by Jeremy Troetti / July 26, 2019
Table of Contents
Last updated on August 23, 2019
While kitchen countertops attract much of the attention in homes, installing granite bathroom countertops can make a similarly bold statement. Granite has long been a favorite countertop material of many homeowners for reasons that are further explained below.
Why Should You Have Granite Bathroom Countertops?
There are many good reasons why you should install granite in your bathroom. Among these reasons are the stone’s durability, appearance, vast selection of styles and its high resale value. Each of these factors make granite the go-to countertop choice for many homeowners.
Granite is one of the most durable natural stone surfaces that you will be able to find. If you decide to go with granite countertops in your bathroom, you will not have to worry about replacing the countertops any time soon, if ever. As long as you take good care of your granite countertops, which is relatively easy to do compared to caring for other countertops, they will become a true fixture of your house.
When researching any bathroom countertop materials, the first thing that will probably catch your eye is appearance. Granite in particular can be very pleasing to the eye. The stone comes in many different styles that have various combinations of specks and swirls, while other types have a more uniform look. Regardless of which type you choose, granite is one of the most attractive building materials you can use for a bathroom countertop.
Vast Selection of Styles
As mentioned, granite is available in a seemingly endless array of styles. One thing you will surely not have to worry about when looking for granite is a limited selection. Whether you are looking for something that is more common or a type of granite that is rare, you will be able to find it.
High Resale Value
When the time comes to sell your house, you will remember when you had your granite countertops installed and think it was one of the best decisions you ever made for your home. This is because granite countertops are a very sought-after element of the house for prospective buyers. Having granite countertops in your home will instantly make it more attractive to those looking to buy. Even if you do not plan on selling your home any time soon, your granite countertops will still be there by the time you do.
While granite is not necessarily cheap, it is not very pricey compared to other natural stone materials, such as marble. Less expensive granite generally starts around $35 per square foot. However, rarer forms of granite can cost around $100 per square foot and in some cases even more than that. For comparison, marble typically starts around $50 per square foot.
How Can You Properly Care for Your Granite Countertops?
Compared to the maintenance process of other natural stone countertops, caring for granite is not very difficult. To clean the countertops, all you will need is warm soapy water. Make sure to stay away from any harsh cleaners, such as bleach, vinegar or Windex. All of these harsh cleaners can end up damaging the granite.
In addition to cleaning, your granite bathroom countertops will have to be re-sealed once every year. The re-sealing process is very simple and quick. An easy way to test if your granite bathroom countertop needs to be re-sealed is by sprinkling a few drops of water on the surface. If the water beads up on the countertop, your seal is still effective. Conversely, if the water sinks down into the stone, you need to re-seal the countertop as soon as possible. Sealing is especially important in the bathroom because the room tends to hold high amounts of moisture. Among the many challenges you will face in the bathroom outside of moisture are mold, mildew and residue from soap scum and toothpaste.
What Other Material Options Exist for Bathroom Countertops?
While granite is one of your best options for a bathroom countertop, it is not the only option you have. In fact, there are many materials you can choose for your bathroom countertops. When looking to buy a countertop, you should always put in the time to research your different options. This guide will give you helpful information about granite’s competition in the bathroom.
When conducting research on granite countertops, one of the primary alternative materials you will find mentioned is marble. Much like granite, marble has high quality looks and a classic appeal. The stone has been used as a building material for centuries, whether it be for statues or for bathroom countertops. While marble may look nice, it does not come without its downside. The primary concern with marble is the ability of the stone to be easily stained by acidic substances. Granted, this is a much larger concern in the kitchen, where you may happen to spill something like coffee or wine by mistake. In comparison to granite, marble countertops require sealing more often. You will likely have to seal a marble countertop every few months.
If you like the look of marble but are hesitant because of its ability to easily stain, quartzite is a natural alternative that you should consider. The stone has the high quality looks of marble but is harder and is better at standing up to potential stains and etching. A major advantage that granite has over quartzite is price: Less expensive quartzite can still cost you around $60 per square foot, and in many cases will cost you more.
Another alternative to granite bathroom countertops is quartz. Quartz, not to be confused with the natural stone quartzite, is an engineered stone that is created using roughly 90 percent quartz mineral and 10 percent polymers, resins and pigments. These numbers can vary depending on the individual slab. In terms of appearance, since quartz is engineered, it can be modified to have the look of natural stone without the maintenance requirements. While you still have to maintain a quartz countertop, caring for it requires much less effort than natural stone. Since it is not porous, you do not have to seal a quartz countertop like you would with natural stone. One major downside to quartz, however, is the material’s lack of heat resistance. This could come into play in the bathroom if you use any hot styling tools and lay them down on the countertop. If you do this, the resin will burn and you will be left with an irreversible mark on the countertop. Another area where granite has an advantage over quartz is cost. Quartz countertops generally begin at around $70 per square foot and can cost even more depending on various customization elements.
If you are looking to save money on your bathroom remodeling project, laminate may appeal to you. The material is made by layers of plastic that are bonded to a particle board core. While many manufacturers create laminate surfaces that have the look of natural stone, there is no mistaking these countertops for a material such as granite. Prices for prefabricated laminate can start as low as $10 per square foot, while custom laminate will cost more. Despite the cost being lower than granite, your sacrifice will be the quality of the countertop. You will have to be extremely careful with laminate countertops, as the surface cannot handle the wear and tear that other materials can. If you do decide to go with laminate, you may be better off installing it in a guest bathroom instead of the master bathroom.
Another option for the bathroom is various forms of tile. Tile countertops can be ceramic, porcelain or glass. These tiles work well particularly in a more modern bathroom setting. A major advantage that you can get from installing a tile bathroom countertop is that you can do the job on your own rather than spending money to hire a professional. Prices for tile can be as low as $2 per square foot if you tackle the job on your own. Of course, there are more expensive varieties of tile, with some going for roughly $200 or more per square foot. In addition, if you do hire a professional, the cost will be higher. One negative aspect of tile is its brittle nature. Because of this, tile is prone to cracking if you are not careful.
If you are thinking of a going for a trendy look, consider a crushed glass bathroom countertop. These countertops are made of crushed glass that is embedded in either concrete or clear acrylic. While those formed with acrylic are stronger, crushed glass countertops made with concrete tend to be brittle. A major downside is the inability to repair any cracks that show up in the countertop. In terms of price, crushed glass countertops will usually cost between $50 to $100 per square foot.
While many crushed glass countertops are made using concrete, you can also find countertops that are made of concrete itself. While your first thought of concrete may be a sidewalk, these countertops can be stained and polished to create a beautiful and trendy surface. As mentioned with crushed glass, one of concrete’s downfalls is the inability to repair any cracks in the surface. If your concrete countertop sustains cracks, it will need to be replaced. This is a significant difference from a material such as granite, which will likely be in your home longer than you will. Concrete countertops are also relatively expensive, as they tend to be in the range of $75 to $150 per square foot.
Solid surface countertops are created from a blend of acrylic and polyester particles combined with resins. The countertops are made to resemble natural stone, although you will definitely be able to tell the difference between solid surface and natural stone. One benefit that solid surface will offer you is a large variety of colors and patterns to choose from. In addition, the countertops are stain resistant and easy to clean. Prices for solid surface countertops usually fall in the range of $45 to $75 per square foot. Something helpful to know is that solid surface countertops are not heat resistant, and hot bathroom tools can burn the surface.
While limestone has a gorgeous appearance, you will need to exercise constant caution if you install it in your bathroom. The stone is very porous and will need to be re-sealed frequently. In addition, the cost is higher than that of granite, as limestone slabs usually cost around $60 to $80 per square foot.
Installing granite countertops in your bathroom can offer so many benefits to your home. Granite is truly a beautiful and durable countertop surface that will leave you pleased for years to come. Although there are some materials that try to replicate the look of granite, there is nothing quite like the actual stone. Now that you have information about granite bathroom countertops and alternatives that are available, you can make an educated decision before you decide what you want to buy.