This is not Engineered Stone, commonly marketed as ‘Quartz’. Quartzite is not synthetic.
As I mentioned in blog 2, quartzites used to be extremely time consuming to produce. So, the costs were in the stratosphere. If you could cut 7 Santa
Cecelia blocks vs. one of Macaubus, you’d cut the easier one. Most did exactly that.
But, with the prevalence of the new wire saws, quartzites are making a real splash into the countertop world, as their processing times are down dramatically.
As noted in the definition, they are extremely hard. This makes cutting them with a traditional granite blade more than difficult, more like impossible
for some. For a lot of the particularly dense ones, we use our waterjet. However, that is slow and expensive. But, you do whatever is necessary.
The hardness also limits what we can do from an edge work point of view. The diamond tooling is only slightly harder than the quartz. Meaning your wear times for a $4000 set of tools are going to be alarmingly short. This is why we primarily do square edges. And, if we don’t, we simply have to pass the tooling costs on to the job.
There are varying types of quartzites. With varying hardnesses. Wild Sea is a quartzite, but it’s characteristics are more like a hard granite. On the opposite end is Nacarado which is waterjet only.
One of the more memorable installations that sticks with me is a Wild Sea job near Lake Tenkiller. I had not lifted any of the pieces in the shop. When we got to the job site,
I got on one end of an 8′ piece. I was stunned at how heavy it was. My left arm must have stretched an inch. Granite is heavy. Quartzites are stupid heavy.
The natural material, Quartz, does not stain. It’s too dense. In general terms, quartzites are fairly bulletproof. We seal them as a matter of course, but most don’t need it.
A few contain some calcites, which will etch with certain fluids. We test for that and will forewarn you in your considerations.
Some Quartzites come in a wild pattern, but most are more subdued taking on a more marble-like appearance. Perla Venata, Ice Flakes, Sea Pearl and the like are very soft in appearance and pattern.
One of the missions for the last trek to Brazil was to find quartzites. I found a number that I liked and they are either here, or on their way. They are expensive there, but they are stupid expensive here through a US distributor. That’s a profit Mecca for them.
It’s an elegant choice for a countertop with natural characteristics that make it worry free.