The life of a quartzite begins as a sandstone which transforms itself under high pressure and heat fusing with quartz crystals. They undergo recrystallization forming a bond between silica and quartz resulting in a cluster of interlocking quartz grains with great strength. The non-foliated metamorphic rock is composed of quartz. Quartzite is more often misunderstood with marble or granite slabs. The unique sedimentary texture and structures of the sandstone are erased during the metamorphism. Quartzite shares a similar veining pattern with marbles and colour scheme with granites. Quartzite is a durable material but less dense than quartz therefore, staining can pose a threat to the work surface.
Composition of Quartzite
Quartzite is a natural stone consisting 90-99 percent quartz grains bound together with silica, the stone is formed underneath the surface of the earth where sandstone rich in quartz are reformed under high heat and pressure. Quartzite stone has a granular, sugar like texture of quartz rich sandstone elicits an earthier feel and granular in appearance. Quartzite is a medium grain with interlocking quartz. This natural stone surface is a metamorphosed sandstone. The composition is dominated by quartz, but originally the sandstone contains some clay minerals and other minerals such as feldspar, fragments of rock which invades the stone in the form of impurities.
Colours and patterns of Quartzite
Quartzite are commonly found in shades of grey and white worktops, some stones appear to have pinkish or reddish hues due to the presence of iron oxide. Veining and pattern on quartzite are irregular and inconsistent on visualization. The natural stone worktops are also found in tones of Beige, blue, brown, dark grey, golden, green, grey, and white.
Origin of Quartzite
The natural stone quartzite is found and mined from places like the United states of America, United Kingdom, Germany, Czech Republic, Canada and Quartzite is also mined in Brazil for use as Quartzite countertops.
Characteristics of Quartzite
Resistance: The tough stone has 7 on Mohs hardness scale and is resistant to acids it does not etch when it comes in contact with citric liquids like lemon juice or vinegar. The material also has resistance to scratch but careful handling of the surface is recommended.
Porosity: Quartzites differ in their pore sizes. When they are exposed to lower pressure the stone becomes more porous like White Macaubas and Calacatta Macaubas. If properly sealed they can sustain the longevity of the worktop surface. Quartzite is a perfect choice for any kitchen countertop for its strength, beauty and durability
Quartzite and Marble
For lucrative and cost effective countertops, this material is a good choice. If you are a marble enthusiast but find it little expensive then quartzite is a readily available alternative. It is less expensive than marble with designs and beauty similar to a marble.
Uses of Quartzite
Paleolithic human made tools out of quartzite thought it was harder to work with when compared to flint or obsidian. They are widely used in making building materials and other design applications like exterior cladding, exterior flooring, exterior wall, feature wall, façade, fireplace, garden, interior classing, interior flooring, interior wall, pavement and swimming pool. The rough and hard texture of the natural stone makes it an ideal choice for paving garden pathways, patios, balconies. Quartzite is dense and hard; the crushed form of quartzite can be used for laying railroad track ballast for its durable property. These surfaces are resistant to UV rays so there is no risk of discolouration or fading on the surface if the worktops are set in an outdoor setting where there is ample sunlight.
Though quartzite is similar to a marble in colour and veining; they are much more durable than marble. Quartzite countertops and kitchen islands look stunning in a kitchen.
Advantages of quartzite Countertops
Aesthetics: They look beautiful like the natural stone marble, but if you want to evade the cost and maintenance of a marble then you can choose quartzite countertops. It comes in various ranges of shades with a unique veining and colour scheme.
Strength: It is an exceptionally strong and durable stone, even on a heavy duty surface the polish of the stone will not tone down or cause any problem thereafter.
Care practice: quartzite counters are easy to clean. A mild soap solution and damp cloth to wipe the countertops. Remember to quickly wipe any spillage preventing staining.
Protection from Ultraviolet rays: Quartzite is UV resistant; it will not dull down when exposed to direct sunlight. They are suitable for outdoor kitchen, rooms with sunlight.
Heat Resistant: The natural stone can withstand high temperatures. Hot pans will not tamper with the surface of the stone
Disadvantages of quartzite worktops
Affluent: They are more expensive than many other natural stone countertops. The cost of the stone is exclusive of installation
Random pattern: Quartzite counters have a uniform appearance. They show different patterns of veining
Pointy objects: Although quartzite is strong, it is susceptible for scratch by sharp and pointy edged objects and knives
Textures/ Finishes of quartzite worktop
The most common finish for a quartzite slab. The qualities of the stone are highlighted well in a polished surface to make the colours and texture stand out vibrantly. Polished surfaces are easy to clean as they are sealed to keep any liquid from seeping in and moisture out of the marble kitchen worktop. A polished quartzite countertop offers better reflection of light than other finishes.
If you are looking out for a pristine look, polished finish does justice to it, but if you want a finish which mitigates the effect of scratching and etching, honed finish is recommended.
Despite the finish option, you can reduce the risk of scratching and etching by using a chopping board and never sliding heavy items across the countertop can reduce the risk of scratches. The risk of etching can be reduced using a quartzite sealer.
Cleaning and Maintenance of Quartzite countertops
Quartzite is a low cost maintenance material for quartzite kitchen tops. They have different degrees of porosity. Quartzite worktops are porous in nature, they need to be properly sealed to avoid staining and bacterial and fungal contaminations. Sealing is recommended once a year if the quartzite slab is dense and less porous. Though they are scratch resistant, avoid using abrasive cleaners on the surface which eventually will wear out the polish. After the counters are wiped with soap solution, dry the surface clean to avoid any moisture from settling down. Avoid using Citrus based cleaners like vinegar and lemon or abrasives that can damage the work surface of the countertop. The acidic properties in these cleaners can deteriorate the sealer, causing your countertop to lose polish and be vulnerable to stains.
The cleaning of quartzite needs minimal maintenance routine when compared to the natural stones of other types. Though the maintenance practice followed for granite and quartzite are similar to each other. If a stain occurs, make a paste of baking soda and water or use a commercial stain removing poultice. Apply a thick layer of paste to the stain and cover the area with plastic wrap. Allow the paste to sit overnight. Wipe the paste away and rinse using a damp cloth. If any trace of the stain remains, repeat the application until the stain is gone.
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