Time to Replace Your Bathroom Countertop?

by Jane VanOsdol on October 20, 2011

Have you looked at your bathroom countertop with a critical eye lately? If you’ve been avoiding doing that because you don’t like what you see, maybe it’s time to replace the countertop. If the vanity itself is in good shape, simply replacing the countertop can totally change the whole look of your bathroom, as well as give you a sleeker, organized space.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) offers a helpful article on choosing a bathroom vanity. They detail five of the most common countertop materials. Let’s review them to see which one might be appearing in your next bath remodeling project.

Common Bathroom Remodeling Countertop Materials

Granite and Marble. No doubt, granite and marble are among the most beautiful and elegant of choices for your bathroom countertop. But, they are also the priciest. The NKBA estimates their price in the range of $125 to $250 per linear foot. Marble and granite, especially marble, require some special care because of staining issues. If granite is sealed, the only worry is grease. If you love the look of granite and marble but are put off by the price tag, you may want to look into marble and granite tiles, which are cheaper than a solid slab.

Cultured marble is another alternative. It is made from chips of marble and is a cheaper alternative. However, take care with it, because if it scratches, it can’t be refinished.

Solid Surface Countertop. Solid surface countertops are cast from an acrylic resin that may include crushed stone. This makes a sturdy countertop that can stand up to wear and tear. If it does get scratches or a minor burn from a hair appliance left on for too long, it can generally be sandpapered off.  Prices are on par with marble and granite, at about $100 to $250 per linear foot.

Laminate. Laminate is the most-used material for countertops in both kitchens and bathrooms. It’s fairly durable although over time it will wear. If it does incur damage, there’s no easy fix—basically you just have to replace the countertop. But at $24 to $50 a linear foot, it’s an economical choice. Besides being economical, laminate is available in a wide range of colors, patterns and finishes.

Tile. Ceramic tile is an appealing, durable choice for many homeowners, particularly because tile is available in so many colors, textures and patterns. You do need to be careful of chipping or cracking. Probably the biggest negative in many people’s minds—especially when they are cleaning the tile—is the grout. Grout can be a pain to maintain. One way to avoid this problem is to choose a darker grout. Prices range from $10 to $40 per linear foot.

Wood. It’s hard to resist the natural beauty of wood, but when you add a wood countertop to an environment with lots of moisture, you need to be sure you take care of it. Because it’s so porous, wood is prone to water damage and difficult to keep clean. Sealing a wood countertop is a must. Look for wood in the $25 to $40 range.

When choosing your new countertop, review your options carefully and go to a showroom to actually see some up close. Let your budget and your preferences help you pick the one that’s right for that next bathroom remodeling project.

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