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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Nolan

Countertop Confusion…….Quartz, Quartzite, Granite, Marble What’s Best ???

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

Walnut Kitchen Cabinetry with Stone Countertop
Taj Mahal Stone Countertop

Shopping for new countertops can be really overwhelming. There are just so many choices and its not like most people (other than designers) are purchasing countertops on a routine basis. We’ve put together some information to assist you help determine which surfaces will work best for you.

All natural stone is ranked on a Hardness Scale, this hardness effects how easy your countertop can chip, etch, crack, etc. The Mohs Scale is one used that defines mineral hardness and the scale is based on each stone’s ability to scratch another mineral.

TALC rates as 1 and DIAMOND rates as 10.

Quartz………Quartz is man-made product. Quartz slabs contain on average about 90% pulverized quartz, combined with other minerals/pigments and bonded together with a strong polymer resin. You can get a beautiful slab with veining (that looks just like real Calcutta Marble) but without the woes of natural marble. It has great durability and it is resistant to stains & scatches. It is low maintenance, waterproof and just requires a mild cleanser and it never needs sealing. Because it’s man-made there is no guessing on what it will look like, all slabs are consistent. They are manufactured in solids as well as natural stone looks including marble, granite, concrete, soapstone, etc. One big Negative; it can’t be used in exterior areas (outdoor kitchen) and I would recommend staying away if it will be constant bright sun as the resins could yellow. Since is it not a natural product Quartz does not rate on the Mohs Scale.

Quartzite………Quartzite is a natural product. It is actually harder than Granite and is found in beautiful colors and patterns. From gorgeous veining to embedded sparkling quartz crystals – Quartzite has been our personal Go To for unique natural stone looks and colors. Quartzite is similar in hardness to Granite, however true Quarzite will not etch when exposed to acidic liquids. It is resistant to stains (but not as much as granite), it is easy to keep clean (mild stone cleanser) but will require regular sealing in order to remain stain & water resistant. Designers love to use Quartzite because it is available in lighter colors and many stone slabs have similar patterns of veining, so we can achieve the look of Marble but without the maintenance and softness of Marble. Additionally, there are truly some gorgeous exotic slabs which really make a statement for your interior design. Quartzite rates between 7 to 8 on the Mohs Scale.

Granite…….Granite is a natural product. Granite is extremely durable countertop surface. It is generally resistant to heat & scratches (however we do not recommend putting hot pans directly on your countertop nor using it as a cutting board). We recommend sealing (for protection against acidic liquids), it is super low maintenance and can be cleaned with a mild natural stone cleanser. Granite patterns range from subtle to very dramatic. Many of the level 1 granites are very cost effective. Granite rates 6 to 8 on the Mohs Scale.

Marble……..Marble is a natural product. It is a nonfoliated metamorphic rock, generally composed of calcium carbonate. It is typically white with veining/mottling or with streaks of color. We generally do not recommend Marble for kitchen countertops. The look is stunning but marble is a softer stone and more vulnerable to chipping and cracking. This can be an issue if you inadvertently bang a heavy pot against it. Marble can etch and stain easily with acidic liquids and it will leave a dull, whitish mark (and this can happen even after the marble has been sealed). So all spills must be wiped up immediately. We do use Marble in bathrooms (only if the homeowner does not dye their own hair); as again Marble can stain. Marble rates 3 to 5 on the Mohs Scale.

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