Properties of Quartzite
If you have been seeking new countertops for your kitchen or another room in the home, you may have come across quartzite. This stone seems to intrigue people for a variety of reasons. Part of the shroud of mystery that surrounds quartzite is that there are so many differing things one hears about it when researching the material. In this post, we will take a look at some things that tend to confuse the issue as regards quartzite. Along the way, we will explore some of the properties of this natural stone.
The Name Confuses People
One thing confuses people when they come across this stone is the name. However, it is not the name of the stone alone that is confusing. Rather, the reason people seem to be puzzled is because of how the term quartz is used. Let’s look at how the term quartz leads to confusion regarding quartzite.
Quartzite is a natural stone. Within its name, you can see the word “quartz”. Quartz is a natural mineral that is found in a variety of rock. One such rock is quartzite. Quartzite is a metamorphic rock that was quartz sandstone before its change. Therefore, quartzite has a very high quartz content. As a result, it makes sense that the name of this stone would have the term quartz right in it. However, the term quartz has another meaning, and that is what clouds the understanding of some people.
You may have come across quartz slabs or quartz surfaces while learning about countertops. You may have even been told that quartz is a “natural” stone. When people hear that quartz is a natural stone, their mind shifts to the thought of stone carved out of the Earth and cut into slabs. That is not what quartz countertops are. Let’s define what quartz countertops are for clarity.
Quartz Not the Same As Quartzite
Quartz countertops are called “natural stone” because they contain the mineral quartz. However, the amount of quartz they contain is usually 90%+ quartz mineral (by weight, not volume) and the rest of the material is made up of resins and pigment. This mixture is used to engineer a material that can be used for countertops. So, the material is often referred to as natural stone because the natural mineral content is so high. Although, it is produced (or engineered) by companies for use in home and business designs.
Quartzite is Not Soft
Another misnomer that affects how people perceive quartzite is that other materials get labeled as quartzite or “soft quartzite” when in reality, they are not quartzite at all. Back in 2017 we posted about this issue right here on this blog. You can read about it in the post entitled: Making the Term Quartzite Crystal Clear. This practice causes people to think that quartzite comes in various forms and has differing properties depending on which “type” you get. The reality is there is only one type of quartzite. The misnamed stone is often times actually marble; which has different properties.
So you can see why it can be easy to become confused about this particular stone. Quartzite though, has some very distinct properties that make it desirable. However, these properties are very different from those of marble. On the other hand, there are properties of quartzite that are similar to those of some marble. This is what makes it hard to tell a mismarked marble from quartzite. Let’s look at some of these properties.
Colors of Quartzite & Marble
Quartzite often times looks much like some marble. This is one of things that draws people to this stone. It has the look of marble without many of the drawbacks that marble has. Its exotic appearance makes it beautiful, but that is not the only trait that moves people to choose quartzite.
Quartzite is Hard
One of the desirable properties of quartzite is the fact that it is a hard stone. This means that it does not scratch easily and that it is durable. These properties distinguish true quartzite from marble or other incorrectly marked natural stones. Because of its hardness, quartzite is easy to take care of. Sealing it periodically with a high quality stone sealer and being quick to wipe up spills is all that is needed for the most part.
Resistant to Acids Found In the Home
Another property of quartzite that makes it the stone of choice for those that favor the look of marble and the durability of granite is that it is resistant to acidic substances common in households. Many foods have acid in them and some cleaners do too. Quartzite does not suffer from susceptibility to acids like marble does. True quartzite contains no calcite; the mineral that is dissolved in the presence of acid.
As you can see, there is more to selecting a quartzite countertop than just telling a sales person that you want quartzite. It really means knowing what quartzite actually is and also knowing how to identify it. Perhaps the easiest way to get exactly what you want is to choose a reputable fabricator that you can trust to hep you select a true quartzite stone and install it.