From marble, through Corian, all the way to concrete, washroom countertops are an essential ingredient for a high-end office washroom that wants to impress.

Choosing the right countertop for your office washroom can be daunting and the abundance of choice doesn't help matters.

How do you stand out in a sea of options? What surface will best tell your story? Is Corian tougher than natural stone? And what about concrete?

Before we go into detail about which surface materials are best suited to your commercial washroom, ask yourself why? Why do you want to upgrade your current washroom? What needs to be improved and what is the end-goal? Are you looking to increase the property value of your office? Is your objective to impress prospects and stand out from the crowd? What are your aesthetic aspirations and practical needs?

luxury washroom in Melbourne office
High-end washroom inside PDG's Melbourne head office, by Studio Tate

Now that you have your 'why', let's find your 'how'. How is upgrading your office washroom going to help your business? If it's about property value, how can you turn your office into a Class A office space, complete with top notch fixtures and amenities? How can you convey luxury?

When designing a commercial bathroom, functionality and style go hand in hand. And although there is a lot more to a washroom than the countertop, the latter remains an integral component that will often tie the various elements together.

Here's a closer look at the top 4 surface materials for your office washroom countertops.

1. Marble

marble countertops in New York washroom
Marble countertops at 222 East 41st Offices, New York City. Photographer: Ricardo Parra

Long-associated with wealth and elegance, marble is a top choice for premium office washrooms. With its hard, crystalline surface and characteristic swirls and veins, marble will certainly meet both your functional and aesthetic needs.

Pros:

  • Long-lasting and resistant to most dents.
  • The abundance of colours and varieties make it a very adaptable material.
  • Can be polished or honed, depending on the desired look. Bare in mind honed marble resists scratches better because it lacks the gloss that polished marble has.

Cons:

  • A high price to pay for luxury.
  • Higher maintenance.
  • Marble is more porous than other surfaces which makes it prone to stains and scratches from acidic substances.

2. Corian

white washroom with corian countertops
Glacier White Corian® counters inside the White Grotto washroom, designed by Ida & Billy

Solid-surface materials such as Corian are made of minerals and acrylic which creates a stone-hard surface, designed to last a lifetime. What's more, despite its hard nature, Corian can be formed into almost any shape.

Pros:

  • Extreme durability and great resistance to water and bacteria.
  • Virtually seamless.
  • Its realistic flecks and streaks can be highlighted with colour inlays and lighting effects.

Cons:

  • You will need to seek professional help to install.
  • Darker colours reveal wear and tear more than lighter shades.
  • Intense heat or dropped objects can damage the surface, although neither of these this should not be an issue in commercial washrooms.

3. Concrete

concrete washroom basin
Customised concrete countertop with embedded copper flakes, by Lampe Concrete Studio in CA, United States

No longer synonymous with industrial, cold looks, concrete countertops can be moulded in one seamless piece, making your bathroom countertop a visually striking feature.

Pros:

  • Appealing organic material that can mimic the look of natural stone achieved through acid staining.
  • Ceramic, glass or stone tiles can be embedded in the concrete and the surface can be etched to give it a pattern or texture. Customised colours and decorative inlays are also in store.
  • Can be cast in any shape and virtually any size.
  • Extremely durable.

Cons:

  • Just like Corian, professional installation is recommended.
  • If not waxed and sealed regularly, concrete counters will be prone to stains. Avoid this by sealing your countertop at the beginning, then every 1-3 years.

4. Glass

office washroom with glass countertops
Minimalist glass countertop set against a concrete wall. Photo credit: Iconoclassst

Sleek, modern and well-suited to high-end corporate businesses, glass countertops come in all shapes and forms and boast a range of textures, finishes and colours.

Pros:

  • Design flexibility. Bespoke applications are almost limitless.
  • Since glass is non-porous, it will not harbour germs and bacteria.
  • The ability to light up glass makes it a distinctive advantage for those who wish to impress. The translucency of glass also helps make a small bathroom look larger.

Cons:

  • Less resistant that natural stone or granite, although it is useful to remember, the thicker the glass, the stronger it is. For a stronger surface, you can also opt for tempered glass.
  • Just like marble, acidic substances can damage the glass surface.

Made in Bulgaria, raised in Morocco, "matured" in the UK, Elissaveta is our Editor-in-Chief. Her career started in the field of architecture and design where she developed a talent for creative thinking and an eye for aesthetics. In 2014, she found her calling in design journalism and now has over three years’ experience in writing about design & architecture.