Let’s Dig Deep And See If Quartzite Is a Better Countertop Option Than Granite

granite-quartzite-featured
Let's take a look together and see which one is better.

We have all heard about granite and how gorgeous and durable it is. You may have also heard reports about quartz counters (the two are often confused) and how well they compare to granite countertops.

Click To View Full Size

If you haven’t yet heard of this kitchen work surface, read on. This is another material available and one that you may want to consider.

What exactly is it?

This is a metamorphic rock that has been formed from sandstone. A metamorphic rock is one that has been altered by energy that can include pressure and heat. Marble, for instance, is also a rock of this type that has been formed from limestone. Granite, on the other hand, is an igneous rock, which means that it has crystallized and solidified from lavas molten state.

Here are its’ best qualities

Quartzite is an extremely hard rock that is not water or acid-soluble. On the Mohs test that measures how hard a material is, it has been given a hardness reading of 8/10. This mean that it is harder than glass and can actually cut it.

In its’ purest form it’s white like marble, but ut can have impurities in it that lead to some incredible patterns and colors. For some people, it’s the only surface that they would ever consider due to its incredible beauty and strength.

The problems with etching

It cannot etch with water or anything acidic. This could be considered as a bullet proof type of worktop that can withstand more wear and tear than most other options. The problem is that a lot of people are finding that their countertops are etching when they shouldn’t be. Here’s the story on that.

Back in the day, these surfaces were actually 100% pure quartzite. They had the elegant beauty of marble but were much more durable. This type of counter became increasingly popular but supply was limited. At this time, stones were introduced to the market that were labeled as being pure but they really couldn’t have been since they were etching when they were exposed to water or acids.

Quartzite stone countertops can be an incredible addition to your home, but only if they are in their pure form – and this is the problem. Even nowadays it can be difficult to find a pure counter that will live up to its flawless reputation.

It’s hard to find and you’ll need to test some samples with acidic liquids to make sure that what you’re viewing is actually quartzite – no matter how convincing the salesperson seems to be. You’ll also need to be prepared to pay a lot more than you would have to for one made of igneous rock.

Granite versus quartzite

Unless you are absolutely in love with the look of quartzite, you’re much better off purchasing granite. The process is a lot easier, the price is better and you’ll know exactly what you’re dealing with. You’re almost always better buying granite vs quartzite because there is a good chance that your quartzite may be mixed with other minerals or it may even have a resin coating on it.

By comparing these two you’ll see that both will require sealing on a yearly basis to protect it and both stones can look absolutely fantastic in any kitchen. But igneous rock stands out as the leader simply because it is a reliable choice that you can count on. When it comes to quartzite, however, it’s buyer beware.

If you’re looking for a beautiful alternative to granite than check out this comparison of granite to quartz. They might just be the low maintenance solution that you are looking for.

Check Out These Galleries Too

{ 35 comments… add one }
  • Beth October 25, 2016, 7:32 pm

    So I am looking at An infinity black leathered quartzite. It’s super pricy but I’ve fallen in love with it. I called and was assured by the national distributor that this is a true quartzite- it’s pretty solid in color. Should I believe them? It’s pretty rare I’ve been told it was mined out of Italy. But I would cry if it etches. Thoughts? Any way I can be sure they are telling me the truth? Will the leathering mess up the stone’s ability to be etched? Thanks!

  • L October 7, 2016, 6:00 pm

    Hi all! Great information, I am struggling to decide between what I am told is a quartzite and a calcite marble. They both look very similar with large crystals but I like the details of the calcite better. Installing in my kitchen will I notice a big difference in wear between the two materials? We do cook a lot and have two little girls so I want to make sure we are making the right choice. We can be diligent to seal every year. I am hearing conflicting information all over and could use a little advice!
    Thanks!!

  • Joann Holder September 7, 2016, 11:47 pm

    I’d like to share my experience because I actually had all of the good, bad and the ugly happen to me over quartzite. I needed 6 large slabs of stone for my kitchen. I wanted a marble look-alike but not the etching and softness of marble. There is a lot of counter surface in my kitchen and it’s a very open floor plan. We like the polished finish for our space. In my innocence I went to Tez Marble on the San Francisco Peninsula and they sold me 6 slabs of a gorgeous “quartzite” (they insisted it was Quartzite) called Super White. It’s gorgeous and looked like wonderful marble. Good reason, it IS marble (dolomitic marble)! I didn’t know until the stone mason got delivery of the slabs and told us it isn’t quartzite because he wouldn’t be able to cut it with marble bits if it was. Stunned, we started a serious search for true quartzite and found the fabulous geologist on Garden Web who posted the authoritative information. We also tested it with acid and glass. It didn’t pass. No way was I going to put that stuff in my kitchen. I’m a cook and a baker…it would have been a mess in short order. So…with the help of our contractor I went to other slab yards armed with a small glass tile. It was pretty easy to test the edge of the slab by scratching the tile against the exposed edge. It’s the only stone that will substantially scratch the glass. Long story shorter, we got 6 slabs from Apex Marble in San Jose of true quartzite (White Macaubas). That was three years ago. It still looks new and it wears like iron. It’s gorgeous and worth every penny to me. If your stone etches, or scratches, or gets divots it’s not quartzite. It isn’t widely available so don’t let unscrupulous slab yards try to sell you a fake. Marble is a lot cheaper. I think they just want to get quartzite prices for marble and are preying on the uninformed public. There is a lot of misinformation out there on this stone. Maybe it’s not for you given all the stress surrounding the purchase. But if it IS your choice I think you’ll be so happy with the results.

    • Jillian September 19, 2016, 9:48 pm

      I’m glad it worked out for you and you are correct. Super white is classified as a quartzite but we know better having dealt with it as fabricator’s.

  • Leslie August 15, 2016, 2:58 pm

    I just picked out Carrera Extra Leather calcite for a kitchen countertop. Upon reading comments, I’m not worried about the care. However, I can’t find any site that tells me what is the cost difference between calcite and granite. Since the seller of these slabs won’t tell you, does anyone know? Thanks

  • Grant Lawson July 6, 2016, 6:18 pm

    Question: We’re having new countertops installed in our bathrooms. The stone originates from Italy and is called Italian Quartzite Marbi. From what I understand quartzite and marble are two very different stones so how is it that this stone is called quartzite marble?

  • Vivian June 26, 2016, 12:03 pm

    What do you mean by etching? What happens to the surface and what would cause it to etch when it is not pure quartzite? Thank you

    • Ashley July 12, 2016, 8:28 pm

      Etching happens when there is an acidic product on your stone..ex vinegar or mustard. If your stone isnt properly sealed it leaves a faint mark.. it doesnt discolour like a stain but if you look at it at certain angles it looks like the luster is missing from that area. We tested Crystal Ice Quartzite specifically.

  • Mary May 13, 2016, 3:20 pm

    We are thinking of getting fantasy brown quartzite for our kitchen countertops. Does anybody out there have this for there kitchen and how do you like it?

    • Kathy July 18, 2016, 1:09 am

      We just had fantasy brown quartzite counters installed this week. I love them,the look the solidness and especially the color. So how are you liking yours?

      • Jillian September 19, 2016, 9:39 pm

        Fantasy Brown is not a true quartzite. In fact it is a true marble. As a fabricator we have problems explaining to customer’s that it isn’t because suppliers will sell it as one.

        • Lisa October 1, 2016, 8:17 pm

          I have elegant brown. When I bought it I was told it was granite. A person who came to seal it said it was quartzite. It is the most beautiful slab I have seen but it etches with anything acidic. It makes sense that it is actually marble.

          • Charlie natural stone specialist October 27, 2016, 9:05 pm

            which ever it is that you decide to put in your home. seal your countertop’s I tell this to customers all the time. look for the non commercial or if so, ask the fabricator to let it stand on stone for few min. not to wipe on wipe off. no. that’s not sealing

  • Marco April 8, 2016, 2:57 pm

    I am having countertops installed in two weeks. After looking at slabs, the product I have chosen is marketed as Mont Blanc Marble.

    Google searches keep showing me Mont Blanc Quartzite.

    Is there a Mont Blanc Marble? Is the seller mislabeling the stone? She says it’s harder than Carrera marble but softer than granite, and it will etch.
    Any ideas what exactly I am buying?

  • Lynn Doty March 22, 2016, 2:40 am

    We just had sandulus quartzite installed and it is stunning. It was sealed and they said it would last 25 years. We couldn’t be any happier with our huge investment.

    • Jillian September 19, 2016, 9:41 pm

      There is no such thing as a guarantee of how long a sealer will last. If it has to be sealed again you will know if the water isn’t beading up on top and leaving water ring’s. It is a simple process in fact it’s like wiping your counter’s off when you clean your kitchen.

      • Kathie September 26, 2016, 5:47 pm

        Jillian – what product should I use to seal my granite counter top? It is looking very dull and constantly water spots.

        • Valerie_J October 21, 2016, 2:39 pm

          I had Super White quartzite installed this week. Thought it was true quartzite. Have asked the place where I purchased about cleaning and revealing but they can’t even tell me the sealant they uses. I’ve heard that Grand quartz 413S works. Is that true? How often should I apply? Thanks.

  • Alice Virden-Speer March 17, 2016, 11:44 pm

    I’ve done a lot of research on this and here is what I know and an awesome geologist has weighed in (so really I’m just the messenger). There is quartzite and there is marble. Nothing “in-between”, or harder marble or kind of quartzite. If your quartzite is etching, you have dolomite marble. Period. Resin has nothing to do with the etching, it’s that you don’t have quartzite. Do a glass test, your glass will scratch easily, not slide over it. Put a lemon on for a day. Then you’ll know. It’s really simple to figure out what you have. Problem is that some sales people don’t really know and it’s easy to be confused. Marble is a 3 on the hardness scale, Quartzite, a 7.

  • Jeff March 8, 2016, 9:43 pm

    We just had silver quartzite installed [March 2016]. They told us this needs to be resealed in 15 years. Any truth to this? I have no idea what it was sealed with as it wasn’t discussed, so I’m not sure they got $100s out of us

    Also it does have some apparently ‘stains’ from the manufacturing process. They are supposed to check to see if anything can be done to remove them

    Also, I ‘think’ we might have a small stain already, is there anything we can do to get rid of it?

  • Sue October 22, 2015, 4:09 am

    We just finished installing Iceberg quartzite. I haven’t seen too much online about this stone and wondered if anyone has a few years experience with it, ie.stains and/ or etching. Ours is mostly gray and white, looking very much like cracked ice on a pond.

    • Dee February 19, 2016, 5:32 pm

      I have had my Antartide/Iceberg quartzite for almost 3 years. It does etch but it seems to buff out with a dry cloth. I was told I didn’t need to seal it yearly or do anything to it and I haven’t. I will say that there are now a few nick’s at the surface where previously there were crystals that have just come out of the counter top. This is few and far between though and I am still very happy with my purchase. I just love the color and pattern.

    • Alison tegeler February 25, 2016, 4:54 pm

      I too have white with gray quartzite..2 years so far and everyone just raves of its beauty..I seal it yearly and wipe it down daily..I’m Not putting heat or any wet stuff on it…

  • linda October 9, 2015, 2:41 am

    I am about to buy a quartzite called Super White. Can I trust the salesman from MSI to tell me the truth of whether it is pure and will not etch. I now have granite for 15 years but loved the color combination of quartzite. I now have blue eyes. Help…..I need advice. How to I check to see if it etches?

  • MD August 16, 2015, 6:23 pm

    How can quartzite be an “8” on the Mohs scale if quartz (silicon dioxide) itself is how the Mohs scale defines a “7”?

    • Turd Burgalar September 9, 2015, 2:02 pm

      It’s magic.

    • Crystalline structure. February 21, 2016, 7:46 pm

      Just like with a high carbon steel, you are dealing with something with the same molecular composition, however, the organization of the molecules change because of the varying molecular bonds within the structures created; in some cases, such as this, they are stronger than the original element you are working with… Or in this case, the earth is working with. Immense heat and pressure do a lot more with rocks and minerals than man can do with a furnace, hammer, and anvil.
      Think of the crust and mantle like natures hammer and anvil, and the insane heat caused from friction as the furnace; out comes something much stronger than the two minerals that we started with… In the case of quartzite, we have Quartz and limestone I believe (a 7 and a 2-4 on the Moh’s scale respectively)

      Let’s talk practicality… Unless you are using this countertop for something other than standard daily use in an indoor kitchen, you aren’t going to see much difference in the way of maintenance regarding your countertop surface on a day to day basis.

      The only instance off the top of my head (being a kitchen and bath designer) with any sort of practical needs vs. stone/color preferences would be if you want a white countertop (marble or quartzite) on an outdoor application. If this is the case, you want to go with a top that’s less influenced by the elements. That leaves you with one one option, quartzite.

      Greg K.
      Atlanta, Ga
      Greg@mcgranitecountertops.com

  • Rosalie June 10, 2015, 9:03 pm

    How do you know what percent is pure quartize and if it will e as durable as granite? Will the seller tell you the truth? How can it be teste before purchase? Thanks.

  • Marc Miltenberger October 1, 2014, 2:14 am

    Anthony: “Back in the day, these surfaces were actually 100% pure quartzite.” What day are you referring too? Pure quartzite is generally comprised of 90% or more of quartz and other trace minerals. Its beauty and durability vary from the minor amounts of impurities being incorporated with the quartz during metamorphism millions of years ago. Quartzite’s like granites all vary based in density and hardness. How stone is created is important to understand, because the composition affects it’s hardness and density. No two granites or quartzite’s are the same. The hardness of a stone is relative to the stone’s density. There is no set rule one can follow, they are both hard. The question is what do you think is beautiful? “Calacatta Borghini” or “Calacatta Oro Franchi” both amazingly beautiful marbles! And you thought quartzite’s are expensive.

    • Anonymous March 27, 2015, 2:31 am

      Quartzite it the best and most expensive hands down.

      • Crystalline structure. February 21, 2016, 7:50 pm

        I haven’t aren’t quartzite sell for $150/sf… You are sadly mistaken. It’s not all about hardness, it’s about rarity and demand.

        I used to sell Kashmir White at around $40/sf. The quarry that produces it is shut down. I guarantee you I could sell it for $150 today if someone really wanted it. It’s rathet difficult to find a specimen comparable to the purity of earlier samples pulled from that particular quarry let alone one period. Find me a perfect slab of that and I’ll show you how quartzite can look cheap if we are just talking price.

  • Ron L February 13, 2014, 5:18 pm

    Interesting column, but what was the date on it? I keep hearing about new protections (esp. Dupont) that only need application every 10-15 years. Is’t possible?

    • Anthony Greer February 15, 2014, 3:08 pm

      Hi Ron,

      This column was written towards the end of 2013, but I’ll keep it updated. Check with your local stone supplier to see what they have for sealants. They have much better options than just about any hardware stone.

    • Elouise February 9, 2016, 7:34 pm

      You know what, I’m very much iniecnld to agree.

    • Crystalline structure. February 21, 2016, 7:52 pm

      Don’t be fooled. You should be sealing any natural stone countertop yearly no matter what. Don’t let a salesman yank a few hundred dollars out of you for some false sense of security.

Join The Discussion