Quartz-based stones are essentially quartz (some are nearly pure quartz) so the basic physical properties of quartz will be the same as those of any Quartz-based stone. Crystalline quartz is composed of the two most abundant elements in the Earth’s crust: silicon (Si) and oxygen (O2), which respectively make up 28% and 47% by weight of our planet’s lithosphere. Of all the common minerals, quartz lasts the longest in the environment.
Quartzite breaks across grains, not around grains, thus it is very hard (ranking 7 on the Moss scale on hardness), durable, and for practical purposes, not a soluble stone, making it a desirable material for some difficult installations where exposure to water may be a problem. The hardness and uniform wearing qualities of most Quartz-based stones make them extremely desirable.
The ultimate test of any building material is its ability to have and maintain the necessary structural strength, as well as beauty of appearance and low cost of maintenance, over the useful life of the structure. With an average density of 160 lb/ft3 and one of the lowest Water Absorption rates ( < 1%) quartzites tend to outperform all other Natural Stones in kitchen applications.
Quartzite is not combustible and therefore is considered a fire-resistant material. Because of its thermal conductivity, heat transfer is fairly rapid. Most stone is not considered a highly rated thermal insulator.
The color, veinings, clouds, mottlings, and shadings in Quartz-based stone are caused by substances included during formation.
The purest Quartz-based stones are nearly white. Colors are primarily due to iron oxides. The presence of limonite usually yields yellow, brown, and buff shades; the presence of hematite yields darker brown or red. Since most Quartz-based stones are formed in layers through centuries, each layer may have considerable color variations. It is not uncommon that some may have a color range of possibly up to 12 shade variations. Under ordinary atmospheric conditions, quartzites will endure for years without any change in color or durability.
Bacteria requires several things in order to thrive and grow: oxygen, water, sunlight, nutrients, and a substrate to form on. Quartzites slabs are double sealed before being polished and this treatment prevents bacteria growth. If an extra layer of protection is needed, quartzites may also be processed with bacteriostatic resin which utilizes a US EPA registered antimicrobial product.
Quartz is “piezoelectric,” an unusual electrical property that has no effect on the performance of the mineral in normal dimension stone applications. If squeezed, quartz generates an electrical current proportional to the amount of pressure applied. When a small current is generated on two opposing faces of a cut, ground quartz crystal, it vibrates electrically , acting as an oscillator at a frequency determined by the exact thickness of the crystal.
Quartzite is a Quartz-based stone with an aesthetic visual similar to marble. The similarity however are only visual, given that marble is a metamorphic rock made from recrystallized carbonate minerals, whereas quartzite consists mostly of natural quartz, making it significantly more resistant to abrasion and to the attack of chemically reactive products.