What are Quartzite Countertops? Quartz vs Quartzite Countertop

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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In the realm of kitchen and bathroom design, choosing the right countertop material is a crucial decision that impacts both aesthetics and functionality. Quartzite countertops have gained popularity in recent years, offering a blend of natural beauty and durability.

Quartzite combines the gorgeous appearance of marble with the long-lasting durability of granite. It is one of the most popular options for those in search of a versatile countertop material. It is also highly durable and long-lasting.

At the same time, it is known for its similar appearance to marble. However, it is not as fussy as marble and doesn’t have as many rules. Therefore it is an amazing option if you are looking for a material that will elevate your house with its beauty while still being functional and user friendly. 

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into what quartzite countertops are, understand what's the difference between quartzite and quartz countertops, and provide a detailed guide on how to choose the perfect quartzite surface for your space.

What are Quartzite Countertops?

Image Source: pexels.com/Curtis Adams

Quartzite is a naturally occurring metamorphic rock that originates from sandstone. Through the transformative forces of heat and pressure beneath the Earth's surface, sandstone evolves into quartzite, resulting in a dense and durable material. One of the key features that distinguish quartzite from other stone countertops is its high quartz content, giving it a crystalline appearance.

A. Composition and Formation

The formation of quartzite involves the recrystallization of quartz grains due to intense heat and pressure. This process results in a material that is not only visually striking but also remarkably strong. The quartz crystals in quartzite lend it a sparkling quality, reminiscent of marble, yet with a hardness comparable to granite.

B. Characteristics and Appearance

Quartzite countertops come in various shades, with hues ranging from subtle creams to bold grays. The stone often exhibits intricate veining, adding a touch of natural artistry to each slab. This uniqueness makes quartzite an ideal choice for those seeking a countertop with character and individuality.

C. Durability and Heat Resistance

One of the primary advantages of quartzite is its exceptional durability. It is highly resistant to scratches, stains, and heat. Quartzite countertops can withstand temperatures of up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, making them a practical choice for kitchen countertops where hot cookware is frequently used.

Quartz vs Quartzite Countertops

Understanding the difference between quartz and quartzite countertops is crucial for making an informed countertop selection. While the names sound similar, these materials have distinct characteristics that cater to different preferences and needs.

A. Composition and Manufacturing

Quartz:

  • Quartz countertops are engineered stone surfaces made by combining ground quartz with resins, pigments, and other minerals.
  • The presence of other minerals in engineered quartz results in a wide range of colors and patterns.
  • A quartz countertop is non-porous, making it resistant to stains and bacteria.
  • They are manufactured/ man-made and, as a result, offer a consistent appearance across quartz slabs.

Quartzite:

  • Quartzite is a naturally occurring stone that undergoes metamorphism, transforming sandstone into a harder, more durable material.
  • It is primarily composed of quartz crystals, giving it a distinctive crystalline appearance.
  • Quartzite is a natural stone, and variations in color and veining are inherent, providing a unique look to each slab.
  • Unlike quartz, quartzite is porous and requires sealing to prevent staining.

B. Hardness and Density

Quartz:

  • Quartz countertops are known for their hardness, ranking high on the Mohs scale.
  • They are dense and less prone to chipping or cracking compared to natural stones like marble.

Quartzite:

  • The natural quartzite is harder than quartz and many other natural stones, making it highly resistant to abrasion and impact.
  • Despite its hardness, it is less dense than quartz, offering a unique combination of strength and a lighter feel.

C. Maintenance and Sealing

Quartz:

  • Quartz countertops are non-porous, eliminating the need for regular sealing.
  • They are easy to clean with mild soap and water, making them a low-maintenance option.

Quartzite:

  • Quartzite is porous and requires periodic sealing to prevent liquids from penetrating the surface and causing stains.
  • Proper sealing is essential for maintaining the durability and appearance of quartzite countertops.

How to Choose Quartzite Countertops

Image Source: keystone-granite.com

I. Decide on What You Want Your Countertops to Look Like

One of the first things you should consider before deciding on the quartzite slab you want to go with is the style and appearance. If you are only renovating the countertops and leaving the rest of your kitchen or bathroom as it was, then consider the preexisting style in your house. 

If your house is mostly decorated in a traditional style, you might consider darker and richer tones such as deep browns with lighter veins or patterns on top. Such a countertop choice will complement your style and fit in seamlessly.

Otherwise, a light base color such as cream or beige combined with low-contrast patterns will be perfect with minimal or coastal homes as the countertops will blend in with the other decorations in the home and create a harmonious look. 

Similarly, the texture and the finish of the stone play a huge role in the overall outcome. Quartzite countertops are available in several finishes. The most common ones are polished, honed, and leathered finishes. 

  • A polished finish is the most popular one among all of the options. It created a very smooth surface that appears extremely shiny and glossy. It also gives the countertops a slightly reflective quality. The polished finish enhanced the natural colors and patterns of the stone. It provides an elegant and sophisticated look. 

  • A honed finish is achieved by grinding the surface of the stone until it looks completely, matte. It is the total opposite of the polished finish. The honed finish has a softer and more natural look as it lacks the unnatural glossy appearance. However, it is also less glamorous and eye-catching than a polished look. It is also less susceptible to scratches when compared to the polished finish and requires less maintenance. 

  • The leather finish has a slightly textured surface, similar to leather. This option is especially popular among those who are looking for a more rustic appearance. It also adds durability to the countertops while maintaining the colors of the slab. In terms of its glossiness, it is somewhere in between honed and polished. It is not completely matte and has a very slight sheen. 

II. Figure Out Your Preferred Thickness

The thickness might seem inconsequential but it is an important aspect you should take into consideration. The thickness of the slab can influence both the structural integrity of the countertops and their aesthetic appeal. 

Most commonly, the standard thickness of countertops is around 3 centimeters or 1.2 inches. This thickness is usually suitable for kitchen and bathroom countertops and is used in commercial and residential countertops. 3 centimeters is enough to provide structural integrity and sturdiness of the countertops while looking harmonious with the rest of the kitchen.

Countertops that are too thick might appear slightly harsh while thinner ones might not provide enough strength. However, depending on the specific project, the type of quartzite, and your personal preference you might find variations. 

Thicker slabs can add a more substantial look therefore appearing more luxurious. However, keep in mind that they will cost more than the standard thickness.

This more prominent look will be more desirable in upscale kitchens that will benefit from the bolder look. Moreover, thicker slabs allow more options for edge designs. If you are after countertops with intricate edge profiles, then you might need to opt for thicker slabs. The added thickness also offers more durability and stability. 

On the other hand, options for thinner countertops can provide a sleek and minimal look. The modern appearance is most commonly practiced in contemporary interior decorations in which the simplicity of the design and the sleek lines are emphasized.

Options for thinner countertops can also be an advantage if the weight of the countertops is a concern. As it is thinner, it will also be lighter than standard countertops. Therefore, weaker cabinets will be able to carry thinner countertops without a problem.

Moreover, thinner countertops will be more budget-friendly. Therefore, if you want to incorporate the classic and graceful appearance of quartzite countertops in your house while sticking to your budget, you might want to consider thinner slabs. 

III. Choose the Edge Design

The right edge profile will add the finishing touch to the design and enhance the visual appeal of your countertops. The edge profile options depend on the thickness of the slab as thinner countertops have less space for more intricate work. 

  • A straight-edge profile offers a simple and clean look in your kitchen. It is modern and streamlined. It enhances the straight lines and is easy to clean. This design option works well if there are other straight lines in the rest of the kitchen design. The straightforward aesthetic of the straight edge pairs perfectly with contemporary homes. 

  • A beveled edge is also a popular option. It supports an angular cut along the top edge of the countertops. The subtle decorative detail adds some light visual interest while still keeping it very minimal. The subtlety of the design allows it to be highly versatile. You can pair a beveled edge profile with any design aesthetic ranging from modern to traditional. This type of edge profile can also make the countertops appear thinner. If that is not the desired outcome and you want your countertops to appear thick and substantial, this might not be the choice for you. 

  • The bullnose edge is smooth and rounded. It features an edge that appears like a half-circle. Its softness has made it popular with traditional styles. They are also a recommended edge profile for high-traffic kitchens and bathrooms as bumping into them or leaning into them will be comfortable. Half Bullnose edge refers to a rounded top edge and a straight bottom edge. It is more versatile than the full Bullnose and offers a nice compromise between the highly soft look of the Bullnose and the modern look of the Straight edge. 

IV. Select Appliances and Other Fixtures

Before finalizing your countertops decision, it is best to decide which type of appliances and other kitchen fixtures you will go with. The style and sizes of the other elements in the kitchen can heavily influence the final countertop decision. 

You should start with the dimensions and configuration of your sink. Pick between a double or single basin based on your needs and aesthetic preferences. Take the size of your cabinets into consideration while making this decision. Pick one that will fit comfortably. Measure the space available to determine what is the maximum size your sink can possibly be. 

Similarly, it is best to decide on the faucet you want to install before getting the countertops made. Depending on the faucet you decide on, the fabricator needs to be informed about how many holes are necessary for the faucet and what their dimensions are. 

Moreover, appliances such as built-in stoves are integrated directly into the countertops. Therefore, if you are interested in upgrading your kitchen countertops, it is best to inform the fabricator so that they can consider that while sizing your countertops.  

Conclusion

Quartzite countertops not only provide a stunning focal point in kitchens and bathrooms but also offer practical benefits, including heat resistance and durability. With proper care and maintenance, quartzite countertops can be a lasting investment, adding timeless elegance to your home.

The choice between quartz and quartzite ultimately comes down to personal preference, aesthetic considerations, and the level of maintenance you are willing to undertake. Whether you opt for the engineered precision of quartz or the natural allure of quartzite, both materials have unique qualities that can elevate the design of your living spaces.

As a leading stone supplier in the industry, Keystone Marble and Granite consistently exceed customer expectations. The upgraded kitchens hold a transformative power over the whole cooking experience of any customer, leaving them highly satisfied with not only their new countertops but also with the whole renovation experience. 

With their extensive and impressive stone options, their professional team who are ready to tackle any problem that might come their way, and their long-standing know-how, Keystone delivers the pinnacle of customer service and excellent kitchens.

In Keystone Marble and Granite, the kitchen renovation isn’t just about aesthetics. It is also about creating a functional and ergonomic space in which you will create delicious and nutritious meals for your loved ones. Keystone understands that a well-designed kitchen is about the harmony between design, functionality, high-quality materials, and the unique needs of the customer.

Featured Image Source: pexels.com/Max Rahubovskiy

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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