When it comes to countertops, we want them durable, sustainable and immune to the daily wear and tear of damage that can happen in the kitchen. While no countertop is indestructible, you can find countertops that are nearly so.
When it comes to normal duties performed in the kitchen, natural stone countertops, such as granite countertops, perform the best when it comes to scratching, heat and cold sustainability and simply looking fabulous for many years to come if treated and cared for correctly.
Though natural stone countertops are harder and less likely to damage and scratch in comparison to synthetic countertops, such as formica or laminate, there are natural stones that are harder than others. Which ones are the hardest stones?
Are all stone countertops created equal in this manner? Let us help you understand the hardness of stones, especially in relation to countertop materials.
Understanding the Mohs scale
To determine the hardness of natural minerals, the Mohs scale is used. It measures the hardness of minerals on a scale of 1 to 10.
One of the hardest minerals in nature is the diamond, being a 10 on the Mohs scale where the talc is on the opposite end of the scale at a 1. In our kitchens, we want the hardest, most durable countertop material.
While countertops out of diamonds would be millions of dollars and impossible, we strive for the next best thing. On the Mohs scale, titanium and tungsten measure at a 9, but metal looking countertops are cold and unattractive. Gems like topaz and emerald measure at an 8, but countertops made of gems are again, unattainable.
So we strive for the hardest, most attainable and attractive option in stones which happens to be granite and quartz. These two stones have a Mohs hardness rating of 6 or 7. Marble is a degree or two less and though it is still a very hard stone, it’s rating on the Mohs scale is about a 5. Soapstone contains one of the softest minerals in nature, talc, thus bringing it down on the scale at between a 3.5 to a 5, depending on the quality and quarry.
A closer look at hard stone countertops
Natural stone countertops add class and value to your kitchen or bathrooms and now that you understand the Mohs scale and the hardness of each type of countertop, you can determine, based on your preference and needs in each room, which type is best for you.
Soapstone has a gorgeous, rich appearance and though a little softer, sometimes the scratching and wear over time give it character. It is nonporous, cannot stain and shining it with mineral oil delivers an attractive sheen.
Marble is an elegant choice that has been popular for centuries. While it is susceptible to stains and scratching, it is not affected by heat and with proper care, can withstand decades of everyday use while maintaining its splendor.
Granite and quartz countertops are among the most popular in kitchen choices because of their hardness and durability. While quartz can be the most expensive and granite needs to be occasionally sealed, both of these countertop types are popular choices because they resist scratching more than any other types of stone.
Which hard stone countertop is right for you?
Depending on your preference, the desired look, your daily habits and your countertop needs, Arch City Granite will help you pick the right natural stone countertop for you. All of these natural stones come in a wide variety of colors that can be matched to any style of kitchen or bathroom. Stone countertops are often used for countertops in laundry rooms, wet/dry bars and even outdoor kitchens.
Our friendly and helpful staff at Arch City Granite will assess your needs in each room, what is most important to you in terms of durability, look and style and help you select the best natural stone countertop that you will be happy for many years to come.
If you are looking to upgrade the look of your kitchen or bathroom, installing new, natural stone countertops is the perfect way to do that. Your satisfaction in our work and quality of product is very important to us, we look forward to serving you.