Whether granite or marble, stone countertops offer a look that is both natural and luxurious.
It's hard to beat the beauty of natural stone. Stone slabs are much like fingerprints, as each one has unique characteristics and deviates in appearance from other slabs, even those from the same quarry.
While this provides you with a truly one-of-a-kind countertop for your bath, it could create some problems. You should insist on selecting the actual stone slab in person at the granite yard or fabricator’s workshop. Otherwise, the color of the stone sample you saw in the showroom may not exactly match your stone. Make sure you are comfortable with any differences.
Also, know that you can choose from a variety of finishes. Common ones include polished (for a high-gloss surface), honed (smooth with more of a matte look), flamed (a blow-torch creates a textured surface) and tumbled (the stone itself is tumbled, resulting in rounded edges appropriate for bathrooms with an old-world look).
As you investigate your natural stone options, consider functionality first, then this: Do you want a stone that will look brand new 10 years from now, or one that will take on the patina of age? Let your answer help guide your choice.
Granite is the most durable stone, and is chip and scratch resistant. Because all natural stone is porous, all stone counters require special sealants. But granite absorbs the least liquid and only requires resealing about once a year.
With its unique veins and smooth surface, marble provides a distinctive and luxurious look. However, it lacks the durability of granite and requires more frequent sealing to prevent stains.
Stone is a natural product, and cleaning is fairly simple, though be sure to follow specific instructions for your stone type. Monticello Granite, a national countertop company, recommends that stone surfaces be cleaned with a few drops of a neutral cleaner, stone soap or mild liquid dishwashing detergent. Always avoid products containing abrasives, lemon, vinegar or other acids, as well as scouring pads.
About $50-$125 per square foot; top-of-the-line slabs can run upward of $300 per square foot.