If you are doing a remodel or building a new home, besides a million other decisions you will have to make, choosing the right countertop is one of the main ones.
If you are someone like me and love natural stone, you have a big dilemma on your hands.
- There’s no denying the natural allure and elegance of stone surfaces.
- They bring sophistication to any setting, be it a cozy kitchen countertop or a master bathroom.
Quartzite and marble are two very strong contenders for countertop options.
Picking the perfect countertop material for your kitchen or bathroom can feel like a Herculean task.
Don’t worry. you are at the right place.
- I have been helping my clients at the design gallery with this decision making for a long time.
- I promise this is the best guide you will ever need.
This article will take you on a detailed exploration of quartzite vs marble countertops, shedding light on their unique characteristics, advantages, and challenges.
By the end of this article, you should will be able to decide which material aligns best with your personal taste, lifestyle, and budget.
So let’s get stared….
This post is about quartzite vs marble countertops.
Understanding Countertop Materials
Countertops are an important component of any kitchen, bathroom, or workspace.
They not just serve as a functional surface for cooking, preparing food, washing hands, or completing various tasks.
They are an important part of the overall aesthetics of your design.
It’s important to understand the functionality with how your choice will work with the design style of the space.
What is Quartzite ?
Get ready to read the nerdy part of your article.
Quartzite is a metamorphic rock derived from sandstone that undergoes extreme heat and pressure deep within the Earth.
This process causes the sand grains to recrystallize, binding together more tightly and forming an interlocking mosaic of quartz crystals.
Due to its composition of mostly natural quartz (over 90%), quartzite is one of the hardest and most durable materials in nature.
What is Marble ?
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed primarily of calcium carbonate, which is found in the crystal form of calcite.
It is created when limestone, a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, is subjected to high temperature and pressure deep within the Earth’s crust.
Marble has all different kinds of unique vein patterns.
These veins are the result of mineral impurities, such as clay, silt, sand, iron oxides, or chert, that were originally present in the limestone.
Quartzite vs Marble: Physical appearance
Both Marble and quartzite are natural stone countertops.
Quartzite countertops are available in a range of colors and patterns.
Quartzite gets its diverse colors and patterns from the presence of additional natural minerals.
You can find quartzites that are white, grey, blue, red, green and even black.
This makes quartzite a popular choice for kitchen countertops.
In my experience, most of my clients loved the lighter quartzites for their kitchens and would choose dramatic colored one for fireplaces or bathrooms.
Taj Mahal Quartzite is a popular color of quartzite stone known for its exotic, elegant appearance and high durability.
Named after the iconic monument in India, this type of quartzite has a unique aesthetic.
The color of Taj Mahal Quartzite typically ranges from a soft, creamy white to a muted taupe or tan, offering a warm, neutral palette that can complement a wide variety of design styles.
The stone features subtle veining, often in gold or brown tones, that adds dimension and visual interest without overwhelming the overall design
At the gallery, Taj Mahal quartzite is always kept in stock.
Marble is often celebrated for its elegance and timeless appeal.
The look is primarily due to its smooth, polished surface, its rich color variations, and the unique veining patterns that run through the rock.
Marble countertops are also available in an array of colors.
You can find marble in white, grey and even black.
Marble can be found with a lot of dramatic vein pattern.
The vein and colors can be orange, green, gold or black.
The main difference is that the base of marble is mostly white or some version of white with many different colors of vein patterns.
With quartzite the base of the countertop surface can be any color.
Among the various types of marble, Carrara marble is one of the most sought after.
Named after the region in Italy where it is quarried, Carrara marble is famous for its luminous white to bluish-gray color and subtle veining.
That makes it a popular choice for countertops, sculptures, and architectural details.
In both stones, iron oxide plays a role in determining the color and pattern of the stone.
Quartzite vs Marble: Hardness
Quartzite is harder than marble. Actually it is one of the hardest material among natural stones.
On the Mohs Hardness Scale, which measures the ability of a mineral to resist being scratched, quartzite ranks quite high, around a 7 out of 10.
Quartzite is even harder than granite countertops.
Because of this its scratch resistant.
It is considered an excellent choice for high-traffic areas and kitchen countertops for everyday use.
On the other hand, marble is considerably softer, with a ranking of around 3-4 on the Mohs scale.
This is due to its main constituent, calcite, which is a relatively soft mineral.
As a result, marble slabs are much more susceptible to scratches.
I would recommend using cutting boards to do your food prep on your new countertops.
Quartzite vs Marble: Heat Resistance
Quartzite, being predominantly composed of quartz, is heat resistant.
Well that means that you can keep hot pots directly on the quartz surfaces without any worries.
Quartzite are a great choice for outdoor kitchens.
It can take intense heat for long time without getting damaged.
Marble, on the other hand, is composed largely of calcite, a mineral that does not do as well under high heat.
Marble is not heat resistant. You will need to use hot pads under hot pans while keeping them directly on marble surface.
Quartzite vs Marble: Stain and Acid Resistance
To understand stain resistance, let me explain to you what is porosity.
Porosity is a measure of how much open, or void, space is in a material.
This void space can take the form of gaps between grains or cracks within the material itself.
The higher the porosity, higher are the chances of liquids seeping inside the surface.
This seeping causes staining or other forms of damage to the countertop surface.
Quartzite has a low porosity.
Because of this, it is quite resistant to stains.
if properly sealed, quartzite will not absorb any liquids from food spills.
Quartzite is also relatively resistant to acids.
Which means that it won’t etch or dull when exposed to acidic substances like lemon juice or vinegar.
Etch looks like a foggy area on the surface where the acidic substance reacted with the natural stone.
Marble is a softer stone and not stain resistant.
Marble is more porous and contains calcite, which reacts with acidic liquids.
Marble porosity level is high.
As a result, marble is much more susceptible to both staining and etching.
Etching leaves a dull spot , often a white mark on the surface, and it’s not just a surface discoloration but a change in the stone itself due to the chemical reaction.
Even regular salad dressing containing acidic ingredient can cause surface etching.
The best way to protect your marble countertops is to seal them on regular basis.
Care and Maintenance
Whether it is quartzite or marble, both stones need to be taken care of to maintain them.
You can clean quartzite countertop using a mild soap and damp cloth with warm water.
You can also use stone cleaners that are commonly available in stores like Home depot that sell building materials.
Here is a detailed article on HOW TO CARE FOR QUARTZITES
For marble, I would recommend only using cleaners that are meant for natural stone surfaces. You can spray the cleaner on the surface and wipe it with a soft cloth.
For both types of countertops, do not use any abrasive cleaners.
The best practices in maintaining these beautiful natural stones.
Quartzite is a porous material, it does require sealing.
Having said that, it is a low maintenance material.
You only need to seal it once a year and you are all set.
Marble is a softer material and more porous than quartzite.
I would recommend sealing your marble kitchen or bathroom countertops 2 – 3 times a year.
It will also depend on how often you use the countertops.
When it comes to cost, the average price of both quartzite and marble can range significantly based on various factors.
These include the specific type of stone, its quality, thickness, color, the complexity of the installation, and the region where you live.
Additionally, more rare or high-demand types of either stone can cost more.
You might think due to the popularity of marble, it is more expensive than quartzite.
Well that’s not true.
Most marbles cost from $60 per square foot to $120 per square foot.
However there are inexpensive marbles that come from Brazil that can be found around $45 per square foot.
Some marbles from Italy cost even up to $180 – $200 per square foot.
Quartzites generally range from $60 – $150 per square foot.
However Cristallo quartzite that is translucent and can backlight, costs around $225 per square foot.
The reason that unique quartzites are very expensive is that not all the stone yards carry or stock unique colors.
Making the Right Choice
When deciding which one is for you, think about the factors I discussed above.
I decided to get a stunning this marble called Calacatta Macchia Vecchia for my kitchen ( photo above)
I did that because, we do not do heavy cooking, I am ok with having to do the high maintenance.
I am careful, always have hot pads or wooden boards on the countertop so me or the kids do not keep hot pots directly on the surface.
I always have coasters available for my guests too.
It took a little getting use to but now after 6 months, its second nature.
So I chose marble, because of the luxurious look and I was ok with maintenance. I love my kitchen.
On the flip side, my friend choose a dramatic quartzite called Azure, it has a unique appearance.
She and her husband cook a lot and her oldest boy is a foodie and also loves to cook.
Quartzite is just perfect for them as she never has to worry about stains or hot pads.
The best thing is that, all she will need to do is to seal them once a year.
I hope you got your answer after understanding all the biggest differences of Quartzites and marble.
What are other countertop materials available ?
There are a lot more options:
In the recent years porcelain countertops have become very popular. You can read this article Porcelain Countertops Pros and Cons to learn more about them.
Is quartzite cheaper than marble?
While prices can vary based on factors like quality, color, and retailer, quartzite cost is is generally more than marble costs due to its durability and lower maintenance requirements.
Can I use marble in my kitchen?
Marble can be used in kitchens but it requires extra care.
How can I tell if my stone is marble or quartzite?
One simple test is the scratch test. If a knife leaves a scratch on the surface, it is likely marble, as quartzite is harder and less likely to scratch.
However, for a definite answer, it’s best to consult with a professional.
Which one is more durable, quartzite or marble?
Quartzite is generally more durable, with better resistance to heat and scratches.
Do both quartzite and marble require sealing?
Yes, both materials require sealing to prevent staining.
What gives quartzite its color variations?
The wide variety of colors in quartzite result from mineral impurities present during its formation.