About Natural Quartzite
Quartzite is a natural stone that continues to grow in popularity. Fabrication professionals use it for kitchen countertops and other applications. Natural quartzite information consists of a number of details that make it the choice for many designers and homeowners. Let’s look into some of that information now.
Although quartzite shares some specific properties with natural granite and other common characteristics with natural marble, it is indeed a unique natural stone of its own. Yet, the traits that it shares with these other popular materials are worth knowing about. Being familiar with the characteristics and composition of quartzite
Quartzite is a metamorphic rock composed almost entirely of quartz. The fact that it is a metamorphic rock tells us that it was once a different kind of rock. Before being quartzite, this natural stone existed as sandstone. However, heat and pressure cause this sandstone to be changed into quartzite.
Characteristics of Natural Quartzite
Natural quartzite normally is a light color ranging from white to light brown or tan. It also can have various accent colors. Some of these accent colors can be hues of blue, green, or red.
Quartzite is also very hard because of the amount of quartz it contains. The hardness of natural quartzite contributes to its durability. The strength of the stone affects its scratch resistance which extends its life.
As we mentioned in the introduction, quartzite shares some characteristics with granite and it shares others with marble. The normal color range of quartzite makes it resemble marble to a certain degree. However, the hardness of this natural stone is a characteristic that it shares with granite.
Quartzite Does Not Etch
In addition to quartzite being durable because of its hardness, the mineral content also means that it does not etch. Why is that significant? One of the characteristics of quartzite is that it has an appearance very similar to that of marble. However, marble contains the mineral calcite. This mineral is easily dissolved by acidic liquids. When calcite in a marble slab is dissolved, he result is a dull spot on the finish. This dull spot is what is called an “etch”.
Since quartzite contains no calcite it is not susceptible to etching. This means that quartzite offers a look that is very similar to that of marble, but does not bring the same risk with regard to etching.
Distinguishing Quartzite From Marble
There are issues that arise due to the visual similarities of quartzite and marble. One such issue is that some slab purchasers mistakenly buy marble thinking that they are getting quartzite. This happens either from not knowing the difference, or buying a marble slab that is marked as quartzite.
You can imagine the disappointment of the slab owner when a mis-marked slab gets etched because it was supposed to be quartzite but in reality it was marble. Making a distinction requires that a test be done to determine whether the material is marble or quartzite. But what kind of test?
There are a couple of tests that can be done on a slab to determine if it is a quartzite slab or a marble slab. The first test that could be done is known as a “scratch test”. This test reveals the type of stone because quartzite is significantly harder than marble. Using a knife or a piece of glass to try to scratch the surface of the slab in question. The glass or knife will scratch marble but will not scratch quartzite.
The other stone test that helps to distinguish marble from quartzite is the acid test. This test is performed by simply putting an acidic substance on a sample of the stone to see if it etches from the acid. As we have already stated, marble will etch but quartzite will not etch from acid.
So even though it looks a lot like marble it is more like granite in composition. How so?
Natural quartzite is composed of many of the same compounds found in granite. In fact natural quartzite information reveals that it has some of the same properties of natural granite. What are some of the common substances that make up the chemical composition of quartzite?
- SiO2 (Silica)
- Al2O3 (Alumina)
- K2O (Potassium Oxide)
- Fe2O3 (Ferric Oxide)
- MgO (Magnesium Oxide)
- MnO (Manganese Oxide)
- TiO2 (Titanium Oxide)
Of course, these are not the only substances that make up a quartzite stone. But they are ones that exist not only in granite, but also in natural quartzite. Information about the composition of quartzite reveals what contributes to the durability of the stone; as is the case for most natural stone surfaces.
Available Quartzite Colors
The composition of the slab is also often times responsible for the color of the slab. As we mentioned previously, quartzite is normally white to light brown and is accentuated with hues of other colors like blue, green, and even sometimes red.
This is due to the chemical composition of the stone. In the list above, you can see that the chemical compound SiO2 is at the top of the list. That is the chemical formula for silica. Silica is commonly found in sand so it is easy to see why the resultant stone turns out light brown to white in color. The other colors are the result of the other substances that comprise the material.
Natural Quartzite Information – Durability
We have already touched on the fact that quartzite is a very durable material. It is hard, and the quartz content is very high. This means that it is a resistant to scratching.
Natural quartzite is also heat resistant. The heat resistance translates into durability too. This means that setting hot items on the stone doesn’t hurt the slab. However, it might still be a good idea to make sure you care for your natural quartzite. Information about working with quartzite includes knowing some basic practices.
Should Quartzite Be Sealed
One of the common questions regarding quartzite has to do with whether the stone should be sealed. So what is the answer? Quartzite is a natural stone and as such, it will normally get an initial treatment after it is installed. However, sealers do not last forever. So it is important to keep track of when the stone should be re-sealed. Regular sealer applications will be necessary at various frequencies, depending on the porosity of a particular quartzite slab.
To determine if a quartzite slab needs to be sealed, a water test can be done to see how quickly the stone absorbs liquid. The quicker the slab absorbs the liquid, the more it likely needs to be sealed.
Sealing a natural stone does not make the slab stain proof, and it is the same with natural quartzite. Information discussing how to care for natural stone is readily available on the web. But let’s consider some basic care and maintenance regarding quartzite.
Quartzite Care & Maintenance
Caring for and maintaining quartzite is a rather simple process. We have already looked at how to determine when a stone needs to be sealed. however, preventing the sealer from breaking down is also important.
Some common household cleaners will breakdown stone sealers that are applied to slabs and this can leave the quartzite vulnerable to stains. Using a pH neutral cleaner will allow the sealer to remain on the stone for the longest length of time possible.
In addition to using a pH neutral stone cleaner, there are fortified stone polish products that can be used on a regular basis. These polishing products add a slight layer of sealer a little bit at a time. Thus keeping the surface of the quartzite slab sealed perpetually.
As we have seen, natural quartzite is a material that shares some of the visually interesting traits with marble. It also shares some characteristics of its composition with natural granite. This makes natural quartzite a desirable material that many people find to be the best solution.