October 1, 2019

Quartzite vs Quartz – What’s the Difference?

If you are in the middle of a home design project, chances are you have seen the names quartzite and quartz both mentioned as on-trend luxury materials to use for countertops and surfacing. These two materials, while sounding similar, are radically different.

The largest difference is that quartzite is a natural stone quarried from the earth while quartz is a manmade product produced around the world in manufacturing factories.

Since quartzite is naturally occurring, the color palette is virtually endless. Quartzite is a metamorphic rock that is comprised mostly of the mineral quartz. All quartzite stone has undergone an exceptional heating and compression process which fuses the grains together forming a particularly dense and durable rock that will not etch from contact with acidic products commonly used in a kitchen or bathroom. Quartzites often display vivid and bold colors – hues of green, blue, iron-red, and deep ochre – making it a favorite of creative designers around the world.

Quartz is the overarching industry name for manufactured composite slabs produced by factories around the globe. The common formula for quartz slabs is ninety percent crushed quartz aggregate mixed together with resins, pigments, and polymers that bind the different materials together. This mixture is poured into a mold and pressed together to form a slab which is then baked in a process that involves heat and pressure to form the final slab. The use of pigments, polymers, and resins allow these brands to offer an extensive color palette that often mimics natural stone, particularly white marble. While quartz slabs have a low porosity resulting in strong stain resistance, they are not heat resistant as the polymers can melt and discolor when exposed to high heat resulting in cracks and burn marks.

Keep in mind that while your design aesthetic and your lifestyle should ultimately drive the final selection you make for your slab project, it is important to consult a stone professional on the benefits and drawbacks of each material type. A quick Google search will reveal an alarming amount of misinformation being perpetuated on the internet about both quartz and quartzite. If you have questions about ​quartzite​ or manufactured quartz, we encourage you to reach out to our team at United Marble for more information!