Bienal Vanity

Granite Bathroom Counters For the Bathroom

Because of their beauty, solidity, and water-shedding properties, granite counters work well in the bathroom. Granite can be expected to provide years...

Because of their beauty, solidity, and water-shedding properties, granite counters work well in the bathroom. Granite can be expected to provide years, if not decades, of high performance in the bathroom if properly maintained. Granite countertops typically outperform competitors such as solid surface and laminate in terms of resale value.

Natural Granite Slab vs. Engineered Stone

Natural granite slab is exactly what it sounds like: granite cut from the earth in the shape of slices of bread. Natural slab is very expensive and has a unique, chaotic patterning. Engineered stone is a mineral and resin mixture that is formed into slices under high pressure. Because it is made from byproducts of natural granite slab fabrication, engineered stone has a more balanced appearance and often costs less than granite slab. Fabrication and installation of natural slab granite and engineered stone are typically performed by qualified technicians. Pre-made bathroom vanity slabs with factory-cut sink holes are the only exception.

Natural Granite Slab Requires Sealing

When most people think of granite, they imagine it as the ideal surface material in terms of durability. After all, what could be more powerful than rock hewn from the earth?

Granite does, in fact, resist staining fairly well—but only to a point. Because natural granite is porous, it must be re-sealed on a regular basis. Because granite is as dense as vitreous tile, they have the same properties in terms of heat and water.

Because water is so prevalent in bathrooms, engineered stone works better for countertops than natural slab granite. Because of the various resins and additives used in engineered stone, it resists water without the need for additional sealing.

Natural Granite Appearance Can Vary Dramatically

Granite has a variegated surface appearance because it is a natural material. It can be speckled or mottled, and even different granite slabs or tiles from the same batch or box can have significant differences. Even though packers make every effort to maintain consistency, you should inspect each granite slab or tile individually to ensure that consistency.

The appearance of engineered stone is controlled in the factory using a slurry mix. This means that every slab of engineered stone material should look the same.

Consider a Bathroom Vanity Top

Bathroom vanities are base cabinets that typically range in width from 24 to 44 or 48 inches. Instead of making a bathroom countertop from scratch, consider purchasing a pre-made engineered stone bathroom vanity top. Vanity countertops are typically pre-drilled for drop-in, self-rimming bathroom sinks or undermount sinks. Bathroom vanity tops that are prefabricated also allow for do-it-yourself installation. As long as you have a partner to assist you in lifting the vanity top onto the base cabinet, the rest is as easy as attaching the counter to the cabinet from the inside.

Watch for Granite Strength and Friction

One thing to note about purchasing natural granite for the bathroom is that natural stone does not receive strength and COF (coefficient of friction) ratings as do manufactured ceramic or porcelain tiles. The strength of natural granite varies from slab to slab. As a result, granite tiles are typically thicker than ceramic tiles, measuring 3/8-inch or more in thickness. Use honed natural granite as a bathroom flooring material with caution because it can be dangerously slippery to walk on.

Keep the Grout Lines Thin

Both granite and ceramic tile have seams that are filled with grout. With ceramic tiles, wider or thinner grout can emphasize or detract from the appearance of the tile. You want to highlight the beauty of the stone rather than the lines when working with granite. As a result, grout lines are very thin—1/8 inch—and the grout color frequently attempts to mimic the color of the granite.

Another advantage of granite countertop installation is that no thin-set mortar or grout is required. Simply apply clear silicone caulk to the tile and place it close together. When finished, use a sealer to cover the entire surface (you may need to apply several coats to fill all cracks).

Save by Installing Granite in Smaller Slabs

Installing the countertop with large tiles or modular slabs is one way to save money on natural or engineered stone. While large, continuous slabs are more popular among homebuyers, these smaller slabs can help you save a lot of money on professional installation.

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