Hey there! Ever find yourself in the middle of a heated debate about porcelain countertops versus quartzite?
It’s like every home makeover show, design blog, or your friend’s latest kitchen renovation brings up these two materials.
And trust me, I get the buzz.
Both porcelain and quartzite have become super popular recently.
But if you’re thinking about which one to pick for your own home, it can be a real head-scratcher.
So, let’s break it down and chat about these two stars of the home design world to help you find the perfect match for your new countertop.
When you are done reading this article, you will know everything about both materials and you will be able to decide which one is the right choice for your project.
Important: On this website, I feature a select number of partners and companies that have products that could help my audience. As an Amazon associate, When you purchase something through my partner links, I might get paid for the referral at no extra cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.
This post is about porcelain countertops versus quartzite.
Let’s get started by understanding both the materials.
What is a Porcelain slab?
Let’s talk porcelain slabs.
You know, when most people hear “porcelain,” they think of delicate teacups or ornate vases.
But did you know there’s a bigger, tougher sibling in the porcelain family?
Enter porcelain slabs.
So, what are they? Simply put, porcelain slabs are large, thin sheets made primarily of porcelain.
They’re like the heavyweight champions in the world of porcelain products, and they’ve become a go-to material, especially in the world of architecture and interior design.
Now, tracing back to their origin, just like traditional porcelain, these slabs owe their inception to ancient China.
However, the use of large-format porcelain in slab form, suitable for things like countertops and wall cladding, is a much more recent innovation.
Manufacturing process of creating these slabs is a blend of art and science.
It starts with the usual suspects: kaolin , feldspar, and quartz.
This mixture is also called as china clay.
These are mixed with water, creating a sort of “porcelain mud”.
This mud is then spread out to form large, thin sheets.
These sheets are dried slowly, making sure they don’t warp or crack.
And then comes the real transformative step: firing them in a kiln, not once but twice, with a glazing process in between.
The temperatures inside? They soar up to a whopping 1,400°C, ensuring our slabs are tough and shiny.
The finished product is coated with a high-gloss glaze.
These porcelain slabs are the ones used for kitchen or bathroom countertops.
What is Quartzite?
Have you ever stumbled upon a countertop or a floor and wondered about that stunning, natural stone that just dazzles with its aesthetic appeal ?
There’s a good chance you were gazing at quartzite.
Now, here’s the thing.
Quartzite isn’t just some run-of-the-mill stone.
Quartzite is a metamorphic rock that began its life as sandstone.
Under extreme pressure and heat deep within the earth, the sandstone gets transformed.
or metamorphosed if you will, into the beauty we now know as quartzite.
Imagine the journey, from the shores and banks as sandstone, to the depths of the earth, only to emerge as this gorgeous, resilient stone.
Mother Nature surely has her ways!
Quartzite is one of the natural stone countertops that is really hard and strong.
Comparing Appearance and Design in quartz stone vs porcelain
Ah, the world of design and aesthetics!
When it comes to the appearance of materials like porcelain and quartzite, there are some main differences.
Porcelain Kitchen Countertops:
Now, let’s chat about porcelain first.
It is a man-made material.
You might think of porcelain as being somewhat plain or simple, but oh boy, you’d be in for a surprise.
Today’s porcelain material comes in a dazzling wide variety of colors and patterns.
From rich, deep blues to earthy browns, vibrant yellows, and even modern greys, porcelain doesn’t shy away from showing off its palette.
And the patterns?
Porcelain counters can be as intricate or as minimalist as you desire.
Think of it like a chameleon, able to shift and change to fit a abundance of design visions.
Speaking of mimicking, one of porcelain’s coolest tricks is its ability to imitate other materials.
Ever seen a tile that looks like wood or marble but wondered how it’s so resistant to spills or wear?
Yep, that’s porcelain.
It can mirror the look of natural materials, wood, or even textiles, while still retaining its own inherent strengths.
Quartzite Kitchen Countertops:
Now, on the flip side, we have quartzite.
Mother Nature’s very own masterpiece.
What makes quartzite so amazing is its authentic, natural appearance.
Every slab of quartzite tells a unique story with its veining and patterns, making each piece truly one-of-a-kind.
Its range of colors, from earthy tones to more ethereal whites and grays to vibrant greens, blues and reds.
The wide range of colors you see in quartzite countertops are often because of the presence of mineral oxides.
While porcelain is a popular choice for its design options, Quartzite is known for its unique appearance of natural stone.
Comparing Durability of Porcelain Vs Quartzite
Resistance to Scratching:
Porcelain is tough durable material, no doubt, but when it comes to scratch resistance, quartzite really shines.
Quartzite is a natural stone primarily composed of quartz, making it incredibly hard and scratch resistant.
So, if you’re placing heavy items or cutting directly on the surface (though not recommended for any surface), quartzite is less likely to show those scratch marks compared to porcelain.
Using ceramic knives is not a good idea on porcelain countertop surfaces. A blunt force could leave a scratch mark.
I would recommend using a cutting board on porcelain stoneware.
Resistance to Chipping and Cracking:
Both porcelain and quartzite are robust, but they handle chipping and cracking a bit differently.
Porcelain slabs are of high quality, are dense and are resistant to chipping.
However if you hit a heavy pot or pan by mistake, it may cause the edge to chip.
Chipped porcelain is very hard to repair.
Quartzite, being a natural stone, has inherent veins. It is stronger than porcelain.
If you drop a heavy object on the edge, quartzite can also chip.
Natural stone chips are easier to repair.
Longevity and Wear Over Time:
Both materials are known for their longevity.
Porcelain slabs and tiles, when well-maintained, can last decades.
They’re resistant to stains and don’t wear out easily, making them perfect for high traffic areas.
Quartzite, being a natural stone, also has a long lifespan.
Its natural patterns and textures can mask minor wears and abrasions over time, giving it a timeless appeal.
However, like all natural stones, it may require periodic sealing to maintain its luster and protect against stains.
Comparing Heat and UV Resistance
When it comes to handling extremely high temperatures, quartzite stone surfaces have a natural resilience to heat resistance.
Born deep within the earth under extreme heat and pressure, it’s not easily intimidated by hot pots and hot pans.
So if you were to place a hot skillet directly onto a quartzite countertop, it’s unlikely to show damage.
Porcelain, on the other hand, is also pretty tough and heat resistant.
Manufactured at high temperatures, it doesn’t get damaged or discolored easily when in contact with hot objects.
However, if we’re thinking extreme temperature changes, like a piping hot pot on a cold porcelain surface, there’s a slight chance of thermal shock causing cracks.
I would recommend trivets in such cases.
Now, let’s chat about prolonged exposure to UV light or direct sunlight.
Sunlight (uv rays) have a way of fading colors over time, doesn’t it?
But guess what? Quartzite, with its natural mineral composition, generally holds its own against the sun.
While some fading might occur with very intense and prolonged sunlight exposure, it’s typically minimal.
So, if you have a sunlit kitchen with a quartzite island, you do not need to worry.
Porcelain’s performance under sunlight is quite commendable too.
High-quality porcelain countertops are UV resistant, meaning it won’t fade easily with exposure.
This is why porcelain tiles are popular for both indoor and outdoor applications, including sun-soaked patios!
You will now find marble look countertops in outdoor kitchen and large marble look porcelain tiles around the pools which is not possible with marble.
Photo : Cristallo Quartzite from Burlington Design gallery
When it comes to sealing, quartzite typically needs a bit more attention.
Being a natural stone, it’s porous, which means it can absorb liquids.
To prevent staining and maintain its beauty, it’s a good idea to seal quartzite periodically.
Depending on the usage and the specific type of quartzite, you might need to reseal it every year.
Porcelain, on the other hand, has a bit of an advantage here with the ease of maintenance..
It’s is not porous, so there’s no need for regular sealing.
Now, about regular cleaning, both materials are quite friendly.
Porcelain is often praised for its ease of cleaning.
A simple wipe with a damp soft cloth, or a mop for larger areas, and it’s good as new.
For stubborn stains, a mild detergent usually does the trick.
Quartzite, on the other hand, also isn’t too demanding.
Daily spills should be wiped up quickly to prevent potential staining, especially if it’s not sealed properly.
For routine cleaning, a mixture of mild soap and water will suffice.
But always remember to avoid abrasive cleaners which can scratch the surface.
Lastly, regarding resistance to stains and chemicals, here’s the scoop:
Quartzite, especially when sealed well, resists most stains.
However, acidic substances like lemon juice or red wine might pose a risk if left for too long.
So, prompt cleaning is a good habit.
Porcelain, being non-porous, generally stands strong against staining.
It also handles chemicals pretty well, but, as always, it’s good practice to use mild detergents to avoid any unforeseen reactions or damage.
It is an excellent choice for commercial spaces as well.
Comparing Installation and Fabrication
Starting off with weight considerations, quartzite is undeniably heavier.
It’s a dense natural stone, and that weight can influence several factors like transportation, handling, and the need for additional support during installation.
On the other hand, porcelain, especially in tile form, is generally lighter and easier to handle.
But if you’re dealing with porcelain slabs, there is always a risk of cracking the slab if you are not careful.
I can’t tell how many times we had the fabricators come and buy an additional slab because one of porcelain slab had cracked.
Cutting and installing:
Quartzite, given its hard nature, requires specialized tools to cut and shape, making the fabrication process somewhat challenging.
This is especially true if you’re aiming for intricate designs or unique shapes.
Porcelain, though robust, can be easier to cut, particularly when it’s in tile form. But again, with slabs, you might need more specialized tools, similar to those used for quartzite.
Thickness & edge finish options:
Porcelain slabs can range from 1/2 inch (12 mm) to 1 inch (about 25.4 mm) thick.
while quartzite slabs are available in two main thicknesses: 3/4 inch (20 mm) and 1 1/4 inch (30 mm).
Since porcelain slabs are not as thick, the edge finishes are limited.
You can have these three edge options:
Polished Edge: This is a smooth and shiny finish. It’s reflective, giving the edge a gleam that matches a polished surface.
Matte or Honed Edge: This is a smooth edge without the shine. It’s more understated compared to polished finishes.
Mitered Edge: This is an edge that’s crafted to look thick, like a waterfall, by mitering the slab and attaching a second layer.
It’s perfect for those wanting an illusion of a thicker countertop surface without the weight of a thick slab.
Quartzite has a lot of options you can choose from:
Polished Edge: Similar to porcelain, it gives the edge a shiny, sleek look.
Honed Edge: This edge is smooth but lacks the shine, offering a more natural, matte appearance.
Chiseled Edge: This offers a raw, natural look, maintaining the rugged texture of the stone, as if it’s been freshly chiseled out.
Beveled Edge: This is a slanting edge cut, typically at a 45-degree angle. It’s often used to give a transitional look.
Bullnose Edge: Rounded, it offers a continuous curve, which can be a full bullnose (completely rounded) or a half bullnose (only the top side is rounded).
Ogee Edge: This is a classic edge profile with a concave curve followed by a convex curve, giving it an ornate, elegant look.
Mitered Edge: Like with porcelain, it’s used to give the appearance of a thicker slab.
Porcelain Vs Quartzite : Which is more Expensive
When you’re in the market for porcelain slabs, you might find a wide range of pricing and thinking are porcelain countertops expensive ?
At the more affordable end, you could come across options that start from around $40 per square foot.
But if your heart is set on those top-tier, beautifully designed slabs that mimic natural stones or come with exceptional finishes.
Don’t be surprised if porcelain countertops cost climb up to $100 or even more per square foot.
On the other side of the aisle, we have the lovely quartzite slabs.
Being a natural stone with a reputation for luxury, they typically start at a bit of a higher point, perhaps around $60 per square foot for some basic varieties.
However, if you’re drawn to those rare and exquisite patterns, the price can easily soar, sometimes even exceeding $200 per square foot.
But what causes these prices to fluctuate?
Thickness: Naturally, the more material you’re getting, the heftier the price tag.
Thicker slabs, seen as more durable and often more luxurious, come at a premium.
Region: Ever noticed how prices for the same items differ from one city to another?
The cost of living, import fees, and even demand in specific areas can sway the price of these slabs.
Plus, transport costs for these heavy materials aren’t negligible.
Brand or Quarry: With porcelain, some brands have established themselves as leaders in quality and design, and their products come with a higher price.
With quartzite, the specific quarry and its reputation can influence the cost, especially if the stone is seen as rare or particularly high-quality.
Finally, let’s not forget installation costs.
These slabs aren’t light, and working with them requires expertise.
For porcelain slab installations, you might be looking at around $30-$40 per square foot, give or take based on complexity.
I would always recommend to find professional porcelain slab fabricators for your project.
Quartzite, being a denser material, can be trickier. Its installation might set you back between $60-$80 or more per square foot, depending on intricacies and the expertise of the installer.
I would always recommend checking pricing in your own region and calculate the total cost including installation.
Quartzite vs Porcelain countertops: Which is better ?
To see which is the right material, I will give you two scenarios.
Overall both the materials offer the same features mostly with very few key differences.
You have to see which one is a better choice for your specific needs.
Quartzite is better :
- If you are a natural stone lover,
- looking for unique one of kind countertop
- would like to invest a bit more money,
- and are ok with sealing the countertops once a year.
Porcelain slab countertops are better :
- If you are looking for a specialized look like
- Marble or cement look with no maintenance
- Do not want to have to remember to seal countertops
- and open to seeing chipped corner if it ever happens.
Is quartz and Quartzite the same countertop materials ?
No they are two different materials. Quartz slabs are engineered stone made using natural quartz and resins.
Quartzite is a natural stone.
Can porcelain or quartzite resist bacterial growth?
Yes, porcelain is non porous.
Can I place hot pans directly on porcelain or quartzite countertops?
Quartzite can handle the heat better than porcelain. However, it’s always best to use trivets to avoid potential damage.
What’s the best way to clean porcelain without causing damage?
A simple mix of water and mild detergent works wonders.
Do porcelain countertops chip ?
yes, they do chip.
Watch this video by Andy Graves talking about porcelain countertops chipping.
This post is about Porcelain Countertops vs Quartzite
It you liked my article, please share it on Facebook. It would mean the world to me.
Here are my favorite interior posts: