Choosing your bathroom flooring

Bathrooms, General, Interiors

When you’re designing your dream bathroom getting the right floor is hugely important! It needs to look right – being in keeping with your design is key. Also, perhaps more so than for other flooring in the house, it needs to be functional. bathroom flooringYour bathroom floor will have one major element to contend with that other rooms in the house will not, water. Splashing, wet footprint and condensation will all be putting your floor to the test. Your chosen bathroom floor needs to insure a safe, hygienic surface that does not become too slippery, will not absorb water and will provide a sealed surface to prevent potential damp problems.

Stone

Stone flooring comes in a huge variety of styles to suit any budget. Waterproof, durable and stylish, slate, limestone or granite will give a bathroom a luxurious finish. The latest trend for bathroom walls and floors clad entirely in slate is testament to stone’s lasting popularity. It’s a material, however, which can divide opinion.

Pros:

  • Waterproof
  • Widely available
  • Huge range of styles
  • Stunning when honed or polished
  • Very hardwearing

Cons:

  • Higher maintenance than options such as porcelain and vinyl.
  • Stone is porous, most types are porous so will need sealing. Slate, marble and some limestones (which all have a lower porosity) are more suitable for bathroom floors.
  • Stone requires sealing prior to and during installation.
  • Although stone is durable, it does need to be looked after properly with the right cleaning products and resealing every couple of years.

Rubber

If you’re looking to design a highly practical children’s or family bathroom rubber flooring could be the answer! Perfect for a bright, fun bathroom that is easily maintained and can be easily evolved.

Pros:

  • Tough wearing
  • Warm and soft underfoot as well as shock absorbent
  • Available in pretty much any colour, pattern or texture you can think of
  • Perfect for creating a hygienic surface which is easy to clean
  • Easy to maintain

Cons:

  • Rubber can be slippery when wet so opting for a textured product will help
  • Abrasive and acidic cleaners should be avoided.
  • Rubber can come in tiles but is often fitted as one single sheet, which is great for hygiene as it has no joins for dirt to gather!

Engineered Wood

Whilst real wood is generally a bad idea in bathrooms (it’s too porous and susceptible to expansion and contraction) engineered wood flooring can be used. Unlike solid wood, consisting of a single piece of timber, engineered wood is made up of several layers. A “wear layer” made of wood sits above layers of either wood or plywood, arranged at right angles. Generally, the higher quality the product the larger the wear layer.

Pros:

  • More stable and less prone to being affected by damp than real wood and laminate
  • A good quality product can achieve the look of real wood
  • Can be maintained easily – wipe clean, some products can even be sanded to refresh the look of the flooring

Cons:

  • Is slightly absorbent. Puddles and damp towels on the floor should be dealt with quickly
  • Not ideal for family homes as younger children might not keep on top of the necessary maintenance

Vinyl

Often when you think of vinyl, people tend to think of cheap sheets with naff imitation wood or stone patterns. Oh how times have changed! Today’s luxury vinyl tile (LVT) come close to looking like the real thing.

Pros:

    • Water-resistant
    • Much warmer underfoot than stone alternatives
    • Works well over underfloor heating

 

  • Available in a selection of finishes suited to most styles and tastes

 

Cons:

  • Installation tends to be the job of a specialist, although there are click systems and products which are DIY friendly.
  • There is a common misconception that silicone sealant is needed when fitting vinyl in a bathroom, but this is not the case when the tiles are fitted correctly with no gaps.

Porcelain

Keep in mind, when you’re looking for bathroom flooring, porcelain and ceramic are not the same material. Porcelain is made with denser clay and is generally fired for longer and at hotter temperatures. Because of this it’s more durable and less porous. The way that porcelain tiles are coloured is also different to ceramic. Generally, ceramic tiles have the patterns and colours on the outside of the tile whereas porcelain tends to be through-coloured.

Pros:

  • Very hardwearing
  • Impervious to water
  • Stain resistant
  • Wipe clean
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Stylistically versatile as they’re available in many colours and finishes
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to install

Cons:

  • Tiles can come glazed or unglazed. Glazed do not need to be sealed when installed (unglazed do) but they are vulnerable to chipping. Unglazed are less slippery, so better from a safety point of view.
  • Very cold and hard underfoot.
  • Can be damaged by some household cleaning products.
  • Grout can be hard to clean.

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