Bathroom Countertop Ideas And Tips

» Go Back to The Complete Bathroom Decorating Guide

Juxtaposed against warm natural wood cabinets, a concrete countertop with integrated dual sinks produces a very modern look.

Inspired by nature and improved by technology, today’s bathroom countertop options add all-round style to the bathroom.

Although the bathroom sink and countertop are two separate elements of the bathroom, it is the way they work together that serves a very important function.

Of all the rooms in the house, the bathroom is designed to work hardest. Though every fixture in this room will see repeated use daily, no other element will take the beating your countertops will. The sink or vanity top sees a little bit of everything, from soap scum and grime to hairspray and makeup, so you’ll want to choose your materials with care.

The other important function for the countertop is to work to create a space that soothes and rejuvenates the soul. What you select for your countertop will certainly affect the mood of the room. When deciding on the countertop that works best with your bathroom sink, insist on top-of-the-line materials, reliable performance and excellent materials.

An under-mounted sink, granite countertops and tumbled marble backsplash produce a fabulous designer showcase bathroom.

Bathroom Countertop Materials

Bathroom countertops are available in various styles and materials, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Most important is to choose something so stand up to water, soap, alcohol- and acetone-based liquids, as well as toothpaste and cosmetics.

Here’s the breakdown under three categories: Stone, Stone Stand-Ins, and Other Materials.

Stone Bathroom Countertops

Which countertop material offers timeless beauty and appeal, is easy on the environment, requires relatively little maintenance, works hard and will last a lifetime? The answer is easy and gorgeous … natural stone.

Smooth, dark slate contrasts nicely against a more textured natural rock full-height backsplash in this elegant bathroom design.

  • Granite – Prized for its natural beauty and durability, whether it is polished to a high gloss or honed to a pleasing matte finish. Its sparkly, variegated, crystalline structure makes for a lively play of light on its surface. Solid granite is expensive, but granite tiles offer a cheaper option.
  • Marble – Much softer and more porous than granite. It sometimes fractures along veining and offers less resistance to stains, scratches, and general wear. To ensure a longer life, seal marble regularly. Costs for both solid pieces and tiles are similar to granite.
  • Limestone – More porous than marble. Ranging from light beige to a golden brown color, it is typically given a honed finish. Seal limestone properly and keep acidic substances away from it. Because the density of limestone depends on the variety, some scratch more easily than others.
  • Granite is always a standby choice in bathroom countertop materials: hard, smooth and durable.

  • Slate – Appeals to homeowners with rustic tastes because of its matte surface and irregular split face. It is dense and nonabsorbent and known for its blue-gray color though it comes in other shades. Because of its low absorption rate and density, slate is highly resistant to stains, bacteria, and heat.
  • Soapstone – Has a gray to green color that will darken over time and a silky, soapy feel. Soapstone is highly resistant to acids and water. There is one special consideration for using soapstone: It must be sealed periodically with mineral oil, not a commercial sealant.

Stone Stand-In Countertops

The same elements that make stone beautiful (its natural colors, the variegations in pattern, and its porous structure) create challenges when it comes to using the material in a bathroom. To counteract these natural limitations, stone-base products offer many desirable color options and eliminate maintenance issues.

For an alternative to granite or marble countertops, you could also use Paperstone, Soapstone or a laminated stone product.

  • Engineered Quartz – Made from quartz bound together with space-age polymers, has an appearance, composition, weight and price that is comparable to granite. Its surface captures the crystalline sparkle and density of granite but is nonporous so it requires no sealing and is less susceptible to stains. Manufacturers claim that it’s tougher than granite and less susceptible to chipping and cracking.
  • Enameled Lava Stone – A natural stone that has been glazed with high temperature enamel.  The high heat results in a durable surface with vivid colors and a glasslike sheen. The visible pores of the lava stone and the thin cracks of the enamel create a one-of-a-kind product. The nonporous surface is resistant to water, oils, acids, and other substances.
  • Laminated Stone – Made of thin sheets of granite or marble backed by fiberglass and is lighter in weight and more flexible than solid stone.
  • Solid-Surfacing – Made entirely of plastic resin composites, comes in a variety of thickness’ and colors, patterns, and natural-material lookalikes. The nonporous material is known for its design flexibility, which allows for the creation of special effect using inlays of contrasting colors. Color runs through a solid-surface countertop material, so nicks aren’t so noticeable. Solid-surfacing resists stains, but is susceptible to scratches and scorches. Minor damage can be sanded out. Costs are similar to granite.

Other Materials for Bathroom Countertops

A glass slab or glass tile countertop can give the bathroom an elegant, polished smooth or bright and colorful design, depending on your preferences.

  • Concrete – An increasingly popular countertop option. Concrete countertops (and floors) are hand-toweled in molds, cast and diamond polished for a finish similar to honed granite. If you’re looking for a material that’s truly eco-friendly, the ultimate “green” countertop is Syndecrete, a mixture of fly-ash concrete and recycled bits of glass, plastic and metal.
  • Ceramic Tile – Comes in a host of colors, patterns, and textures. Its decorative possibilities are endless. It is moisture resistant and costs vary widely with the complexity of the pattern and the price of the tiles themselves.
  • Glass Slabs – Create a dramatic effect in guest bathrooms or other bathrooms that are not used daily. Frosted glass hides scratches and water spots better than clear glass.A ceramic tile countertop is always a timeless and affordable material that works in almost any bathroom remodel!
  • Glass Tile – You can get a great combination of color and refracted light with a glass tile countertop; great in a modern style bathroom decor.
  • Laminate – An affordable, durable, low-maintenance surface that offers a tremendous range of colors, patterns, textures and lookalikes. Prolonged exposure to water in some cases dissolves glue lines and causes the subsurface to warp. Better grades of laminate feature color through the material, making scratches and chips less visible. Laminate countertop sections are available in a variety of front edge treatments, with or without backsplashes. Laminate is one of the least expensive countertop options.

Tips for Keeping Your New Sink Countertops Clean

Look at as many countertop and cabinet samples as possible in a bathroom showroom before making your final selection.

Nothing makes a bathroom look better than shining surfaces, and some surfaces require special care. Here are the best ways to keep a variety of countertops clean:

  • Solid Surfacing – Clean with soapy water. Gentle sanding with an abrasive pad or cleanser will remove stains or scratches. Some spray cleaners may discolor the surface, so check with the manufacturer for recommended products.
  • Granite – Wipe with a mild dish detergent or sanitize with a solution of diluted bleach as needed. Abrasive cleaners can damage or stain the surface. Reseal every two years.
  • Marble, Limestone, Soapstone and Concrete – Make sure your installer applies a food-safe, penetrating sealer. To clean, wipe down with hot, soapy water.
  • Laminate – Wipe surface as needed with a damp cloth and a mild liquid detergent. Do not use abrasive cleaners, which can scratch the surface. Use a nylon-bristled brush and mild cleaner to remove stubborn grime.

» Go Back to The Complete Bathroom Decorating Guide

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *