Most Popular Bathroom Counter-top Materials | Pros and Cons

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With a burning desire to change your countertop materials, finding a drop-dead beautiful work surface can get expensive and tricky. 

Let’s face it; the only solution for selecting the winner, in this case, is by weighing out how each type can hold up to flat out abuse and regular usage. Thankfully, there is a wide array of exciting patterns, colors, and surface materials with varying durability to choose from.

But, it can often get overwhelming if you don’t have a fixed preference or budget in mind. Before splurging on a durable prep surface, you must sort out the ideal ones for your home decor by first measuring its functionality. The different countertop materials will deliver gorgeous aesthetics to your bathroom.

However, on the flip side, you’ve got to scan through the potential weaknesses before you finalize on one material. And so, we’ve got you covered with the following guide that should help you see both the positive and negative aspects of the newest trends for bathroom countertop materials.

So, let’s begin, shall we?

Most Popular Bathroom Counter-top Materials

  1. Ceramic/ Porcelain Tile

Porcelain, stone, ceramic and stone tiles are the contemporary countertop material which complements even the trendy, modern styles. The ceramic tiles are made using clay that comes along with a surface glaze; for making them tough, it has been exposed to high temperatures. Moreover, porcelain is also a type of ceramic which consists of more finer clays fired to harden them.

If you’re looking for harder and denser material, you can opt for ceramic, which is excellent for your countertops and bathroom floors. You’ll get several design options in porcelain with some styles that can authentically mimic wood or leather materials.

If you’re using tiles for your counter as well as other bathroom areas it can often lead to ‘tile overload’.  And you’ll also have to deal with grout lines which require periodic cleaning.

Pros
  • You’ll get a wide variety of colors, and design options to choose from
  • The porcelain/ceramic tiles are suitable for the moist bathroom environment
  • Installing ceramic or porcelain tiles is a simple process
  • Tile is a relatively affordable option when compared to the other premium-quality countertop materials, however, it also depends on the quality of the tiles that you’re opting for
Cons
  • Grout lines make it challenging to maintain and clean the surface
  • Ceramic/ Porcelain tiles may require sealing, similar to the solid countertop materials
  • Tiles are delicate, and they can crack under massive impact
  • Grout can stain and discolor over time, which makes it necessary to get a proper sealing done
  1. Natural Stone

With natural stone countertops, you’ll be assured that it will offer you incredible durability. And when it comes to beauty, there are a lot of varieties that you can choose from such as- slate, marble, soapstone, limestone, and granite. But the key to finding the right stone depends on your requirements whether you want calcite based or porous quality.

However, in a natural stone countertop, you’ll find openings that have been cut out for placing your sinks. These are thick solid slabs that require proper maintenance and care.

Pros
  • The natural beauty of this stone is difficult to emulate. And it’s one of the premium building materials which sends out a message of luxury
  • Stone is durable and quite resistant to any form of damage. Moreover, it’s not going to easily scratch or chip, especially in your bathroom environment
  • Marble and granite are entirely different in their overall appearance. And that is pretty much the case when you try to compare it with other stone materials 
Cons
  • Most of the natural stone materials require period sealing for stain protection, particularly the porous ones. And ongoing maintenance can also get expensive
  • It is considerably more expensive than the other surface materials. However, the price tag also depends on the type of stone that you’re using
  • Marble is a calcite-based material which is sensitive to acidic substances. So, you should be careful when using certain chemicals for cleaning your stone countertops
  • If you’re opting for the vanity top in prefab stone, you’ll be getting only limited types of stone and colors 
  1. Laminate

For a bathroom, one of the ideal countertop materials are laminates because it’s moisture-resistant and durable. It comes in different styles and colors, which is almost indistinguishable from wood, granite, wood, or even leather. Laminate is made from several layers of plastic which are bonded to medium-density fiberboard (MDF) or particleboard.

It has a non-porous quality that makes it resistant to staining and easier to maintain. The transparent wear-resistant coating lies over materials that come with decorative patterns and colors. You can either get these countertops in stock pieces or the custom-made ones which come with designer features and custom edges.

Pros
  • It is a low maintenance surface that is easy to clean
  • You’ll get a wide range of colors and patterns available for laminates
  • It’s quite an affordable option, which is perfect for making an economical choice
  • There are plenty of prefab vanity and pre-made countertop varieties that are available. And a few of them also have an easy installation process which is entirely DIYable
Cons
  • Laminates are often considered to be a low-cost material, which makes for a great bargain countertop material
  • The customized styles require a custom fabricator as they aren’t DIY-friendly
  • The dark-edge seams are pretty visible; however, it also depends on the type of installation that you’ve opted for
  • The surface material might peel off or get delaminated from the underlying material with long term exposure to excess moisture and humidity. But, the extent of the damage also depends on the quality of the entire product
  • Laminate countertops are relatively lightweight, unlike other hefty well-balanced countertop materials
  • It is not immune to scratches or edge-chipping. Furthermore, laminates can’t be repaired easily
  1. Concrete

Concrete countertops have been the most trending material for many decades. It provides an elegant and unique option that gives you plenty of room to experiment with your creativity. It is often custom fabricated according to your space and style, and it can be made using whatever color you choose. Some installers can also set bits of polished glass, tiles, or stone during the process of fabrication.

The concrete countertop top material can be stained, texturized, and also polished. However, this differs as per the quality of materials that you’ll be selecting. Since this material is naturally porous, it requires periodic upkeep, including sealing, which helps to maintain its overall quality.

You can opt for an integral sink with your concrete countertop or use it as a conventional countertop with different material of basin sink. This material can cost somewhere in between $75 and $150 per square foot.

Pros
  • Concrete countertops are strong and durable- it is highly customizable
  • It has a classy and unique appearance
  • You can incorporate either an integral sink or an inlaid decorative item, drop-in, undermount or vessel
  • It is one of the most top-selling countertop materials 
Cons
  • Concrete countertops are hefty- it requires excellent support from base cabinets or vanity
  • It doesn’t have any DIY-option because the concrete countertops should be fabricated and installed by a professional
  • It can form hairline cracks, or it can get chipped. In such cases, the only way out is a direct replacement of the countertop material. Moreover,  it doesn’t have an option for repair
  • To protect it from stains or moisture it requires sealing 
  1. Crushed Glass

Countertops that are made of crushed glass is a relatively new trend that has been getting popular for its super stylish design, durability, and easy maintenance. It is made of recycled crushed glass which is embedded in either concrete or clear acrylic. If you want a modern, trendy designer finish in your bathroom, you can opt for these countertops.

The unique design and overall look of this countertop material stands out amongst the other elements. It is available in different colors, and you can also get them customized according to your preferences. Since they are often custom-fabricated, so you won’t find two similar crushed glass countertops. In can either be given a traditional appearance or a modern one depending on the choice of glass.

Moreover, the style ranges from the thick monolithic slabs to the thin sheets. When we think of countertop material, we don’t place much focus on the crushed glass material, but it delivers a strikingly beautiful appearance. It can cost you between $50 and  $100 per square foot.

Pros
  • You can also make integral sinks with this countertop material
  • The acrylic-based materials make the cleaning process more simple
  • It can be customized with different textures and tints
  • It’s not sensitive to abrasive cleaners like other surface materials, you can use water and vinegar, or regular glass cleaner is also sufficient to get the job done
  • It’s a unique material to select for countertop material
Cons
  • Even though this material is durable, but it can chip and crack easily if you apply too much pressure. And that can be a potential hazard while the damages are also non-repairable
  • If the concrete type materials are not periodically sealed, it can get easily stained
  • The price can be on a steeper side, but it depends on the style and customization that you’re opting for 
  1. Quartz/ Engineered Stone

Engineered stone is a man-made product, with a 90% blend of crushed stone/minerals and 10% of resins, pigments, or polymers. All these different elements are then compressed into thin slabs under high pressure. It can cost you around $120 to $200 per square foot. If you’re looking for contemporary style countertop material, this will be an ideal fit. However, it’s also suitable for heavy-use bathrooms.

You’ll find a variety of colors and patterns available for this material, and most of them appear similar to the natural stone slabs. And the main advantage of using this product is for its non-absorbent property that doesn’t require additional sealing or ongoing maintenance. 

The price of each square foot of quartz material can cost you around $115 to $200. For quartz countertop material you can click on this link.

Pros
  • It comes with low maintenance. For cleaning engineered quartz, you’ll require only soap and water. But, you should try to avoid using any abrasive scrubbers or harsh chemicals
  • The non-porous characteristic makes it stain-resistant. And it doesn’t support virus or bacterial growth in the bathroom
  • It offers a multitude of color options, patterns, and styles which emulate the look of natural stone
  • It is a durable material, and that’s an essential feature for countertop materials in the bathroom. This helps to withstand abuse when it comes in contact with colorful or acidic substances. It also resists chipping, cracking, scratching, and etching
  • It’s tougher than natural stone materials
  • You can integrate them into your bathroom even with sink basins, as it can be transformed into different shapes
  • It has an easy installation process when compared to natural stone 
Cons
  • It lies in the category of the expensive counter-tops
  • It is not heat-proof, which means it can get damaged when exposed to hot materials like your straighteners or curling tools, you need to use a trivet if you want to avoid damage from hot items, unlike the heat-resistant natural stone materials
  • It can get damaged with highly acidic or alkaline chemicals be it solvents, abrasive cleaners, bleach or drain clog dissolvers
  • The seams are often visible, especially if it’s a long counter. However, you can avoid such problems with careful planning
  • If the countertop is not covered with a prefabricated vanity top, it will require professional installation
  1. Recycled and Composite

It is made of reused and recycled materials like paper and glass, which is combined with some form of cement or resins. After which its formed into slabs and sheets which can be shaped and cut. The overall output is a surface which is hard, smooth, and attractive. It’s a great way to bring in some eco-friendly materials into your bathroom.

You can find both cement-based materials and resin-based products which function like the concrete and solid surface material.

Pros
  • It offers a durable and hard surface
  • The recycled glass countertops come in a wide range of color selections
  • It has similar benefits like the engineered stone or solid surface material; however, it depends on the products that you select 
Cons
  • A few of the cement-based composite materials require sealing
  • The availability of the product also depends on the material that you select 
  1. Solid Surface

Solid surface is a type of plastic which is a mixture of polyester and acrylic particles that are bonded with resins. It’s formulated in a way that it can mimic the look of stone. And it can be shaped into different forms such as a solid surface countertop with an integrated basin. You can find tons of different styles and colors, which will make a great bath.

Solid Surface bathroom counter

If you want a DIY-friendly vanity tops, you can opt for the prefabricated solid surface which comes with a combination of resins and fillers. Solid surface was one of the most popular countertop materials in the last decade. But, now it lies in the middle tier with quartz and natural stone taking over the market.

In recent times, the solid surface materials have been replaced with ‘cultured-marble’ plastic countertops. The difference between these two types is the ‘gel coat’ that comes on the cultured marble countertops. This coating gives the base material a non-porous, hard, and shiny protective surface. It can cost you about $45 to $75 per square foot of the solid surface material.

Pros
  • Cultured marble and solid surface are both renewable materials in which you can polish out the scratches easily
  • It’s a non-porous surface which is easy to maintain and clean. It also helps to resist stains, and you can repair it by sanding it well
  • It’s available in prefab vanity top styles
  • You’ll find no issues with having to match separate pieces. And that is because the patterns and colors in this material are entirely consistent with a variety of available options
  • The solid surface materials can be given a seamless shape which includes integrated sink basins
Cons
  • For the custom installations of the solid surface material, it requires professional fabrication
  • Both cultured marble and solid surface countertops aren’t heat resistant. However, other than the curler iron and straighteners, you’ll not find many other hot tools in the bathroom
  • You don’t have the DIY-option, with the solid surface materials that are usually not sold to homeowners. It’s just the prefab ones which is convenient for DIY-ers
  • The stone-look of this material is not appreciated by many people who find it looking more artificial than elegant
  • You can’t use abrasive cleaners on the solid surfaces with a high sheen. It comes with a more sensitive cover surface in comparison to the other materials, which makes it prone to scratches

Final words

Narrowing down your choices to just one material might seem like a hurdle. But, when you wake up each morning to a beautiful bathroom, it has a unique way to lift your mood. So, weigh out the pros and cons carefully to get the one that suits your needs. And while finding for the right style ensure that you don’t miss out on the functionality; it’s an essential factor that you must consider.

If a countertop is attractive but leaves you with an uneven surface and grout lines, it’s probably not a big contender. Also, even your practical and economical option should be readily available and easy to maintain. 

We hope this guide has helped you determine which bathroom countertop material is perfect for your home.

Till next time!

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