The simple answer is yes, you can technically cut on top of your quartz countertops, but there’s really no good reason for doing so. Quartz can sometimes be found in commercial kitchens, but chefs make it a point to remind their staff that cutting boards should always be used even though quartz surfaces are known to resist scratching, which is something that also applies to stainless steel. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to why you shouldn’t cut directly on quartz countertops.
Understanding Mineral Hardness
Although quartz is a manmade construction material, its composition is mostly natural. Established quartz fabricators ensure their slabs contain more than 90 percent natural quartz and resin, which are typically found in natural stones such as marble and quartzite. The hardness of quartz countertops is determined by its mineralization. High-quality slabs contain more silicon dioxide than granite, thereby making them harder than granite but softer than stainless steel and diamonds.
Measuring Scratch Resistance
The standard of measuring mineral hardness is the Mohs scale, which field geologists have used since 1812. In essence, the Mohs scale is based on the ability of some minerals and materials to scratch others. Diamonds are at the top of the scale, which runs from 1 to 10. Chalky clay is at the very bottom along with calcium sulfates such as gypsum. When geologists take a Mohs scale kit to the field, they essentially grab mineral samples to scratch other rocks with. A gemstone such as topaz will scratch just about anything, including quartz countertops, but you can’t use a wedge made of calcite to this effect. Quite a few stainless steel knives rank around 7 on the Mohs scale, thereby enabling them to scratch quartz countertops, which also rank around 7.
Causing Invisible Scratches and Allowing Food Substances to Cause Damage
If you cut directly on quartz, you may not immediately notice the scratches, which illustrates the scratch resistance properties of engineered stone. If you start hacking away at a quartz surface with a certain amount of force, you’ll certainly notice scratches and even nicks. The real problem is the eventual degradation of the permanent seal quartz surfaces are fabricated with, which means food substances can get past the surface and into the core.
Protecting and Maintaining Your Quartz Countertops
For the reasons stated above, you should listen to the advice of professional chefs around the world: always use cutting boards. Quartz is easy to maintain. Just wipe down surfaces with a combination quartz cleaner and polish, and make sure to do it frequently. You don’t have to worry about sealing quartz, but you do have to be mindful about accidentally scratching the surface with sharp utensils.
If you’d like to learn more about quartz and granite care, reach out to Granite Gold® today. All of our products are safe to use on quartz and natural stone such as granite, marble, and limestone. Give us a call at 1-800-475-STONE (7866).
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