Marble vs Quartzite – What are the differences?

White and grey marble island top

Marble vs quartzite? Both are both naturally occurring rocks, that share similarities. Though they share certain functions and physical features, marble and quartzite differ greatly in geology so in turn, performance as a benchtop material.

Island bench made from white quartzite in a modern kitchen

White quartzite island benchtop

Chemistry of Marble and Quartzite

Marble is a mineral that is primarily comprised of calcite. Natural physical and chemical impurities add to this makeup, giving patterns and veining. Unlike marble, quartzite is not a mineral, it is made up of sandstone and quartz, both sedimentary rocks. Quartzite also takes on environmental impurities and inclusions, producing different colours.

How are Marble and Quartzite formed?

Both are metamorphic rocks, meaning that they are changed by pressure and heat, but don’t melt. Marble begins life as a limestone. Quartzite is made when quartz grains found in sandstone are fused under pressure and heat.

White marble quarry

Carrara Marble Quarry

What are the main features of marble?

Marble is white when pure and is much stronger than limestone, the rock from which it forms. Colours and patterns we see in our final marble slabs, are caused from impurities and inclusions introduced to the marble in the forming process. The common colours of marble are green, pink, black, beige, brown or grey. Marble has weak chemical bonds so is easy to quarry, carve and polish. These bonds also mean that marble is susceptible to attack from acid. To see if the stone is a ‘pure’ marble, it will fizz upon reaction with acids.

White and grey marble island top

Carrara marble island top

What are the main features of quartzite?

Like marble, quartzite is white when pure, and is much stronger than sandstone, the rock it’s from. Depending on the rock’s mineral impurities, quartzite takes on different colours and patterns. The most common colours of quartzite are white and dark grey. Unlike marble, quartzite is a tough and hardy material, being very resistant to chemical and physical weathering

Marble vs Quartzite – Countertop material?

Quartzite is commonly used as a construction material for benchtops, cladding and flooring. Many find it attractive as a benchtop choice as it so indestructible and requires little to no maintenance.

Marble is also used as a construction material for buildings, tiles, counter tops, cladding, floors and other architectural surfaces. As marble is softer than quartzite, it is also used for monuments and sculpture, as it is easily carved and sculpted. Marble is often used as a countertop material, despite it’s softness. To read more about marble and it’s performance, check out our post on marble and 5 facts you might not know.

 


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