Tips from the Trade: Are Quartzite Countertops Natural or Man-made?

May 31, 2017

These days, it seems you need a geology degree to figure out the wide array of natural and man-made stones available for countertops. Remember learning about igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks? If you dozed through your 10th grade science class, no worries. We’ll tell you all you need to know about Quartzite, right here — and why it’s a fabulous choice for your high-end kitchen countertop.

Recreate this look with MSI's Allure Quartzite (Photo Credit: Houzz)

Because of their similar names, Quartz and Quartzite are often confused. Both are excellent choices for countertops in the kitchen or bath, and are also used for other decorative surfaces as well. Quartzite, however, is the all-natural material of the two, while Quartz is engineered. 

Composition


Featured: Madreperola Quartzite

Quartz countertops are engineered from quartz crystals, which have many different colors and shades depending upon their mineral content. These can range from colorless and clear to pink, smoky gray, and amethyst violet. These crystals are bound together with resins, pigments, and other additives to create a super-strong, waterproof product. 

Quartzite is a gift directly from Mother Nature. It is more like Granite, for which it is often mistaken. It is a metamorphic rock – it began with sandstone which was transformed through a process of pressure and heat.

The resulting rock is super-hard, and contains quartz crystals that give it a shimmery beauty. Quartzite by itself is white or pale gray; it often contains minerals such as iron oxide that tint it pink, gold, or rusty red.

Appearance

Featured: Taj Mahal Quartzite

As Quartz is an engineered material, its appearance will be uniform in terms of color and pattern. Edges are more refined, so pieces can fit together snugly without showing seams.

Quartzite, on the other hand, is a natural material, so it will have more variation between pieces. No two pieces of quartzite will be exactly alike. Side by side, quartzite countertops have a much more natural appearance, and allow you to create a one-of-a-kind installation.

Durability

Get this look with MSI's White Macaubus Quartzite (Photo Credit: Houzz)

Both quartz and quartzite countertops are extremely durable. If your goal is zero maintenance, quartz countertops may be a better choice.

Quartzite, like other natural stone, is porous and requires yearly sealing to protect it from water, etching, and staining. However, this is not a difficult or time-consuming process. 

Look-alikes

Featured: Ice Flakes Quartzite

Quartz can be manufactured to resemble many other natural stones, such as granite and marble. This, combined with its easy care requirements, makes it a popular material for countertops.

Quartzite naturally resembles other popular stones, and is often mistaken for granite, slate, or marble, depending on its coloration and pattern. These natural stones do have a lot in common in terms of composition and texture!

Now that you know a bit more about quartzite, we hope you’ll find it easier to make your choice. Each of MSI’s countertop options has distinct advantages over the others, as well as drawbacks, and in the end, it’s a matter of personal choice.

Not only must you decide which looks you prefer, you must also consider maintenance and durability — for example, quartzite countertops need less maintenance than marble, although they may appear similar.

Visit MSI’s online gallery and virtual kitchen visualizer to check out our full product line of stone countertops.