Vacation House Rules' Scott McGillivray Says You Should Splurge On This Durable Countertop

Scott McGillivray is an expert on choosing which elements rental property homeowners should save on and which ones they should splurge on. This is because he knows that spending correctly is the key to transforming a run-down property into a luxury resort while still staying within your budget. In season 2, episode 2 of the HGTV show "Vacation House Rules," McGillivray and designer Debra Solmoni help homeowners Brian and Tara get their rental property ready for guests. Because they have a strict budget of $115,000, they have to be strategic with where they spend the big bucks.

In the kitchen, they're luckily able to give the existing cabinets a facelift with just a can of blue paint. However, the countertops cannot be salvaged, so they completely replace them with quartzite. "I love using quartzite in rental properties," McGillivray says (via "It's a beautiful material; it's durable, zero maintenance; and it looks spectacular." Some of the main benefits of quartzite are that it's resistant to heat and water and easy to clean, which makes it ideal for rental properties. However, keep in mind that this material will definitely be a splurge, as McGillivray spends $5,000 of the budget on the countertops in Brian and Tara's small kitchen. 

Choosing between quartz and quartzite

While quartz and quartzite have similar names, these materials are actually different. Scott McGillivray also sometimes recommends quartz; he says, "When it comes to countertops, there are a lot of options out there, but there's one material that's leading the pack when it comes to strength, durability, and style. Quartz (engineered stone) is quickly replacing granite as the go-to material for discerning homeowners, and it's something I'm starting to use a lot more of in my own renovations," per Scott McGillivray. Determining which material is right for you comes down to what specific benefits you're looking for.

The main difference between these two materials is what they're made out of. Quartz is engineered by combining ground quartz with resins, polymers, and pigments, while quartzite is naturally made when quartz sandstone is exposed to high temperatures and pressure. Quartzite can only come in natural colors, while quartz often has pigments added to it. Further, while quartzite is slightly more expensive than quartz, it's also more durable, as it's less likely to become damaged by acid or heat and won't scratch as easily.