What's the Difference Between Quartzite and Quartz?

March 29, 2018

The subtle differences between quartzite and quartz seem to befuddle everyone from design-savvy clients to industry experts. Some people even use the names interchangeably, which is a huge mistake because it only adds to the confusion. Each material has its pros and cons, so educating yourself on the facts is important, especially if you are considering either of these beauties for your home improvement project. A quartz versus quartzite showdown is well overdue, so let’s dive in.

 

 

   The Kitchen Studio of Glen Ellyn

 

 

Quartzite is a natural stone that is extracted from the earth, just as marble, limestone or soapstone are quarried.

 

 

    Arizona Tile

 

 

Quartz, or engineered quartz, is manmade. It’s composed of roughly 90 percent ground quartz (the actual mineral), with the remaining 10 percent being a mixed cocktail of resins, polymers and pigments that varies by manufacturer.

 

 

 

   Marie Flanigan Interiors

 

 

Why Should You Care? 

The difference between the two translates to discrepancies in form and function. Quartzite and quartz both offer durability. In fact, each outperforms granite in terms of hardness. However, you will definitely want to consider the factors that follow before you decide on your new kitchen or bathroom countertops. (Can you guess which material our firm selected for this kitchen? Hint: Our client wanted to go au naturale.)

 

 

   Marble of the World

   

 

Variation vs. Uniformity

Because quartzite comes directly from Mother Nature, it displays infinite variation in color and pattern, meaning no two slabs are exactly the same.

 

 

   Sutro Architects

 

 

Meanwhile, quartz attempts to replicate those distinct characteristics, such as veining. Technology is always advancing, and engineered materials are getting harder to distinguish from the real deal. But because quartz is produced in a controlled manner on a large scale, at some point patterns emerge and repetition happens. 

 

 

   Abodwell interior design- Brittney Fischbeck

 

 

Conversely, bold markings like veins can be removed entirely from quartz, and the end result is a more consistent and uniform appearance. 
 

 

What Color Countertop Should You Choose?

 

 

 

    LB Design

 

 

Heat Resistance vs. Stain Resistance
 

 

In addition to hardness, most people are concerned with whether a stone will resist heat and staining over time, especially if you’re talking about an enthusiastic entertainer or a bustling family with young children.
 

Quartzite wins in terms of heat resistance, making it a prime candidate for kitchens. (No worries if you happen to set that hot pan down for a moment on the counter next to your stove.)

 

 

 

   Ann Lowengart Interiors

 

 

On the other hand, the density of quartz makes it more able to combat stains than its fully organic counterpart. Which means you can opt for solid white quartz in the kitchen and won’t need to fret over any of those inevitable messes and spills.

 

 

   Marie Flanigan Interiors

 

 

A case can be made for either material, so it is helpful to think through the way you envision yourself using and maintaining the space to determine your highest priority. Our clients loved the pretty look and high performance of Taj Mahal quartzite in their kitchen so much that they carried it into their butler’s pantry wet bar, shown here.

 

 

   Neuhaus Design Architecture, P.C.

 

 

Of course, it is always recommended that you seal any slab to protect it from everyday use. (This lovely waterfall island and gleaming backsplash is made from quartzite.)

 

 

   Kirk Riley Design

 

 

Etching vs. Scratching

Etching is not staining. It’s almost like an added layer of patina that shows up in high-traffic areas or under certain lighting. For example, etching can appear as discoloration that looks like dark water spots next to your sink even after the droplets have dried. Lucky for us, neither quartz nor quartzite are prone to etching, so both have become a popular choice for bathroom vanities. Judging by this gorgeous dark quartz countertop installation, it’s not hard to see why.

 

 

   Aria Stone Gallery

 

 

Again, quartz was used throughout this bathroom as both the vanity top and the tub deck. Splash it everywhere (literally), and ease your mind. No etching here.

 

   

 

 

 

As far as scratches are concerned, remember those beautiful veins and the broad range of colors quartzite offers? Those features can be super helpful in disguising imperfections. And at the end of the day, quartzite is indeed more scratch-resistant than quartz. This lovely island from Aria Stone Gallery has us ready to dig right in.

 

 

   Kelly Scanlon Interior Design

 

 

The more uniform surface of quartz can make any abnormality (like a deep scratch) stand out. But, since it’s unlikely that items like hairbrushes would be hard enough to cause any noticeable damage, it was a safe, serene and soothing choice here.

 

 

   Sara Baldwin Design

 

 

Specialty Applications
 

 

So, what do you think? Are you a fan of quartzite or quartz? Perhaps the examples that follow will sway you one way or the other. These specialty applications demonstrate that you can think outside the “countertop” box and use these versatile materials in lots of surprising ways. For instance, the entire wall in this stunning bathroom is covered with Blue Macaubas quartzite. Wow!

 

 

 

   Tim Clarke Design

 

 

Or check out this integrated quartz sink. Creating an apron-front sink from the same material as the surrounding countertops is an effective way to achieve a streamlined and consistent look.

 

 

Elevation

 

 

Did you know that quartz and quartzite can also be used to create fireplace surrounds? This living room features a quartz surround, and the way it blends so effortlessly with the other architectural details of the space is the epitome of understated elegance.

 

 

   Aria Stone Gallery

 

 

For something really extraordinary, hang a stone slab as artwork. (You’ll need a wall that can support the weight.) A natural stone, like the quartzite shown above, makes for a bold statement with its unique veining and uncommon colors. But if you’re aiming for a more modernist, abstract piece, manmade quartz would work too.

 

 

 

   Aria Stone Gallery

 

 

Finally, even after you’ve done your research, it’s always a good idea to consult your designer or the professionals at your local stone supplier showroom. They know all the nitty-gritty details and can help you decide which material is most appropriate for your unique lifestyle and home. 

 

 

Pros and Cons Recap

Quartz 

Pros: Durable; can come in solid colors for a more uniform look; very stain resistant; not prone to etching

Cons: Because it’s an engineered product, sometimes pattern repetition occurs; not as heat resistant or scratch resistant as quartzite

Quartzite 

Pros: Durable; because it’s a natural stone, there is infinite variation in color and pattern (no two slabs are the same); very heat resistant; not prone to etching; more scratch resistant than quartz

Cons: Not as stain resistant as quartz