Mohs scale of mineral hardness helps define the strength of minerals and natural stone, and is often referenced in countertop design and manufacturing.
The scale is based on one stone or mineral’s ability to scratch another mineral. A very simple test, a rating is determined by taking one material and scraping it on another. If the material is able to produce a visible scratch on the other, it is considered harder. The scale was created by mineralogist, Friedrich Mohs in 1812.
Numbers are assigned to minerals based on their hardness. The higher the number, the harder the mineral is. While harder elements have since been discovered, Mohs original scale is still used as a guideline.
Using a very simple comparison of materials, the results have proven to be reliable, and the test is easy to conduct in the field. Mohs scale also includes items such as a fingernail, which has a hardness of 2.5; a copper penny (3.5) and a window’s glass (6.5).
Which the scale doesn’t directly relate to countertops, it is often a consideration for homeowners and designers who are concerned with countertop strength and scratch resistance. According to Mohs scale, popular countertop materials would be rated and ranked in this order:
Of course, keep in mind there are varying degrees of hardness and quality within each stone type. For example one slab of granite could be rated a 6 on Mohs scale, while another slab could be an 8. Also, there are many manufacturing methods and other factors involved in countertop production that determine the true hardness. Generally, Mohs scale is a good guide, however.
If you’re looking for a very durable countertop that is scratch resistant, quartz and granite are top choices for kitchen countertops, bars and bathroom vanities.
If you have questions about natural stone countertops, or which stone is best for your project, give us a call:
With so many kitchen countertop options on the market, it can be difficult to figure out which material is best suited for your family. We’ve broken done the most popular stone countertop options based on lifestyle. While every family has unique needs and goals for their kitchen, natural stone countertops offer an excellent variety of colors and patterns, price points, and levels of quality. There are certainly stone countertop options to fit any budget or lifestyle.
For busy families with young children.
If you're looking for a durable, low maintenance kitchen countertop that can withstand lots of abuse, your two best bets are granite and quartz.
Granite - This natural stone is one of the most durable options available. It’s virtually scratch proof, and it is a very hard material that isn’t likely to chip or crack. Granite provides excellent heat resistance, and as long as it’s properly sealed, it’s not likely to stain or fade. Some granite does require a sealer to protect the stone from spills, so grainte can require a little more maintenance than quartz. Typically a sealer and a polish are applied once per year. It is important clean up spill on granite soon after they occur, because the stone is porous and some acid foods and chemicals can cause discolorations. Granite has been one of the most popular stone countertops on the market for many years, and it’s likely to stay on that list for many years to come.
Quartz - Quartz is very similar in price to granite. Because it is engineered from quartz aggregate, it’s even stronger that most granite, though not quite as scratch proof. Quartz typically has a more subtle pattern, and a sleek modern look, which some people prefer. Because it is non-porous, it doesn’t require any sealing and it’s more forgiving with food spills. Other than basic cleaning, quartz countertops are maintenance-free.
For Families who prefer luxury.
If aesthetics and luxury are your top priority, you might be in the market for marble, soapstone or (again) granite. These options take price out of the equation, and assume you’re not going to be terribly rough on the countertop. These countertops choices are strictly about design and luxury, rather than just utility.
Granite - We’ve established that granite is a versatile and durable stone, and while it is normally less expensive than more exotic and high-end stones like marble, some granite slabs are more rare and unique, and subsequently more sought after. This can drive up the cost. You may also want to explore more unique edge profiles, cutouts and sink installations that can raise the total cost. So while granite is typically very cost effective, there are more luxurious options available for families looking for a unique style.
Marble - Known for its elegance and striking beauty, marble is used quite often in high-end home design. It is not typically suggested for busy kitchens, especially for large families or families with children who could damage the stone. Marble can chip easily if heavy items impact the edges, the surface is prone to scratches, and spills and food debris can cause stains and etching. However with proper care and minimal maintenance, marble offers a high-end look and classic design style that can’t be matched.
Soapstone - If you want a truly unique look, soapstone is an excellent choice to make your kitchen stand out. This stone offers a modern aesthetic, but organic feel. A smooth matte finish and dark neutral tones make it versatile option for a number of kitchen design styles. Because it is not used as often as other stones, it instantly attracts attention. A softer stone, soapstone does scratch easily, but can be repaired by the homeowner. No sealing is required, but an occasional oil application will help keep a consistent color while minimizing the visibility of scratches.
Families who want the maintenance free countertops.
If are looking for a low maintenance stone countertop, quartz is probably the best choice. Because of the way it is engineered, it doesn’t require sealing like Granite. Quartz is extremely durable and and scratch resistance, though it is more likely to scratch than granite (you cannot cut directly on the surface of quartz). The heat tolerance is very good, though you should not leave extremely hot pots or pans directly on the surface. Quartz is easy to clean, and is very forgiving when it comes to stains and etching.
Natural stone countertops are a top choice for kitchens because of their durability, resale value and design versatility. If you’re researching the best countertop for your family, you’ll certainly find several suitable stone options to fit your budget and lifestyle. Check out our gallery of kitchen countertops to learn more. If you have any questions about our stone products, call us at: 316-946-0530
Polished granite has a shiny, glossy finish. This option is very common for countertops because the polished look brings out a wide range of colors that compliment the design of many kitchens and bathrooms.
After polishing the stone it becomes darker, and the colors more rich. The granite surface also becomes somewhat reflective. It’s an elegant look, and because of the many color options granite provides it can easily match any design style.
Granite is usually polished by the fabricator before it is installed, but it can be repolished after installation. Re-polishing will be necessary every 5-10 years, depending on the amount of use the stone gets, and if any damage occurs. Some homeowners re-polish their own countertops with a variable speed buffer, but it is a bit of an art, so many people opt to hire a countertop expert to refinish the stone.
Honed granite is basically the opposite of polished. This finish has very little shine, it’s more of a matte or satin look. Honed granite isn’t typically as dark as polished, and there is less contrast in the stone’s colors.
While this finish still provides the class and elegance that people look for in granite, it is more subtle than the polished option.
Technically, all granite is polished, as the stone’s surface is rough when it is first extracted from the earth. Honed granite however, does not go through as much, or as fine grinding and buffing as polished granite. Both finishes are flat and smooth to the touch.
Which Finish is Best?
As far as durability and maintenance, there aren’t huge differences between the two. Both are very strong, and virtually scratch resistant. Honed granite is more porous, so it will require slightly more frequent sealing (again, depends on usage). Polished finishes are more likely to show blemishes, because the glossy will be worn down in damaged areas. But with proper maintenance and care, both are great choices for a kitchen or bath.
Many homeowners choose between polished and honed granite based strictly on their design preference. Polished is the default option, but for homes with a more rustic or subtle aesthetic, a honed surface may be a better match.
If you’d like to see the difference between these two finishes in person, visit our showroom in west Wichita.
If you have a spot of super glue, Crazy Glue or Gorilla Glue on your quartz countertop, don’t worry, it can be removed.
These fast drying glues tend to adhere to quartz quickly and firmly, so it’s not likely that soap and water will work, but start there. Use warm water and a soft rubber or plastic edge to gently scrap the spot (e.g. rubber spatula or plastic baking scraper).
If that doesn't do the trick you’ll need three things:
Put some of the acetone/water mixture on the pad or towel and get the glue damp. Try to keep the acetone only in the area of the glue, allow it to sit for a few seconds. (Do not allow acetone to sit on the quartz surface for long periods of time.)
Holding the razor blade almost flat (try for less than 45 degrees to the surface) very gently scrape the glue. Use a light touch, it should start coming off almost right away. Don't press the blade into the counter, just slide it across the surface and let find its way under the glue.
Watch the surface closely as you are scraping, look at it from different angles. Adjust your angle and the lighting will help you ensure you're getting all of the glue and not scratching the countertop.
Repeat the acetone application and scraping until all of the glue is gone. Immediately wipe up any excess acetone when complete.
Lastly, thoroughly clean the countertop. Use a mild soap and warm water mixture, or a quartz-safe cleaner.
While this is an aggressive, and slightly risky tactic (remember, quartz is scratch resistant, not scratch proof), if you’re dealing with hardened glue, it may be your best option. Just take your time and be gentle, and that glue will be gone for good.
Note, you should check with your manufacturer to ensure it is safe to use acetone on your particular brand of quartz, while this is generally fine, the use some chemical products may not be supported by your warranty.
Granite or quartz are your best bets for a bar top.
A bar top requires a durable material that can withstand the impact of glass bottles, and the risk of scratches from corkscrews, bottle openers and sharp bottle caps.
For this reason, it’s best to stay away from softer stones such a marble and soapstone which are more likely to scratch and chip. You may also want to avoid very porous stones like limestone, as you’re sure to have some spills. A porous stone will be more susceptible to stains and etching when liquids interact with the stone.
Granite or Quartz are probably the best options for an indoor bar top. Both are extremely durable and they are available in a wide range of colors and styles that should suit any design.
Granite bar top benefits
Granite may require sealing periodically (yearly) to ensure liquids do not penetrate the stone. This is a simple process that can be done by the homeowner, or by a stone countertop professional. Check with your stone manufacture to determine if, and how often you may need to seal the stone.
Granite bar top benefits
Quartz is harder and more durable than granite, and it does not require sealing (less maintenance), however granite is more scratch proof and has a higher heat tolerance.
Granite and quartz are similar in price, about $45-$125 per square foot installed. A common sized bar might cost around $2000, thought your stone selection, exact dimensions and required cutouts will impact the exact price.
Both of these stones are excellent choice for a bar top. The differences are fairly minor, and many homeowners will make their decision based primarily on the look. Granite is often used in more elegant settings, while quartz is more modern and/or minimalist. Visit our showroom to the differences between the two. If you'd like to learn more about these stones, you can also visit our FAQ pages - Granite and Quartz.