8 Popular Bathroom Vanity Materials: Pros and Cons - Building AU
8 Popular Bathroom Vanity Materials: Pros and Cons

8 Popular Bathroom Vanity Materials: Pros and Cons

There are many different bathroom vanity materials available in Australia today giving homeowners more choices than they’ve ever had when refitting a new bathroom. Each has its own qualities and characteristics, suited to a variety of bathroom styles and environments. Factors such as price, durability, longevity and appearance all have to be considered carefully, deciding which are going to be the most important to you and your family.

Words by Yohei Guy

A bathroom vanity is a highly visible piece of bathroom furniture that sees a lot of daily activity from all members of the household. The chosen material for the bathroom vanity is therefore hugely important as it touches on both aspects of function and style. Understanding the different options available as well as their pros and cons will help you make the most appropriate choice for your bathroom when the time comes.

1. Natural wood vanities

Natural wood, sometimes referred to as solid wood or real wood, is a premium material for many projects that offers a timeless look. It creates warmth and strong associations with nature and is a popular bathroom vanity trend for 2022.

Pros of natural wood:

  • Has a better look and feel than engineered or synthetic wood options
  • You'll have plenty of types to choose from
  • Durable, especially when finished or stained

Cons of natural wood:

  • Not always ideal for especially humid bathrooms and may warp or expand over time
  • Costs more than particle board and engineered solid woods like plywood
Timberline Bathroom Products - Marshall Vanity

2. Concrete vanities

Once used exclusively in industrial design, concrete is now considered a versatile and even elegant bathroom material. It is still a unique and bold choice, though is increasingly becoming popular in residential bathroom designs.

Pros of concrete:

  • Mimics a similar feel to natural stone but is more cost-effective
  • Can be cast into the exact size and shape you want to create custom concrete vanity tops
  • An extremely durable material
  • Eco-friendly when recycled content is mixed in at the outset

Cons of concrete:

  • Requires regular waxing and sealing to combat porousness
  • You may notice visible seam lines from casting
Timberline Bathroom Products - Eadie Vanity

3. Stone vanities

Like wood, natural stone is a material that actually refers to a wide variety of materials. This includes quartz on the more expensive end and slate on the more affordable end. Also like wood, it brings in strong sentiments to the natural world, albeit in a slightly more bold form.

Pros of stone:

  • Wide variety of colours and natural patterns to choose from
  • Strong heat resistance
  • Water resistance and bacteria resistance
  • Long lifespan and excellent durability

Cons of stone:

  • Some, like quartz, are high in cost
  • Many varieties require regular sealing to combat porousness
  • Many varieties will show smudges and fingerprints, requiring frequent cleaning
Timberline Bathroom Products - Panama Vanity

4. Marble vanities

Yes, marble does fall under the category of natural stone. However, as a very popular material for luxury and designer bathrooms, it deserves its own closer examination.

Pros of marble:

  • Durable and almost entirely resistant to dents and chips
  • Timeless and consistent with most design styles
  • Versatile finishing options (can be polished to shine or honed for a matte look)

Cons of marble:

  • Easily scratched and stained
  • Vulnerable to acidic substances
  • Requires frequent sealing to maintain the overall look and finish
Timberline Bathroom Products - Norfolk Vanity

5. Rattan vanities

Given that 90% of Australians are now looking for more sustainable ways to shop, it would be remiss to leave rattan off the list. Not only does rattan add the much loved post-modern flair to any design, but it is also made of quickly growing vines, rather than tree trunks, making it a more sustainable option.

Pros of rattan:

  • Very eco-friendly
  • Can be coated with water-resistant lacquer
  • Offers great visual texture and classic vintage style

Cons of rattan:

  • Requires regular cleaning and care
  • Woven features can start to loosen or break over time
Castano - Vienna Wall Hung Vanity

6. Laminate vanities

You may remember the laminate bathroom vanity tops of the 1960s and 1970s that often came in unsightly pastels. Fortunately, laminate, a combination of plastic and particle board or plywood, has come a long way and is regarded as one of the best bathroom vanity materials on a budget.

Pros of laminate:

  • One of the most affordable materials for your bathroom
  • Durable and water-resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • Doesn't feel cold to the touch even in lower temperatures
  • Can mimic a variety of high-cost materials

Cons of laminate:

  • Can start to thin out or become dull over time
  • Veneers of wood glued laminate can start to separate
  • Difficult to repair and often has to be replaced when damaged
Timberline Bathroom Products - Dakota Vanity

7. Porcelain vanities

Porcelain is a bathroom vanity material you'll find in both modern and historic Australian homes. It provides a delicate beauty to any bathroom and is often regarded as a more affordable and stylish alternative to marble or quartz.

Pros of porcelain:

  • Heat and scratch-resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • Resistant to germs

Cons of porcelain:

  • Can be fragile, especially in tile form
  • It may require visible grouting, which can fade or wear away over time

8. Engineered stone vanities

Engineered stone is a solid surface alternative to natural stone. Engineered stone is made out of a combination of crushed natural stone and acrylic resin and can be found in a wide variety of colours and natural-looking patterns.

Pros of engineered stone:

  • Stain and water-resistant
  • Highly durable
  • Convincingly mimics natural stone with natural-looking flecks or veins
  • Easy to clean and buff out
  • Less expensive than natural stone

Cons of engineered stone:

  • Not always resistant to intense heat
  • Can be damaged by heavy objects or intense pressure
  • Darker colours may show scratches and other signs of wear
Timberline Bathroom Products - Arizona Vanity

Bathroom vanity materials for all situations

Bathroom renovations can boost the value and sustainability of your home while creating a more luxurious or aesthetically pleasing aesthetic. Choosing the right bathroom vanity materials can set the tone and meet your day-to-day needs in the short and long term. It can sometimes be a difficult choice but the more you understand and know about each choice, the better your final decision will be.

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