Quartz or Quartzite?

Would you have been able to tell which of these coutnertops was quartz and which was quartzite if I hadn’t identified it below each photo? If not, you’re not alone! So, what’s the difference then? Is there a difference?

Yes - believe it or not, quartz and quartzite are two very different materials.

Quartz is a man-made product; there are many manufacturers that make quartz slabs, including (a few of my favorite) Cambria, Caesarstone, Pental Quartz, and Silestone. In general, quartz slabs are made up of quartz dust/pieces (quartz is one of the most readily available natural resources), bound by resin, which is a non-porous binder, which is what give quartz it’s durability and antimicrobial characteristic. Liquids don’t penetrate resin, so quartz is more stain resistant than most natural stone and it doesn’t need to be sealed regularly to protect it. Quartz is your maintenance free countertop option!

Quartz countertop on a vanity

Quartzite is a natural stone, with a density greater than granite, which means this stone is tough as nails! Quartzite is as beautiful as it is strong, and because it’s natural stone, each slab is different and unique and you have very little control over the location and size of the veins, fractures, and pattern. You can work with your contractor or fabricator to request certain aspects of your slab be more visible than other pieces, but this may require purchasing of additional material if certain slabs have areas that are less desirable. The other thing to note about quartzite are its fractures - this is one of the natural elements that make it beautiful, but can be tricky when fabricating. The fractures are quartz grains that become tightly intergrown over thousands of years and produce a great amount of depth and light refraction (think pretty colors when light hits it), it’s what make the slabs look so amazing, but if the fractures are large, then they can cause chips in the edge of the countertop. This can be avoided during fabrication, but should be something to be aware of, as it could result in the need of an additional slab. Quartzite is denser than granite, which means it’s even more durable than granite. It is natural stone, so sealing every year or so is usually recommended to protect it.

Quartzite countertop on a vanity

There you have it! Two of the most popular countertop materials, both beautiful and strong. Which do you prefer? Do you have questions about either of these materials? Let me know in the comments below!