The ideal bathroom countertop is affordable, functional and durable. But it should also be beautiful, adding aesthetic appeal to the bathroom for years to come. Fortunately, that last criteria is the easiest to fulfill. In fact, no matter your price point, you can find countertops that will add beauty to this hard-working room.
To help you out, I’ve gathered my top five picks for countertops that, with the right care, will still look amazing down the road. While countertop prices generally range from $10 to $100+ per square foot, installed, they can vary from state to state and from installation to installation. You’ll want to be sure to get detailed cost information from your bathroom contractor.
Here are five countertop materials to get you started.
The most affordable option for countertops, laminate is formed by bonding paper and melamine resin. At prices starting at $8 per square foot, post-formed laminate is the least expensive. These ready-made counters, however, offer few custom options. High-pressure laminate is available starting at $10 per square foot, and comes in a broad array of colors and styles. If done well, some offer the look of natural stone. While laminate is extremely durable, it is costly to repair.
2. Ceramic Tile
With prices starting at under $25 per square foot, ceramic tiles offer waterproof bathroom countertops at an affordable price. Glazed tiles are non-porous and durable, and are available in a wide range of colors, patterns and textures. A major drawback are the grout lines that divide them. Grout needs frequent attention to keep it looking fresh. Gray grout, however, is growing in popularity. Gray grout not only needs less maintenance, but adds a subtle, decorative touch to tile countertops.
3. Fiber Cement
For both the look and the feel of stone at a reasonable price, fiber cement countertops are a good option. Prices start at $30 per square foot. The material resembles slate, but is far more versatile, as it can be ordered and cut into just about any shape imaginable. Colors are limited, however. Fiber cement usually comes in red, green, light gray and dark gray. Fiber cement’s main drawback for bathroom countertops is that it is porous and must be resealed every few months.
4. Solid Surfacing
Made from polyester or cast-acrylic, solid surfacing prices start at $45 per square foot. These hardened plastics are extremely durable and entirely non-porous. The easy-care material can be cut to any specification. Manufacturers continually release new patterns and colors, including several new ones that resemble quartz, mica or glass.
Stone is considered the most luxurious material for countertops, both for its elegant look and for its price. The most durable stones are often the most expensive. For sheer beauty, it’s hard to match the look of marble. A fine Italian marble starts at about $100 per square foot. Many stones, but not all, can be polished or honed. Most stone materials require periodic sealing.
What type of countertop and vanity are you looking for? Let us know in the comments and we’ll set you up with some feedback.
Brittany Mauriss is editor for CalFinder.com, an awesome free service that connects you with bathroom remodeling contractors for any phase of your project. We’re also good for inspiration, pictures, bathroom remodeling ideas, and one-on-one homeowner talk.