Quartzite – Nature's Premium Surface Material
Posted on January 29, 2018
By Daniel Konrad Link
Quartzite is becoming trendy with our customers, designers and fabricators. When most people think of natural stone countertops, they automatically think of granite. However, we have many other fine surface choices from which to choose. Below are frequently asked questions about our Quartzite.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
➔ Why did I not see quartzite five years ago when I first remodeled my kitchen?
➔ Five years ago, to slice one block of granite, it would take three full days to cut with steel gang saw blades. Conversely, it would take 16 to 20 days to slice one block of quartzite.
➔ Since quartzite is that much harder, and it took 20 days just to slice one block, it was not feasible for the factories overseas to process and export quartzite.
➔ The technology has since changed. Today to slice one block of granite overseas takes only 6 hours (versus 3 full days) using a multi-diamond wire machine.
➔ Currently, to slice one block of quartzite takes from 16 to 20 hours (instead of 20 days). As result, we will see more quartzite coming to the US market.
WHAT ARE THE SELLING POINTS IF QUARTZITE?
➔ A quartzite will have the marble look but will behave and endure like granite.
➔ A true quartzite is hardness 6.5 on Mohs scale (where diamond is 10, marble is 03, Soapstone is 01 or 02, granite is 05 or 06 depending on the granite). So, it is a very hard and durable surface.
➔ A true quartzite is a very dense and compact stone, with smaller molecular structure than granite. So it is harder to stain a quartzite. In other words, it requires more energy to stain quartzite than to stain granite.
➔ A true quartzite does not have calcium carbonate in its content (the Natural Stone Institute states the same), so a true quartzite does not etch through contact with household acid agents.
HOW WAS QUARTZITE FORMED?
➔ Quartzite came from the sand, perhaps from a beach or a desert.
➔ Through the accumulation of layer above layer of sand, the bottom layers were compressed turned into a sandstone. After millions of years, layer after layer was formed with more heat and pressure (sometimes by another mountain coming on top of the sand or the sandstone). The sandstone is then transformed into quartzite.
➔ Quartzite is a metamorphic stone, a stone that was transformed over time. The grains of sand which are natural quartz were compressed and fused together turning the sand into a very dense, hard, heavy and compact stone.
➔ Because quartzite is a metamorphic rock, transformed over time, we are able to find white quartzite. Similarly, marble is a metamorphic stone, and we find white marbles.
➔Granite came from the volcano, the minerals inside the Earth got recycled and expelled in lava form from a volcano. These minerals cooled down on the surface of the Earth about 4 billion years ago. So granite will always have some color because it is so old and exposed to the atmosphere (to the rain and humidity that adds the color on granite), and granite will always have a heavy look (because its minerals exist since the beginning of the Universe and were recycled multiple times).
➔ Because quartzite came from the sand and was metamorphosed over time, quartzite veining will show the dramatic pressure it endured during its transformation, similar to marble, giving that river flow movement.
WHAT ARE THE ATTRIBUTES OF QUARTZITE?
➔ Quartzite has the look of a marble and the durability of granite.
➔ Quartzite is ahead of the curve, because it is relatively new to the US countertop industry.
➔ Quartzites are still in a higher price point because of the production costs overseas. Being much harder than granite, it requires more time and more tools to quarry and process quartzite slabs. The same holds true during fabrication. True hard quartzites will eat more blades then most granites, adding to the fabrication cost.
➔ Quartzite, being so hard, will have higher polishing and a very smooth surface.
➔ Quartzites will have higher reflection of light, higher glossiness and more depth.
WHY ARE QUARTZITES SOMETIMES MISLABELED?
Because quartzites are less understood, sometimes they are mislabeled in the market. A by-product of the mislabeling is that some marbles are being sold as quartzite.
Mislabeled stones may include:
➔ Super White/ Donna Sandra = that is a marble, or dolomitic marble, not a quartzite.
➔ Iceberg = that is a calcite (marble) not a quartzite.
Examples of true quartzites:
➔ Taj Mahal
➔ White Macaubas
➔ Naica quartz
➔ Renoir quartzite
➔ Quartzite Cielo
HOW CAN I TEST THE STONE TO KNOW IF IT IS A TRUE QUARTZITE?
Scratch test: Try to scratch the stone with a car-key, with another granite, or with a glass or a steel object. You should try to actually carve it. If the stone gets damaged with steel, it is not a true quartzite and may be a marble. If a car-key does not scratch the stone when carving, it means it is harder than steel and is most likely it is a quartzite.
WHY WOULD I WANT QUARTZITE IN MY KITCHEN?
➔ Quartzite is nature’s premium surface material, similar to granite.
➔ Quartzite is hard with high glossiness, creating a rich environment with the reflection of light.
➔ Quartzite is heat resistant, scratch resistant and etch resistant.
➔ Quartzite quarries are generally smaller in size.
➔ Quartzite is a more exclusive and limited edition product.
➔ Quartzite adds value to a home just like granite (natural stone).
➔ Quartzites can be found with very minimal veining rendering a soft look with minimalistic design. This is very much in the trend today.