Choosing the right countertop is crucial for your bathroom’s aesthetic and will determine the usability and storage space available to you. A countertop is a space for setting up your toiletries and allowing you to prep in the morning. Sufficient space is key to providing a comfortable work area, and the material needs to be durable to handle a busy bathroom. Let us look at what you should consider before choosing the right bathroom countertop:
Countertops come in 4 main types which will determine your available space:
Regular countertops are large slabs of stone, typically marble, quartz, granite and any other suitable material. These countertops function as large storage areas for toiletries and have no other function. They require a strong foundation to support the extra weight.
A sink countertop is designed to house a sink. A drop-in or undermount sink can be attached to this countertop to provide more functionality. These countertops can either be installed in the kitchen or bathroom as their design is flexible. These are a popular choice if you want a sink in your bathroom but don’t want to opt for a vanity.
Vanity countertops are incredibly popular as they integrate a functioning sink with a large cabinet. Vanity countertops have a large amount of customization ranging from single-bowl, double-bowl or no sink at all for a more seamless look.
A double sink houses enough space to fit two sinks. While the counter is quite large, the available space is small as it is shared between two sinks. Double sinks can increase your home’s marketability as it is an attractive fixture that isn’t very common in most homes.
Common Countertop Materials
When it comes to countertop materials there are quite a few to choose from. Here are some of the most popular options on the market today.
Manufactured Quartz Counter Tops
Manufactured quartz is made up of 93 percent crushed quartz mixed with a bonding resin. The result is a material that is dense, non-porous, and visually attractive. They are very heavy, so they will require a professional to install and account for the additional weight. In terms of maintenance, quartz is easy to clean, durable and doesn’t require sealing. Quartz generally costs $110-250 a foot.
Pros of Manufactured Quartz
- Heat resistant
- Scratch and stain resistant
- Attractive natural look
Cons of Manufactured Quartz
- Not natural/imitation material
- Exposure to sunlight can cause the material to fade
Granite Counter Tops
A high-end material, granite is a widely popular molten rock that cools deep underground. The cooling process produces qualities such as unique color variation, deep veining and mineral flecks of copper, silver, or gold. In addition to it’s unique aesthetic appeal, granite is extremely durable with strong anti-bacterial and heat-resistant properties, making it one of the best countertop materials for either the kitchen or bathroom. The primary drawback to granite is that it is one of the most expensive materials on the market and will require professional installation. Granite will cost $90-200 per foot to install.
Pros of Granite
- High durability
- Heat and humidity resistant
- Antibacterial qualities
- Easy to clean
- Unique and vibrant aesthetic
Cons of Granite
- Requires sealing to ensure durability
- Limited color choices
Laminate countertops bond plastic or composite surfaces onto particleboard or plywood. The desired material is then printed on top to mimic any desired material. Printing technology has advanced to provide realistic wood, stone, marble or whatever look you desire. Laminate is an ideal counter top material if you want the look of luxury materials but don’t have the budget for them.
They are ideal for guest bathrooms or spaces that don’t see heavy use. Through use laminate will eventually dull and lose it’s color over time and you will need to replace the entire countertop making repairs more time-consuming. Laminate will cost $50-100 per foot to install.
Pros of Laminate
- Easy to install
- Water resistant
- Easy to clean
- Very affordable
- Mimics high quality materials
Cons of Laminate
- Fades and dulls over time
- Cannot be repaired
- Requires whole counter replacement
- Minimal durability
- Can look artificial
Tile Counter Tops
Tiles are square or rectangular coverings manufactured from a variety of harder materials such as ceramic, stone, clay, or metal. They are fixed in place to cover a specific area, such as a countertop, and can range from simple tile patterns to more complex designs, such as mosaics. The tiles are glazed on top to increase durability, with grout covering up the spaces between the tiles.
The primary benefit of tile for your countertop is that it is easy to install and repair, making it ideal for DIY jobs. Tiles will require routine maintenance and cleaning, although this can be done with detergent and warm water. Depending on the design and material, expect to pay anywhere from $8-80 per tile.
Pros of Tile Counter Tops
- Easy to assemble
- Easy to replace/repair
- Wide range of designs and patterns
- Medium heat, stain, scratch, and moisture resistance
Cons of Tile Counter Tops
- Low resale value
- Can crack and chip easily
- Requires regular maintenance and cleaning
Marble Counter Tops
A very traditional and classic material, marble countertops are made by cutting large slabs of natural marble and cutting the right size for your countertop. Marble results from limestone that has metamorphosized, creating a wide array of swirls and vein patterns that blend perfectly into a bathroom setting. Marble can last up to fifty years and can withstand heavy temperature spikes, especially the high humidity found in most bathrooms. Marble countertops cost $60 per square foot.
Pros of Marble
- Classic material with a luxury look
- High lifespan
- Unique material
Cons of Marble
- High maintenance material
- Requires frequent sealing
- Porous material
- Can discolor with temperature changes
Wood countertops are made using a special wood that is then sealed to prevent moisture flow from leaking in. The result is a unique countertop, easy to install and has a strong natural look. If you are in the market for a rustic countertop, wood is the material for you. Wood countertops cost $60-100 per square foot.
Pros of wood
- Natural and unique look
- Large variety of design options
Cons of wood
- High maintenance costs
- Prone to moisture damage
- Prone to scratches and staining
Popular Countertop Colors in 2023
Choosing the right countertop colors can be tricky as the wrong color can clash with your existing space. Here are the three most popular countertop colors and what they offer to your design:
Black is strong colors that provides a sleek aesthetic that is ideal for a modern space. Black can make a small space seem bigger and hide any blemishes that may exist. Stone such as granite, marble, or quartz pair well with a black backdrop as they will not detract from the original color and their natural qualities can provide meaningful accents that add character and color.
White bathrooms are popular as they pair well with any countertop style you want. The color reflects light well, making your bathroom appear larger and more spacious. However, white fades the most out of all other colors and any blemishes will be much more noticeable than other colors. Granite, quartz, pewter or wood are great materials to pair with this color as their natural qualities are amplified.
Grey is similar to white in providing a luxurious and noble look that compliments the clean aesthetic of your bathroom space. Grey pairs well with any color or style, making it very attractive for classic or modern-looking bathrooms. Compared to white, grey can provide a similar look without straining the eyes.
Tips for Choosing Your Countertop
There are a few things to consider when choosing your countertop, so here is what to look for to save yourself headaches down the road.
Budget is very important for choosing your countertop. Before you begin, you need to consider the weight of your countertop, the style you want, and how you intend to support it. Depending on the material you select, your countertop can quickly exceed your budget, so you need to plan accordingly. A durable, high-quality material is initially costly but has lower maintenance costs, whereas a cheaper material is very affordable upfront but may have harsh maintenance costs.
Similar to budget, you need to consider the total size you have to work with. The larger the countertop, the more expensive it will be for the materials and the supporting counter space. However, larger counter spaces can also provide much-needed storage space compared to smaller counters, so it’s key that you balance these factors before deciding.
Does your countertop match your bathroom’s aesthetic? ‘In addition to material, your countertop should compliment the overall look of your bathroom. Color and accents can make your bathroom appear more cramped and small if done incorrectly. Choose a material carefully and craft a complementary color scheme around it.
When choosing a countertop, be prepared for the total weight of the selected material. Ensure you have a strong foundation of supporting vanities/cabinets to hold your countertop before purchasing. Granite is a common countertop material that is very popular but very heavy, so consult a professional if you are unsure that your cabinets can support the additional weight.
A bathroom countertop may not seem as critical as a quality bathtub or toilet, but it provides accent and color to help tie your bathroom together. A countertop helps tie in the look of your sink and keep your toiletries organized, so ensure that you select a reliable material for your bathroom’s countertop.