Bathroom Countertops: An Essential Materials Guide

Discover the positives and negatives of the most popular countertop surface materials among homeowners today.

By Carly Kilpatrick

 

Selecting the right materials for your countertops can present quite the conundrum for many buyers. There are a ton of great looking options that can work well with almost anyone’s budget. The bathroom is the perfect place to get stylish with your countertops, as they won’t get abused the same way your kitchen countertops might – various spills, chopping, etc.

 

For this reason, the debate most homeowners have will be about style rather than toughness and durability. Take a longer look at the most desired bathroom countertops and materials on the market today.

 

Marble

Marble countertops are usually considered the cream of the crop when it comes to countertop materials. They are associated with wealth and elegance, and they bring a level of luxury that most other materials simply can’t. Marble is often characterized by the stunning whites mixed in with thick, gray veins running throughout. However, there are a lot of different color options out there when it comes to marble, and thanks to production increases and wholesale vendors, it is a bit more affordable than it used to be.

 

Positives:

  • Beautiful and elegant.
  • Versatile, highly adaptable to a variety of styles.
  • Strong, resistant to chipping.

 

Negatives:

  • It’s pricey (about $150 per square foot depending on thickness).
  • Porous nature makes it stain prone and can easily be scratched.
  • Requires regular maintenance such as periodic sealing.

 

 

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Granite

Granite is probably the most popular countertop material among homeowners today – for a host of different reasons. This natural stone looks stunning and also comes in a wide array of colors, and its something-for-everybody nature is what makes it a premier pick. Its beauty is quite prominent, and granite is right up there alongside marble when it comes to elegant countertop materials.

 

Positives:

  • Options galore.
  • Hard to damage and scratch once properly sealed.
  • Long lasting, incredibly durable.

 

Negatives:

  • One of the more expensive options (could be up to $100 per square foot, possibly more).
  • Requires professional installation.
  • Heavy, difficult to transport.

 

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Quartz

Quartz is one of toughest and most widely available minerals on the planet. Almost every other natural stone has some percentage of quartz in it – it is that widespread. Generally, manufacturers of quartz countertops incorporate different pigments and resins to give it the desired look while also cutting costs, for both themselves and the buyer. Still, most quartz countertops look exceptional and are in the middle nineties range when it comes to percentage of natural stone.

 

Positives:

  • Extremely durable, doesn’t require sealing.
  • Resistant to moisture and staining.
  • Comes in variety of colors and treatments

 

Negatives: 

  • High-end quartz prices can rival granite and marble ($50 to $100 per square foot).
  • Smudge prone, requires vigilant wipe downs
  • Sometimes isn’t completely natural stone

 

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Solid Surface

Solid surface countertop materials can easily be worked in with modern home décor. They come in a wide range of colors and patterns, and they are sure to have something for almost every aesthetic. This type of countertop is usually made from crushed stone and acrylic resin, which will help get the cost down a bit when compared with high-end granite and marble.

 

Positives:

  • Very water resistant, durable.
  • Can imitate natural stone
  • Available in a ton of different colors and treatments.

 

Negatives: 

  • Doesn’t stand up well to heat.
  • Wear and tear visible in darker colors.
  • Needs to be installed by a professional.

 

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Laminate

Laminate countertops (also sometimes referred to as Formica) are one of the more affordable and reliable countertops around. Laminate countertops look a lot better than they used to 20 or 30 years ago, and well-crafted laminate countertops do a decent job mimicking natural stone. Because they are made out of a bunch of different materials, laminate countertops can come in a wide variety of looks and styles.

 

Positives: 

  • Affordable.
  • Tough, extremely water resistant.
  • Easier to install, possible to DIY if you’ve got some experience.

 

Negatives:

  • Hard to repair damage, usually the whole counter will need replacing.
  • Doesn’t look as good as natural stone as time goes on.
  • Can be cheap or think looking if not done correctly.

 

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Tile

Ceramic tile can work really well in the bathroom, assuming it’s properly grouted and maintained. It blends in beautifully in cottage style vacation homes, or anywhere you want a quaint, charming aesthetic. Tile can come in a ton of different patterns, so this is a countertop option that is highly customizable.

 

Positives: 

  • Ceramic tiles are extremely resistant to heat and moisture.
  • Highly customizable.
  • Affordable when compared with natural stone.

 

Negatives: 

  • Tiles are prone to chip and crack.
  • Grout can get grimey if not properly maintained.

 

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Concrete

No longer just for industrial spaces and parking garages, concrete has quickly become a very popular countertop choice. Concrete can create a huge variety of looks due to its pliable nature, and if there is only a small space, concrete can shape-shift into it. Also, concrete countertops help create that Brooklyn loft look that is very appealing to homeowners these days.

 

Positives: 

  • Highly customizable.
  • Can sometimes look like natural stone for much cheaper.
  • Eco-friendly.
  • Very durable.

 

Negatives:

  • Has to be sealed regularly.
  • Requires professional installation.

 

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The bathroom is one of the best spots to get creative with countertops, as they won’t see the type of usage your kitchen countertops surely will. Hopefully, with the help of the bathroom countertops materials guide, you’ll be better prepared when the time comes where you need to make a purchase.

 

Images used with permission, courtesy of www.shutterstock.com

 

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