Quartz and quartzite kitchen worktops are equally popular worldwide. As their names are similar, many homeowners consider them to be the same or similar materials. The truth is that quartz and quartzite are completely different in terms of their origin, composition and properties. Since the choice of your kitchen worktop material is a monumental one, knowing how to differentiate quartz and quartzite should be an important part of your research.
Origin of Quartz and Quartzite Kitchen Worktops
- Quartzite is a natural stone formed over centuries by tectonic forces causing the gradual crystallisation of sandstone. Intense heat and pressure leads to the formation of a hard and dense rock with prominent quartz crystals. Quartz worktops are industrially manufactured using finely powdered quartz with resin binders. Subject to high temperature and pressure, the mixture is pressed and moulded into slabs.
The Appearance of Quartzite and Quartz Worktops
- Usually found in light colours (varying shades of white) with elegant veining, quartzite usually resembles kitchen marble worktops. Sometimes, quartzite is also found in pinkish and reddish-brown shades, making it appear like granite.
- Quartz worktops are 100% manmade and their colours/patterns do not depend on natural earth forces. The characteristic crystalline appearance of quartzite is missing because these worktops are made with pulverised quartz.
- Quartz worktops can be customised as per varying aesthetic preferences. Leading manufacturers have perfected the art of mimicking quartz to look like kitchen marble worktops and granite worktops.
Differences in Properties
- Quartz worktops are engineered to near perfection as far as hardwearing and non-porosity are concerned. The vacuum and vibration method to form quartz slabs ensures that every bit of air is sucked. Quartz kitchen surfaces are impervious to food/liquid spills, chemicals, water and heat. Also, quartz doesn’t stain or scratch easily because of its high physical resistance.
- Although quartzite is slightly harder with a Mohs rating of 7 to 8 (as compared to quartz which is rated 7), it has a highly porous surface. It needs to be sealed well before installation and the process has to be repeated once or twice a year based on the usage. Quartzite’s hardness implies that it is more scratch resistant than quartz worktops. When it comes to placing very heavy objects, it is likelier to crack. The density of quartz is far higher than that of quartzite.
Care and Maintenance of Quartz and Quartzite Kitchen Worktops
- As mentioned above, quartzite requires periodic sealing while quartz doesn’t. Both surfaces require simple cleaning with a neutral pH soap and warm water.
- Homeowners can be somewhat more carefree with quartz surfaces and relatively more careful with quartzite worktops because it is a natural stone with a higher likelihood of staining.
- As far as heat resistance and scratch resistance are concerned, quartzite worktops are superior to quartz. Scorch marks are more likely on quartz surfaces because quartzite remains perpetually cooler like marble.
The Durability of Quartz and Quartzite Kitchen Worktops
- Due to its porosity, susceptibility to stains, and physical damage (barring surface scratches), quartzite is less durable than quartz.
- The cutting-edge manufacturing process of quartz leaves no scope for easy damage. Quartz kitchen worktops are famed for their outstanding durability, toughness, and resistance.
Quartzite is generally more expensive than quartz because it has to be mined and transported from far-off places. Quartz is usually more affordable as it can be sourced from a manufacturer nearby.
Despite being less durable and more expensive, many home décor enthusiasts swear by the marble-like aesthetic charm and natural finesse of quartzite. It is certainly the classier choice but requires regular sealing to keep stains at bay. Quartz is the practical choice for homeowners who require a resilient and long-lasting worktop for their busy kitchens.