Austin Kitchen and Bath                        

Durability Guide

The Durability of Counter Materials

Finding the right fit for your lifestyle is easy once you clarify your requirements.  Are you like me? Using the kitchen counter like a workbench? Or do you treat your counters more like treasured furniture? Some countertop materials are able to withstand a lot of abuse while others develop a pleasant patina of age over time adding character. A measure of durability helps classify the different counter top materials. Scientists have made this easy for us with a hardness scale called the Mohs Scale.

The Mohs Scale was developed by a German mineralogist, Friedrich Mohs, in 1812. The Mohs scale of mineral hardness is measure of one material scratching another. For example, everyone knows about testing a diamond on glass. A diamond has a hardness of 10 and glass is only 5.  So, any material rated lower than 10 on the Mohs scale can be scratched by a diamond.  Rather than reinvent the wheel and apply a new scale of hardness, This guide uses the Mohs Scale to rate the common counter surfaces. Below are popular counter materials in use around Austin listed in order from soft to hard.


Is Butcher Block Too Soft?

Custom Cabinet
Problem: I want a butcher block counter but it is only 3 to 4 on the scale so it will be damaged by my knives.

Answer: While it is true that stainless steel is 5.5 on the Mohs scale and butcher block is lower this does not tell the full story. Butcher block counters are a very popular and traditional cutting surface because knife blades will not be dulled by its surface plus any nicks or scratches can be sanded out.

The good news is, if you have your eye set on a certain look, but the material just doesn't match with your lifestyle, odds are there's another material that does and has the required functionality.