Quartzite

With smooth, polished surfaces and the durability that only comes from quartz, quartzite is beginning to be a highly sought after material for counters and floors. This metamorphic stone often gets confused with marble, but is far harder and less likely to stain, etch, and scratch.

Like marble, quartzite is metamorphic, meaning that it was made of another material that underwent enormous pressure and heat until it was transformed into a new material. While marble was once limestone, however, quartzite was once a type of sandstone. This sandstone was very high quartz, which gives the quartzite its glossy appearance and strength.

Quartzite differs from marble in other ways besides strength, as well. While marble has a smooth appearing surface with numerous veins, quartzite has a noticeable grain. Even though the stone is smooth to the touch, it will appear sugary and grainy when held up under the light.

Like marble, pure quartzites are white or very light colored, although they can have other minerals present in their makeup that can affect their color. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find quartzites in a variety of different colors including pink, blue, and green.

Some very popular quartzites are Thasos, a bright white stone, and Blue Celeste, a pale sky blue, both of which are often confused for marbles, and highly sought after for their unusual beauty. When subjected to the water and lemon test, however, quartzites perform nearly as well as granites do, which makes them the ideal countertop material for people who want the beauty of marble, but the durability and ease of maintenance that granite brings.

Whenever marble is called for in an installation such as a kitchen countertop, where the material may not hold up well under wear, consider using quartzite in its place. With its beauty and shine, this stone rivals marble for looks, while holding up tremendously well under pressure.

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