There’s a lot of misinformation in the quartzite vs granite debate. That’s why this article has been written so that you can dispel these myths and have the necessary facts to help you understand the differences, pros and cons about these two kitchen countertops and hence make the right purchasing decision.
1) Differences between quartzite and granite
Do not mistake quartzite countertops for quartz countertops. Quartzite is a naturally occurring metamorphic rock. Metamorphic rocks are formed deep under the earth’s surface and are modified by a combination of heat, pressure and chemical processes. Quartzite starts off as quartz sandstone and due to the metamorphic process, it becomes quartzite.
It’s primarily grey or white in color and can have swirling veins which bears a strong resemblance to marble. Unlike quartz, it’s highly resistant to heat and scratching. For the most part, it is resistant to chemical reactions but some quartzite stones have calcium carbonate which reacts to acid and may cause etching.
Quartz is an engineered stone i.e. a man-made stone. The same quartz crystals that are found in quartzite are combined with resin, pigments and different materials to form quartz. This blend is what makes quartz more affordable and a stone that can be manipulated.
Granite, unlike quartzite, is an igneous stone. It’s formed from cooled magma and is partly composed of quartz. It too is resistant to heat, scratching and chemical reactions. If you do buy quartzite or granite that stains or forms scratches then it’s probably not quartzite or granite. You can perform a scratch test or acid test before you buy the slabs and if your salesperson doesn’t let you do this then it’s probably not granite or quartzite.
2) Characteristics of quartzite vs granite:
The amount of quartz in them
Yes, granite does have quartz crystals in it but not as much as there is in quartzite and it’s the component that they derive their strength from.
Quartzite vs Granite Durability
Due to the metamorphic process, the intense pressure and heat that it undergoes makes quartzite a very strong material, even harder than granite. This makes it more resistant to wear and tear than most stones and you would have to use glass to scratch its surface.
Granite is also known for its strength and besides kitchen countertops, crushed granite is used as a base for construction slabs and foundations.
This is where granite blows quartzite out of the water. Granite comes in many more colors than quartzite. Not only are the colors numerous but you also get unique ranges such as the Santa Cecilia range. There’s one color in particular called Saint Cecilia Gold Granite which is a combination of brown, beige, black and gold. The golden tones are more striking when there’s light hitting them and it’s a lovely piece to have outdoors or in the kitchen where the sun illuminates the countertops.
Quartzite on the other hand, mainly comes in white and grey with a few other variations.
The beauty about both granite and quartzite being natural stones is that they both have unique patterns and no two slabs are alike.
Pricing – Quartzite vs Granite Cost
Quartzite is actually more expensive than granite because it’s rarer. Other factors that influence the price are the scarcity of a particular slab and your location; it might be more expensive to get the stone to you if it’s not readily available locally. Also, the harder the quartzite, the more difficult it may be for someone to cut and finish the material, hence the higher prices.
Quartzite starts at about $60 per square foot while granite starts at about $50 per square foot. If you are remodeling an entire kitchen, prices will vary for all the different elements. If you want to understand in more detail what you could potentially be looking at in terms of overall cost for a kitchen remodel, check out that page.
3) Pros of Granite Countertops
- Granite is in abundant supply which is one of the reasons it’s a more affordable stone. It’s cheaper than marble but has more positive properties than marble does. It’s also cheaper than quartzite because of its availability.
- It’s a unique stone that comes in many colors and patterns meaning you have a variety to choose from but will rest assured that not many people will have the exact same slab as your kitchen countertop. It’s also a beautiful stone and hence the reason granite tiles are used in bathrooms, kitchens, headstones, building entrances and many more places.
- It’s heat resistant so take that piping hot pan off the fire and place it directly on the countertop. Ain’t nobody got time for trivets!
- It’s a great kitchen countertop for a young family or a commercial kitchen since it’s very hard and durable. You can crack your crabs, take high swings as you chop big fish in a commercial kitchen, beat your meat till its tender but let’s not get carried away and have a go at macadamia nuts with a hammer.
- It’s scratch and chemical resistant. You can use a knife to verify whether the slab is really granite by scratching the surface with it. If you can’t make a mark or it’s difficult too then it’s highly likely that it’s granite. For the chemical test, pour a bit of lemon juice onto the tile and see whether it stains.
- As long as it’s been sealed, it’s a low maintenance countertop.
4) Cons of Granite Countertops
- It’s porous so it has to be sealed before it’s bought and again every couple of years. Failure to do this will make it very unhygienic to use because liquids and particles of food will collect in the holes.
5) Pros of Quartzite Countertops
- It has the elegance of marble but unlike marble, it is strong, durable and cheaper than marble. It’s also stronger than granite so if you’re priority is a strong countertop then quartzite is the stone for you. Just like granite, it’s a great countertop for a young family or commercial kitchen or even bar.
- It’s scratch resistant.
- Often, quartzite is less porous than granite and you may find slabs that don’t need sealing. Do the oil test to check the porosity of the stone. This makes it a great stone to have as a backsplash or bathroom countertop.
- It can be found in a range of lighter colors unlike granite which when found with hues of white, they tend to be overshadowed by darker colors.
- It’s a great investment for a home because of its durability.
- Has a smooth appearance which coupled with the lighter colors, gives a pristine and elegant look.
- It’s easy to maintain. You don’t need special soaps or tools to clean it.
6) Cons of Quartzite Countertops
- It gets mistaken for quartz countertops a lot and buyers searching for information about quartzite countertops may shun it because they think that it shares the same cons as quartz such as not being heat resistant. For reference, here’s our official guide to buying quartz countertops.
- It mainly comes in lighter and fewer colors than granite.
- Some slabs have calcium carbonate which reacts with chemicals to cause staining.
- Because of how hard it is, it’s hard to cut and causes wear and tear to equipment used to cut, shape it and other tools and machines used in the process of extracting it and getting the final product.
- It’s more expensive than granite.
- Some companies mix quartzite with resin. This may be done if a slab is brittle or to give it a shine. Unfortunately resin makes the slab less heat resistant and etching may occur when you place hot items on your kitchen countertop. Before buying the slab, ask whether it was infused with resin.
Maintenance for both these stones is the same and it’s simple. First, make sure that they have a sealant and get it done every couple of years depending on how porous your countertops are.
That aside, all you have to when the countertops are dirty is wash with soapy water and wipe dry. You can scrub with a soapy sponge for sticky and oily substances and then wipe dry.
Quartzite Countertops vs Granite Kitchen Countertops?
At the end of the day, they are both beautiful and durable stones. Deciding between granite vs quartzite comes down to your priorities and personal taste. Is it important for the countertop to be more functional or more aesthetically appealing? Is price the determining factor?
Carry out enough research until you’re satisfied because this is a long-term decision. Visiting a couple of stores and getting information on the ground would help. Keep an eye out for a patient and sincere stone fabricator/ salesman who is knowledgeable and is willing to answer all your questions about the quartzite vs granite countertops.
Don’t be alarmed when granite slabs are more expensive than quartzite. Rare granite stones are sold at a higher price than the more common granite stones.
Quartzite can also come in other colors such as red, pink, green and blue when it has minerals such as iron oxide.
Once you’ve decided on which stone you’d like to buy, an interior decorator could help you make sure you choose the best color to complement your cabinets and the rest of your kitchen.