Guide to Selecting Bathroom Countertops

Granite, solid-surface, tile or quartz, which one should you choose? Industry insiders share the pros and cons of each surface to help you select the best countertop for your bathroom.

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custom glass top bathroom vanity Glass countertops are a sleek addition to a modern bathroom. Design by Lori Dennis.

While functionality might be your number one factor in choosing a kitchen countertop, you can bump the term down a few notches when it comes to choosing countertops for your bathroom. Yes, functionality is important in the loo, too, but bathroom surfaces usually don't take the beating that kitchen countertops do (assuming you're not using the equivalent of serrated bread knives and marble rolling pins in the bathroom). This makes you free to consider appearance above all else. That's good news since bathroom countertops are generally custom-made, leaving the style and design options wide open to personal taste.

"You can have a different attitude in the bathroom," asserts Myron Ferguson, the author of Better Houses, Better Living, of countertop design. "Kitchen countertops have to be a whole lot more functional." Cultured marble, for instance, is lovely in the bathroom, but it wouldn't be durable enough for a kitchen.

Bathroom countertops can make a statement and still be practical, providing additional workspace. Choosing a particular material can set the tone of the room. Stainless-steel countertops are low maintenance and look fabulous in a contemporary bath, says Diane Foreman, a designer with the Neil Kelley Company in Portland, Ore. "If it's of good quality, it gets more beautiful with time," she adds. Glass can also be striking and modern, but it's a challenge to keep it free of fingerprints, and solid slabs can be pricey. One alternative is to use glass tiles.

Aside from appearance, one should also consider price, maintenance and compatibility when investing in a bathroom countertop. Following are four of the most popular surfaces worth investigating.

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