manmade, it shows the same color and veining throughout each run. This leads to a consistency in color and pattern. The minerals occur in a multitude of colors ranging from crystal clear to jet black. They are sometimes fused with recycled mirror particles and colored glass to enhance the look of the slab. (An attempt to mimic the look of natural stone). The bold markings and veins can be removed from quartz resulting in a more solid and uniform appearance.
Quartz is a non-porous material which means it does not require sealing and is virtually maintenance free. Although durable, the more uniform surfaces can make a scratch or abnormality stand out. Unlike natural stone, it is not heat resistant nor can it be easily repaired. Quartz is however impervious, so the accidental spills (even a glass of wine) can just be wiped up. One downside of this manufactured stone is that the color can fade over time. UV rays and direct sunlight can cause this fading. After a few years, you may start to notice a dull discoloration of the areas that catch sun through the windows compared to areas that don’t.
Pros & Cons
Pros of Quartzite
- Natural stone
- Infinite variations in color and pattern
- Very heat resistant
- Not prone to etching
- Scratch resistant
- Easily repairable
Cons of Quartzite
- Not as stain resistant as Quartz
- Requires some maintenance- along the lines of sealing (sometimes as often as every 6 months. Easy to do yourself in a matter of minutes.)
Pros of Quartz
- More solid colors for a uniform appearance.
- Stain resistant
- Not prone to etching
Cons of Quartz
- Engineered product
- Expect pattern repetition to occur
- Not heat resistant
- Not scratch resistant- flexible
- Discoloration due to UV rays and direct sunlight- causes fading.
Whether your trend leans towards classic and refined, a farmhouse rustic style, or a sleek contemporary feel, Mees Distributors Inc, can help. We have a wide variety of natural stones including Quartzite, Granite, Marble, Limestone, Slate and Onyx. Our tile selection consists of these natural stones, as well as ceramic and porcelain. We have designers on our staff that can assist you with your selections. Seeing the product that is going into your home first hand, as well as understanding the cost, is the best way to make a final decision.
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Feel free to stop in our showroom at 1541 West Ford Road. Cincinnati, Ohio. 45211. Or give us a call at (513) 541-2311. (No appointment needed)