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Selecting Design Finishes

Granite vs. Quartzite Counters: A Comparison

Published on:

3/24/21

written by:

Carrie Barker

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Are you trying to figure out the best countertop material for your new home and you’ve narrowed it down to granite vs. quartzite counters? However, you’re unsure what the best option is or how these two natural products differ.

We’ll cover all of this below in this rather lengthy (yet very informative) blog post so that you are ready to make an informed countertop decision for YOUR family’s needs and budget.

AN OVERVIEW OF QUARTZITE COUNTERS

Quartzite is a naturally occurring metamorphic rock that is formed from sandstone. It is created when the sandstone is subjected to extreme heat and pressure in the earth’s crust. This stone is mined and later cut into slabs to become quartzite countertops after polishing and sealing the stone.

Because quartzite is a natural stone, it has infinite variations of color and pattern so no two quartzite slabs will look exactly the same. Quartzite typically comes in shades of white or light grey, but the stone can lend to other hues such as blue, green, yellow, pink, gold, or reddish-brown. 

It also has natural streaking and is slightly coarser which gives it more of an organic and earthier feel because it is not altered from its natural state. Some quartzite strongly resembles marble, so it is a great practical alternative for those who love the look of marble counters but want something more durable.

Quartzite Countertop

Quartzite Countertop via MY TEXAS HOUSE

While quartzite is slightly harder than granite, you’ll still want to use a cutting board on your countertop. Light chopping will not cause scratching, but heavier knife use should be done on a cutting board. Also, quartzite has one flaw that you won’t see with granite: etching. 

Etching is surface damage that happens when acidic items (e.g. lemons) come into contact with the countertops. The resulting damage is in the form of a dull mark on your quartzite counter surface.

Quartzite is a relatively low-maintenance countertop option, but it does have a porous surface so it must be sealed before use and re-sealed once or twice each year. If not sealed properly, it can soak up liquids which can lead to staining and bacterial invasions. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s recommendations for how to properly seal your quartzite and how often to do this.

You may also enjoy QUARTZ VS QUARTZITE COUNTERS: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

AN OVERVIEW OF GRANITE COUNTERS

Like quartzite, granite is another naturally occurring rock that is known for being very hard.

Because granite is a natural product, each slab will be unique and slightly different. This natural stone comes in a wide range of colors and you can pick out the exact slab that you want for your home. It actually offers more styles to choose from than quartzite.

Granite is highly durable and can take a serious beating … and even a hot pot. Although I still recommend putting a hot pad down (just in case). You can even cut with a sharp knife directly on the counter … your granite will remain unharmed, but you’ll dull your knife.

Granite is incredibly strong and relatively low-maintenance, but, like quartzite, it does require sealing. It is naturally porous (which means liquids can seep into microscopic holes) so make sure to seal it at install (and again as needed). If properly sealed, granite is virtually non-porous.

Granite Countertop

Granite Countertop via THE SPRUCE

QUARTZITE VS. GRANITE HEAT RESISTANCE + DURABILITY

Granite and quartzite are both very hard materials, but quartzite has a slight edge on the Mohs scale of hardness. It measures around a 7 while granite measures around 6 to 6.5 on the scale (from 1-10 with 10 being the hardest).

As far as durability, granite and quartzite are pretty evenly matched in heat resistance and level of maintenance required.

When it comes to heat, quartzite can take it. You can place hot baking dishes and hot pans directly on a quartzite countertop; HOWEVER, I recommend that you use a hot pad just to be safe because quartzite can melt (and leave a ring) at very high temps for prolonged periods.

Granite has a slight edge on heat resistance. It truly can withstand prolonged heat.

Granite and quartzite both require proper sealing before use and once or twice per year. Their porous material is not resistant to moisture and spills either. Also, quartzite is prone to etching (and staining) from bacterial invasions.

Granite has a slight advantage in terms of moisture resistance. While both need sealing, granite does not require re-sealing as often as quartzite.  

Both granite and quartzite are very easy to clean; you basically just need soap and water to clean these surfaces.

As long as you take good care of them and properly seal the surface, both quartzite and granite countertops will last for years!

Quartzite vs. Granite Counters

WHAT IS MORE EXPENSIVE: QUARTZITE OR GRANITE?

Supply and demand issues have driven up the cost of quartzite. It is generally more expensive than granite and is priced starting around $60 per square foot and ranges up to around $120 per square foot. However, it can cost significantly more if the type you want is rare and, therefore, difficult to find.

Granite is priced starting around $40 per square foot and ranges up to around $100 per square foot. Like quartzite, the cost can go up significantly if the type of granite you want is rare.

The two factors that drive up the price (of both granite and quartzite) are: (1) scarcity, and (2) where you live. If a particular slab is difficult to get (i.e. scarce), it will be more expensive. So, keep in mind that higher cost doesn’t necessarily mean higher quality … it may just mean that it was more difficult to source.

Material and labor prices are also highly dependent on where you live. As always, I recommend that you check with a local building professional to get a solid estimate of pricing for materials and labor (for any home finish or product) in YOUR location.

Quartzite vs. Granite Counters Comparison Chart

GRANITE VS QUARTZITE COUNTERS PROS + CONS

GRANITE COUNTERTOP PROS

  • Extremely durable natural stone; can even cut directly on the surface
  • Natural stone with unique appearance; no two slabs look alike
  • Heat-resistant and can stand up to high heat on its surface
  • Wide variety of colors to choose from
  • Less expensive than quartzite counters because more readily available
  • Easy to clean and maintain

GRANITE COUNTERTOP CONS

  • A porous surface so requires proper sealing before use and once or twice per year
  • Not quite as hard as quartzite (but still very hard and durable)

QUARTZITE COUNTERTOP PROS

  • Natural stone with unique appearance; no two slabs look alike
  • Allows you to achieve the look of marble, but with the durability of quartzite
  • Can withstand heat (but still be careful!)
  • Highly durable
  • Easy to clean and maintain

QUARTZITE COUNTERTOP CONS

  • Contact with acidic substances (e.g. citrus fruits) can cause etching
  • A porous surface so requires proper sealing before use and once or twice per year
  • Less resistant to staining and bacterial invasions if not sealed properly
  • While very strong, quartzite counters are not indestructible
  • Can be very expensive due to supply and demand issues

You may also enjoy HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST COUNTERTOP FOR YOUR HOME.

WHICH IS BETTER? QUARTZITE OR GRANITE?

I can’t answer this question for you. The answer all boils down to what is most important to YOU, YOUR family’s needs, and YOUR budget.

Quartzite and granite are both extremely durable natural stone products that will stand the test of time. They are similar in terms of maintenance given that they both are porous surfaces and, therefore, require proper sealing before install and at least yearly after that. 

Granite does have a slightly higher resistance to heat and you don’t have to worry about etching with granite as you do with quartzite counters.

These are both high-end natural products and you won’t be disappointed with either option. The question of which is better really just comes down to your budget and your design aesthetic. If you have your heart set on the look of marble counters (but you want something more durable), then quartzite is a great option. If a lower price point is important to you, then granite is your best option.

If you want a little guidance to help you dive deeper into whether or not granite or quartzite is the best choice for you, grab my *FREE* Guided Design Decision Worksheet!

  1. Vicki says:

    I have granite countertops in my new house (almost a year old) and was never told that granite needed to be sealed once or twice a year. Are you talking about professional sealing, or a diy product? I clean with soapy water and use a water and alcohol mix to sanitize. I did recently use a granite cleaning product that is supposed to help protect the surface, but I don’t use it regularly. Also, when I was researching how to clean granite, I read that you shouldn’t use acidic products on granite because it could damage the seal, As for scratching, I had removed one of my cabinet drawers to clean and set it in the counter top. When I tipped it up to clean the bottom (construction dust😬), the metal drawer glide scratched the granite. I personally would never cut directly on my countertops. I’m confused now about the acid situation as well as sealing yearly.

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