Laminate has been used for generations on bathroom countertops because of its durability, affordability and ease of maintenance. Colors and designs increase with trends. The construction of the laminate product will determine its ability to stand up to heat, scratches, and stains. Nonporous, it is water resistant and does not need maintenance other than cleaning.
Solid Surface materials are a mixture of natural minerals with resins, providing a range of colors and styles. Care should be taken when using heat or acidic products. Solid surface materials are nonporous and durable in a moisture setting. These may be known by brand names such as Corian® or Ceasarstone®, or Cultured Marble, Cultured Granite, which then identifies the mineral used in the composition. Easy to clean, these products require little maintenance and can be repaired if necessary.
Quartz is a man-made material of crushed quartz stone mixed in a resin. Created in a variety of colors and designs, quartz countertops can look like stone without the need for sealing and maintenance. Quartz is nonporous and easy to maintain and clean. Quartz can be heavy and may require additional support if the countertop is large.
Granite is a natural stone with warm colors that may contain veins. If more than one piece is needed, the veins will not match up in the design. Granite will be sealed and will require resealing to maintain its stain and water resistance. Heavy, granite will require professional installation.
Marble is a natural stone often used for vanity tops. White is the most popular color but marble will contain veins that will not match during installation. If short run pieces are needed, this is not a problem. As a soft stone, marble will require sealing and resealing to provide moisture and stain resistance. Marble provides a warm, generous feeling to the bathroom countertop and will require professional installation.
Soapstone is a natural stone that is ideally suited for use in the bathroom. Nonporous, it will not require sealing, but it is softer so scratches or nicks will show if not sanded out. Soapstone is available in a range of colors and patterns; professional installation will be required.