Q. You rate laminate countertops higher than granite for bathroom use but the reverse for kitchens. Why?

A. The kitchen environment is much tougher than the bathroom, generally speaking, which is why we test and rate countertops differently for each room. With kitchen countertops, for example, we look at how well surfaces resist damage caused by slicing and chopping. That isn’t relevant for bathrooms, obviously. We use different staining agents, too: hair color and lipstick in the bathroom tests, and beet juice, grape juice, hot vegetable oil, mustard, and tomato sauce in the kitchen tests. Both granite and laminate have performed excellently in our heat tests, however, resisting any damage.

For more information, learn the pros and cons—and costs—of 10 countertop materials, then check our countertop buying guide.

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Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the December 2015 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.