The natural stone quartz is one of the hardest minerals in the world; it is level 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Quartzite countertops are made of quartz as the main and only component. This makes quartzite strong and versatile. Over time, quartzite countertops have become very popular among homeowners. Whether you need the countertop for a high traffic kitchen or you need it to make an elegant statement, the countertop will deliver.
Although quartzite needs more maintenance than quartz countertop material, its strength makes it easier to maintain. Even with its strength, a quartzite scratch is still possible and you need to keep sharp objects off your countertop. So, does quartzite scratch and how do you protect your countertop?
Does Quartzite Scratch Easily?
One way to test whether you have real quartzite is to find a rough edge on your countertop and use it to scratch a glass tile. If the glass tile develops a deep scratch, then your countertop is real quartzite. If the glass tile slides through the rough surface without a scratch, then you are dealing with marble or any other less hard countertop material.
Mohs Hardness Scale places quartz at hardness level 7. Seeing that quartz is the only component on quartzite countertops, the material lasts longer than granite and marble. This also means that if you use your steel knife on the countertop without using a chopping board, the steel knife will likely be damaged while the countertop stays intact. As such, a quartzite scratch should not bother you as they are not common. Nevertheless, with time, the countertop might develop minor scratches, especially in a high traffic kitchen.
Do Quartzite Countertops Etch?
Quartzite is strong enough and does not etch when exposed to acids and strong bases. Most household products with acids, such as vinegar and lemon juice, are not strong enough to damage the surface of your quartzite countertop. Even after exposure to these acids for a long time, the surface will still remain strong.
However, there is one downside to quartzite countertops; they need sealing. Acids and bases in household products will slowly eat away the sealant leaving your countertop exposed to stains. Again, these acids can seep into the countertop causing the surfaces to stain or discolor. As such, you need to keep these products off your countertop as much as possible. If spills occur, wipe them off immediately.
The only countertop material that does not etch and does not let in liquids is quartz. Since quartz countertops are engineered stones, they have the strength of natural quartz stone and they do not let in liquids due to their nonporous nature. Read more here about the difference between quartz and quartzite countertops.
Staining on Quartzite Countertops
Does quartzite scratch? The surface does not scratch easily but does it stain? If you have a quartzite countertop, you need to keep stains off the surface. Quartzite is not stain-proof. The surface of the countertop will stain when exposed to stains. Although some manufacturers claim that their quartzite countertops resist stains, the only countertop material that keeps off stains is engineered quartz countertop.
To keep quartzite stain-proof, you need to use a sealer. A sealer keeps off liquids and stains from seeping into the countertop. Seal the countertop at least once a year to maintain its look.
Different Types of Quartzite and their Scratch-Resistance
There are different types of quartzite countertops on the market. You will see them labeled as soft quartzite, calcitic and dolomitic quartzite. These types of quartzite share some qualities with countertops labeled as quartzite. For marble, calcite and dolomite are rated 3 on Mohs Hardness Scale while quartzite is rated 7. It, therefore, means that the soft, calcitic, and dolomitic quartzite countertops fall in a hardness scale between 3 and 7. Since they are softer than quartzite, they are more prone to scratches. You need to be careful when handling surfaces with these types of quartzite as they scratch with ease.
How to Protect Your Countertop From Quartzite Scratch
Does quartzite scratch easily? The surface of your quartzite countertop is resistant to scratch. Why then do you need to protect it and how do you do it?
The main problem with quartzite comes in labeling and the different types of countertops. If you end up with soft quartzite, it will scratch with ease and you will stay with a dented countertop for long. This is the same for calcitic and dolomitic quartzite countertops. Below are simple ways to keep your countertop safe from scratches.
Ensure You Have Real Quartzite
Real quartzite is hard and resists scratches with ease. However, some natural stone materials might be labeled as quartzite but they are not. To ensure that you have real quartzite, take a shape knife and use its pointed edge to try scratch a hidden part of the quartzite countertop. If the countertop develops scratches, then what you have is not real quartzite. If the surface does not scratch, then you have real quartzite that is resistant to scratching.
Avoid Exposure to Heat and Protect the Surface from Knives
Quartzite is more resistant to heat than any other countertop material. However, due to its hard nature, the stone lacks flexibility making it prone to chips and cracks. Avoid hard blows on the surface and extreme heat. This way, your surface will stay shine for long period. Keeping knives and heat off protects the sealants on the countertop to keep the surface safe from elements and stains.
While quartz is still the king of all countertop materials, quartzite is gaining popularity with homeowners. The countertop material is strong and ideal for use in a busy kitchen. If you would rather have a countertop that requires less maintenance, choose quartz. If you want a hard surface but which requires sealing occasionally, go for quartzite. Both materials are resistant to scratches thanks to their hard nature – the sealants on the surface of quartzite, however, will scratch and expose the countertop to stains. Quartz countertop has no sealants making it the safest countertop material for a busy kitchen.