As one of the hardest construction materials in use this days, the engineered stone known as quartz has become even more popular than granite, and one of the reasons is its superior durability. Even though quartz is a very hard material that doesn’t break easily, scratching is certainly possible according to the Mohs scale. To understand more about quartz and its resistance to fractures and deformation by means of external forces, it helps to learn about why it’s rated 7 on the Mohs scale.
In the 19th century, German geologist Friedrich Mohs was tasked with classifying a large collection of minerals amassed by a wealthy businessman in Austria, and the result of his methodical research would later be known as the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. This simple method, which is of great value for geologists working in the field, involves using picks for scratching rocks and other elements of the Earth’s crust. Fragments of representative materials rated from 1 to 10 on the Mohs scale are included in the kits for reference.
Silicon dioxide, one of the primary minerals found in many types of natural stone, happens to be one of the mineral samples contained in a Mohs field geology kit. At the bottom of the scale, the mineral sample is talc, which has a hardness rating of 1. Topaz, a precious stone, is harder than quartz with a rating of 8. The hardest sample in these kits is diamond, and it isn’t normally included in Mohs field kits because it would make them too expensive. The basic premise of the Mohs scale involves using a mineral to scratch another mineral. For example, you wouldn’t be able to scratch diamond with any other sample, but you can scratch silicon dioxide with topaz. For comparison, marble is rated between 3 and 5 on the Mohs scale.
Based on the Mohs scale, silicon dioxide is harder than steel, which would suggest you can make a sharp object with quartz, either the pure mineral or the engineered stone material, and scratch a knife, but this doesn’t mean steel wouldn’t be able to scratch quartz. It should be noted that geologists don’t apply pressure when using the Mohs kits for scratching. If you want to ruin a quartz countertop or kitchen island, you’d only need to apply enough force with a knife or a set of house keys and leave scratches.
When quartz tiles and slabs are fabricated, the final step involves applying a special gel coating solution that permanently seals the engineered stone. If you take reasonably good care of quartz, the scratches you find may not be deeper than the “permaseal.” Even if you manage to avoid scratches, you need to use a specially formulated quartz cleaner and polish such as Granite Gold Quartz Brite® when caring for your quartz countertops.
Whether you need additional tips on caring for quartz or you’d like to learn how to polish natural stone such as granite, marble, or slate, the Stone Care Experts at Granite Gold® are here to help. Give us a call today at 1-800-475-STONE (7866).