If you’ve been reading up on the latest trends in countertops for kitchens and baths, chances are you’ve probably seen the words quartz and quartzite counter bandied about with nary an explanation about the difference between the two. Today, we’re here to set the record straight about these 2 extremely popular and vastly different materials.The first and most important difference is that materials that are referred to as “Quartz” are man-made, engineered stones made of natural quartz and resin in a factory. Quartzite is a 100% natural stone that is dug up out the earth, polished and cut into slabs. They both are made mostly of quartz, one of the hardest substances on earth, which make them ideal for kitchens and high use areas. Because of this natural hardness, both resist staining and etching from acidic liquids. A subtle difference between Quartzite and Quartz is that Natural quartzite can be polished to a high gloss. Engineered quartz often cannot achieve that level of sheen. There is a small subset of material known as “Soft Quartzite” which performs more like a marble. Be sure to ask your salesperson about the specific varieties you’re considering Engineered Quartz can be made into a wide variety of colors, textures, and even made to simulate the look of natural stone veins. Because it is made primarily of quartz, it offers excellent performance in demanding spaces. It is often sold under well-known brand names like Caesarstone, Cambria, and Maestro. The best thing about engineered quartz is that it offers great consistency across all slabs. Because it is made in a controlled environment, a large kitchen can enjoy a uniform appearance of countertop surfaces. Long term maintenance with engineered quartz is minimal. It doesn’t require sealing or specialized cleaners that natural materials need. Natural Quartzite offers the splendid character of natural stone with lasting durability. For those looking for a veined, natural stone, most people immediately turn to marble. Marble has its own characteristics that might not work for all homeowners. Quartzite can offer a similar look but with performance that can keep up with a busy lifestyle. Available in a variety of colors, the only limitations are the natural supply and new material colors come to market quite often. When debating which one is right for you, consider your lifestyle and your own taste preferences. Do you prefer the look of natural countertops? Or a consistent, smooth coloration? When your choices are down to Quartz and Quartzite, you will get great performance either way.