Changing your countertops is one of the most impactful ways to update your kitchen. Granite counters, once the most popular option, are starting to take a backseat to the growing appeal of quartz and quartzite counters. But, which is better? Find out with this complete guide to quartz vs. quartzite!
It seems like everyone (and their brother, sister, and cousin) knows about granite. It’s a natural stone and popular solid-surface countertop material.
However, if you’re looking for solid surface material alternatives to granite, it’s also worth considering quartz and quartzite, which have both exploded in popularity in recent years due to their beauty and durability.
They sound super similar – are they the same thing?
Nope! There are some big differences between them, and it’s important to be aware of them before choosing between these two materials.
Join me and dive into the fascinating world of countertops as we explore quartzite vs quartz!
What Are Quartz and Quartzite?
Quartzite is a naturally formed rock found below the earth’s surface, occurring when sandstone undergoes metamorphism due to extreme pressure and heat. This material is quarried and sawn into slabs for kitchen countertops.
It’s usually available in various shades of white and gray (making it easy to confuse with marble). However, occasionally, you can find some color variations based on the mineral deposits within the stone.
Quartz, on the other hand, is a man-made material that consists of quartz chips, resins, and pigments that are vibrated and compressed into a slab. Instead of appearing similar to marble, this engineered stone typically looks uniform – almost like a solid color with hints of sparkle.
Quartzite vs. Quartz: What’s the Difference?
Thanks to the differences in composition, there are several factors to consider when choosing between quartz vs. quartzite countertops for your kitchen or bathroom.
Quartzite and quartz have distinctly different appearances. Quartzite slabs display natural veining patterns and subtle color variations, giving them a unique and elegant look. It typically comes in a variety of whites and grays and can occasionally exhibit earthy hues.
By contrast, quartz has a more uniform look thanks to the manufacturing process. Because this material uses human-added pigments, it’s available in a broad range of colors and patterns, and it’s easier to match pieces together.
Both quartzite and quartz are very durable materials. As a natural, metamorphic stone, quartzite registers around a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. It is heat, etch, and scratch-resistant.
Quartz is also hard and durable. However, because it’s engineered (and contains resins), it’s less resistant to acidic substances, heat, and scratches than quartzite. Make sure to use a cutting board to protect the surface from scratches and heat damage.
Maintenance and Care
Being a natural material, quartzite is a pretty porous and can easily absorb liquids or stains. Sealing them regularly (about once a year) helps to protect the surface. If you keep them sealed, you only need to use soap and water to clean your counters and keep them looking new.
By contrast, quartz slabs have a non-porous surface and has better stain resistance because they’re made from natural quartz minerals and resin materials. No need to seal these counters! As with quartzite counters, all you need is water and soap to clean quartz. Avoid abrasive cleaners because they can scratch the surface.
Cost and Installation
The cost of quartzite countertops typically ranges between $75 to $200 per square foot after installation, depending on color, quality, and finish. And if you find rare or uniquely colored quartzite, the cost can skyrocket into the thousands per square foot.
Quartz countertops tend to be a little cheaper – expect prices to range from around $50 per square foot to around $150 per square foot, based on brand, color, finish, and quality.
Quartz vs. Quartzite Countertops Pros and Cons
Although we’ve covered the basic differences between these two materials, I find it helpful to break the information down into pros and cons lists. Here’s a quick rundown with all the essential bullet points to help you choose the best option.
- Every slab has unique patterns and colors to give it a one-of-a-kind appearance
- Very durable
- UV and heat resistant
- Relatively low-maintenance option
- If properly cared for, it will look amazing for decades
- Is recyclable if you ever decide to replace your quartzite countertops
- Requires regular sealing and maintenance (at least once a year)
- Porous and can stain
- Sensitive to acidic substances
- Prone to chips and nicks due to natural veining and striations
Quartz countertops are made a man-made product created using crushed quartz, pigments, and resin as a binding agent.
They are non-porous, meaning they won’t absorb liquids or require frequent sealing. This makes them more stain-resistant, low-maintenance, and hygienic compared to natural stone.
- Low maintenance – no need to seal
- Non-porous for superior stain-resistance
- Wide range of color choices
- Due to engineering and customization options, this material is easier to match pieces during installation (it has consistent patterns)
- Expensive, although more affordable than quartzite
- Exposure to hot items/high temperatures can create discoloration and damage
- Has a more uniform appearance and lacks the uniqueness of natural stone
- More prone to scratches and etching than quartzite
Quartzite vs. Quartz FAQs
The short answer is that it depends. This isn’t a question with an easy across-the-board answer because people place different priorities on various qualities. For example, if you want a completely one-of-a-kind appearance, quartzite is better. On the other hand, if it’s more important to stick to a tighter budget or have a low-maintenance countertop, quartz may be better.
Is quartz or quartzite more expensive?
Since quartzite is a naturally occurring stone that offers a unique appearance and can be more challenging to match patterns, it’s more expensive than manufactured quartz.
Can you put a hot pan on quartzite?
It’s complicated, but technically, yes, you can. Since quartzite is formed by intense heat and high pressure, it can handle the heat from a hot pan. However, I haven’t (yet) found a counter manufacturer who will guarantee that repeatedly placing hot pans on quartzite won’t cause damage.
If you’re in a bind, you can occasionally place hot pots on quartzite relatively safely, but I recommend using a trivet or hot pads whenever possible.
How can you tell quartz and quartzite apart?
Take a look at the surface. If it has veining and striations similar to marble, it’s quartzite. However, if you see a uniform appearance with fine or coarse crystals, it’s quartz.
Quartz vs. Quartzite Countertops: 10 Real-Life Examples
Now that you’re familiar with everything you need to know in order to choose between these two materials, it’s time to see how they look in real life! Here are 10 examples of quartzite and quartz counters in homes.
1. Quartz Counter Magic
House of Hipsters decided to go with quartz to replace old, pitted granite countertops. One look at this design and all the ways you can use different patterns of quartz might convince you that engineered offers more than natural stone. I’ll admit – it’s impressive.
2. Engineered to Look Like Marble
Artsy Chicks Rule picked an engineered quartz that’s mostly white with light gray veining and looks reminiscent of marble. If you really want that marble look without paying the big bucks (or dealing with fussy stone), quartz is a great option!
3. A Vision in White
No other high-quality solid surface material can provide the uniform appearance that an engineered material can offer. If you want countertops like these from…well, here in my kitchen 😉 that are beautifully white, go with quartz.
Note: Our perimeter counters are solid white quartz, while the island we chose a Cambria quartz called “Portrush”.
4. Honed Quartzite for a Muted Look
One of the downsides to granite is that it can look too shiny and bold in many kitchens. At The Picket Fence decided to replace their granite counters with honed quartzite for a finish that’s less shiny so the subtle veining can do the “shining!”
It can be tough to choose quartz vs. quartzite, but this image is definitely a mega point for Team Quartzite.
5. Practical and Affordable Alternative to Marble
Stagg Design wanted the beauty and elegance of marble without the price tag and other less-than-appealing qualities. Look at this beautiful gray veining! It may not be marble, but this quartzite sure FEELS like marble.
6. Mix and Match Materials
Gorgeous! I really like this kitchen from The Navage Patch, partly because I don’t think I would have taken the risk of mixing granite and quartzite countertops. It seriously works, and I could take in that quartzite island all day long.
Quartz vs. quartzite? This image might just put me in Team Quartzite.
7. Low Maintenance Beauty
Assuming you DO have the $$ to spend on marble, you may not want the hassle of maintaining it. It’s elegant-looking but requires more effort to keep it looking new than most people want to invest. The Modest Makeover found a gorgeous quartzite pattern that delivers the look of marble without the downsides.
8. Simple and Uniform
Hearty Sol decided to choose quartz for its durability, low maintenance, and affordability. If you want a uniform, almost solid color appearance, quartz is probably a better fit than the natural variation that quartzite provides.
9. Subtle High-Quality Finish
Do you crave black counters that look like soapstone? Black quartz will be your new best friend. See how amazing it looks in this modern farmhouse kitchen remodel from Farmer’s Daughter Interiors (photo credit: @delina.langridge!)
10. Eye-Catching Detail
If you’re going for a neutral palette in your kitchen but want to add some fun detail, quartzite counters can provide a one-of-a-kind final detail that pulls the entire design together! I love the way Brepurposed used the material pattern in this kitchen.
I hope you’ve found this countertop guide helpful if you’ve been looking at these different materials. Both quartz and quartzite are popular options that can create beautiful looks in a kitchen or bathroom. Not only that, both of these countertop options can add to the value of your home, and make prospective buyers happy if you’re considering an upcoming sale.
At the end of the day, both could be a great choice and your decision may come down to personal preference. Best of luck on choosing your new countertop!
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