6 Rules for Buying Stone Vanity Countertops

June 17, 2020 | Starr Tingle

The Ins and Outs of Vanity Countertops

Buying stone vanity tops for your bathroom can be overwhelming. This list of 6 rules will help make sure you get the stone vanity tops you need for your bathroom.

The vanity countertops in your bathroom are very hardworking and highly visible. I’m going to walk you through the ins and outs of choosing vanity countertops so you can make the best choice for your remodel.

First, I want to say that if there ever was a time to splurge, this is the place to do it. You touch your countertop tops with your eyes and your hands multiple times a day; you should love them.

Second, If I don’t cover a specific material, that means I don’t think it is a viable option, and I am not recommending its use in your bathroom. I’ve worked with tile, concrete, and wood – I don’t find them user friendly for daily use.

This post is all about buying stone vanity tops for your bathroom.

 

Cultured Marble

Cultured marble is a man-made product. Poured into a mold, it includes an integral sink and usually a 4″ splash along the back. Any necessary side splashes are purchased separately. Historically the goal of the manufacturer was to try to mimic real marble, hence the name “cultured marble.” The marble looks are still available; however, when I’m working with a budget that requires me to use cultured marble tops, I most always choose white.  

If there was ever a case for buying something at a big box store, this is it. Especially for a smaller vanity – may be up to 60″ wide. Vanity cabinets are 21″ deep, so tops are always 22″ deep to give you that little overhang. If you need something longer than 60″, it will be tough to find, and the price will start to increase, making the solid surface more attractive.  

I did some quick research, and for a 36″ vanity, white cultured marble from a big box store is $110 (plus tax and shipping if you can’t pick it up). Conversely, an entry-level granite top and porcelain sink could easily cost $500. 

For a 60″ vanity with two sinks, cultured marble price is $210, and granite is going to be $835.  

With cultured marble, you get a 4″ spread faucet – so don’t even look at widespread or single hole faucets. If you want more information on faucet spread, please refer back to this blog post, where I talk all about vanity faucets. You are also going to be stuck using the 4″ splashes because the one along the back is not removable.  

Solid Surface

Solid surface is going to encompass natural and man-made stone. Man-made is called Quartz even though there is a natural stone called quartz or quartzite. Super confusing, right?! So when you are looking at stone, always ask if what you are looking at it natural or man-made. Understand what you are buying.  

Quartz

Quartz (the man-made variety) has improved vastly in looks in the past five years. They now make some jaw-droppingly beautiful tops that look like the highest end marble without the care of marble. I adore many of them. 

Quartz is not less expensive than real stone. I know, this bums me out so bad! In many cases, to get the beautiful patterns, you’ll pay more for man-made quartz than you will for good quality entry-level natural stone. Quartz is more comfortable to care for and maintain than marble and some granites. 

Granite

Natural products enjoy endless variety! Here is a list of the things you can customize when buying stone:

  •  The finish of the top can be super shiny (polished), matt finish (honed), or textured (there are river wash and brushed are a couple off the top of my head).  
  • You can opt for traditional 4″ splashes against the wall, or my favorite, 2″ splashes, or none and tile against the wall instead. 
  •  You have options on your sink size, shape, and how it is mounted. 
  •  You can choose the edge profile
  •  The number of holes you want drilled for the faucet. 

Marble

When we remodeled our bathroom about five years ago, I chose polished Carara marble with 4″ splashes, an ogee edge, a small, oval porcelain sink, and 8″ faucet drillings. I love the marble, but I’m not going to lie, it has been a challenge. My marble finish quickly became etched and is well on it’s way to having a “patina.” I’m mentioning this because I’m super careful. The only thing on my vanity countertop is toothpaste, hand soap, and contact lens solution, and I’ve lost the polish off of 75% of my vanity top. It’s very precious and does not stay looking new. Take this into consideration.  

Stone Buying Tips

  1.  First, find a fabricator you want to work with and then let that fabricator recommend where you go to look at the stone.  
  2. Ask your fabricator if they have remnants you can choose from. Remnants are pieces left from a previous install that are too big for them to throw away. They are priced well, and I’ve found some gorgeous stone at a great price this way!
  3. If you don’t find a remnant you like, know your budget and only be shown stone within your budget. Once you fall in love with something you can’t afford, it’s hard to find something you like in your budget.
  4. If you are trying to decide between 2 or 3 stones, call your fabricator and let him choose the best stone of the three. He knows which stones are the densest, therefore the most durable.  
  5. Be sure you clearly understand what is included in the price. Will they come measure and template? Is it an installed price? If you have a simple 36″ vanity countertop with a wall on one side, can you save some money if they don’t have to drive out to measure? Talk to them and negotiate a deal!
  6. Stone with a lot of movement is typically more expensive: brace yourself when you ask for a price. 

 

This is an example of stone with a lot of “movement”

This post is all about buying stone vanity tops for your bathroom.

 

Free Resource

Download the checklist I use for every bathroom remodel to make sure I’ve selected every component in a bathroom – it’s completely free! If you have a super ability to create checklists, make one yourself, but please start a master checklist for the project!

 

 

Wrap Up

If I were remodeling a bathroom on a tight budget, I would first try to shop hard for a solid surface. If I still couldn’t make it work in my budget, I would go with cultured marble until I could save for the real thing.

The bottom line here is knowing your budget. It takes a lot of work, but knowing your budget helps you when you shop and gives you real control over your project. 

I hope I have armed you with enough information to make the right buying decision on your vanity countertops. I’m committed to educating homeowners and helping them love the process of remodeling their home. I believe taking the time to learn about the bathroom components will make your rebuild go faster, smoother, and help keep costs down. If you have a specific remodel question, send me an email at Starr (at) starrtingle.com. I would love to help you out!

If you live in or around Shelbyville, Ky, and want to work with me to remodel or build a home, you can contact me here. I look forward to hearing from you! 

Be sure to follow me on Facebook @Sanctuary Homes, Instagram at @sanctuaryhomes, and Pinterest at Sanctuary Homes. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME!! Chow for now!