How to Choose a Quartzite Kitchen Worktop
Are you looking for a kitchen worktop which looks wonderful, and makes your kitchen a pleasure to be in? And which stands up to everything that life in the busiest room in the house throws at it?
Then take a closer look at quartzite. It’s a 100% natural stone, hewn from quarries around the world, and imported to the UK to add to the fantastic choices of kitchen countertops you’ll find here.
This quartzite worktop guide takes you through what makes quartzite special as well its advantages and even its disadvantages.
Natural stone worktops
Natural stones are always in demand for a look that comes straight from nature, rather than a factory. While we’re very enthusiastic about manufactured stones such as ceramics and quartz (not to be confused with quartzite), there is no doubt that the uniqueness of every natural stone worktop gives them a very special appeal. That means choosing from marble, granite and quartzite.
Marble we all know from any number of places including grand buildings and statues. It’s always impressive, and invariably features veining that adds refinement. But there is a reason sculptors chose marble for their works of art – it is relatively soft and easy to cut and finish in almost any shape. In the kitchen it’s susceptible to chipping, and staining.
Granite too is entirely natural, and comes in a wide range of colours, and it is harder, more durable and more stain resistant than marble. It always looks special, with its hallmark look coming from glistening crystals embedded in the surface. If that’s a look you like, then granite’s probably for you.
But what if you want a less glitzy natural stone? One that’s more practical than marble, and more refined than granite? Enter quartzite…
The most popular quartzite is in shades of white or pale greys. For a calm, airy look, a worktop in these lighter tones hits the perfect note of subtlety. More colours come into play if pigmented minerals are present in the stone – you can find quartzite with touches of rosy pink, glowing gold, cool blues and rusty browns as well as darker greys verging on black. These are the colours of nature, locked into your worktop and primed to bring a very natural feel into your home.
Quartzite is also generally very versatile for pairing with a wide range of kitchen units, appliances and wall coverings. If you want to stay with a fully natural look, you can opt for wooden cupboards and drawers. Solid wood always beats veneers and chipboard (at a price), with maple and cherry adding a touch of luxury that’s beyond the reach of pine.
Oak is a good middle ground, either pale or mid-toned. Dark oak is very traditional, and comes with a warning about looking dated. You can maintain the natural theme with wood flooring and possibly exposed brick walls. The overall effect can be stunning.
If you choose painted units, the simple trick is to base your colour choice on elements in the quartzite – either by echoing the colour or choosing a contrasting tone from a colour wheel (remember, it’s the colours opposite one another that work best together). If you aim for a soothing, low-contrast combination, you can happily introduce pops of colour with modern appliances and wall decorations.
Patterns in Quartzite
When a block of quartzite is extracted from a quarry, it is then cut and cleaned to reveal a pattern of long, swirling veins. They are randomly formed, completey natural and a beautiful feature of quartzite. The flowing patterns provide a fascinating contrast with the hard, polished surface of quartzite. They are the very opposite of machined, linear designs. The nearest comparison is with marble, but, as we’ve said, quartzite is tougher stuff and more practical for life in the kitchen.
When you’re looking at a quartzite slab, you’ll know whether or not you like it. Do you prefer patterning that’s subtly different in tone from the background colour? Do you want more contrast? Is your taste for more or less veins and swirls? Whatever your preference, you can rest assured that similar levels of versatility come with virtually all quartzite.
However, it is only possible to stock a limited number of stones at any supplier, leaving you with no choice other than ordering sight unseen from a trusted source. At County Stone, if we don’t have the right quartzite stone in stock, we give clients our extensive range of samples to ponder. Once they’ve chosen a stone with the type of patterning and colour they like, we work with first-class stone companies to supply slabs which are exactly what our customers are after.
How to Install a Quartzite Worktop
Installing quartzite is a specialist job requiring skill, experience and the right tools. Once the stone has been selected, the next task is to create an accurate template for the area in your kitchen where the slab (or slabs) will be installed. The importance of an accurate template can’t be overstated, which is why at County Stone we use expert fitters to create them.
Quartzite is phenomenally hard and needs precision cutting equipment in the hands of craftsmen who really know what they are doing. Mistakes can’t be put right! Our workshop team are highly experienced in working with the hardest stones in the world, including quartzite, and are totally reliable for cutting every curve, straight edge and recess with millimetric accuracy.
The team go on to polish and finish the stone, and to apply a single application of sealant which protects against stains and scratching. Handling the stone can’t be taken for granted – it’s heavy, of course – and can’t be dropped or banged around. We load the prepared slab for transport from workshop to customer, where our fitting team installs the worktop, ensuring that it fits accurately as specified. We only leave the premises once our clients are happy, and we’ve cleaned up completely and taken away any packing and material waste.
NB This isn’t work to be undertaken as a DIY project, or by handymen and general builders who don’t have experience of working with quartzite – don’t be taken in by anyone who says they can do it when they can’t!
Ten reasons to choose a quartzite kitchen worktop
- A 100% natural product for your kitchen
- Every worktop is unique
- Subtle and beautiful looks
- A smooth, lustrous surface
- Exceptionally hardwearing and durable
- Easy to clean and keep hygienic
- Versatile for matching kitchen units and appliances
- Can be cut for sinks, taps, drainers and recesses
- Choice of edges
- Choice of polished or matte finishes
What are the disadvantages of quartzite?
- Installation costs are higher than for manufactured stone
- Quartzite needs sealing to protect from staining
- Fewer colour choices than engineered stones
- Prices are based on the size of the original stone, before cutting to size