Bathroom countertops that look great and give you the practical benefits you need are winners. When the demands of both form and function are met, you’ve found a countertop material you will truly enjoy in the years ahead.
This bathroom countertops buying guide will help you select the material that will appeal to you aesthetically while meeting the demands of your lifestyle that might include children, entertaining, hot hair tools and more. Also, you can use our bathroom countertop design tool to customize the design for that perfect look.
Most Popular Bathroom Countertops
Whether you’ve just started looking for the perfect bathroom countertops or have been considering your options for some time, this overview of the best bathroom countertops will help you decide which materials to give serious consideration to as you plan your building or remodeling project.
Granite Bathroom Countertops: If you’re in the market for upscale bathroom countertops that deliver beauty and elegance, granite countertops should be at the top of the list. The advantages of granite bathroom countertops include classic good looks, long-lasting durability when basic maintenance tips are followed and their resistance to heat. On the flipside, granite countertop disadvantages include the need to be sealed quite often and the danger of stains when the sealer fails. They might also chip if hard, heavy objects are dropped on them. If you choose granite bathroom countertops, you should know that professional-quality products are available for cleaning, polishing, sealing, stain removal and chip repair to keep your bathroom granite countertops looking brand new.
Marble Bathroom Countertops: In the eyes of many homeowners, there are no countertops prettier than those crafted from genuine marble. One of the delights of marble is that it is quarried in many locations around the world, and each marble deposit is colored by minerals specific to that location that give it a unique appearance. While its beauty is one of the pros of marble countertops, the primary disadvantage of marble in the bathroom is that it is susceptible to stains from nail polish, cleaners, liquid soap and other common products. The marble countertops must be sealed properly and repeatedly to keep them free of stains. Stains can be removed with a pouch-style product formulated for marble, and polish spray can be used to protect it and maintain its good looks.
Quartz Bathroom Countertops: Also known as engineered stone because it is fabricated rather than natural, this material contains ground quartz held together with a binder. It is usually tinted too, and a wide range of colors are available. Quartz countertops look similar to natural stone, but they're not porous, so won’t stain and are easily cleaned. That is the main advantage of quartz countertops, and there are few drawbacks.
Tile Bathroom Countertops: For areas that frequently get wet, tile is a practical choice. Tile countertops advantages include the thousands of tile colors, patterns, shapes and sizes that allow you to design just the look you want. They are also resistant to heat and can be cleaned quickly. Tile grout must be properly sealed, however, or it will stain easily.
Laminate Bathroom Countertops: There are several advantages of laminate bathroom countertops including the large spectrum of colors and patterns, its non-porous surface that is easy to clean and its lower cost than natural stone, quartz, tile and other upper-end materials. While it’s practical, it lacks the glamor of those more expensive countertops.
Solid Surface Bathroom Countertops: These countertops are made from synthetic materials, so they are manufactured in many colors and styles. The pros of solid surface countertops include the choices, strength and a non-porous surface that cleans up quickly. The cons of solid surface countertops are that they’re not as resistant to heat and can be scratched easily by sharp objects.
Porcelain Bathroom Countertops: Very popular in Europe, porcelain countertops offer advantages of many color choices and a surface that is easy to maintain. Like any porcelain product, they can chip or be scratched somewhat easily.
Stainless Steel Bathroom Countertops: Stainless steel is bright, classic, heat resistant and easy to clean. Those are the top advantages of stainless steel countertops. There are few disadvantages from a practical standpoint, though the look simply doesn’t appeal to some homeowners.
Recycled Glass Bathroom Countertops: These are a trendy choice, and glass countertops offer a range of interesting colors, patterns and styles. Being non-porous, they’re easy to clean and are also resistant to heat from hair tools.
Lava Bathroom Countertops: While not as popular as some others on this list, lava bathroom countertops are a hit with those who choose them. A unique appearance, variety of color choices and heat resistance are among the lava countertops advantages.
Factors to Consider in Choosing Bathroom Countertops
Deciding the best bathroom countertops for your home can be a challenge. Here are the issues most homeowners consider as they narrow their choices.
- Your Bathroom Style: What look do you want to produce in the bathroom? You’ve got popular choices such as traditional, country, French country, contemporary, modern, rustic and Victorian. If you’d like something a bit different, consider art deco, transitional, mission, Asian, neoclassical, Tudor, Tuscan or Mediterranean! The key is to look at as many styles as possible to find those that really grabs your attention. This can be done by browsing for ideas online, at home shows or in magazines.
- How you Use Countertops: Do you use hot hair tools? Then a heat-resistant countertop is essential. Is the bathroom where you do nails, put on makeup, apply lotion or cologne? If the countertops are subject to these types of products, then you might want to avoid porous materials such as marble and granite, or at least make sure the countertops are sealed very well and resealed on a yearly basis.
- Kid-Friendliness: Will children be using the bathroom? Then a non-porous surface that won’t harbor bacteria and is easy to clean is an advantage. Something that doesn’t stain easily will be a plus too.
- Countertop Care and Maintenance: Low-maintenance countertops include stainless steel, laminate, solid surface, resin, glass and quartz. If you don’t want to fuss much with your bathroom countertops, look for a style you like among one of those. If you don’t mind providing some TLC to your bathroom counters, then your choices expand to include tile, marble, granite and concrete.
- How Long You’ll Live in the Home: If you plan to move in the next few years, then a more affordable material such as laminate or tile is a cost-effective choice. More durable, but more expensive, countertops offer better value if you plan to live there for a decade or more. While marble and granite appeal to buyers, their cost is harder to recoup when selling your home.
Factors that Determine the Cost of Bathroom Countertops
For specific pricing, see our countertop guides for each type of material. Most include updated information on the cost per square foot, so you can compare countertop prices as well as pros and cons.
Material versus Labor: For most types of bathroom countertops, especially high-end ones such as marble, granite and concrete, the material cost is 70 percent or more of the total. With tile, the cost is reversed – labor is the major expense. This is especially true if you hire a tile specialist to create a unique design or mosaic for your bathroom.
For materials, expect to pay $3 to $6/square foot for inexpensive tile. For natural stone, recycled glass, quartz or concrete, material costs can exceed $100/square foot and might cost more than $150/square foot.
For labor costs, materials other than tile typically cost $4 to $7/square foot to install. Tile usually costs $8 to $15/square foot depending on the size of the tile. Mosaics and intricate patterns might cost more to install.
There are supply costs involved too for things like fasteners, grout, caulk and sealer. They usually don’t exceed $1/square foot.
The best way to find the lowest prices is to request at least 3 written estimates from certified installers in your area.
This also gives you a chance to interview the contractors to determine which one has the best experience and track record of excellent work.
Caring for your Bathroom Countertops
Read the manufacturer’s information on cleaning and maintaining the countertops you choose. The installer might have the information too.
The key is to use a cleaner formulated for the type of material. This is especially true for natural stone countertops such as granite and marble. There are several products that will get them clean while helping protect them from stains.
Each of our countertop material guides provide specific information for cleaning and maintaining that type, so keeping them looking “showroom new” is easy to do.
If your stone countertops chip or crack, professional-grade products are available to make repairs. They can be tinted too, so with some experimentation, you’ll be able to color the repair material to closely match the hue of the marble or granite.