Quartzite is a metamorphic rock that results from geologic heat and pressure on sandstone. So it has all of sandstone’s hardness, but the crystal grains are much more thoroughly welded together by nature, making for an extremely hard and strong natural stone.
It is excellent for paving, although the quarrying methods used for this stone often mean it is supplied as an irregular shaped flagstone.
It is still a layered material and tends to cleave evenly in thin layers, like slate. That willingness to split can be a problem is freeze-thaw climates and so care should be used when specifying quartzite.
Quartzite should not be confused with “Quartz”, which is a name used in the countertop business for a composite material made of resins and ground-up granite. Quartzite is a completely natural stone, primarily composed of the mineral quartz.
Quartzite is available in blinding whites, golden yellows, even very loud reds and pinks.
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True sandstone is composed primarily of quartz grains, and so is very hard. But it typically has high porosity and a relatively low compressive strength, so it is best used in residential or light commercial applications. Caution is merited using sandstone in climates with repeated freeze-thaw cycles.
Certain types of quartzitic sandstone, such as Safari, Cadet Gray, or Plum are much stronger and less porous than other types.
However, some of the softer, more porous types, like Crab Orchard, Woodgrain, Rainbow or Teakwood, have jaw-dropping patterns and colors that can really make an artistic statement, when used correctly.
Our primary sources for sandstone are India and China.
In the US, the most popular types of sandstone are sold as Brownstone or Bluestone. We have excellent sources of both types.
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