Quartz and quartzite are two popular choices for countertops, but they are not the same material. They offer differences in looks, durability, care and price that you should know about before making your selection.

Quartz countertops are often called engineered countertops because they are fabricated from natural silicon dioxide and synthetic materials. Loose quartz makes up about 93 percent of the material. It is blended with a binder and pigment and formed into countertops.

Quartzite is harder than granite, so it is quite durable. It withstands heat very well. Quartz is hard too, but not quite as hard as quartzite. The resin used in manufacturing quartz countertops is a plastic, so it is prone to melting in heat above 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Where quartz has an advantage over quartzite is that it is less prone to denting and chipping because it is more flexible. Both countertop materials can be scratched by sharp objects, and a cutting board should be used.

Porcelain Countertops

Pros

The countertops are fired at more than 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, so the finished product is perfect for installation where hot pots, pans or hair tools are in use. Porcelain won’t burn, smoke or emit harmful substances when subjected to heat.

Cons

They can chip and crack, but it takes more force and weight to do the deed than with natural stone countertops.

Because porcelain is fairly new to the US market, make sure you find a qualified professional with experience with porcelain slabs to install your countertops

Square and mitered

Most of the time when you see an extra-thick countertop, it's a mitered edge. Meaning that the thickness is standard either 2cm or 3cm with a mitered frame around the sides, making the slab look thicker. This is a great way to make your kitchen countertops the focal point, and it can work well in either a modern or traditional kitchen.

Each kitchen has something that stands out and says “look at me.” Sometimes it’s the tile, sometimes it’s the lighting, and sometimes it’s the countertop material.

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