CHANGING OF THE [COUNTERTOP] GUARD
For quite some time now, granite has been the preferred material for homeowners who are upgrading their counters, and for good reason. Granite is one of the most durable materials you can choose for a countertop, and it comes in a myriad of colors & patterns. It is stain and heat resistant, so it continues to look as good in the years to come as it did when it was first installed; these countertops can take a lot of wear and tear. Granite is an indigenous rock, found abundantly around the globe, so while it is more expensive than, say, porcelain tile, it is one of the cheaper natural stones available. Marble has always been a higher-end option due to its aesthetics, but marble falls short in durability and longevity; it is a high-maintenance natural stone, which may unfortunately change appearance over time regardless of upkeep.
As with everything in life, change is inevitable. In real estate, as many homeowners can attest, trends can change very rapidly, even year-to-year. While Granite has had a firm grip on the natural stone countertop market for the last 20 years, a new player has entered play and is creeping up the popularity list: quartzite. Don’t get this confused with “quartz” countertops, which are synthetic, made from a combination of natural Quartz and other materials. Quartzite is formed under an intense combination of heat and pressure in the Earth’s crust, where empty grains of sandstone are stuffed with Quartz (the natural mineral). Quartzite has the wonderful aesthetic properties of marble, but is harder and more durable than granite. While granite registers on the MOHS hardness scale at 6-6.5 (out of 10), quartzite comes in between 7-8 (depending on your source and purity), which is harder than glass. It tends to come in the neutral colors of white and gray (which is all the rage in kitchens right now), with spectacular displays of veining, while granite tends to come in darker colors which may have some white or gray as a secondary color.
While quartz (synthetic) countertops are also rising up the ranks, due to less upkeep than granite, quartzite is becoming the popular choice in the mid-range and higher market. I personally just installed quartzite in my own kitchen, and not a person comes in who doesn’t comment on its beauty. Even though it’s slightly more expensive than granite (15-20%), people are starting to turn to it mostly stemming from its aesthetic properties being in style right now. Until dark and vibrant colors re-enter current trends, quartzite will continue increasing in popularity, soon to take the throne as Queen of the Countertops.