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Quartzite vs Sintered Stone

No matter which materials you are comparing with one another, there are bound to be similarities. Of course, there will also be differences. Even materials that complaetely different in composition and or application, there will most likely be characteristics in which similarities will be realized. In this article we are going to take a look at quartzite and sintered stone materials. We will consider some of the traits that make them appealing choices for similar applications. Additionally, we will look at what makes these materials differ. WIth that in mind, let's get into our comparison of quartzite vs sintered stone.

What Will We Be Comparing?

Comparing materials can be very detailed and even convoluted if you focus on the minutae. In fact, depending on how detailed you want to get, you could find differences in two slabs made of the same material. Here though, we are not going to delve into the miniscule nuances of materials. And, in fact, we don't need to search very deep to find differences. Additionally, we don't have look extremely closely at these materials to find similarities either. So the similarities and differences between these materials is what we will be comparing here. We will start with the similarities.

Similarities Between Sintered Stone & Quartzite

Each of these materials, that is sintered stone and quartzite brings unique characteristics to the table. However, they also are similar in some ways. Let's look at some of the similarities between quartzite and sintered stone.

Similar In Hardness

The first similarity that we are going to talk a little bit about is the hardness of sintered stone and how it compares to the hardness of quartzite.

As stated in an article on UseNaturalStone.org, geologist Karin Kirk, made the following statement regarding the definition of hardness as it relates to stone materials.

Hardness is the ability of a material to withstand being scratched.

Performing scratch tests on specific materials will no doubt yield variations in the hardness of the materials under test. However, there are general hardness ranges given for many materials based on the results generally produced by means of scratch tests. So, what are the hardnesses for each of our materials?

Sintered Stone's Hardness

There are a variety of manufacturers of sintered stone, each having a proprietary formula for their specific product. However, sintered stone's hardness on the Mohs scale is generally reported to be in the 7 range. That is on the harder end of the scale which goes form 1 to 10; with 10 being the hardest. So sintered stone is pretty hard. What about our other contender quartzite?

The Hardness of Quartzite

Quartzite is a naturally occurring stone that is not manufactured. However, that does not mean that its hardness is erratic and cannot be generally stated. In fact, "geologic quartzite" too has a general hardness of 7 as well. This is because the primary mineral of which it is composed is quartz and this mineral registers at 7 on the Mohs scale. *

The Benefit of Hard Material

So, as we have stated, both sintered stone and quartzite are hard materials. What, though, is the benefit? Well, the ability of a surface to resist being scratched contributes to the material's durability. The fewer scratches a material suffers, the longer it will remain looking new and fresh.

Fabricating Sintered Stone and Quartzite

Hard materials that resist scratching will require specific tooling to be used when fabricating surfaces made from these materials. So it is good to be familiar with the various diamond blades for cutting sintered materials as well as blades for effectively cutting quartzite. Knowing which blades are available gives you the ability to choose the right blade for the material being cut.

Similar Applications

As you can imagine, materials that are similar in durability also can be sued for similar applications. As a result, both sintered stone and quartzite are used for similar purposes. One common application that these materials share is the kitchen countertop. Both quartzite and sintered stone are materials used as kitchen countertops. Their durability makes these materials effective for use as countertop surfaces.

Sintered Stone & Quartzite - the Differences

Although sintered stone and quartzite share the trait of durability, they are in fact, two different materials. And different materials will invariably have traits they do not share. So let's talk a little bit about the differences in this quartzite vs sintered stone comparison.

Sintered Stone is Man-made

As mentioned previously, sitnered stone is produced by a number of manufacturers. Each producer of sintered stone uses a specific formula and/or recipe for its materials. These variations in the processes and ingredients result in variety among the various materials. Patterns, thickness,a nd even color variations can be found when browsing the different lines of sintered stone. The resulting materials though are dependent upon the manufacturers.

Quartzite is Naturally Occurring

In contrast with the controlled production of sintered stone, quartzite is a natural stone, meaning, it forms without any help from man. Natural quartzite does get processed in order for it to be transformed into a surface. Quarries cut the rock out of mountains and then slice the material into slabs which are subsequently processed to become beautiful surface materials.

Depending on what the end user prizes more, predictability or uniqueness, one of these two materials is sure to fulfill the requirement. It just depends on which aspect the consumer puts first.

Care & Maintenance

Another difference between sintered stone and quartzite has to do with the care and maintenance that is performed on these materials. Let's first briefly describe the requirements of caring for quartzite. Then, we'll touch on sintered stone.

Natural Quartzite Care

Since quartzite is a natural stone, it has a measure of porosity. Granted, geologic quartzite will have a lower porosity than other natural stone. But, it will likely have some areas of the surface that might be a little porous. Therefore, it is usually recommended that a quartzite surafce periodically have a stone sealer applied. Stone sealer keeps water and oil-based liquids from getting into stone and staining the material. If by chance a stain does make its way into a quartzite surface there are stain removers formulated correct these kinds of issues.

One of the most effective ways to maintain a sealed stone surface is to use the proper stone cleaner on the surface. Many cleaners are not formulated to use on sealed stone. Thus, they will undo the effects of sealer you may have applied. Using a cleaner formulated specifically for natural stone will ensure that you keep the benefits that applying a sealer offers.

Caring for Sintered Stone

When it comes to caring for sintered stone surfaces, the focus is a bit different. Unlike natural stone, sintered surfaces do not have pores. And since sintered stone is non-porous, there is no need for sealer to be applied.

Just because sintered stone is non-porous, it does not mean that it is stain-proof. It simply means that any stains that occur will remain on the surface of the material. When it comes to cleaning sintered stone, the cleaner you use on the surface will depend on the type of stain. Alkaline detergents, most acidic cleaners, solvents, and oxidizers are some of types of cleaners that may be used for sintered stone.**

In conclusion, natural quartzite and sintered stone are materials that are proving to be desirable for consumers. Since each of these materials is durable, they offer long-lasting solutions for hard surfaces in homes, businesses, and even public areas. And, while each has its own characteristics, the one your customer chooses will depend largely on the color and pattern options available.

*Although true quartzite has a hardness of 7 on the mohs scale of mineral hardness, you will find that some stone slabs labeled "quartzite" may not be that hard. This is because of the difference in naming conventions used by geologists and the commercial stone industry. The best way to ensure your stone is what you want is to perform a scratch test.

**Always follow the recommendations in the use and care information provided by the manufacturer of the sintered stone material. The care and maintenance guide usually has a table of which kinds of cleaners to use for specific stains.

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