Quartzite 101: Advantages, Disadvantages, and How to Care For It
What Exactly Is Quartzite?
When we refer to quartz countertops, we’re talking about an engineered stone made in a factory. Quartz-ite is a natural stone product that is mined from all around the world. Maybe you have heard a whisper here or there and you’re wondering what this stone is really all about? Let’s dive into Quartzite 101!
Quartzite is a natural metamorphic quartz stone that is composed almost entirely of solid quartz. It is also known for its extreme strength and durability, and has the best benefits found in both granite and marble. Quartzite can have beautiful veining similar to what we see in marble, but is the most scratch resistant when you compare the two.
Quartzite differs from granite because it is a metamorphic rock. But like granite, it isn’t susceptible to etching like marble is. It is even harder than granite and takes us a little longer to fabricate than granite or other natural stones. It is truly the best of all worlds when all things are considered. As a natural material, quartzite can have inherent but beautiful features that can be enhanced with honed or suede/leathered finishes. These features include a textured unevenness of the surface following the veins, or the presence of fissures visible in the stone. These aren’t imperfections, they’re simply a characteristic of your stone. Quartzite is a superior natural stone surface and we love the various patterns available.
Don’t Be Mislead by Marketing
There is a bit of mislabeling on the quartzite side of this industry. Sometimes stones labeled as quartzite, usually the very colorful varieties, are mixed with other stones like gneiss or schist. Stones labeled as soft quartzite are commonly dolomite marble, a harder variety of natural marble with other minerals like dolomite or quartz present that beef up its scratch and stain resistance.
At Peak Stone you don’t worry about what stone you’re getting. Our stone consultants will take care to make sure you are informed about what type of stone you’ve selected, and we make sure you have the opportunity to see and feel the natural stone that will be installed in your kitchen.
Quartzite slabs are comparable in size to granite slabs. Sizes can range between 115-138″ wide by 55-80″ tall. Although usually, we see quartzite slabs running on the larger end of this spectrum. We have many local stone suppliers we use to source from, and your stone consultant will look for the right quartzite slabs to complete your project.
Quartzite pricing in the midwest typically starts in the middle range of where granite and engineered quartz pricing will run, and goes up from there. Don’t let pricing deter you from choosing quartzite. There are several varieties available right here in Indianapolis that are friendlier to the budget than others. You really get what you pay for with this stone! When we estimate for your kitchen, we take the price of the material, any other fixtures or services you will require from us, and the rest of the project into consideration.
Quartzite and Durability
Quartzite is very easy to care for and has very little upkeep, although it is not stain proof or etch proof. Some varieties of quartzite are more porous than others, so please clean up spills in a reasonable amount of time. We apply an impregnated 15-year sealer on any quartzite that needs a little extra stain resistance to help buy you more time to clean up. Please know if you let a spill sit on your countertop for hours or days before cleaning it, there is a chance something might settle in. If life happens, call us and we’ll see what we can do to help.
True quartzite is very durable and is impervious to etching from food-related acids like lemon juice or vinegar. However, it is not etch-proof. Strong cleaning acids like rust remover have been known to etch quartzite.
The heat resistance for quartzite is comparable to that of granite . We are always going to recommend the use hot pads and trivets to prevent any thermally-induced stress on your stone.
Cleaning your Quartzite
A soft cloth with soap (without bleach) and warm water is recommended for everyday cleaning. For tougher jobs, we recommend using a cleaner made specifically for natural stone. Disinfectant wipes are also acceptable to use if you have a spill that has you concerned about bacteria.
If you get hard water scaling around your faucet, CLR makes a bath & kitchen cleaner that can remove the deposits without damaging your counters. If that doesn’t remove it, we can investigate and coach you through alternate methods.
Do not use solvents, 100% bleach, or ammonia on your top.
Please wipe away oven cleaners and rinse the area with water as soon as they come in contact with your top to prevent damage.
Since true quartzite (not soft quartzite) has a resistance to food acids, you are probably thinking you can use vinegar to clean your stone with. Nope! We cannot stress this enough—If you aren’t 100% sure your quartzite is truly 100% quartzite, do not risk using vinegar to clean your countertop!
If using eco-friendly cleaning methods is important to you, and vinegar is your preferred method of cleaning, the following statement is important. If you’re considering quartzite as a countertop surface, share this information with your stone consultant and they’ll ask the stone broker to perform an etch test on the material for you. The last thing we would ever want for you is to accidentally damage your stone’s finish, and having a knowledgeable and trusted consultant to turn to for education and information is vitally important when you become the caretaker of any stone countertop.
Other Quartzite 101 Guidelines
True quartzite countertops are extremely scratch resistant, but please avoid cutting directly on your countertop. It will absolutely destroy the edge on your knives! Use a cutting board.
Quartzite varieties that come in a honed or suede/leathered finish can develop a gorgeous patina as time passes. Most homeowners embrace the aging process of this finish, but patination is something to consider when you are deciding on which finish you want to display in your home.
Never sit or stand on a countertop because it can cause a stress crack or fracture. There is absolutely no situation where this is a safe or practical option.
If you chip your countertop, please save the chip if you can so it can be included in the repair. Chips in natural stone are generally simple for a pro to repair. After the repair is performed the material will be stable and look better cosmetically, but please know that the area will never be as whole as it was when it was first installed.
Look at you! You just graduated from Quartzite 101! If you’re ever in doubt about how to care for your quartzite countertop, please contact us before trying anything you’re unsure about. Remember: Advice is always free, repairs come with a charge!