Whether you are having your bathroom remodeled or are building an entirely new bathroom, one of the biggest decisions you’ll make is which type of material you’ll use on your countertop or vanity. Obviously, for many people, price is one of the most important buying criteria when deciding on bathroom fixtures and the material used is the main determining factor in the final price of most vanities. An imported Italian Carrara marble top or high-end granite vanity will be significantly more expensive than materials such as acrylic or laminate.
Apart from cost, the material you select for your vanity countertop will also set the tone for the type or style of bathroom you are designing since the vanity is often the center of attention in the bathroom. For example, when designing or decorating a Mediterranean style bath you’d almost always incorporate marble or tile whereas a rustic bathroom might use reclaimed wood for the vanity top. The material may also determine the look you use in your bathrooms such as the best faucet finish or the flooring options that would match up well.
If you are doing a full remodel you have much more freedom since you can pick out any countertop and then select matching decor that works best but if you are doing a partial remodel and want to reuse other fixtures and accessories in your bathroom you’ll need to pay closer attention and may need to eliminate some of these options that would clash or conflict with your existing style.
Apart from budget, much of this comes down to personal preference but let’s take a look at all of the different types of bathroom countertops that you can use to help decide.
Bathroom Countertop Material Options:
Granite is one of the most common countertop types. It is a natural stone that provokes a sense of dramatic style. Plus, you can get it in an almost unlimited variety of patterns, styles, and colors. This can be both a blessing and a curse, though. As soon as you find one that you love, make sure to immediately reserve enough material for your needs. It might be hard to find an exact match in time.
Granite is also hardy and durable, and most are scratch-resistant. That’s why they are so commonly used – they can last for a long time, and can withstand heat and humidity. All of this comes at a price, of course. It is no surprise that granite is one of the costlier options around.
Quartz is a naturally occurring material and is quite abundant on earth, but it is engineered to include resins, pigments, and other recycled materials depending on what you’ll use it for. It is very durable and resistant to bacteria and stains. A big advantage of this product is that it’s waterproof and doesn’t need sealing.
The overlook is clean and modern. Since it’s engineered to an extent, you can enjoy a whole variety of styles and patterns. It’s quite expensive, too, but it’s worth it if you are looking for a tough countertop.
This is a kind of limestone that is stylish as much as it is a classic. There are a lot of variations in pattern and color available, the most common of which are gray streaks, black with white streaks, or blue streaks.
Marble comes from quarries and contains a lot of minerals. Depending on where it’s been gathered, the marble will be unique and different from others gathered elsewhere. It’s still quite expensive today, often costlier than quartz or granite. There are affordable options, though.
Marble needs resealing, however, since it is not resistant against scratches and stains.
One of the newer materials to make it to the countertop game is concrete. It looks very modern and is often used in industrial and post-modern designs. These countertops go through custom fabrication, giving the slab a unique appearance every time. You can choose from a variety of textures and tints, or opt for slabs with stone chips added.
Concrete is very customizable. Many homeowners ask for custom shapes and textures, or for it to look like “natural stone”. Surprisingly, this material is lightweight. Despite that, it is very durable. You’ll need to seal and wax it regularly as maintenance – it is prone to damage because of the porous properties of the concrete.
Tile offers a lot of options. You can get ceramic, glass, porcelain, and other types of tiles. Each one comes in an endless availability of colors, shapes, and sizes. You can even customize your countertop with handpicked patterns. You can go for a subdued look or a bright and bold statement just using a different tile.
Ceramic tiles, in particular, resist heat, stains, moisture, and scratches. They are not mildew-resistant, though. By sealing them properly, you can protect them. Tile is more affordable, and when they get damaged, it is often easy to replace them as needed — or repair them using products like this:
Many consider laminate to be the most practical countertop material. They are great for areas of heavy use, but minimal abuse. The laminate surface uses a thin plastic material, which is pressed to plywood, particleboard, or more plastic. It’s available in many patterns and colors and can be custom-made.
This material has been around since the 1960s and has seen a lot of upgrades since. You can go classic with vintage patterns, or use modern designs for a contemporary bathroom. This has to be one of the cheapest countertop materials. It’s also a favorite of DIY-ers since it’s easy to install on your own.
The downside to this is the tendency of laminate to dull or thin over time. It is impossible to repair laminate. If it gets damaged or worn out, you’ll have to replace the entire countertop.
Recycled glass is a very trendy countertop material today. If you’re looking for something exciting, modern, and hip, then getting a color-infused glass countertop is the way to go. This material consists of recycled shards of glass, pressed together to form a shape using resin or cement. You can also pair this type of countertop perfectly with a glass vessel sink.
Each one is unique, and there are many colors and patterns to pick. If you have a contemporary bathroom, go for ones with larger shards pressed together. Ground shards are also available and look more “solid”.
Glass is resistant to heat and scratches. However, it is susceptible to stains, cracks, and chips.
If we can upcycle glass, we can upcycle wood, too. This is made of recycled wood often reclaimed from factories, barns, warehouses, or other old structures. Aged wood gives it more character and boosts a space’s rustic appearance. It is very warm and welcoming.
Not only does it look good, but it’s also environmentally friendly compared to other options. It’s also sustainable if you need replacements. Unlike sourced wood from new growth trees, reclaimed wood is sturdier, more stable, and stronger. This is because it’s already expanded and contracted due to exposure to humidity, and you are using it in its most stable form.
The only downside is this type of material is rare. Not a lot is available. The high demand also makes it quite an expensive option.
This is already used in most areas of the bathroom, so using it as countertops make sense. It’s been used for centuries in Europe and Asia and is now catching up in America. You can get porcelain in many hues, colors, patterns, and finishes. Plus, matching it with a porcelain backsplash or sink creates seamlessness in the bathroom.
The truth as to why so many prefer porcelain is its easy maintenance. You just have to wipe it to clean it! It’s also durable and resistant to heat, scratches, cracks, and chips. Above all, you can simply lay a porcelain countertop on an old countertop instead of making a full replacement. Not all materials are eligible for this.
It does come as quite pricey, though. That and you’ll have to hire a pro to install it.
Finally, we talk about bamboo countertops. You’ve surely seen it in spas and resorts, or even nature-themed hotels and restaurants. It’s no secret that it looks good in the bathroom. But it’s not just a pretty face. It’s also very good for the environment as we’ve mentioned with bamboo towels.
It does have downsides, though, making it the least popular option in our list. It lacks durability and strength. It is also easily scratched, scorched, and stained. Exposure to moisture can warp it and discolor it over time.
A good use for this is to install it in bathrooms that aren’t always used, such as guest powder rooms! That’s because simply put, it’s better for show than for use.