When choosing a material for kitchen or bathroom countertops, quartz and quartzite are two of the most popular options. But which one is the better choice? Here is an in-depth comparison of quartz vs. quartzite countertops to help you decide.
Overview of Quartz Countertops
Quartz countertops, sometimes called engineered stone, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The result is a man-made material that is highly durable, scratch and stain resistant, and easy to maintain. Here are some key advantages of quartz counters:
- Extremely durable and long-lasting
- Resists scratches, stains, burns, and heat
- Requires very little maintenance
- Available in wide range of colors and patterns
- Non-porous so does not need frequent sealing
- Mold and bacteria resistant
- Can be fabricated into almost any shape or style
- Resists chips and cracks better than natural stone
Quartz does have a few disadvantages to consider:
- Can be damaged by very heavy impacts
- Requires professional installation
- Seams are more visible than with natural stone
- Limited number of suppliers compared to natural stone
- Not as heat resistant as granite or quartzite
Overall, quartz makes an excellent choice for busy kitchens and baths due to its durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance. Brands like Silestone, Caesarstone, and Cambria lead the quartz countertop market.
Overview of Quartzite Countertops
Quartzite is a naturally occurring metamorphic rock that is formed when sandstone is subjected to heat and pressure over millions of years. It is comprised almost entirely of quartz, making it exceptionally hard and durable. Here are some of the standout qualities of quartzite:
- Extremely durable, scratch resistant surface
- Heat, stain, and acid resistant
- Unique natural stone patterns and colors
- Does not require sealing
- More stain resistant than granite
- Can be honed for matte look or polished to high gloss
- Withstands hot pots and pans without damage
Some downsides of quartzite to be aware of:
- Expensive, premium natural stone
- Can develop small cracks over time
- Requires re-polishing every few years
- Needs to be sealed periodically
- Natural stone variations in color and pattern
- Porous so requires more maintenance than quartz
Quartzite is one of the most stylish and durable natural stones available. But it comes at a price – quartzite is considerably more expensive than quartz. Brands like Viatera and Cambria offer high-quality quartzite slabs.
Quartz vs. Quartzite Comparison
Now that we’ve outlined the pros and cons of each material, here is a comparison of some of the key factors to help you choose quartz or quartzite:
Quartz has a uniform appearance since it is engineered in a factory. The color and pattern run throughout the slab.
Quartzite has natural variations in color, pattern, and veining since it is a natural material. No two slabs are alike.
Quartz is virtually maintenance free. It never needs sealing and easily wipes clean with soap and water.
Quartzite is naturally porous and needs to be sealed every 6-12 months. It also requires cleaning with stone-safe cleaners.
Quartz stands up very well to daily wear and tear. But it can be damaged by heavy impacts.
Quartzite is harder and more scratch resistant than nearly any other stone. It holds up to heavy use extremely well.
Quartz can be damaged by exposure to very high heat. Always use trivets for hot pans.
Quartzite can withstand hot pans and high heat without issue. It’s more heat resistant than quartz.
Quartz ranges from $60-120 per square foot installed. It’s on the affordable end for countertops.
Quartzite starts around $100 per square foot and can go up to $300+ installed. It’s one of the premium stones.
Quartz manufacturers are located around the world so the material is widely available. There are many color and finish options.
Quartzite is rarer than quartz since it is only found in certain regions. There are fewer finish options.
The Bottom Line
For most homeowners, quartz delivers the best bang for the buck. It offers a gorgeous appearance that mimics natural stone but with minimal maintenance. Quartz is an excellent choice if you want affordability along with durability, functionality, and style.
However, quartzite is the premium option if budget is not as much of a concern. As a high-end natural stone, it offers stunning aesthetics, extreme durability, and heat resistance. But it comes at a higher price point and requires more maintenance.
Both offer distinct advantages that make them leaders in the countertop industry. Keep this comparison in mind as you weigh your options and decide whether quartz or quartzite is the right material for your next kitchen or bath remodel.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is better for high traffic areas like kitchens?
Quartzite is better for high traffic zones because it stands up to heavy daily use and abuse better than quartz. It’s harder and more scratch resistant. The durability of quartzite makes it ideal for busy kitchen countertops.
Can you cut on quartz or quartzite countertops?
It’s possible to cut and chop on both quartz and quartzite since they are so durable. However, using cutting boards is still recommended to protect the surface and avoid dulling kitchen knives. Quartzite’s hardness does make it more resistant to cutting damage.
Which material is best for bathroom vanities?
Quartz and quartzite can both make excellent bathroom countertops. Quartz requires less maintenance while quartzite brings a premium natural stone look. For sinks and vanities that will get water exposure, quartz may be a better choice since it’s non-porous.
Does quartz or quartzite need to be sealed?
Quartz never requires sealing since it is non-porous. Quartzite is somewhat porous and it’s recommended to have it sealed once a year. Sealing quartzite makes it more stain resistant.
Is heat damage a concern for quartz or quartzite counters?
Quartz can be damaged by extreme heat and is not as heat tolerant as natural stone. Quartzite can withstand very high heat from pots and pans without issue. For kitchens, quartzite is the better choice if heat damage is a major concern.
Which material costs more?
On average, quartzite runs $100-300+ per square foot while quartz averages $60-120 per square foot installed. There is some overlap in pricing, but quartzite falls into the premium, high-end natural stone category which comes at a higher cost.
Quartz and quartzite both make excellent choices for today’s countertops. Quartz is ideal if you want an affordable, low-maintenance surface that holds up well to everyday use. For those seeking a top tier natural stone look with extreme durability, quartzite delivers this at a premium price point. Use this guide to weigh the pros and cons before deciding whether quartz or quartzite better fits your priorities, lifestyle, and budget. With some careful consideration of your needs, you’re sure to end up with beautiful and functional countertops for years to come.