Your bathroom cabinets should be functional and match your home’s style. With the perfect countertops, you can create a luxurious bathroom that is ideal for relaxing and unwinding.
The countertops in your bathroom create a large enough surface to tie every element in your decor together, from light fixtures to faucets. So, the type of countertop you choose is an important design decision.
Choosing the best countertops for your bathroom or vanity can be challenging if you don’t know where to start. Designing and constructing your bathroom counters without proper planning can cost you time and money.
Comparing the most common materials and how each function can give you a better idea of which type of countertop options are best for your home.
Factors to Consider
The material you choose for your bathroom countertops depends on several factors. One of the biggest factors to consider when selecting your bathroom countertops is how they will fit into your design. You’ll need to choose edge treatments, whether you want matte or polished finishes, and what type of base cabinets you want for your vanity.
Consider more than just the variety of colors and patterns when choosing your countertops. The amount of use, how much wear your counters receive, and how much space your countertops need are also crucial considerations. Think about how each type of countertop will perform in your home and ensure that it will fit into your decor and budget.
Custom designing your ideal bathroom countertops requires careful consideration of space constraints. If you’re planning an entire bathroom remodel, you need to map the layout using a 3D room design app or online design tool to ensure your counters have enough space without obstructing other fixtures like your shower, toilet, or bathtub.
How much your counters will cost is another crucial factor when deciding on the materials for your design. Expensive materials may be a poor choice if you have to sacrifice functionality for style. However, extremely low-cost options may cost you more in repairs and replacements later.
Humidity levels in most bathrooms are higher than in other areas of the home, so a bathroom counter should be able to stand up to moisture without causing rot, discoloration, or warping. Choose materials that are easy to clean, allowing you to quickly remove makeup and product residue and eliminate grime and mold.
The durability of your bathroom counters includes how well they hold up to scratches, heat and impact, and longevity. Rushed workday mornings that include spilled mouthwash, a dropped curling iron, and no time to wipe away water can all take their toll on your bathroom counters.
Common Countertop Materials
Your design, budget, and how your new counters incorporate into the larger design of your space and home are essential elements to consider when choosing the material for your countertops. Some popular countertop materials include:
This affordable countertop material is composed of layers of paper product that are compressed and resin bonded to a particleboard base. Laminate countertops are waterproof on top, but the underlayer can still be damaged by sitting or pooled water.
Laminate sheets or tiles are an inexpensive alternative to other countertop materials, costing between $15 and $40 per square foot. They come in many colors and are easy to cut and shape, making them a DIY favorite.
However, laminate lacks the durability of most other countertops and often doesn’t offer a sophisticated style, especially if it’s poorly installed. Laminate sheets can also be easily scratched and are prone to chipping and peeling.
Laminates can also swell from constant moisture exposure, so consider how well your bathroom exhaust vents the air before purchasing laminate. They also lack the heat resistance of natural stone or tile counters, so hot appliances could leave a permanent scorch mark.
Tiles for countertops are generally made from stone, ceramic, or porcelain and are stronger and more durable than most laminates. Tile countertops are an excellent choice for bathrooms because they come in a huge range of colors and sizes and are easily matched to your backsplash, shower walls, and floor tiles.
Tile counters vary widely in price, typically between $18 and $35 per square foot. Intricate mosaic designs can cost significantly more due to production. Grout, sealant, and regular maintenance contribute to the overall cost, making tile counters less cost-effective long-term than natural stone.
Grout lines can also stain easily from mold, toiletries, and debris, making them difficult to clean and allowing bacteria to build up. Grout can also wear away, causing the tiles to become loose.
Ceramic tile countertops can chip and scratch, requiring tile replacement. While some tiles are more durable, they cannot withstand sharp impacts and scratch tests, resulting in chips or breaks. Appliances left on a tile countertop may also cause damage from heat or scorching and leave a permanent mark.
Porcelain countertops are made from mineral coloring and ceramic clay. Once installed, these countertops are comparable to quartz in durability but have a fragile, difficult fabrication process.
Once popular for tile countertops, porcelain slab countertops are a new twist on this tried-and-true counter material. However, the lack of experienced manufacturers and installers for this countertop material has kept the price of porcelain slabs in the $60 to $100 per square foot range.
Porcelain has several benefits, such as high scratch, abrasion, and stain resistance, as well as being able to withstand extreme heat. This type of countertop is also a nonporous surface, so water damage and microbial growth aren’t problems associated with porcelain counters.
Solid Surface Countertops
Solid surface countertops can be an affordable alternative to natural material options. A solid surface countertop has three components: pigments, bonding resin, and mineral particles. The resins can be either acrylic or polyester or a combination of both.
This countertop surface has a comparatively lower cost than natural stone countertops, ranging between $35 and $80 per square foot. Solid surface countertops can mimic the look of natural stone, making them a budget-friendly alternative to marble, granite, or quartz countertops.
One of the biggest reasons a solid surface is a popular countertop material in the bath or vanity is its non-porous surface, which gives it resistance to microbial growth and makes it very easy to clean. Unlike marble and other natural materials, a solid surface countertop rarely needs to be sealed.
One drawback to this type of counter surface is that it isn’t very heat resistant. Hot hair straighteners or appliances may scorch, burn, or even melt this surface. Acrylic and polyester countertops are easily scratched and should never be cleaned with abrasive cleansers.
Granite is the most popular surface for kitchen and bathroom countertops. This natural and sturdy stone is harder than marble and more durable than many other countertop materials.
While granite countertops may not be as cost-effective as many tiles and laminates, granite is less expensive than marble. The average installation and fabrication costs range between $45 and $200 per square foot.
Granite countertops feature patterns with natural striations and swirls. These patterns vary in size and shape from one point to another on the granite, giving it a veined appearance. Granite counters are easy to clean and are considered low-maintenance surfaces. Most installers will apply a sealant when installing your granite countertops that can last between one and ten years.
Granite offers excellent heat resistance, so excessive heat from a curling iron or other appliance won’t cause damage. The durability of granite countertops also provides financial benefits. They have low maintenance and repair costs and can increase your home’s resale value by up to 25% of the counter’s retail value.
Quartzite is a composite made from crushed bits of stone formed with adhesive or resin binders into a slab form. Because of the high quartz content in this type of engineered stone, it is often simply called quartz or quartzite.
Quartzite countertops are typically cut or fabricated specifically to fit your design. Quartzite slabs for your bathroom counters can be comparable to or even less expensive than granite counters, generally costing between $60 to $100 per square foot installed.
Quartzite countertops feature a more consistent pattern than granite. This creates style versatility for matching decors requiring a more uniform look. Quartzite also provides a large variety of styles and an array of colors, making it an excellent design choice for countertops in your bathroom.
The durable surface of a quartzite countertop is resistant to scratches and damage from impacts from falling items. Quartzite is a popular choice for a bathroom vanity countertop because, with proper sealing and maintenance, these countertops are water and stain-resistant, easy-to-clean countertop material, although using abrasive cleansers on quartzite isn’t recommended.
Quartzite is also a non-porous surface and won’t collect bacteria. These counters are also heat resistant.
Marble is a metamorphic stone formed when limestone is subjected to heat and pressure. Marble has a long history in art and construction, and its luxurious aesthetic makes it hugely popular as a countertop surface.
Each marble slab has a distinct veining pattern, so no two marble countertop installations look alike. Because of this one-of-a-kind exclusivity, marble countertops, including installation, can run anywhere from $75 to $250 per square foot.
The design characteristics of marble are part of what makes it a popular countertop choice, despite its relative softness compared to other countertop materials. Marble countertops come in an array of whites, pinks, grays, and blues with different veining and color patterns.
Despite its heat resistance, marble countertops are easily scratched and require maintenance regularly. This porous stone can also be easily stained and etched if acidic liquids come into contact with it.
Concrete countertops are harder surfaces than natural stone and are exceptionally durable and strong. These countertops are easy to customize and budget-friendly.
Concrete countertops can be poured in place or manufactured off-site and installed but usually average about $100 per square foot. They can be messy during installation if the countertop must be finished in place. Concrete is also a very porous material that needs sealing with heavy-duty epoxy sealants to withstand the moisture levels that build up in a bathroom.
Designing Your Bathroom Countertops
Whether you’re in the final stages of your bathroom design or still exploring your options, our experienced team of industry professionals can help. We offer a four-step countertop design and installation process that includes:
- Calculating Dimensions
- Selection of Material
- In-home Measurement
Our team will work with you throughout the process of your countertop installation to give you the perfect countertop solution. We also offer additional services, including plumbing reconnection, stain protection warranty, and existing countertop removal.
Natural Stone Countertops Near You
Careful planning of your countertop project can save you time and money and ensure you get the best counters for your needs. Learning the basics about the material options for your bathroom and vanity countertops can take a lot of the guesswork out of planning your perfect bathroom.
Motor City Granite & Cabinets carries a wide variety of granite and engineered quartz to coordinate with any of your design aesthetics. We guarantee top-quality fabrication and installation of premium stone countertops, excellent customer service, and the benefit of over 30 years of combined industry experience.