If you are remodeling a bathroom or kitchen (or if you ever have) then you know there are a million different options out there and everyone has their own opinions on which options are best. It can get confusing if you don't work in the industry and sometimes even if you do. Products are constantly evolving to meet the needs of consumers so what was best in 1985 may not necessarily be the best now. Also, what meets your needs may not meet my needs.
I decided to help you guys out and write about the differences in the available counter top products. Now, I am not here to bash one product or sell another. I am strictly listing the pros and cons of all products.
Pros - No sealing needed, good color choices, uniform look, easily maintained
Cons - Edges may crack, expensive
Pros - Durable, not easily scratched
Cons - Needs to be sealed annually, may absorb juices/oils, not repairable, expensive
Pros - Lots of color choices, easy to clean, easy to install, inexpensive
Cons - Chips easily, grout stains and absorbs moisture, grout must be sealed
Pros - Many colors, no noticeable seams, repairable
Cons - Easily scratched, can be expensive
Pros - Inexpensive, large color selection, does not absorb liquids
Cons - Not repairable
Pros - Large color selection, repairable, low maintenance, inexpensive
Cons - Can chip or scratch
Pros - Inexpensive, resists most stains, repairable
Cons - May change color over time
I have listed the most popular products out there and shown their good and bad sides. Now I will offer a few helpful tidbits for those of you working on your bathroom or kitchen.
1. Select a color that compliments your cabinetry, flooring, wall color, etc. but keep it neutral enough that you can easily change up the look of the room without having to replace everything if you grow tired of the color scheme.
2. Consider what the room will be used for and select a material accordingly. A guest bath that is used occasionally may not need a counter top that can take a lot of abuse however, a children's bathroom might.
3. Don't be afraid to combine colors, materials, textures, etc. Multiple colors and textures can compliment each other and create a visually pleasing space. For example, mixing decorative tiles on the wall with a solid surface counter top can create an interesting combination that will formalize any bathroom.