In recent years, homeowners have been choosing quartz for their floors and countertops, but many of them are not sure whether they should opt for quartz or quartzite. In fact, quite a few homeowners mistakenly believe these two materials are the same. A similar situation arises with limestone and sandstone, but there are greater differences between quartz and quartzite.
Quartzite Is Natural Stone, but Quartz Is Not
The crystalline appearance of quartz is caused by the chemical reaction between silicon and oxygen atoms. The result is silicon dioxide, which is known as silica or quartz. Quartz is one of the many elements that make up the geologic crust of planet Earth, and it can be found in many types of natural stone such as marble, granite, travertine, and quartzite. Quartz is also the name of an engineered construction material primarily made from natural-stone fragments that contain silicon dioxide.
This is the main conceptual difference between quartz and quartzite: the latter is natural while the former is manmade. Similar to marble, quartzite is a metamorphic rock. It starts off as chunks of pure silica that amalgamate with sediments to become a sandstone. Through various geologic processes such as tectonic compression, quartzite gains molecular cohesion and becomes a rock that is considerably harder than limestone. The construction material known as quartz is engineered by mixing chunks of quartzite and other natural stone with advanced resins and artificial pigments, which also allows a greater range of colors, designs, textures, and finishes.
Quartzite Is Hard, but Quartz Is Even Harder
In terms of durability, quartz is probably the best material available to homeowners these days. Granite is known to be harder than marble and quartzite, but quartz is even harder than granite, and for this reason quartz flooring is being installed in shopping centers and other commercial establishments around the world. The construction material known as Corian was once considered to be the hardest, but that distinction has now been assigned to quartz.
Quartzite Needs to Be Resealed, but Quartz Has a Permanent Seal
In terms of maintenance, quartz has the advantage of being fabricated with a seal designed to last as long as the material itself. In the case of quartzite, homeowners need to apply natural-stone sealant with a certain frequency. If the resealing of quartzite is neglected, permanent stains may form and the surface may become damaged. Quartz only needs to be maintained with a special quartz cleaner that can be easily applied and wiped down. Many of the precautions that need to be taken with natural stone also apply to quartz, but resealing the surface is not one of them.
Quartzite, on the other hand, should be cleaned regularly with a stone-safe granite cleaner such as Granite Gold Daily Cleaner®. At Granite Gold®, all of our stone care products are safe to use on all types of natural stone, and our Granite Gold Quartz Brite® is safe to use on quartz surfaces. Give us a call today at 1-800-475-STONE to learn more.