Is Quartzite Porous, Or Not?
Browse the web long enough and you will find information that will seem on the surface to be contradictory to something else you have read; sometimes even on the same site you will find articles that seem to contradict one another on a subject. One such subject is with regard to the porosity of natural "quartzite". In this article we are going to consider a couple specifics as it pertains to natural quartzite and its porosity.
What Is Quartzite?
You will often see a variety of answers to that question online. In fact, we have answered that question in a variety of ways ourselves. When reading about quartzite and the porosity of the material, it is necessary to understand something very basic about natural stone.
There is a difference between geological stone classifications and commercial classifications. Whether or not you agree with the ways various sources classify natural stone, the fact is there are natural stone slabs out there with the label "quartzite" that are very similar and very different at the same time. We won't go into detail about what these similarities and differences are when it comes to the materials but there is a link in our quartzite information page that will take you to a quartzite guide written by a geologist. For now, just know that quartzite can be discussed in more than one context.
Why Does Quartzite's Porosity Matter?
This question really contains the substance of what many readers want to find out. The porosity of quartzite matters because a stone's porosity will determine if and how often a countertop made form quartzite will need to be sealed using a quartzite sealer. Porous stone needs to be sealed and non-porous stone does not require it. Thus, quartzite that is non-porous may require less frequent sealing (although other factors play a role in this facet of stone care).
Quartzite In Geological Context
There are natural quartzite stone slabs that are 100% quartzite and fit the classification that geologists use. After all, geologists love rock! They also know a lot about it and when a geologist sets out to purchase a quartzite slab, she is likely going to define "quartzite" very differently from the person that is more concerned about the way the stone looks. The geologist is going to note the hardness of every inch of the slab. She will recognize the stone's composition and focus on the mineral content of the material. From a geological standpoint quartzite contains 100% quartz. The mineral quartz is not porous. So a slab that is geologically classified as quartzite is going to be recognizable to a scientist.
For the most part, those that shop for quartzite countertops are perhaps less particular about the composition, the mineral content and maybe even the hardness; although scratch resistance may be important. The average consumer will be more geared toward how that stone will look with the rest of the room and perhaps the price is a factor as well. Now there are commercial slabs of natural quartzite that contain other minerals in small quantities. The slab overall is largely made up of geological quartzite, but it has other mineral content as well. Now, those other minerals are usually porous whereas the parts that are quartzite (nearly the whole slab) are not. Perhaps a good analogy would be this: When someone says, "I had cereal for breakfast.", they are giving you a description of the description of the substantial part of the meal. Even though, the "cereal" is not the
only ingredient, it is essentially the main ingredient. Likewise when commercial suppliers describe "quartzite", they often are giving you the basic, general material of which the slab is made and not a geological classification of the material.
Quartzite Porosity Is Good to Ask About
So, the main point of this article is this: To know about the porosity of a quartzite slab, you must find out from the supplier. Depending on which way the supplier views the term quartzite, it could be either a full quartzite (100%) slab. Or it might be one that is nearly 100% quartzite. Still yet, there some slabs that are completely mislabeled and are actually a marble slab marked as quartzite.
In conclusion then, the answer to the question, "Is quartzite porous or not?" is, it simply depends on other factors. The classification the supplier uses, the supplier itself, and the view of the buyer of the stone. All of these factors converge at the purchase. So, the best approach seems to be to communicate clearly with the other parties involved and make sure that everyone is on the same page when discussing a specific quartzite stone slab.