Moh’s Hardness Scale: How Hard Is Your Countertop?

Moh's Hardness Scale: How Hard Is Your Countertop?

You may have heard the term, but you may not know what is Moh’s Hardness Scale. Minerals are rated on what is known as Moh’s Scale of Hardness, a method designed to determine how dense the material is. On the scale, a one represents the softest material while a ten represents the hardest.

What is Moh’s Hardness Scale

According to the Mineralogical Society of America, Moh’s Hardness Scale was developed by Frederich Mohs in 1822. The purpose of the scale is to determine how scratch resistant a mineral is and is related to the breaking of chemical bonds in the material as well as microfractures on the surface. It can also be used for metal. Hardness is determined by the ability of one mineral to scratch another. For example, a diamond can scratch granite while granite can scratch marble. Marble has a Mohs’ Hardness Scale rating between 3-4. This means that marble is less scratch resistant than granite.

Granite on the Mohs’ Scale

Granite is a blend of different minerals fused together by the tectonics of the Earth, making it difficult to determine the hardness of the material. Granite crystals are listed between 7-9 on Mohs’ Scale of Hardness, while other minerals that may be included, such as mica, may show as a 5. The veining and marbling of granite also adds to the hardness of the countertop.

Research is Necessary

Because one slab of granite may have a higher rating on the Moh’s Hardness Scale, it is important to research before purchasing the countertop if you are seeking a higher scratch resistance. High quality granite often has a higher hardness than granites of lower quality. It is important to understand that granite that is rated low on the Mohs’ Scale is at higher risk for scratching or cracking than granite that is rated higher on the scale. For some applications, such as windowsills or decorative purposes, softer granite may be suitable, but for use in kitchens and bathrooms, you will want to choose a granite that is harder and less likely to scratch.

Choosing countertops can be a fun and exciting part of any remodeling project. It is important to choose countertop materials that are durable enough for your use. Our customer service representatives can help guide you through the selection process so that you will be sure to get the countertop with the hardness you need. You can reach them by calling on the phone or completing the simple query form online to learn more about the countertops we have available.

A Scientific Approach To The Quartz vs Granite Discussion

A Scientific Approach To The Quartz vs Granite Discussion

If you are considering a remodeling project that will include countertops, you may be confused as to whether quartz or granite countertops are the better option. There are many factors that you must use to determine what countertop is best for your needs, but a scientific explanation of the differences may help you determine which will be best suited for your project.

Granite and Its Formation

Scientifically, granite is a plutonic rock composed of quarts, normally between 10 and 50 percent, and total feldspar, normally 65 to 90 percent. In addition, granite may contain mica, amphibole and other trace minerals. It is the various minerals included in each slab of granite that give it the colors and textures that make it so popular for countertops. Granite was formed by cooling molten rock, usually deep below the surface of the Earth. The granite that is pulled from the Earth today is near the surface because it was uplifted so that sediment was shed through erosion. The shift from a high pressure environment and temperature to the atmospheric temperature and pressure leads to expansion and cracking, causing granite to be softer than other types of countertop material.

The Formation of Quartz

When people think of quartz, they often think of white sandy beaches with flecks of pink or brown. As weaker minerals erode due to weather, quartz is often left as a predominant mineral on beaches, far from sediment sources. Quartz countertops, however, are actually manufactured, consisting of 90 percent quartz blended with resin, polymers and pigment for color. This creates countertops that are durable without pores or cracks and the pigment used is naturally found in quartz arenite.

Granite and Radon

There have been online sources reporting that granite countertops may contain radon, a radioactive gas that is naturally found in the stone. Granites can contain radon in parts per billion, but the amount found in countertops is so minimal it poses no threat to humans. Quartz countertops have no radon, but that does not make quartz a safer alternative than granite. Radiation is encountered in many different ways throughout daily life, including while flying, walking through a city and basically living life, so the amount of radon in granite poses no real threat.

When it comes to choosing granite or quartz, it may come down to simple factors like price, color choices and durability. If you are considering granite or quartz countertops, contact our knowledgeable customer service representatives to learn what products are best for you by completing the simple form on line or giving us a call.

Is Quartz More Expensive Than Marble?

Is Quartz More Expensive Than Marble?

One of the most commonly asked questions asked during kitchen or bath remodels may be “Is quartz more expensive than marble? Because kitchens and baths can be the costliest to renovate, you want to be sure you choose the right surfaces for your countertops. This means that you want to look at more than just the sticker price of your new counters and also compare other differences between marble and quartz.

Quartz and Marble Countertop Construction

The first thing to consider when determining “is quartz more expensive than marble” is to understand how quartz countertops are created. Quartz is actually engineered stone with the countertops created from approximately 90 percent quartz and the remaining ten percent resin mixed with dye. It is very durable and can be found in a wide range of colors due to the dyes that are added. Marble, however, consists of either limestone or dolomite rock and is completely natural. It is known for its elegant beauty and, because no two slabs of marble are the same, your countertops can have a unique look from different angles.

Countertop Price Tags

If you are looking only at the cost of purchasing and installing countertops, quartz is less expensive initially as the cost for quartz ranges from $40 to $100 per square foot while marble ranges between $50 and $150. Although that may not seem like much of a variation, the entire project could cost you from $2,200 to $5,600 for quartz while marble could range between $2,800 to $8,400 for the same square footage of countertop.

Other Factors

It is important, however, not to only focus on the price of purchase and installation of your countertops. Quartz provides a more uniform color and pattern. It can also mimic the look of natural stone, even marble. There is no question that marble adds a touch of elegance and timeless beauty to your kitchen or bath. You also know that the countertops are unique since different slabs of marble have different patterns and colors. However, quartz also offers lower maintenance and better durability than marble. It is non-porous so there is less concern about bacteria. It does not need sealing or waxing, is virtually stain resistant and resists cracking, scratching and scorching. Marble does resist heat fairly well but it can be stained. Marble also requires regular sealing so you should factor that into the cost when determining your budget.

Overall, the answer to “is quartz more expensive than marble” is “no” for many reasons. Quartz requires less maintenance, has a lower price tag and is more stain-resistant than marble. However, marble offers a more timeless, elegant look which is why some people prefer it as a countertop choice. If you would like more information on the differences between marble and quartz countertops, contact us today by calling or completing the simple query form online.

Buyer’s Guide: Engineered Stone Countertops

Buyer’s Guide Engineered Stone Countertops

Making environmentally sensitive choices is an effort that most Americans care about these days. Engineered stone countertops are Eco-friendly, hygienic, low-maintenance, versatile, and incredibly attractive. It is the ideal choice for almost any setting that could use a touch of elegance and unique style.

Which products make a great countertop surface?

Kitchen countertops of engineered stone are designed to stand up to the high-wear of such an installation. Acid-resistant and durable engineered stone brands that we are proud to carry and recommend include Cambria, Marble Systems, Caesartone, and Silestone. As long as the surface is nonporous, it will never stain, crack, mold, or scratch, even if it is used in a frequently humid bathroom.

What are the primary characteristics of engineered stone?

Beauty is one of the first things that people notice about any slab of engineered stone. It is incredibly strong, durable, and resistant to almost any type of damage. The surface cannot accumulate mold or bacteria because is it completely non-absorbent and easy to clean. Heat-resistance makes it ideal for any application, even if it is near a hot stove or fireplace.

characteristics of engineered stone

What are some advantages to using these products?

Colors and styles vary so greatly in the engineered stone products that it can mimic the appearance of natural stone. Anyone that appreciates the appearance of delicate marble or limestone can own the look with the addition of strength offered in engineered stone. Avoiding the use of natural resources protects the environment, and manufactured products actually use recycled materials in production. Installation is very simple if you hire a contractor that is familiar with handling the product.

  • Color: Dozens of colors are available, and quartz offers one clear benefit over natural stone: more options than nature alone can provide.Just consider shades like apple martini green or funky crocodile-print surfaces. Colors range from quietly traditional to ultra hip.

Are there any negative aspects to choosing engineered stone?

It’s tough to find any downside when it comes to such a versatile option, but it can be difficult to create smooth curves. Otherwise, there is almost no limit to the applications possible with the help of an experienced contractor. Unless you are determined to have authentic natural stone inside your home, there is no reason not to choose an engineered product.

  • Practicality: One of the most practical options for busy baths, quartz stands up to staining, heat and scratching. Unlike natural stone, it never requires sealing.

We look forward to helping you find the perfect slab of engineered stone that suits your taste in color and texture options. Work with a manufacturer that not only understands engineered stone, but offers an entire showroom of different options for you to choose from. Provide your information through our contact form so that we can set up an appointment soon.