Quartzite countertops are quickly gaining popularity due to their unmatched durability and looks-like-marble beauty. But how does it compare to quartz and other countertop materials? This quartzite countetops review and buyer’s guide will cover it all in detail!
Whether replacing kitchen countertops or bathroom vanity tops, the surface you choose is a key decision. It affects cleaning habits, home value, the look of your favorite spaces, and your peace of mind. So, it’s important to find the right material to match the style and the demands of use for that room.
Quartzite countertops have a lot to offer, but let’s take a closer look at… colors, cleaning, pros & cons, quartzite vs. quartz, granite and marble, costs, how not to get fooled when buying and a bunch more info to help you decide.
I'll get to the durability, cost, and maintenance needs which are important, but ultimately you want your surfaces to look good! So, will quartzite countertops work with your kitchen design?
Because it’s a naturally occurring stone, there's a large variety of color and pattern options (but not as many as granite) available in two- to three-inch slabs.
Whether you want a cool creamy marble effect or sparkly teal and blue stripes, you have your pick of quartzite for countertops.
The color palette does lean heavily toward whites and grays, but often slabs will have veins or hints of rust, brown, or black and even pink, red, blue, yellow, and green which can be very striking.
You can usually choose between rounded, squared, or fancy edges just like granite or marble.
Quartzite countertops can have a variety of finishes but most are either a honed / brushed matte finish or a polished shiny finish.
Of course, every retailer will offer different variations of these natural stone slabs, and some may have more color and edging options than others. Whatever you do, don’t settle for boring grays and whites if you’re really looking for specks of color or sparkle, or for simple edges if you want more intricate curves.
Quartzite can be as neutral or as show-stopping as you want it to be, especially if your home improvement budget has room for imported slabs and custom edge work.
Quartzite countertop care is essentially the same as for protecting and cleaning granite. Overall durability and performance are on par with granite and quartz countertops. Which is to say that you can’t really get any better, but no surface is perfect.
Okay, so quartzite is super-durable and can stand up to the daily use and abuse of a typical kitchen countertop with relatively low maintenance demands.
Still, it’s best to practice good habits to care for your quartzite. Use a trivet to set hot pans on, don’t let spills sit too long, and apply a sealer if/when needed.
For general daily cleaning...
Quartzite is porous and may absorb liquids, so a stone sealer should be applied as needed to prevent stains. Use this sealer test to determine if/when you should apply a sealer.
Resealing frequency can vary from annually (fairly rare), to 3-5 years depending on your particular stone and the quality of sealer used.
PRO TIP: Apply a Permanent Stone Sealer which requires only one round of application initially and then you don't ever have to reapply or reseal the countertops.
While quartzite is one of the most durable and hard surfaces you can choose, it’s less flexible than quartz and more expensive than granite and some marble.
First, the good! Here are some of the most popular reasons to choose quartzite countertops:
White Fantasy and other quartzites mimic marble without the spotting and etching. Invest in quartzite countertops to update your kitchen’s color scheme and lay a neutral foundation for future updates.
Like any other surface, there are cons to quartzite countertops too. If you want a sturdy surface that stands up to wear and tear, quartzite is right for the challenge, but you should consider some of these disadvantages first.
If you think quartzite is a “lite” version of quartz, think again. The two surfaces are actually completely different countertop materials, produced in different ways, but do share some commonalities.
Let’s find out…
Quartz is an engineered countertop. It’s man-made. Manufacturers fuse quartz, a natural mineral, with different resins, stones, glass, and pigments to create durable, non-porous slabs.
Quartzite is a natural stone formed by Mother Nature (like granite or marble) with “quartz” as a primary mineral component.
It’s a metamorphic rock that comes from sand. Originally sand is compressed together to form sandstone and then that sandstone is further transformed or crystallized into the super-hard mineral quartz by the intense heat and pressure within the earth. Since this rock is almost completely composed of quartz, geologists named it “quartzite”.
Various other naturally occurring minerals do get mixed into the quartzite which can result in color and pattern variations, although, most often you’ll see gray and white quartzite countertops.
Quick Comparison: Quartzite vs. Quartz countertops
So, how can you tell it’s really quartzite? These two surfaces get mixed up all the time but it can be hard for the average homeowner to see the difference.
Here are a few clues:
It may be hard to see at first, but patterns in natural stones like quartzite tend to be more dramatic, random and non-repeating with larger or longer streaks and veins.
Also, remember that quartzite comes mainly in grays and whites. It can have other colors (blue, rust, gold) but the color range of quartzite is much more limited than quartz or granite.
Quartz countertop patterns tend to be more uniform and consistent across the entire slab. This is especially true of the “classic” quartz patterns that feature a speckled look.
This is beginning to change with the introduction of quartz colors that better resemble the more random and natural patterns seen with granite, marble, and quartzite. Many are just gorgeous.
So, in truth, it can be difficult to discern with the untrained eye the difference when comparing quartz vs. quartzite countertops. But even these newer quartz patterns have a consistency or repetition, although, it may cover a larger area and is not so obvious.
Once you look at enough of each (natural stone or quartzite vs. quartz) you’ll notice that quartzite has greater visual depth. Natural stone has a sort of 3D quality to it that engineered stone like quartz countertops cannot replicate.
Maintenance overall is very similar as both are durable surfaces that can stand up to heavy kitchen use. Both are nearly impossible to scratch.
Quartzite countertop cost is similar to quartz with both ranging from about $60 per sq. ft. to $120+ depending on rarity, supply and demand, your location, or the particular “style” of a quartz countertop. Of course, cutouts, edges and other variables influence the total price.
What this means is that you could get a quote for a quartzite countertop that is far higher than one for a quartz countertop…. Or vice versa (quartz more than quartzite) depending on the choices you make.
So, we’ll ask again…
All considered, the edge goes to quartzite since it is more durable. Here are the key differences...
However, they are both excellent surfaces and choosing between one or the other will likely come down to your preference in color and pattern vs. the slightly better performance durability of quartzite.
Quartzite and granite countertops are very similar in performance and maintenance but do have some differences in available colors and cost.
For all intents and purposes quartzite for countertops is not better (or worse) than granite. When comparing cleaning, maintenance, durability, and performance they are pretty equal.
Granite does come in a much wider variety of colors and patterns. Quartzite is harder and does not chip or pit like some granite varieties can.
But there is no one thing to point to and say... "Okay... this is the reason to choose quartzite over granite" (or vice versa).
Cost could go either way with one more than the other depending on which color you choose. For these two stones just go with the color and pattern you like best.
One of the biggest selling points for quartzite is its appearance. Many of the white quartzite colors look like white marble countertops which are always so popular but troublesome as kitchen countertops.
As we learned above there’s not much difference between granite and quartzite all considered. It's the opposite with marble.
Marble and quartzite have very different performance characteristics.
Many people love the look of marble but want a surface with less difficult maintenance requirements. This is a primary reason for the recent surge in popularity of quartzite countertops.
Etching is like a chemical burn that corrodes the surface finish creating dull and chalky drips, spots, and glass rings.
Etching can be repaired on marble but it can be a pain to deal with since it will be impossible to guard the surface against contact with acids. Sealing does not prevent etching. This is the main reason marble is often not recommended for kitchen countertops.
It is rumored around the web that some quartzite will etch. While it is possible that a particular quartzite slab could contain enough calcite (the mineral in marble that reacts to acids to cause dull etch marks), in reality, this is not the explanation.
True quartzite does not react to acids and will not etch.
But some homeowners that have quartzite countertops (or think they do) have developed etch marks. So... why?... how?
The real reason that “some quartzite slabs etch” is because they are actually marble slabs and not quartzite. How can that be?
Well, since quartzite (particularly white quartzite) can look nearly identical to white marble (like Carrara marble) it is not uncommon that a slab of marble gets incorrectly identified and labeled (usually at the stone warehouse level) as “quartzite”.
The bugaboo here is that the mistake is often not discovered until the unfortunate homeowner starts getting etch marks on their new “quartzite” countertop.
So, if you love the look of marble, maybe consider quartzite that looks like marble. You have several choices such as Calacatta Macuabus, Taj Mahal, White Fantasy, White Princess and Super White quartzite to name a few.
A second reason quartzite may etch is due to a reaction with the resin that is applied to the surface of many quartzite slabs. Quartzite starts as sandstone that gets crystallized by heat and pressure. It's a super hard stone, but also more brittle and difficult to cut or fabricate than granite.
Applying a resin helps to stabilize the quartzite. The resin is applied at the factory or quarry before it ever arrives at a stone warehouse.
A high-quality resin will not react with acids, but as often happens in the marketplace, many dealers use cheaper resins that will react with acids resulting in dull and chalky spots or ghost-like etch marks just like on marble.
To avoid the mislabeled quartzite dilemma be sure to perform the Lemon Juice & Oil-Water tests on any natural stone slab you wish to purchase. These tests will tell you everything you need to know about that specific slab regardless of what the salesperson or label says.
Testing will reveal if the stone etches from acids and how absorbent (how likely to stain) it is. Again, test any stone slab you are considering for purchase either at the warehouse or at home using a piece chipped off the exact slab (not a showroom sample).
The page at the above link describes the tests in detail but basically, it’s done like this…
The lemon juice test is more important because it will tell you if your “quartzite” sample is true quartzite or actually marble mislabeled as quartzite.
Also, you can try and scratch the surface using a knife or screwdriver. Marble will scratch. Quartzite will not scratch or it will be only a very light surface mark barely perceptible.
Naturally, the best stone slabs for kitchen countertops are those that don’t etch, or scratch, or scorch from heat, and take a long time to absorb liquids.
A true quartzite slab will not etch. It will likely absorb liquids within a few minutes similar to many granite slabs. However, absorption and staining can be controlled with proper sealing.
Installed costs of quartzite countertops will vary depending on the color/pattern you pick, how rare or popular it is, your location, the complexity of countertop configuration, number and type of cutouts for sinks, faucets, cooktop, and the edge style chosen.
It is possible to get a lower price, although on average, quartzite is more expensive than granite, marble, or quartz countertops. But remember, every type of countertop material has a range of prices, so you could get a quote for granite that is more expensive than quartzite, or for quartz that is more expensive.
For instance, white quartzite has fewer impurities, is rarer and thus more expensive. All the white and gray quartzite colors can be more expensive simply because they are the most popular even though white and gray is the most common type of quartzite.
However, other darker colors of quartzite can be much less than many marble or granite colors.
The lesson here is that cost estimates and comparisons can be useful as a general guide, but they can be wildly different on a case by case basis.
So, you just need to pick out a few colors and countertop materials you like, get quotes for each with all the same specs (cutouts, edge treatments), and then decide which is all-around best for you.
When it comes to choosing the right countertop, it’s not enough to compare the cost, appearance, or quality of each material by itself. To find the superior option for your home, you also need to consider how you’ll be using the surfaces.
From water and oil spills to hot pans and sharp blades, abuse is inevitable in kitchens. Fortunately, quartzite is up to the challenge.
Quartzite is such a hard, durable surface that it can sustain a lot of daily wear and tear. It’s recommended for kitchen countertops and bathroom vanity tops alike because it lasts a long time and won’t crack or chip with everyday impact.
If you have an active family or spend a lot of time in the kitchen, the investment will be worthwhile, because you won’t have to worry as much about maintaining or damaging your countertops.
Quartzite countertops can take all you and your family can dish out and remain looking new and brilliant with nearly carefree maintenance.
With smart everyday use, you can make sure your quartzite stays shiny and smooth for years to come.