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02Nov

Guide to Quartzite Slabs

02 Nov, 2021 | Quartzite |

At Francini Inc., we have a variety of natural and engineered stone slabs ready to be fabricated into beautiful countertops. Across the nation, quartzite is becoming a popular feature in kitchens. With a stunning appearance and the durability to ensure that it lasts for a very long time, it's no surprise that our customers are more frequently asking if we stock quartzite in our slab galleries. If you've been likewise wondering about decorating your space with quartzite countertops, you'll appreciate reading this guide to discover further everything you should know about quartzite.

What Is Quartzite?

Quartzite is a mineral that forms naturally when quartz-rich sandstone is subjected to the high heat and pressure that exists beneath the Earth's crust. Over time, the process recrystallizes the sand grains and the silica that holds them together. The result is a network of quartz grains that are far stronger than before, turning the sandstone into a metamorphic rock. This crystalline structure is so strong that it breaks through the quartz grains instead of breaking alongside their boundaries, forming an interlocking lattice.

Scarlet Quartzite Stone | Francini Marble

What Are the Natural Properties of Quartzite?

Colors of Quartzite

Quartzite's color typically ranges between white and gray in its natural state. However, it can appear in various pink, red, or purple shades due to varying amounts of hematite present during its formation. Quartzite can also present different colors, such as blue, orange, brown, green, or yellow, because other materials and minerals are picked up by the natural processes that form quartzite.

Translucent Quartzite

Because of the intense pressure and heat that quartzite is subject to, sometimes it naturally gains a slightly glassy finish. The rarity of naturally translucent quartzite is an extraordinary trait to embrace. Some people add a backlight to translucent quartzite for a dramatic, warm glow similar to stained glass windows.

White Pearl Quartzite Installation | Francini Marble

Strength of Quartzite

The interlocked minerals that quartzite is composed of help make it a strong material, but it is still soft enough to be worked. Early people especially favored using quartzite to fashion tools, such as ax heads and scrapers, due to its strength and workability. Its hardness on the Mohs scale varies but generally sits between seven and seven and a half, with ten being the hardness of a diamond. Be sure to consult with your fabricator when making your selection based on hardness.

Quartzite is UV Resistant

If you plan to use quartzite in an outdoor setting or in a room that gets a lot of direct sunlight, you don't have to worry about it fading. Quartzite is UV resistant, so just let the light shine in!

Where is Quartzite Found?

Because quartzite is formed during mountain-building events at convergent plate boundaries where tides and other natural phenomena deposited sandstone, quartzite can be found in mountainous regions throughout North America and Europe. The town of Quartzite in western Arizona derives its name from a large quantity of quartzite in the mountains around both Arizona and Southeastern California. Monte Binga, the tallest mountain in Mozambique, is composed of intricate, pale gray Precambrian quartzite.

White Pearl Quartzite Installation | Francini Marble

The Applications of Quartzite

Quartzite Countertops

Most people use quartzite for their bathroom or kitchen countertops. However, translucent quartzite versatile material has many uses. And because of its sturdiness, you can be assured that whatever you create with it will last a long time.

Backlit Quartzite Walls

If you're lucky enough to find translucent quartzite, backlighting it will transform both the light and your quartzite surface, highlighting the natural veining of the material while making it the focal point of any room. And you wouldn't need bright or direct light to do so. Just a subtle source of illumination will be enough to make your translucent quartzite glow. Artwork made with backlit quartzite can be particularly striking.

Quartzite Bar Tops

Quartzite makes a beautiful bar top material and becomes even more striking when backlit.

How To Care for Your Quartzite

If you plan to install quartzite countertops, you'll want to know how to care for them properly.

While some quartzite has low porosity, it can vary depending on the amount of metamorphosis the material went through. Some porous varieties of quartzite, such as White Macaubas and Calacatta Macaubas, may benefit from applying a sealant, especially around areas like the sink. Many modern sealants can protect your stone for two years, while others can last up to 10 years, and some even have stain removal warranties. Your fabricator will be able to recommend what your installation of quartzite will require. Sealing your quartzite countertops as directed will help keep them looking their best by protecting them from any potential stains or spills that could be absorbed.

It's recommended to clean spills promptly and to clean your quartzite countertops regularly using a few drops of neutral soap, warm water, and a soft cloth.

Regardless of the Mohs scale of hardness of your countertops, we never recommend cutting food directly on them. This is because the countertops are either so hard that they will ruin your knives or too soft that your knives will ruin your countertops. Either way, it's advisable to use a cutting board.

Quartzite doesn't chip easily due to its hardness. However, we don't recommend any forceful blows or suddenly dropping heavy objects onto your countertops. While quartzite is exceptionally sturdy compared to other materials, it can chip or shatter under extreme duress.

White Pearl Quartzite Installation | Francini Marble

What Is the Difference Between Quartzite and Other Stones?

Now that you have the basic information about quartzite, you may be wondering what makes it different from the other materials from which you can fabricate your countertops. Quartzite possesses a few key differences from typical construction materials for kitchen and bathroom countertops.

Granite

This has been a popular material for making countertops for years, almost entirely taking over the market. However, on the Mohs hardness scale, granite sits around 6.5 at best. This means that quartzite is far more sturdy than granite and will typically last longer if cared for properly.

Granite is also slightly less porous than quartzite. While both materials may require sealing, quartzite needs to be resealed more often. Granite can go for a more extended period without needing to be resealed.

Quartz

One of the most common mistakes made by people looking for quartzite is assuming no difference between quartz and quartzite. However, despite their similar appearances, this couldn't be further from the truth. First, quartz is made from a mixture of quartz and other minerals that are pulverized and combined with cement-based resin binders synthetically. This mixture is then processed into slabs. On the other hand, quartzite is a naturally made material made from sandstone and quartz that are pulverized within the Earth's crust with high amounts of heat.

The second significant difference is in their hardness. Quartzite is slightly harder than quartz and far more resistant to scratching or etching. The way to tell the difference between the two quickly is to attempt to scratch the material's surface. If a scratch is left behind, you have quartz. If no scratches appear, it's quartzite.

Marble

Much like granite, marble has been a classic choice for countertops for a long time. Much like quartz, marble has a similar appearance to quartzite, confusing the two materials. But, the most common colors of marble are white, green, pink, gray, and black. White, purple, yellow, black, brown, green, and blue tend to be the most common colors for quartzite due to the presence of other minerals.

Quartzite is massively more durable than marble, as marble's score on the Mohs Scale is only around 3. In addition, quartzite is resistant to etching, which is when the calcite in the stone comes into contact with acid and becomes dull. This is not the case with marble, where etching is a big problem that can lead to your countertops looking damaged.

Patagonia Quartzite Installation | Francini Marble

Purchase Your Quartzite from An Expert

Natural stone makes for an excellent material from which to construct your countertops. And we believe that purchasing your countertops should be more than a transaction. It should be an experience. After all, the appearance of your home is as important to us as it is to you.

If you want to know the best possible option for your kitchen, take our online stone quiz. Then, feel free to get in touch with us or to visit one of our many locations:

Francini Inc., The Stone Experts

Our natural stone experts are more than happy to book an appointment with you and help you decide how best to decorate your kitchen. You can also check Francini's online inventory to view what quartzite colors we carry and at which locations.

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