Granite, Quartzite and Quartz: How do they Differ?

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(photo credit: www.connecticutstone.com) Quartzite “Super White”

So, it’s back to school time, we’re sharpening our pencils and off for a little knowledge about stone. This can be very helpful in selecting materials, so let’s forge ahead!

Granite is an igneous rock which means that it has crystallized and solidified from lavas molten state. Granite is found more abundantly than quartzite, deep in the earth’s crust, providing the base for the many continents’ sedimentary rock, and with the amount of pressure undergone, empty grains of sandstone are stuffed with quartz. On the Mohs scale of hardness, from 1 to 10 with 10 being the hardest, granite measures in at around 6-6.5, and quartzite measures in at approximately 7., meaning quartzite is harder than granite. Color choices for granite are vast, as well as finishes. Most granite is considered very durable and easy to care for.

Quartzite is a metamorphic rock is one that has been altered by energy that can include pressure and heat. It was originally sandstone before heat and compression fused the sand grains together creating a large network of crystals, going from mineral to sandstone then sandstone to quartzite. Because of its unique make-up, and breath-taking patterns, quartzite can be priced higher than granites, marbles and other stones. Marble, for instance, is also a rock of this type that has been formed from limestone. There are many selections to choose from including: Taj Mahal, Sea Pearl, Mother of Pearl, White Macaubas, Fantasy Brown and Symphony and off-whites to include Nacarado and La Dolce Vita and Perla Venata. Quartzite is chosen for its beauty and unique character, durability and marble like look. True Quartzite does not contain any calcium carbonate and will not etch. Like granite, quartzite is porous and will need to be sealed.

Unfortunately there are many marble looking materials that are marketed as being a Quartzite that are not true Quartzite. These materials often contain calcium carbonate and will etch. It is important to check with the supplier or fabricator to make sure that the material is a true Quartzite. A simple acid test can determine if the material will be suitable for a kitchen application.

Quartz countertops are man-made engineered stone formed by combining primarily ground quartz (a natural hard mineral) with approximately 8-10% resins, polymers, and pigments. This forms a very hard granite-like surface. The appearance varies depending on how the quartz is ground: coarsely ground quartz produces a flecked appearance, while finely ground quartz produces a smooth look.

Quartz material is available in an array of choices, those made to look like natural stone and more solid color choices with little movement in the pattern. Quartz countertops are easy to care for though specific manufacture directions should be referred to before deciding on which material is best for you. Quartz can not be used for exterior applications.

Wasn’t that fun! Maybe not quite like ride on the Magic School Bus, but now you are armed with information when you are out shopping for your new project materials.

Have another question? Let us know in the comments below!

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One Response to Granite, Quartzite and Quartz: How do they Differ?

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