Are Quartz Countertops Scratch Resistant?

When choosing a countertop material for your kitchen or bathroom, scratch resistance is often a top consideration. Quartz has emerged in recent years as a popular choice due to its durability and aesthetic appeal. But how scratch resistant are quartz countertops really?

What is Quartz?

Quartz countertops, also known as engineered stone, are made from ground natural quartz crystals combined with resins and pigments. The quartz content typically ranges from 90-94%. The remaining 6-10% consists of polymer resins that bind the material together, and pigments that determine the color and pattern.

The resins make quartz non-porous, so it does not need to be sealed. The quartz gives it hardness and scratch resistance. This combination of properties is what makes quartz a durable and low-maintenance choice for countertops.

How Scratch Resistant is Quartz?

Quartz has a hardness rating of 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. The Mohs scale ranks minerals based on their relative scratch hardness, with 1 being the softest (talc) and 10 being the hardest (diamonds).

With a rating of 7, quartz is considerably harder than materials like marble (3-4 on Mohs) and laminate (2-4 on Mohs). This high hardness makes quartz very scratch resistant in everyday use.

Quartz is More Scratch Resistant Than Most Other Countertop Materials

  • Softer stones like marble and limestone are very prone to scratching, etching and staining. Quartz is much more durable in comparison.
  • Granite is another popular natural stone surface that ranges from 6-8 on the Mohs scale. While granite resists scratches better than marble, quartz is harder than many granites.
  • Solid surface materials like Corian® are softer than quartz, with a Mohs hardness of 3-4. Over time, solid surfaces develop scratches, cuts and dents quite easily.
  • Laminate and wood countertops are highly susceptible to scratches, moisture damage, burns and impact dents. Quartz is far superior in durability.
  • Ceramic tile can chip and crack under impact. The glassy surface also scratches easily. Quartz withstands chips, cracks and scratches much better.
  • Concrete countertops are porous and can stain, etch and crack. Quartz is non-porous and higher in scratch hardness.

So while no material is completely scratch-proof, quartz’s superior hardness means it resists scratching better than almost any other countertop material.

What Can Scratch Quartz?

While quartz has excellent scratch resistance, it is not impervious. What are some things that can scratch quartz?

  • Materials harder than quartz on the Mohs scale. This includes diamonds (which are a 10 on Mohs) and topaz (8 on Mohs).
  • Sharp pointed or edged objects, such as knives and scissors. The pressure exerted by sharp items can potentially scratch, chip or gouge quartz.
  • Abrasive grit, such as sand or debris on another object. Dragging rough textured items across the surface under pressure can cause faint hairline scratches.
  • Accidental drops of extremely hard or heavy objects. Impact from something like a cast iron pan or tool can damage quartz.

Quartz can be scratched under extreme circumstances, but it maintains its polished appearance through typical daily use. Here are some guidelines to prevent scratches:

  • Use a cutting board instead of cutting directly on the counter.
  • Don’t drag rough textured pots or appliances across the surface. Lift objects to move them.
  • Don’t apply heavy pressure that could gouge the material.
  • Immediately wipe up any abrasive spills like sand.
  • Avoid exposing quartz to chemicals that can etch or discolor it.
  • Use placemats or trivets under hot pans and dishes.

With proper care, quartz countertops will retain their smooth polished finish for many years of regular kitchen and bathroom use.

How Deep Do Scratches Penetrate Quartz?

Quartz countertops are made up of approximately 90% ground quartz aggregates bound together by polymer resin. This combination gives quartz an internal structure that is highly scratch-resistant across its cross-section, not just on the surface.

Light scratches only affect the surface and do not penetrate through the thickness of the slab. Deeper scratches and gouges go beyond the surface resin layer but do not typically reach the full depth of the countertop.

The resin binds the quartz particles together and helps prevent scratches from propagating through the entire thickness of the material. So while scratches in quartz can be visible and feel uneven, they are purely superficial and do not structurally undermine the stability of the countertop.

Proper installation also contributes to scratch resistance. Quartz countertops are adhered to the substrate with thick layers of glue or mortar. This creates a strong underlying support that prevents the countertop from flexing or moving, which could contribute to structural cracks and fissures over time.

Do Scratches Worsen Over Time?

Light surface marks and scratches in a quartz countertop remain fairly unchanged over time. They do not progressively worsen or expand under normal use.

However, the accumulation of scratches and abrasions from daily wear and tear can give the countertop a worn, dull appearance over many years. Quartz can lose its glossy polished sheen after prolonged use without proper care.

You can restore superficial scratches and light etching in quartz through a process called honing or polishing. Honing uses abrasives to buff out imperfections and restore the smooth factory finish. Deep honing should be left to professionals.

With frequent polishing and sealing, quartz countertops can look pristine for decades. But allowing many surface blemishes to develop without refinishing can make the scratches more pronounced and obvious over time.

Factors That Impact Scratch Resistance

Not all quartz countertops have the same level of scratch resistance. Here are some factors that affect how easily quartz can incur surface marks and abrasions:

  • Quartz Percentage – Countertops with higher quartz content (>90%) tend to have greater scratch hardness. Lower quality quartz contains more resin fillers and is slightly softer.
  • Pigments – Darker quartz colors show scratches and scuffs more readily than lighter tones. Lighter quartz visually hides minor marks better.
  • Finish – Matte finishes disguise surface scratches well. Polished finishes make every mark stand out and look worse.
  • Quality – Low-end quartz brands often cut corners, using less quartz and lower quality resins. High-end quartz has more quartz and superior bonding.
  • Thickness – Thicker quartz slabs are less prone to flexing that can cause hairline cracks. Standard thickness is 3 cm. Jumbo slabs are 3.5-4 cm thick.
  • Maintenance – Regular cleaning and occasional resealing improves durability. Neglecting quartz leads to faster wear and tear.

Higher priced quartz from reputable manufacturers generally exhibits better scratch resistance and longevity than discounted products. But even low-end quartz performs adequately for most kitchens.

Are Quartz Countertops Scratch-Proof?

No material is completely impervious to scratching. But quartz comes remarkably close to being scratch-proof for all intents and purposes. Under typical daily use, quartz provides a smooth pristine surface that is highly scratch, scuff and dent resistant compared to other countertop materials.

However, under extreme pressure or force, quartz can be damaged. Homeowners should use sound judgment to prevent scratching. With proper care and maintenance, quartz countertops will stay looking like new for many years before requiring resurfacing. For busy kitchens wanting both beauty and brawn, quartz delivers outstanding scratch resistance and durability.

How to Prevent Scratches in Quartz Countertops

Despite quartz being a very hardy material, it’s important to understand how to prevent scratching and damaging your countertops. Here are some tops tips to keep your quartz pristine:

Use Cutting Boards

  • Never cut directly on the counter, always use a cutting board. Cutting and chopping will damage the surface over time.
  • Use soft plastic or wood cutting boards, not hard materials that could scratch if dragged across the counter.
  • For hygiene, use a sanitizing kitchen spray to clean the cutting board after food preparation.

Lift Objects Instead of Sliding

  • Avoid dragging pots, pans, appliances, and other objects across the quartz. Lift and place items instead of sliding them to prevent scuff marks.
  • Install rugs or pads under small appliances like mixers and blenders that may vibrate across the countertop during use.
  • Lifting protects the surface from utensils, dishes or other abrasives that could scratch quartz.

Don’t Apply Heavy Pressure

  • Take care not to lean or apply your full body weight onto the countertop, which could potentially damage the surface.
  • Heavy impact from falling objects can also crack, chip or scratch quartz. Handle kitchenware and tools with care.
  • Supervise children around quartz surfaces so they don’t treat the counters roughly or stand on them.

Clean Up Spills Promptly

  • Quartz can be etched by prolonged exposure to strong chemicals and acidic substances like lemon juice, vinegar or cleaners.
  • Wipe up food spills immediately before the counter absorbs stains.
  • Rinse any traces of cleaning solutions thoroughly to prevent etching.

Use Trivets and Placemats

  • Place trivets underneath hot pots, pans, and heat generating appliances like instant pots.
  • Use placemats under dinnerware, vases, and any decorative items that could scratch the surface if pushed across the counter.

Apply Sealants

  • Most quartz has inbuilt stain protection, but annual application of sealants adds an extra layer of protection.
  • Penetrating sealants fill microscopic pores and crevices to prevent spills from seeping in and causing etching.
  • Topical sealants create a protective coating that makes the surface more slip resistant and easier to clean.

Handle the Edges with Care

  • The corners and edges of quartz countertops are vulnerable to chipping and cracking if impacted. Use corner protectors.
  • Take care when moving kitchenware near edges so they don’t strike and damage the surface.
  • Avoid placing very heavy items near the edges that could cause stress cracks.

With these simple practices, homeowners can easily prevent unnecessary scratching and damage. Quartz’s durability enables a lifetime of beauty when cared for properly.

How to Remove Scratches from Quartz Countertops

If scratches do occur on your quartz countertops, there are ways to reduce the appearance of superficial marks and abrasions to restore your surface’s beauty:

Clean with Scotch-BriteTM Pad

  • For light surface scratches, use a Scotch-BriteTM Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge to gently buff the affected area.
  • Rub with even circular motions using the green scrubbing side to remove fine marks and restore sheen.
  • Clean with a stone cleaner afterwards and rinse thoroughly.

Try a Polishing Kit

  • For deeper scratches, use a polishing kit designed for engineered stone.
  • These contain a buffing pad and polishing cream to gently sand out imperfections.
  • Rub the cream into scratches using circular motions with the specialized polishing pad.
  • Rinse the countertop and make sure all residue is gone to prevent hazing.

Have It Professionally Honed

  • Honing is a professional resurfacing done with a succession of abrasives in progressively finer grits.
  • The process removes a microscopic layer to eliminate scratches and provide an even, smooth, factory-fresh finish.
  • Honing should only be done occasionally as it wears away a slight amount of the quartz.

Live with Scratches

  • Very minor superficial marks are not noticeable from normal viewing height.
  • Surface scratches do not affect the function or integrity of quartz countertops.
  • If marks are small and relatively inconspicuous, it’s reasonable to accept them rather than aggressively smoothing them out.

With very careful handling plus occasional polishing, quartz countertops can provide many years of unblemished beauty and performance. But if scratches do occur, there are ways to reduce their visible impact.

How Scratch-Resistant is Quartz Compared to Other Countertop Materials?

Quartz is more scratch-resistant than granite, marble, laminate and solid surface countertops. Here is how it compares:


  • Made from around 90% ground quartz, making it very hard and scratch-resistant.
  • Has a Mohs hardness rating of 7 out of 10.
  • Resists scratches from regular kitchen use.
  • Develops surface scratches gradually over time with heavy use.
  • Scratches can be buffed out to restore appearance.


  • A natural stone with Mohs hardness ranging from 6-8 depending on type.
  • More prone to scratching than quartz.
  • Takes many years to develop light surface scratches with careful use.
  • Scratches cannot be removed from granite surfaces.


  • A softer natural stone with a Mohs hardness of only 3-4.
  • Easily scratched and etched from regular use or acidic liquids.
  • Shows wear and scratching in a relatively short time.
  • Must be sealed regularly but will still scratch easily.


  • Made from layers of kraft paper and melamine resins.
  • Has a Mohs hardness of 2-4 depending on quality.
  • Prone to chipping, scratching, burns, and water damage.
  • Scratches rapidly deteriorate the surface over a short time.

Solid Surface

  • Material like Corian® is made from acrylic resins and minerals.
  • Average Mohs hardness rating of 3-4.
  • Scratches and cuts relatively easily from daily use.
  • Can be sanded and refinished but still scratches readily.

While no countertop material is totally scratch-proof, quartz’s superior hardness and durability make it the most scratch-resistant choice for kitchens and bathrooms wanting to retain their polished new look for many years. With proper care and maintenance, quartz countertops will stand up beautifully to heavy daily use.

How to Determine if New Scratches Can be Removed from Quartz

When new scratches inevitably occur on your quartz countertops, use these tips to determine if they can be removed or reduced to restore your quartz to its original flawless condition:

Check Depth of Scratch

  • Run your fingers over the length of the scratch to gauge its depth.
  • If you can’t catch a fingernail on the scratch, it is likely superficial and can be polished out.
  • Deep grooves and gouges may permanently damage the surface.

Consider Length of Scratch

  • Short hairline scratches have a better chance of being minimized than long deep gouges.
  • Length also impacts how aesthetically noticeable the scratch will remain.
  • Several small scratches can often be polished out but one long scratch may be permanent.

Determine if Edges are Jagged

  • Clean edges that are smooth may buff out well, even if deep.
  • Jagged, uneven edges indicate material has chipped away and can’t be replaced.
  • Damage along edges makes the scratch more visible and harder to conceal.

Establish Cause of Scratch

  • Accidental light abrasions like from a pot can polish out, while deliberate gouges may be permanent.
  • Cuts from sharp knives are difficult to remove completely.
  • Light scratches from day-to-day use have the best prognosis.

Consider Quartz Thickness

  • Thicker slabs can take more polishing to remove scuffs and scrapes.
  • On thinner pieces, extensive polishing may cut through to the substrate.
  • Jumbo 3 cm+ slabs have more thickness to work with safely.

While quartz can incur permanent damage under some circumstances, most light to moderate scratches can be minimized to restore your countertop’s original beauty.

What Home Remedies Can Remove Scratches from Quartz?

While professional honing or polishing is recommended for best results, some homeowners use DIY remedies with success to remove or reduce the appearance of light scratches:

Baking Soda and Water Paste

  • Mix a thick paste of baking soda and water.
  • Using a soft cloth, rub the paste vigorously on the scratch in circular motions.
  • Rinse thoroughly after about 5 minutes.

Liquid Glass Restorer

  • Products like Cerama Bryte polish out surface marks on quartz.
  • Apply a thin coat in circular motions following package directions.
  • Wipe off residue and rinse completely after drying.

Whitening Toothpaste

  • Squeeze a small dollop of whitening toothpaste on a soft rag.
  • Gently rub into the scratch for several minutes using small circular movements.
  • Rinse thoroughly and dry.

Olive Oil

  • Drip some olive oil over the scratch and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Use a soft cloth and rub the oil vigorously back and forth over the scratch.
  • Clean with dish soap, rinse and dry completely.

Glass Cooktop Cleaner

  • Spray glass stove top cleaner directly onto the scratched area.
  • Use a damp microfiber cloth to briskly rub the scratch for 1-2 minutes.
  • Rinse with clean water and dry with a soft towel.

For best results, test homemade remedies first on inconspicuous areas