Current Obsessions: Quartz vs. Quartzite - The Real Difference

January 24, 2017

Quartz and Quartzite are two extremely popular materials for countertops, flooring, and other surfaces within the home. The names are similar, but the products are quite different! Much confusion exists between the two, even with professionals in the industry.

There are two major reasons for this. One is the similarity in appearance, and the other is the tendency for retailers to refer to both quartzite countertops and quartz countertops as “quartz” for the sake of simplicity. Although they share many traits in common, the differences may help you choose which is right for your needs. 

Quartz

Featured: Mystic Gray Quartz 

Quartz, in reference to residential and commercial surfaces, is an engineered material. The mineral quartz occurs naturally in a multitude of colors ranging from nearly crystal-clear to jet black and a rainbow of hues between. This mineral is fused with a combination of resins, polymers, pigments and other powdered or ground materials to form an extremely hard, non-porous, durable material.

Quartzite

Featured: White Nile Quartzite 

Quartzite is a naturally-occurring metamorphic stone. Millions of years ago, modern-day quartzite countertops began as sandstone. Over time, quartz crystals formed within its spaces and fused together under heat and pressure. The result? An extremely strong, durable, and beautiful material that occurs in a wide range of colors and patterns. 

Similarities

Featured: Pacific Salt Quartz

As you can see, both quartz and quartzite contain the mineral quartz. They have nearly the same hardness and long-lasting durability, and are both suited for use in households and commercial settings. Both have a brilliant, polished finish and show patterns that resemble marble or granite with veining, flecks, and swirls in shades from pale and subtle such as Madreperola Quartzite, to bold, dark and dramatic varieties like Azul Imperiale Quartzite

Differences

Featured: Azul Imperiale Quartzite

The main difference between the two is obvious: Quartzite stone countertops are quarried, and Quartz is manmade. Therefore, quartz slabs and tiles will be more consistent in size and thickness; it also shows more uniform patterning and coloration, whether it is cream quartz or high-movement Pacific Salt Quartz. Quartz is available in a wide array of prefabricated countertop sections, which reduces the price of materials and installation.

Featured: Almond Roca Quartz 

Quartzite, as a natural stone, is better suited for outdoor use, where it will be exposed to the elements and extremes in temperature. The most important difference, however, is that as a natural stone, quartzite countertops need to be sealed in order to protect them from moisture, etching, and staining, while quartz does not.

Featured: Madreperola Quartzite 

No matter which of the two materials you choose for your project, MSI has a huge variety of stunning patterns and colors. You can explore your options with our Countertop Visualizer.

Whether your décor tends toward the classic and refined, a rustic cottage style, or sleek contemporary, we’ve got you covered – and with informational articles such as this, you’ll always know exactly what you’re getting.