Installing bathroom flooring is a rather tricky issue, due to the water factor, which is unique to a bathroom environment. The hot, steamy water of a bathroom makes bathroom flooring options the most challenging job while building a home, or even renovating it. This is because regular options like carpets, laminate or solid wood are unable to withstand the extreme dampness of a bathroom, hence specially suited materials have be used, and there is quite a variety of bathroom flooring materials.
So, let us take a look at the different bathroom flooring options that are available in the market today:
A carpet may seem to be a viable option, and although it may feel comfortable underfoot, it is likely to rot due to sustained moisture, generate unpleasant odors, and could also prove difficult to maintain and clean. The advantage of having a carpet as a surface in a bathroom is that it offers a better grip. A carpet may be used in a bathroom due to being frequented by the elderly and infirm. In such a case, it should be fixed firmly to the floor to prevent the corners from curling and causing the occupants to trip up.
This is one of the less practical options, but could work if done properly. The main advantage of having a hardwood floor is that you get a rich natural finish to the bathroom floor, and there will be less chance of slipping, as the surface may not be as smooth as stone or tiled flooring. If you use hardwood for your bathroom flooring, you need to ensure that there are no gaps for moisture and this is the job for a professional flooring installer.
The layers of laminate flooring consist of a wood chip base, covered with resin-impregnated paper. The paper surface is coated with clear melamine. The advantage is that the surface can be printed with any image – pictures, designs or imitation of various finishes like marble or wood. Some of the popular designs in laminate flooring in bathrooms are oak, pine, Tuscan stone, travertine and slate. While installing this type of flooring however, the gaps should be totally watertight to prevent moisture from entering the wood and ruining it. It also has the tendency to peel off due to excessive accumulation of water, so this is one of the least-recommended options.
This is actually wood flooring, with a plywood base. The top layer is also real wood, and all the layers are bound together with an adhesive. Engineered wood resembles hardwood, but the layers of wood are more robust and resistant to chemicals, moisture and heat. There are numerous varieties of engineered wood, so care should be taken to select one that is suitable for bathroom flooring. This type of flooring is good, if you are looking for a natural wood finish.
There is a variety of types of stone flooring available, like marble, granite, limestone, slate and so many more. However, the disadvantage of this type of flooring is that it tends to get slippery when wet. So, stone flooring needs to be further finished by processes like sandblasting, to render a slightly rougher surface for safe use in bathrooms. It looks good, but stone flooring is also expensive, so the cost factor also comes into play while deciding whether or not to go in for this type of flooring.
Sheet or Tile Vinyl
This type of flooring has a number of advantages in its favor, which makes it a popular choice. It is easy to install, so it comes under the DIY category of bathroom flooring – an amateur can easily complete the entire vinyl flooring of a medium size bathroom over a single weekend. You get literally thousands of styles and designs to choose from. However, the fact that it is vinyl, prevents vinyl flooring from becoming the most preferred type of bathroom flooring.
This is by and far the most popular form of bathroom flooring, worldwide. Ceramic tiles are not only relatively cheap, but have a finish that no other flooring can achieve. It is both waterproof as well as pleasant to look at. Ceramic tiles come in different sizes and shapes, and are easy to cut to required sizes, while laying out tiles for wall-to-wall fitting. Ceramic tiles clean easily, are stain resistant, and are able to withstand standing pools of water.
On the downside, ceramic tiles tend to get cold in cold weather, and also are slippery when wet. The problem of slippage can be circumvented by adding a rough texture to the surface, for example, you can get tiles with a matte finish. Slippage can also be reduced by using smaller tiles, due to the increased area of grout, which is a non-slip surface.
Modern Bathroom Flooring
Bathroom flooring options are many and can be confusing. However, once a choice has been made on the type of flooring to be used, let us consider what the modern bathroom today means. Bathrooms are no longer just a place where one goes to have a bath. Today, to many people, a bathroom is a sanctuary, a place where one can be alone, in the tranquil solitude of deep thought or meditation. Hence, ambiance becomes an important factor. A major contributor to this so called ambiance and feel of a bathroom is the flooring. It should be pleasing to the eye, and provide inspiration.
It is because of all these factors that modern bathroom flooring is not just a surface to walk on any more, but a reflection of inspired creativity. By choosing appropriate bathroom flooring options, and using them innovatively, a bathroom can be transformed from being just another room in the house, to a special place of private sanctuary.