Quartz is an engineered (man-made) stone. Quartz is a type of mineral, but when Quartz is mentioned for countertops this refers to the engineered product made from quartz and resin. Quartz is very durable and comes in a wide array of colors and patterns. Since Quartz is engineered it often has a consistent and uniform appearance. Quartz, like granite, is heat and stain resistant.
Sintered Compact Surfaces
Sintered compact surfaces are an engineered product that is made from naturally occurring materials such as, clay, feldspar, silica and mineral oxides. Slabs are created through heat and pressure much like in the earth but in much shorter span of time, and color and design are controlled much like quartz. Slabs are typically thinner, and so, lighter in weight than other slab products; and are versatile in application. It is extremely scratch, stain, and heat resistant, as well, as UV resistant and extremely low moisture absorption.
Soapstone is a metamorphic rock aptly named for its soapy feel due to large amounts of talc in the stone. However, it is also this talc that makes soapstone easier to scratch than granite, quartz, and sometimes marble. Most often, it is oiled or enhanced to darken its color, as well as, help mask minor surface scratches. One of the intriguing things about soapstone is that it is chemically innate; meaning that chemicals do not affect it. Therefore, it has widely been used as countertops in chemistry labs. It is also considered an impenetrable stone; meaning it does not stain. These two factors make it a wonderful product in kitchens.