Quartzite is another form of natural stone; It is hard, non-foliated metamorphic rock that was originally sandstone, through a process of heat and pressure over millions of years the quartz-rich sandstone recrystallises resulting in a network of interlocking quartz grains.
As with all-natural stones, there is a range within Quartzites of soft to hard and this information must be understood in relation to the stones intended use, care and maintenance.
As the industry leans more towards a marbled look, Quartzites have increased in popularity as it offers the on-trend look with added durability, however, a soft Quartzite would perform more like a Marble.
What to expect?
- When Cullifords source a block of Quartzite from a quarry, that block is cut into slabs. Though each slab will usually be similar in colour, pattern and texture, it will not be identical; it is more likely to vary through the block than the average Granite, it varies similarly to Marble.
- Your fabricator will aim to cut the slabs to maximise the pattern flow and make sure all-important sections of the slab are used efficiently for your project, ensure you have discussed your personal preferences and requirements with your fabricator before cutting starts.
- Quartzites are naturally porous materials and therefore would absorb substances if untreated. Quartzites should always be sealed with an appropriate sealant. As referenced above Quartzites range from soft to hard and their care and maintenance would alter accordingly. If choosing a soft Quartzite for a high use area such a worktop, they would need to be well sealed and this process repeated at regular intervals as the surface is likely to be more vulnerable to stains. A hard Quartzite would perform more like a hard Granite or Engineered Quartz.
- As a softer stone, a soft Quartzite could scratch and we would always recommend the use of a chopping board and be mindful of what is placed directly onto the surface. A honed or satinato texture would make scratch marks less visible. A hard Quartzite would perform more like a hard Granite.
- Being a natural material Quartzites can have pits or little holes in the surface where the crystals are very small and do not adhere to the surface, this would be evident during the selection process and would not affect the performance of the surface. In many cases these little pits will be filled by a film of resin, it depends on the stone type. Sometimes these holes are so small they do not take the resin, we aim to source blocks which have less of these features, but from time to time they can occur and they should not be considered an imperfection.
- A soft Quartzite can be prone to etching. This is the process of acid reacting with the minerals in the surface and creating dull spots known as etches. This is different from a stain as etching is a small corrosive reaction at a microscopic level on the surface which changes the way light refracts off the surface. The etching is more visible in rooms with a lot of direct sunlight, a surface that is not in direct sunlight and a honed or textured surface would make etching less visible.
- Although Quartzite surfaces can withstand a moderate amount of heat, it is still advisable to use trivets for hot pans etc as your surface can receive a thermal shock and crack or it may cause some discolouration to the surface.
- Quartzites are a strong stone, but as a worktop, it is only supported at the edges by the kitchen carcass. Joins and cut-outs can be weaker points and the surface is not designed to support the weight of a person. Do not stand or sit on your surface or place very heavy objects on weaker points.
- Dropping a heavy or sharp object onto a quartzites surface may cause it to chip or crack.
- A soft Quartzite surface is undoubtedly beautiful, but it is not the right choice for everyone. It would require more maintenance and care than Granite or Engineered Quartz surface, and you would have to live with the odd knock, scratch, stain and etching. However, if you love something with character, soul and timeless elegance and appreciate age and patina as adding to its beauty, then it can make a striking addition to any project.
How to care?
- Natural stone is porous and therefore would absorb substances if untreated. A soft Quartzite is one of the more porous stones. Sealants can either impregnate the surface of the stone filling the capillaries and reducing their absorbency or create a covering film on the surface. A good sealant will stop the ingress of water, oils and other liquids on all-natural stone and this protective layer will only enhance the durability of your surface.
- A sealant will not fully protect against etching. Discuss with your fabricator the options of sealant, which is the most suitable to the type of surface you have chosen and their effect on the appearance of the surface. This process would need to be repeated over time to maintain the performance of your work surface. We would recommend DryTreat and Lithofin as they run training and accreditation on their products and offer advice about ensuring the right sealant for the right stone.
- For daily care of your surface wipe with a moist, soft cloth with either a dilute, mild soapy solution (such as liquid dish soap) or a daily Granite and Marble cleaner such as Method, DryTreat Rejuvinata Countertop Cleaner, or Lithofin Easy-Clean. Rinse the cloth and wring out then wipe over the surface again to clear any traces of soap. Then buff with a clean, dry microfiber cloth. Always ensure your cloth is clean. Never use an abrasive cloth or scouring pads. Do not use bleach or acid-based cleaners, always check the label.
- Remove a spill as soon as you possibly can, by blotting away with a kitchen towel and then wiping the surface as advised above. The longer the spill sits on the surface the increased risk of it penetrating the surface.
- This is particularly important for acid-based products, e.g. vinegars, citrus, fizzy drinks, wine etc., oil-based substances e.g. butter, cooking oils and strongly coloured foods and liquids e.g. beetroot, red/dark fruits, turmeric, saffron, red wine.
- Due to the propensity to etching extra care should always be made in cleaning acid based spills as quickly as possible. Using coasters, mats and boards to prevent direct contact of acid-based foods or liquids with the surface is strongly advisable.
- From time to time we would advise a deeper clean with a product such as Lithofin Wexa or DryTreat Rejuvinata. It is important to use the product that is best suited to the sealant you have used.
- You might get scratches and etches in the surface which makes up the patina of the surface as it ages with you. The good thing about soft Quartzites and Marbles is that, in most cases, they can be re polished in situ to remove scratches and etching, it’s a personal choice.