Bathroom Countertop Buying Guide

Consider factors like room size, layout and style when picking materials for your bath remodel.


By: Kim Hildenbrand

Before you start shopping for bathroom countertops, make sure you have a plan for your bathroom renovation. You should identify goals and priorities, with the help of your completed Day in the Life of Your Bathroom Questionnaire and Bathroom Goals Worksheet. You also should have a clear vision of what your new bathroom will look like and a solid budget.

When shopping for bathroom countertops, the key is to combine the perfect mix of durability, ease of cleaning and serene sophistication. Consider these factors:

Luxe Look. Your bathroom countertop—often called a vanity top—won't encounter hot pans and cooking spills. That means, unlike in the kitchen, you can allow style to hold greater sway in the decision. Choosing a luxurious surface makes every evening feel a little like a stay in a posh hotel. Think about options such as color, finish and tactile feel.

Practical Nature. Though style reigns, steamy showers, splashing children and spilled toiletries all take their toll. Especially in a busy bath, it's important to choose a countertop that holds up to daily use while maintaining its looks. Along with everyday concerns—soap, toothpaste and shaving cream—factor in tougher culprits like hot curling irons and chemical hair dyes.

Custom Blend. In a small space such as the bath, surfaces go a long way toward establishing the general style. Unless you're relying on the countertop as a jumping-off point for a redo, aim to achieve cohesive design by selecting surfaces that complement the existing floors, wall treatments and furnishings. No matter how much you love marble, for instance, it probably won't look right in a colorful kids' bath.

Price Points. Estimate your square footage requirements and gather information about countertop costs. If budget is a concern, consider compromises: If you love stone, you could select tiles instead of slabs. If you fall in love with an out-of-reach surface, consider installing it in the powder room rather than the master bath. Whatever you choose, try to enjoy the process as much as you savor the result.

Explore the latest bathroom countertop options:

**Cost estimates courtesy of the International Surface Fabricators Association.

Bathroom Countertop Styles and Trends

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Granite Countertops

With beautiful veining, specks and swirls, a granite vanity top lends a luxurious look to any bathroom. The extremely popular stone is a practical choice, as it resists stains and isn't damaged by water or heat. Granite countertops can be pricey, but they last for years and add value to a home. Image courtesy of Arizona Tile

Engineered Stone Countertops

Catching up with granite in popularly, engineered stone countertops emulate the style and texture of natural stone without the maintenance. Typically composed of more than 90 percent quartz particles, the nonporous surface won’t scratch, stain or crack, and it resists mold and mildew. Image courtesy of HanStone Quartz

Marble Countertops

When it comes to sheer beauty, few countertop materials rival marble. Though types vary, most marble can be easily scratched or stained. Save it for baths where it’s likely to receive gentle treatment and proper maintenance. Image courtesy of ADKO

Laminate Countertops

A great choice for budget bathroom remodels, low-cost laminate countertops are easy to clean and come in a wide range of colors and patterns. Improvements in the manufacturing process have resulted in laminate that mimics marble, granite, slate and other natural stones. Laminate countertops resist water and stains, but they can be damaged by hot objects like curling irons. Image courtesy of Formica Corporation

Concrete Countertops

Cutting-edge concrete countertops aren't just for industrial spaces. One of the most customizable surfaces available, concrete can be cast into almost any shape and dyed in a wide range of colors. The surface resists heat, stains and scratches, making it a smart choice for a busy bath. Concrete countertops require regular sealing, and custom installations can be expensive. Image courtesy of Buddy Rhodes

Tile Countertops

Available in a multitude of colors, patterns and textures, tile countertops are a classic choice for bathrooms. Tile is resistant to heat, impervious to water and easy to clean, but grout lines can stain and collect grime. Image courtesy of Mannington Mills, Inc.

Solid Surface Countertops

Solid surface countertops, crafted from acrylic resins and natural materials, offer a compromise between high-end stone and affordable laminate. The surface resists stains, mold, mildew and bacteria, and it won’t chip or wear because the color runs all the way through. Image courtesy of The Swan Corporation

Composite Countertops

Composite countertops look and perform like solid surface — and you'd never guess most are made out of recycled paper. This eco-friendly surface inhibits bacteria and resists stains, scratches and heat. Composite countertops have a rich, natural feel and gain character with age. Image courtesy of Paperstone

Soapstone Countertops

A centuries-old surface option, soapstone brings classic beauty to the bath. The light gray surface gains a rich, dark patina from age and applications of mineral oil. Durable soapstone is nonporous and impervious to chemicals. Image courtesy of Soapstone International Inc.

Limestone Countertops

Limestone countertops offer a slightly more rustic appearance than granite and marble, and they are often embedded with tiny shells and fossils. The porous surface requires sealing to prevent stains and scratches. Photo courtesy of Walker Zanger

Travertine Countertops

A member of the marble family, travertine is an elegant stone that comes in various colors. The soft stone is prone to staining and etching, but sealer can increase its durability. Image courtesy of ADKO

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