What’s the Difference Between Quartz and Quartzite Countertops?

When it comes to selecting countertops for your kitchen or bathroom, two popular options are quartz and quartzite. Though their names sound similar, there are some key differences between these two materials. Understanding the distinctions can help you determine which is better suited for your space and needs. This comprehensive guide examines quartz vs. quartzite countertops, including durability, appearance, maintenance, cost comparisons, and pros and cons of each.

A Brief Overview of Quartz and Quartzite

Quartz and quartzite get confused as being the same material, but they are quite distinct. Here’s a quick crash course on what each one is:

Quartz is an engineered stone made from roughly 90% ground natural quartz crystals combined with polyester resins and pigments. The result is a manufactured material that is extremely hard, non-porous, and visually appealing.

Quartzite is a naturally occurring metamorphic rock that originates as sandstone. Over time, heat and pressure transform it into an extremely hard and durable stone. Unlike engineered quartz, quartzite is 100% natural.

So in summary:

  • Quartz is engineered from quartz crystals plus resins/pigments
  • Quartzite is a natural stone that forms from sandstone

With this basic background, let’s explore how these two popular countertop materials compare in various categories.


When choosing countertops, durability is often top of mind. You want a surface that can withstand daily wear and tear. Here’s how quartz and quartzite measure up:


With a Mohs hardness rating of 7 to 8 out of 10, quartz is extremely scratch-resistant and durable. The resins bind the quartz particles into a very hard, non-porous material. It stands up well to knives, pots and pans, hot items from the oven, and typical daily use without showing signs of damage. The resins make it highly resistant to chips and cracks as well.


Quartzite has a Mohs hardness of 7 to 8, so it’s nearly equal to quartz in scratch resistance and overall durability. As a natural stone, it is also very dense and non-porous. Quartzite won’t easily chip or crack either.

Durability Comparison

Both quartz and quartzite rate extremely well in toughness and durability. Neither material has a clear advantage. Both are harder and more scratch-resistant than granite (Mohs rating of 6 to 7). In terms of resisting chips, cracks, and general wear-and-tear, quartz and quartzite are neck-and-neck.


Visual appeal is another essential aspect when selecting countertops. Here is how quartz and quartzite compare aesthetically:


One of the benefits of engineered quartz is that manufacturers can create a wide array of styles and colors since pigments are added during production. Anything from a natural stone look to bold, vibrant colors is possible. Quartz also has an attractive, smooth, glossy appearance.


Natural quartzite slabs display the random patterns, variations, and distinctive markings of a genuine stone. Colors range from white to gray, tan, and pinkish-red hues. The look is organic and earthy. Quartzite also has pronounced veining and visual depth that engineered quartz typically lacks.

Appearance Comparison

In terms of appearance, neither material categorically wins out. It comes down to personal preferences for engineered vs. natural stone and color/pattern options. With its array of bold colors and ability to mimic natural stone, quartz offers more versatility. Quartzite reveals the true beauty that only arises organically over eons. But some people find the patterns too busy.


You’ll be living with your countertops for years to come, so upkeep is critical. Let’s examine how quartz and quartzite differ in maintaining their good looks:


One of quartz’s virtues is that it requires minimal maintenance. The resins create an impervious surface that easily withstands spills, stains, and etching from acids. With simple cleaning using a mild detergent on occasion, quartz retains its luster. It doesn’t need periodic sealing or polishing either.


As a natural stone, quartzite is slightly more prone to staining and etching than engineered quartz. It needs resealing every 1 to 2 years using a stone sealant product. This helps prevent liquid and oils from soaking in. Quartzite also benefits from occasional polishing to restore its glossy finish after extended use.

Maintenance Comparison

Quartz is the clear winner for ease of care. The minimal upkeep required makes it an ideal option for busy kitchens or low-maintenance owners. More routine sealing and polishing gives quartzite higher maintenance needs. But some find this a small trade-off for the beauty of a natural stone.

Cost Comparison

Budget is often a factor when selecting countertops. Here is how quartz and quartzite stack up in terms of price:


Quartz countertops range from $80 – $140 per square foot installed. The exact price varies by brand, color/finish, retailer, and local market conditions. The cost is moderate relative to other countertop materials, pretty comparable to granite.


Expect to pay $70 – $200 per square foot installed for quartzite countertops. The wide price range reflects the diversity of quartzite varieties available. Rare or exquisite varieties are pricier than more common options. Overall, the cost is similar to high-end granite.

Cost Comparison

There is significant overlap in potential price ranges, making cost one area where quartz and quartzite are on pretty even ground. You can get excellent deals or pay premium prices for slabs of each material. In general, basic quartz options start lower, while exotic quartzites run higher. But both offer affordable choices.

Pros and Cons of Quartz Countertops

Here’s a quick rundown of the key upsides and downsides of choosing engineered quartz countertops:


  • Extremely durable and scratch-resistant
  • Requires minimal maintenance
  • Resists stains, etching, chips and cracks
  • Variety of colors and patterns available
  • Attractive smooth, glossy finish
  • Non-porous so inhibits microbial growth
  • Relatively affordable cost


  • Manmade appearance lacks depth of natural stone
  • Seams more visible than natural stone
  • Limited number of suppliers
  • Resins can yellow over time
  • Needs occasional resealing

Pros and Cons of Quartzite Countertops

Likewise, here are the notable advantages and disadvantages of quartzite countertops:


  • Extremely hard and durable natural stone
  • Resists scratches, etching, and chips
  • Beautiful natural patterns and variation
  • Each slab has a unique appearance
  • More stain resistant than marble
  • Doesn’t require frequent sealing


  • More maintenance than quartz
  • Needs periodic sealing and polishing
  • Natural markings less consistent
  • Limited color range
  • Prone to cracks from impact or heat
  • Porous if left unsealed

Recommended Uses for Each Material

Based on their respective strengths and weaknesses, here are the ideal uses for quartz vs. quartzite:

Best Uses for Quartz

  • Kitchen countertops
  • Bathroom vanities
  • Backsplashes
  • High traffic areas
  • Family-friendly spaces

Best Uses for Quartzite

  • Kitchen countertops
  • Bathroom vanities
  • Backsplashes
  • Low traffic areas
  • Hospitality/commercial spaces
  • High-end residential designs

Quartz works well anywhere durability and low maintenance are priorities, like kitchens and baths. Quartzite brings beauty to spaces where its natural elegance can stand out.

Should You Choose Quartz or Quartzite? Key Considerations

So when deciding between quartz vs. quartzite countertops, some key factors to weigh include:

  • Budget – Both offer affordable options ranging from economy to luxury
  • Colors/patterns – Quartz has more versatility but quartzite is truly unique
  • Durability – Virtually equal in hardness and scratch resistance
  • Maintenance – Quartz is lower maintenance with less sealing/polishing
  • Use – Quartz suits high-traffic spaces; quartzite adds elegance
  • Aesthetics – Quartz has a contemporary vibe; quartzite is natural chic

Take time to analyze your space, lifestyle, taste, and budget. Visit showrooms to see slabs in person. This will help determine if quartz or quartzite is the better choice for your next countertop project. With their superior durability and good looks, either material will provide lasting satisfaction.

Frequently Asked Questions About Quartz and Quartzite Countertops

Many homeowners have questions about the differences between quartz and quartzite. Here are answers to some of the most common quartz vs. quartzite FAQs:

Is quartzite actually quartz?

No, quartzite is a separate stone than quartz. Quartz is engineered from quartz crystals, while quartzite is a naturally metamorphic rock.

Is quartzite more expensive than quartz?

There is significant overlap in price ranges, but basic quartz options tend to start lower while exotic quartzites can be pricier. Overall costs are generally comparable.

What’s better for kitchen countertops, quartz or quartzite?

Both materials are excellent choices. Quartz requires very little maintenance. Quartzite has the beauty of natural stone but needs more sealing. For busy kitchens, quartz may be better.

Can you etch quartzite?

Yes, acidic substances like lemon juice and vinegar can etch quartzite. Sealing provides some protection. Quartz is less prone to etching.

Does quartzite stain easily?

If left unsealed, quartzite can absorb stains over time. But with proper sealing, stains are minimal. Its natural density makes it quite stain resistant.

Is quartzite radioactive?

Quartzite contains very low background levels of radioactivity from naturally occurring elements like uranium and thorium. Levels are well below safety limits.

How often should you seal quartzite countertops?

Sealing quartzite every 1 to 2 years is recommended. For heavy-use kitchen counters, annual sealing is ideal. Use a penetrating stone sealer for best results.

Can you repair quartzite?

Quartzite repairs are tricky. Cracks and chips are difficult to restore in a natural appearing way. The best option is contacting a professional stone restoration company.

Does engineered quartz need to be sealed?

No, quartz does not require sealing like natural stone. The resins make quartz non-porous and stain resistant without sealing.

Can quartzite countertops be polished?

Yes, quartzite can be polished by a professional stone fabricator using abrasives and diamond pads. This restores the surface gloss and smoothness.


When choosing between quartz and quartzite, key considerations are visual style, durability, maintenance, and budget. Quartz offers an array of colors, minimal upkeep, and contemporary vibe. For a luxurious natural look with more required sealing/polishing, quartzite is ideal. Weigh the pros and cons carefully before deciding which material best suits your next kitchen or bath remodel. Both quartz and quartzite are excellent, long-lasting options that will provide beauty and performance for years of satisfied use.