Stone, synthetic, marble, granite…when you’re looking at different counter options and home design materials, things can get pretty overwhelming pretty quickly. You probably don’t know a lot about counter materials other than what you’ve heard from friends and on snippets of home design shows, just like most people.
But if you’re going to make the best choices for your home, it’s a good idea to understand everything about the different materials that are available to you. What makes quartzite different from other materials? Is this the right design choice for your home? When you know more about quartzite, you’ll know exactly how to answer these questions.
Quartzite is a natural metamorphic rock that is primarily comprised of quartz. It’s created by sandstone that has been affected by heat and pressure. In time, this basically becomes a tough bunch of interlocking quartz. This means that quartzite is a very hard natural rock, even harder than quartz.
Usually, quartzite is white or grayish in color and has natural striations, bands, and speckles in it. This gives the rock a lot of depth and interest. Some quartzite may have tones of pink, purple, red, orange, brown, green, or blue. Quartzite is harder than both marble and granite. It’s tougher and more resistant to scratches and abrasions than both these other types of natural stone.
After it’s quarried, naturally occurring quartzite is cut to size and polished so it can be used for countertops, tiles, walls, and floors. This finishing process brings out the natural colors and patterns of the rock.
Be aware that quartzite is not the same material as quartz. It’s important to know the difference because they can look extremely similar and they sound like they’re very similar. However, there are some big differences between quartzite and quartz and these are two very different materials.
Quartz is made from a combination of natural and synthetic materials. In counter or tile form, it’s primarily made up of loose quartz that is bound together with resin and/or adhesive. The colors in quartz are created by pigments, whereas quartzite has different colors due to minerals and chemicals that naturally mixed with the stone as it was formed over time. This is why quartz is available in a much wider array of colors than quartzite.
Quarzite in History
Humans have been using quartzite for over a million years, making this one of the most well-known and widely-used natural materials in the history of humankind. Not bad. Quartzite was highly prized in ancient days for making cutting tools.
Because it’s so hard, it can be used to work with chert, flint, agate, obsidian, and many other types of rock that make excellent blades and tools. It was the human ability to make and use tools that helped the species evolve and survive. Quartzite played a major role in that.
In other words, quartzite has a pretty interesting history and it’s been in continuous use for the whole of human history. That’s one really good material.
Caring for Quartzite
Quartzite has to be sealed on installation and should be re-sealed once or twice a year, depending on how much wear it receives. If it’s not sealed properly, quartzite can be stained. But when it is sealed well, quartzite is very easy to care for. It can be wiped down easily with a damp cloth for easy cleanup.
To properly seal quartzite, you must coat it evenly with a stone sealer, which is available at any home improvement store. Allow the sealer to soak in for about 15 minutes, then wipe it down with a cloth. You’ll have to allow the sealant to cure for 24 to 72 hours. The sealant itself will have thorough directions for properly applying this protective coating to quartzite counters and tiles.
Designing with Quartzite
Quartzite ranges in price from about $60 per square foot to more than $100 per square foot, depending on the tile or slab you choose, the availability of quartzite in your area, and many other factors. Because it is a natural stone, quartzite costs more than synthetic materials, such as quartz.
However, quartzite is more resilient than other counter materials. It’s scratch-resistant and resists chipping, which is always something you want in a counter material. Quartzite is also resistant to heat, something that’s extremely useful in both kitchen and bathroom environments.
It’s resistant to acids as well, which is why quartzite is a top choice in kitchens. There are a lot of natural acids in food, even foods you eat every day like lemons and tomatoes. Quartzite is a great counter material because it withstands etching, acids, heat, and stains. That’s exactly what you look for in a good counter.
Quartzite is so hard, it can actually be used to cut glass. This is a highly durable material, which is why many homeowners like using it. Though the cost of quartzite is higher than other home design options, this material is extremely durable and it’s a very practical choice. Quartzite is also very beautiful. It looks like a natural stone and has beautiful patterns and striations that make it stand out. Because it’s formed naturally, no two pieces of quartzite are exactly the same.
If you love the look of quartzite and you like the idea of having an extremely durable natural stone in your home, you’ll find all sorts of ways to use it in your design. Quartzite is an ideal counter material, but it can also be used for floors, walls, even backsplashes. Quartzite is available in both tile and slab form, so you have tons of different design options. The natural Earthiness of quartzite also creates a distinct look wherever you put it, which makes this material stand out.
It’s also a popular eco-friendly option because quartzite is a natural stone. There’s a big push in home design to use more natural materials, so quartzite is a trendy choice that will continue to look good and perform well for many years to come. By knowing more about quartzite and your other design options, you can make a much better decision about your home.
KC Morgan has been a professional freelance writer since 2006. Over the last decade, KC has published thousands of articles and blog posts that have been read by millions. A DIYer in her free time, KC has written hundreds of how-tos, guides and tutorials for different DIY and improvement projects around the house.
KC’s articles have appeared in “Popular Mechanics,” and have been featured on Bob Vila’s website. KC has written in-depth DIY articles for Sears.com and Overstock.com, as well as dozens of other websites. When she’s not writing or DIYing, KC enjoys watching college basketball, playing with her cats and experimenting with new cupcake recipes. Follow KC on Twitter @KCMorganWrites.