The countertop does much more than finalize the aesthetic appearance of your vanity. There are several different materials that can be used for a vanity countertop, and understanding the pros and cons of each option will help you make a selection that looks and performs great.
Here is a closer look at some of the most commonly used bathroom vanity countertop materials that you might want to consider for your home.
Acrylic is sometimes referred to as “plastic,” though in reality, these countertops are made from a mixture of resin and mineral components. The end result is a countertop that is surprisingly resilient and versatile. Acrylic countertops feature invisible seams, which can give any bathroom vanity a more upscale look.
Acrylic is nonporous, which means it won’t absorb water. Unlike natural stone countertops, acrylic countertops do not need to be sealed to prevent staining. They actually repel mold and moisture, making them a great option for the high-humidity environment of the bathroom. When spot damage does occur, it can often be sanded or buffed out.
One drawback to be aware of is that acrylic countertops are vulnerable to heat damage. You may wish to avoid setting a hot hair dryer or curling iron on your counter, as the heat could cause discoloration or burn marks.
Ceramic & Porcelain Bathroom Vanity Countertop
Though ceramic and porcelain generally associated with tile, many modern vanities also use a solid ceramic or porcelain top that can bring a touch of elegance to any bathroom. Though ceramic and porcelain are very similar, porcelain uses finer clays that are baked at higher temperatures. This makes them harder and more water-resistant.
The fire glazing process that is used to produce ceramic and porcelain helps them stand up against stains and moisture penetration. They are also available in a wide variety of shades and patterns, including the option to imitate more expensive natural stone variants. However, ceramic is softer than natural stone, which makes it more vulnerable to chipping.
Composite Stone Vanity Counter
Sometimes also referred to as engineered stone or manmade stone, composite stone options include materials like quartz, silicone, and engineered marble. Unlike natural stone, which is quarried and polished, these countertops are made by combining a natural material (such as quartz crystals) with a resin binder to create a durable material in a repeatable design.
With composite stone, what you see is what you get. The variances in patterns that occur in natural stone are not present, so you can be confident that the countertop you order will look exactly like it did in the picture. Of course, this means that composite countertops may end up looking more artificial, which isn’t to everyone’s liking. However, the manufacturing process also enables greater customization. A wider variety of colors, grain densities, countertop thicknesses, and more are available based on manufacturing configurations.
Composite or engineered stone does not need to be sealed, with a composition that makes it resistant against chipping and scratching, as well as spills. However, the cost and durability of these countertops will vary based on how they were manufactured.
Glass Vanity Top
Glass countertops can give your bathroom a stylish contemporary look that works great in the master suite or a guest bathroom. Because glass is recyclable, it is also surprisingly eco-friendly, making it a great choice if you want to reduce the impact your remodeling has on the environment.
Glass is well-suited to the rigors of the bathroom. Glass is durable, and generally won’t experience visible wear or discoloration over time. It is heat resistant and non-porous, so you don’t have to worry about water spills causing stains or a hair dryer damaging the surface. This also makes it harder for bacteria or dirt to get trapped in the countertop. Glass is easily cleaned with soap and water, and various colors and designs are available to help you find the perfect look.
While glass is extremely durable, it isn’t immune to chipping and cracking if hit with a heavy object. Glass is not easy to repair, and significant damage could require that you replace the countertop entirely. Fingerprint smudges will also show up more easily on a glass surface, so it probably isn’t the best choice for a child’s bathroom.
Granite Vanity Counter
Granite countertops offer a distinctive natural beauty that have made them a popular selection in both bathrooms and kitchens. Because granite is quarried in locations across the world, there is a surprising variety of available options in terms of color and design. The grain of the stone is unique, ensuring that each countertop is truly one of a kind.
Granite is a durable material that is very difficult to scratch. It is also heat-resistant. Bathroom vanities with granite countertops frequently use undermount sinks, which gives the vanity a higher-end appearance that also makes it easier to clean. Spills can be wiped into the sink, and you don’t have to worry about dirt or bacterial accumulation around the edge of a surface mount sink.
One thing to be mindful of with granite countertops is that they do need to be sealed. Granite is porous, which means it will absorb liquids if they are left standing on the countertop for a long time. Sealing is vital to prevent liquid-related stains — especially with lighter colored granite countertops. Fortunately, modern sealers can easily last 10 years or more, providing resistance against water, chemicals, and other hazards.
Marble is another natural stone countertop option that evokes an incomparable sense of luxury. The gorgeous beauty of marble can completely transform any bathroom, helping give your space a true spa-like atmosphere. As with granite, each marble countertop is truly unique, because the stone was quarried from the earth — not produced in a factory. Black and white may be the most common colors, but other shades and variants are also available.
Of course, that luxury appearance comes at a price. Bathroom vanities with marble countertops tend to be more expensive than other options. Part of this is because marble is much heavier than other materials, which means that the vanity itself needs to be extra sturdy to handle the weight.
Marble also requires additional care and maintenance. Marble is porous and relatively soft compared to other types of natural stone, which means it needs to be sealed for added protection against water stains, scratches, and nicks. Consistent cleaning, polishing, and refinishing are also recommended. Because of this, marble countertops are generally best suited for the low-traffic master bathroom.
Natural Stone Bathroom Vanity Counter
Though most people think of marble and granite when considering “natural” countertop options, these are far from the only types of natural stone that can be used for a bathroom vanity counter. Materials like slate and soapstone are also commonly used in countertop designs.
Like marble and granite, these natural stone countertops are truly unique, with coloration and veining varying from piece to piece. Soapstone and slate, in particular, are popular choices for bathroom countertops because they are less porous, and therefore more stain resistant.
Resin Vanity Counter Top
Resin countertops are synthetics, typically crafted from cured acrylic or epoxy resin. Cut to order, these countertops can be easily customized to fit the needs of the vanity installation or overall bathroom design. Various pigments and color tints are available for this affordable vanity countertop.
Resin countertops are surprisingly durable and sanitary — in fact, long before they were used in kitchens and bathrooms, they were used in laboratories. Their manufacturing makes them resistant to impact damage, heat, scratches, ultraviolet rays, and stains from acidic products. Resin is non-porous, making it resistant to water penetration and bacterial growth. This also makes it easier to keep clean!
It pays to do your research when considering resin countertops. Generally speaking, countertops made from acrylic and epoxy resins are considered to be more durable and of much higher quality than counters using a polyester resin.
Solid Surface Counter
For bathroom vanity counters, the term “solid surface” generally describes resin countertops made from a blend of acrylic and polyester. Solid surface counters are easy to form during manufacturing, which means they are often used in “all in one” designs that integrate the sink basin into the countertop. A wide variety of colors and styles are available, including imitation stone. The manufacturing process also ensures consistent coloring and patterns in the design process.
As with other artificial countertop materials, solid surface counters are quite durable and stain resistant. This makes them well suited to heavy use areas, such as a child’s bathroom. Solid surface counters can even be repaired through sanding! However, these countertops are vulnerable to heat — such as from a curling iron.
Need more ideas on getting the perfect vanity top? Then check out this video...