When most homeowners choose a countertop for their bathroom vanity, the focus tends to be on how it’ll look and how much it’ll cost. However, it’s not quite that simple. Vanity surfaces will be exposed to a variety of elements, so you have to choose a surface that will not only suit your aesthetic needs, but also withstand wear and tear.
The first question to ask is, how will your sink be mounted? If you’re looking to use an undermount sink then you must use a waterproof surface such as stone or solid surface, as it is most likely to come into contact with a lot of water on a regular basis.
Next you should also consider your lifestyle. If you’re a product junkie, then you’ll want to choose a surface that can easily withstand oil-based products without staining. If you frequently use a curling iron, then a heat-resistance should also be prioritized.
Of course, price is always going to be of concern, but compromising on quality for the sake of price may end up costing you more down the line. Taking style, durability, and cost into account, these countertops each have their benefits and drawbacks, but all are viable options for most homeowners.
One of the most popular countertop surfaces on the market, granite is always a great way to go. It boasts superior durability and can withstand the heat and humidity that is inevitable in bathrooms.
Though it is on the pricier end (upwards of $50-$100 per square foot), this durable surface is the reliable choice not only because of the quality, but also because of the aesthetics. The look of granite, no matter the design style, can’t be beat. It’s also a great option if you’re looking to resell your home.
Though granite is very durable, it must always be sealed before use in your bathroom or kitchen. Sealing prevents moisture from seeping in through the cracks of the surface. This is particularly important when using oil-based products, as this can stain the surface of your unsealed granite.
If you’re a lover of the luxurious and price is no option (upwards of $125-$150 per square foot), then go all out with a marble countertop for your bathroom. As with granite, adorning the bathroom vanity in your master bath with a marble countertop can do wonders for the resale value of your home.
As far as aesthetics go, the color choices are quite limited. Marble countertops vary from white to grayish-white, with gray, brown, or even gold-hued veining. The two main categories of marble, carrerra and calacatta vary in price point, availability and look. Check with your fabricator to see what options are available to you.
If you do choose to go with marble, be advised that it is susceptible to staining. Don’t use a marble surface in a bathroom where children or lots of products will be present.
Engineered surfaces, also called solid surfaces, are a great alternative to natural stone. Solid surfaces offer durability and pricing comparable to granite and marble while offering a wider range of colors and design styles.
Another benefit is the consistency in style. While natural earth-sourced materials like marble and granite vary from slab to slab, engineered surfaces will remain consistent in pattern and color.
Engineered surfaces are also the environmentally friendly choice because they are made with recycled materials such as glass or stone which are mixed with resins and compressed under high heat to create a durable surface.
If you’re operating on a strict budget, granite, marble, and the myriad of luxurious engineered surfaces on the market can all put a strain on your wallet. At $25-$50 per linear foot, however, laminate surfaces are the very definition of bang for your buck.
Laminate surfaces are available in a wide variety of design styles, colors, and textures, for a fraction of the cost of stone surfaces. As a matter of fact, many laminate manufacturers offer products that closely mimic the look of granite and marble, so you can have the look without the high price point.
On the downside, laminate surfaces do not have the same durability as stone surfaces, and are susceptible to denting, dulling, and burns. This is particularly important if your bathroom vanity will be exposed to sources of extreme heat, such as a curling iron. However, laminate surfaces are also water-proof and stain-proof, so they can still be used in your bathroom without much worry.
When we speak of bathroom tile, we’re almost always referencing ceramic tile, and at $10-$50 per square foot, it’s probably the cheapest bathroom vanity countertop option that you can find.
With tile, the aesthetic possibilities are endless. From simple solid-color tiles to elaborate designer products, there’s a style of tile to fit any bathroom design.
Ceramic tiles are moderately durable in that they can withstand heat, moisture, stains and scratching. However, they’re still susceptible to cracking or chipping, particularly if a heavy object is dropped on top of it. But for most common bathroom, activities, ceramic tiles are most certainly durable enough.
The one downside to ceramic tile is the maintenance. While cleaning the tile itself isn’t much of an issue, the grout can be headache to clean. Over time, gunk and build-up from from products can get caught in the grout, causing stains.