The answer is Quartzite. Not to be confused with manmade Quartz products, natural quartzite is a very hard metamorphic rock consisting of a mosaic of inter-grown quartz crystals. Quartzite forms when sandstone is heated to extreme temperatures during metamorphism. It’s often white and grey in color, but blues, reds, greens, or beiges are not entirely uncommon. The formation process behind this metamorphosed rock tends to give it soft, somewhat linear veining that resembles marble.
Quartzite is a whopping 7 out of 10 on Moh’s Scale of Mineral Hardness. As a comparison, granite is typically between a 6 and a 7, and marble is only a 3. The density of natural Quartzite, which directly corresponds with porosity, can vary. Sometimes this stone is extremely dense making it practically nonporous, other times it is less dense and more porous. Try taking a sample of the specific quartzite slab you’re considering and testing the staining potential by leaving a colored liquid on the surface for 5-10 minutes. When you wipe off the liquid, if it leaves little to no color on the stone, the quartzite is probably very dense and an average sealer will suffice. If the liquid leaves a medium to bright color on the quartzite sample, you should probably consider a powerful sealer to help protect the stone.
Possibly the greatest benefit of quartzite in the kitchen over marble, is the greatly reduced potential for surface etching. Marble is a calcite, and calcite reacts with acids, so when you’re dealing with acidic foods or liquids on a marble countertop, you’re likely to etch the surface polish. Quartzite on the other hand, is made almost entirely of quartz, which does not typically react with acids. To be sure that the specific quartzite slabs that you’re considering for your project will not etch, use the same sample you used for your porosity test and try leaving a small puddle of straight lemon juice on the surface for 5-10 minutes. Wipe it off and check for any signs of etching (spots where the polish isn’t as shiny any more).
So, if you love Bianco Carrara Marble, but you have to have a stone that will withstand the everyday wear and tear of your family, Quartzite slabs like our Moon Light Quartzite are the perfect solution to your dilemma.