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The Two Major Countertop Considerations For Your Bathroom: Heat Durability Versus Stain Durability

Lately, we’ve had many conversations on bathroom countertops, from updating the newly purchased home to refreshing the existing home for future sell or long term living. When talking bathroom countertops, the two main considerations for the surface are heat durability and stain resistance. Today, we will review the following 5 popular bathroom countertop surfaces: marble, granite, quartz, travertine and quartzite and their resistance to heat and stains. Scroll to the bottom of this post for our cliff notes cheat sheet!

Pictured: Marble countertops that we recently installed for a client's masterbath

Pictured: Another recent client marble surface bathroom countertop installation

1. Marble: With marble, you'll choose from a wide range of shades, including white, brown, green, gray, black, red and pink. Marble finishes include polished (for a glossy shine), honed (for a matte appearance) and antiqued (for a slightly more weathered look).

  • Heat: Mama's curling iron can hit this surface! Marble is heat resistant, which is why it’s become popular for fireplace surrounds. This equates to hot curlers, straight irons and curling wands in the bathroom. Marble won’t yellow due to the heat and can even withstand an occasional spark on its surface. Hopefully the curling iron isn't sparking, but rest assured, the surface can take the heat.

  • Staining: Don't spill the red nail polish on this one! Marble is a porous material, in fact, It’s more porous than granite, so it more readily absorbs liquids. In the bathroom, be cautious with things like nail polish, hair dye kits, liquid make-up or make-up remover that can stain the tops. This surface is best left for the master bathroom, where the responsible adults reside. (marble information source: Countertop Guides)

Source: Mindy Gayer

2. Granite: Granite comes in many different colors and patterns due to the way it’s formed (cooling and solidifying of molten materials). In regards to finishes you'll opt for the glossy finish, known as polished or a matte, buffed finish, known as honed.

  • Heat: Grandma, don't fret over the spilled hot curlers! Granite is a durable material that’s resistant to heat.

  • Staining: Wipe up the spilled make-up foundation and you should be okay! Due to its porous nature, granite can stain if spilled liquids are left sitting on the surface. As a general rule, any liquid spilled on a granite top, if wiped up within a few minutes, will not stain. (granite information sources: HGTV and: Pacific Granite)

Pictured: Black Granite Countertops (source: Carl Mattison)

3. Quartz:

Quartz is a surface that is not 100 percent natural. Instead, quartz countertops are manufactured using 95 percent ground natural quartz and 5 percent polymer resins. Quartz, because pigment can be added, is available in a much wider range of colors for you to consider. The way the countertop material is formulated gives it the appearance of natural stone such as granite or marble. You'll find quartz in two main finshes: a polished (glossy) or suede (flat, matte).

  • Heat: Bring in the kitchen hot pad for the curling iron. Be careful, because, quartz can be damaged by excessive heat!

  • Staining: While, quartz isn’t porous like other surface materials, it's unlikely to stain. Clean up spills when they occur and you'll be okay. No sealing is needed for quartz countertops. (quartz information source: HGTV)

Pictured: White Quartz Countertops (Source: Home Bunch)

4. Traverine: Travertine is found in a variety neutral earthy tones, such as cream, beige, ivory, gold, silver, coral, walnut and many shades of brown and often has a resemblance of marble. It is generally considered to be an affordable choice and comes in four types of finishes i.e. polished, tumbled, chiseled edge and honed. The holes of travertine are filled before installation. Resin and grout are usually used for this procedure.

  • Heat: You can put your straight iron directly on this surface! Travertine is very resilient in terms of durability, which is why it's used for exterior and interior decoration purposes. The travertine countertops are highly recommended due to their commendable endurance strength regarding temperature exposure.

  • Staining: Don't squirt your kid's green watermelon toothpaste on this surface! Travertine countertops are extremely reactive to acidic solvents, such as: orange juice, and lime juice. Even the most minor spill can lead to staining of the travertine stone. (Travertine information source: Sefa stone)

Pictured: Honed and Polished Travertine Countertops (Source: MA Historic Home Renovation)

5. Quartzite: Quartzite is a naturally occurring metamorphic rock. It is created when sandstone is subjected to extreme heat and pressure caused by tectonic plate compression in the crust of the earth. The stone is mined and cut into slabs and later becomes countertops. The tops are polished and sealed for beauty and durability. Quartzite is generally found in shades of white to gray. Pink and red hues are a result of iron oxide in the stone.Yellow, blue, green and orange quartzite results from the presence of other minerals. Regardless of the color, the quartzite will have streaking caused by varying degrees of pressure in its formation and the random presence of iron oxide or other minerals.

  • Heat: You can put your straight iron directly on this surface! Like granite most quartzite is very heat resistant and can handle high heat.

  • Staining: Be careful with any colored or dyed pump soaps! Quartzite must be sealed before use and re-sealed one or two times per year. Without a proper seal, stains can penetrate into the stone. Like granite, quartzite requires quick clean-up along with annual re-sealed, to keep stains away. (Quartzite information source: Countertop guides)

Pictured: white quartzite countertops (Design Source: Hibou Design)

Lastly, I'll leave you with a quick reference when shopping for master bath countertops. Please remember, whether you are buying, selling or living, we are here to serve your design, renovation, and real-estate needs. Call me!- Jenn

Design. Renovate. Buy. Sell. Live.

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