Apr. 11 2024

How to Decide Between Bathroom Countertop Materials in 2024

by Haley Carroll

Like every other decision during a remodel, selecting your bathroom countertop material comes with many options. Thanks to the internet, there’s also a wealth of information out there on each material.

However, much of the content available is biased, produced by manufacturers that are trying to convince you their material is the best option. Online investigation will reveal conflicting narratives, leaving homeowners often more lost than before they began their research.

We’re here to cut through the noise for you. This post is a fair breakdown of each material, regarding each consideration prevalent for bathroom countertops.

Pro Tip

Read to the end of this article to find a chart that will help you easily compare and contrast the different countertop material options. Don't skim past all the juicy details, though!

 

If you’re just starting your bathroom remodel journey and want to know what you should be looking for in your new countertop, read this post first: “How To Choose Your Bathroom Countertop: Everything You Should Consider.”

Now, let’s dive into each material and how they stack up against one another.

Granite

Square samples of granite countertop materialA longstanding beloved countertop material is granite; it will last your family for decades, look beautiful, and be attractive to future buyers long down the road.

Physical Features: As a heavy, dense natural stone, granite is a strong and solid material that can handle water and heat as well as repel most stains. However, it must be sealed to repel grease. Though it’s strong, it is possible to chip granite. The material has also been known to emit small amounts of radon.

The Look: Granite is wildly popular because it achieves both practicality and elegance. Each piece of this natural stone will be unique. Granite is flexible in that it can be stained to nearly any color you desire. Its patterns can be speckled, dotted, or veined – creating interest in the room for the eye to be drawn to.

Cost: Granite tends to be on the pricier side of materials, although the cost will vary depending on the grade you’re selecting and who you’re buying from. Since it weighs a lot, transport and installation will be more expensive.

Marble

Closeup of marble countertop and satin brass faucet

Physical Features: Heat resistant and durable, marble can last in your home for many years. Marble is a porous material, so it’s prone to staining and continuous exposure to large amounts of water can cause the growth of fungus and bacteria. However, sealing the marble solves this issue, as well as prevent chips and scratches. You must get your marble resealed periodically; every two years for much used surfaces.

The Look: Mable exudes luxury, and each slab will have its own unique veining. With various shades and undertones, you’ll have many options for how you’ll incorporate this glamorous material into your space.

Cost: Marble gives off luxury for a reason; this material comes at a higher price point than other options. However, it’s hard to replicate the timeless beauty of this material.

Alternative natural stones

If you want natural stone but aren’t convinced that the high price tags for granite or marble are worth it, there are plenty of other viable alternative natural stones to research.
With more distinct looks and some compromise on the durability of the material, the following natural stones can be affordable, yet beautiful stone counters:

  • Travertine
  • Limestone
  • Soapstone
  • Slate

Quartz

Quartz countertop with chrome faucet and walnut cabinetry

Believe it or not, quartz has recently surpassed granite in popularity.

Physical Features: Quartz toes the line between natural stone and manmade material. The natural mineral quartz is ground up and bound together with resin, then molded into slabs to produce the final product. It’s durable: resistant to scratching, stains, and heat (unless it’s very high heat). Quartz doesn’t require sealing because it’s a nonporous surface.

The Look: Quartz is available in many colors and patterns; it can mimic natural stone or take on unique colors and patterns. Manufacturers can design nearly anything you can imagine, adding in pigments, recycled glass, metals, and other materials.

Cost: With many advantages and few drawbacks, quartz tends to be set at a higher price point than other materials. However, quartz is often a more affordable alternative to other natural stones.

Porcelain Slab

Porcelain countertop slabs in store

Another material that’s growing in popularity across the US (after already winning the hearts and bathrooms of Europeans for years) is porcelain. Can the stuff of fine china really stand up as countertop?

Physical Features: Porcelain is a type of pottery made from mixing clay, quartz, and other natural materials and firing the mixture at a very high temperature. The outcome is a strong, hard, and beautiful surface. These countertops are known to be durable and easy to maintain; they endure heat, resist scratches, and won’t discolor. You don’t need to worry about sealing porcelain, and it’s a more sustainable option since it’s made from natural materials. Another perk of its manmade quality is that it can be manufactured to any shape you desire.

The Look: Porcelain can be easily crafted to look like natural stone, with a wide variety of color and pattern options available to get just the design you want. Porcelain is also available in multiple finishes, from polished to matte.

Cost: Porcelain is not the least expensive countertop option; however, it can often be more affordable than natural stone. There are fewer fabricators available as of right now, and the material’s high density drives up the cost to produce it as well.

Concrete

Concrete countertop in gray with stainless steel sink and faucet

For a contemporary, utilitarian look, concrete delivers.

Physical Features: Concrete is considered a premium surface and can last a long time with proper care. As a porous material, it needs to be sealed and waxed to prevent stains and damage. It is a durable surface, but care should still be taken to not damage its seal. Concrete often forms hairline cracks over time, creating a worn look that homeowners often admire. Larger cracks will form due to improper installation or care.

The Look: Concrete offers much customization: it can be molded to your kitchen’s needs, be stained in an array of colors, and have items like glass and stone embedded within it – you can even add veining. Often associated with a more industrial aesthetic, concrete can also be formed to fit in with many other design styles.

Cost: As a premium material, concrete often comes with a premium price tag. However, a customized heavy-duty counter of concrete could be worth the investment.

Laminate

Laminate countertop in white with rose gold faucet and light pink walls

Physical Features: Another longstanding material used in the home, laminate countertops have advanced tremendously in recent years. Kraft paper and plastic resins are layered alternately over a solid backing layer to create a material that’s non-porous and easy to clean, though not as durable as stone.

The Look: High-pressure laminate does a fair job at mimicking natural stones such as granite and marble. It comes in a variety of colors and shapes, and can be an attractive, if modest, option for homeowners on a budget.

Cost: Laminate is one of the most budget friendly options available, thanks to its low cost per square foot and easy installation. However, laminate will have a lower resale value and a shorter lifespan than other countertop materials.

How to decide which material is right for your bathroom countertop

Bathroom Countertop Material Comparison Chart

Everyone’s needs, design style, and budget will be different. Choosing the perfect bathroom counter means finding a material that enhances the look of the room, whose total cost stays within your budget, and has the durability and care requirements that suit your life best.

Still not sure which material is right for you? That’s what the experts are here for! Find a professional you can consult on your needs and design goals, and they can help you navigate your options.

At Innovative Home Renovations, we are committed to empowering homeowners through education – contact us to get expert advice on your bathroom.


Achieve your dream custom bathroom with a design-build firm 

From determining your remodeling priorities to choosing the final decorative accents to your space, a design-build firm’s purpose is to bring you through the remodeling process seamlessly to superior results. Innovative Home Renovations will turn your Seattle house into a home you’ll be happy in for years to come; contact us to begin your journey.

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