Quartzite countertops are a fantastic addition to your home and kitchen for so many reasons that it’s difficult to know where to start. Perhaps one of the most commonly asked questions is what the difference is between quartz and quartzite countertops. The names are so similar that unless you know otherwise, you might think they’re the same thing when in reality, they are completely different materials. Here is a breakdown to help you visualize the two products:

 QuartziteQuartz
CompositionAll-natural metamorphic rock made from sandstone. Mostly comprised of quartz with additional colors, resins, and glues added.
DurabilityQuartzite is a harder stone than quartz and can take a lot of heat. It is scratch-resistant, but you should still use a cutting board so that you don’t damage your knives. Quartz is a softer material because of the added elements, so you should be sure to use a cutting board. It can also melt if things are too hot, so always use a trivet. On the flip side, because it is softer, it’s less likely to crack or chip.
CostSimilar price range to quartz, though custom pieces can be significantly more expensive.Similar price to quartzite.
ColorsGenerally white or grey with streaks of other colors depending on mineral composition.Almost infinite. The addition of dyes and resins means that the sky is the limit where the color is concerned.
VariationBecause it is a natural stone, variation will depend on where it was mined, when it was mined, and how it was mined.Because it is an engineered stone, it can be almost perfectly replicated with minimal variance.
PorosityPorousNon-porous
Ease of ConstructionLike granite, quartzite is mined, cut with a diamond blade, and polished. The process of getting countertops – especially custom countertops – can be more lengthy and involved.Quartz is mixed and poured into a mold to get the final product, so it’s relatively easy to create custom pieces.

The one thing this table doesn’t cover is maintenance because we wanted to delve a little deeper into how to care for your quartzite countertops. Quartz beats out quartzite by a longshot where maintenance is concerned; its upkeep is a cinch. Quartz doesn’t need to be resealed, and a wet cloth with mild detergent is usually sufficient.

Quartzite, on the other hand, needs a little more lovin’. By nature, quartzite is a porous material, so you need to take extra care to wipe up spills as soon as they happen. Avoid letting oil, grease, or common kitchen acids (such as lemon juice or vinegar) sit on the countertop for an extended period of time, even though quartzite is more resistant to these substances than other natural stones.

Your quartzite should be sealed professionally, either before or after it is installed in your home to keep it clean and protected. There are two general types of sealer on the market, though your fabricator will likely recommend one that will work best with your product. A penetrating or impregnating sealer is the most common, and it works by sinking down below the surface of the stone to help prevent stains from setting in. Penetrating sealers don’t have a finish to them, so you shouldn’t have to worry about it making your countertop appear dull or shiny. If you want to get back that factory shine, you may want to choose a coating sealer.

Depending on how much you use your kitchen, you may need to spot seal certain areas (ex: around the sink) every few months or at least once a year. If you’re wondering if you need to reseal, you can do a quick test by letting a spoonful of water sit on your countertop for 15 minutes to an hour. You don’t necessarily want it to stay beaded up on the counter, but if, after you wipe the water away, you see that the stone is slightly darker, that means that your counter is absorbing water. If this is the case, you should definitely reseal your stone. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to reseal, but you will need to leave it alone to “cure” or completely dry before you use it again. The sealant you choose will tell you how long to leave it be.

When you select your sealer, you should look for freeze-thaw stability, chemical resistance, health and environmental factors, breathability, UV resistance, and stain resistance. Additionally, the ease of application and finish should carry weight in which type of sealer you choose. Where your countertops are located – whether in an interior or exterior space – also impacts whether you should choose a water-based or a solvent-based sealer. Water-based sealers are more common for interior applications, whereas solvent-based sealers typically hold up better against inclement weather.

At the end of the day, the upkeep for quartzite is similar to other hard, natural stones (example: granite), but significantly less maintenance than some softer stones (example: marble). With just a little bit of routine attention, your quartzite counters will remain beautiful and functional for decades to come.