Wise Choices for Bathroom Flooring
Written by: Stephanie Stevens | Date: Tuesday, 13th July 2010
The material you choose for your bathroom should resist water, endure mopping and sterilizing, and look great with the chosen décor. The following information will help you narrow down the seemingly endless choices available.
First, eliminate materials that are not good choices. Porous materials like natural stone, wood, cork, and bamboo will be hard to maintain in a water-sloshed zone like the bathroom. Although these materials can be varnished or sealed, chances are good that you'll regret the choice down the road, either because they need refinishing sooner than normal, or because of permanent stains and smells around the toilet. Carpet is a poor choice as well. It feels great to cold feet in winter, but will inevitably stain, mildew or mold in bathroom conditions, and will have to be replaced within just a few years.
Vinyl flooring is an economical choice for installation. It is easy to maintain and comes in hundreds of patterns. It's a good choice if you want to continue the look of wood throughout the house, or can't afford authentic stone (faux versions are a great second choice). The vinyl is warmer underfoot than tile or stone, but it won't last as long. Sheet vinyl is superior to vinyl tiles in the bathroom, where a moist environment can quickly curl up the tile's edges.
If warm feet are important, consider a substrate warming layer, a system of tubes filled with hot water, which can be manually turned on or set with a timer. With that warming layer you can choose an easy-care, longer-lasting product for your bathroom floor and enjoy comfort and beauty.
Ceramic tile is the traditional choice for bathroom floors, because it's also a smart choice. Size and installation technique can mix up the options to create something unique and visually fresh. Ceramic tile is available in dozens of colors and finishes, some sleek and slippery and others matte like natural stone. Check for non-skid guarantees as you shop. Small mosaic tiles are a great option for sure footing (more grout increases traction), and it's also a vintage style choice. Glass tile is a modern and gorgeous look, and also available in non-skid. Also look for penny tile, whose one-inch circles in raised relief provide natural traction.
If you love natural stone, choose a denser variety like granite or marble, and have it sealed. Choose tumbled stone over polished for a non-skid surface in the bathroom.
Linoleum is made of all-natural ingredients like linseed oil and cork. It's an earth-friendly flooring choice that suits the practical function of a bathroom. It's not as elegant as marble, but today's installers can create just about any pattern you want from several color choices. Once it is sealed to prevent stains, it's very easy to maintain.
Although a bathroom's function limits the possibilities of practical flooring choices, abundant style and color options are available. As you consider which material will suit your budget, keep in mind that the wisest choice is not always the least expensive option, but the material that lasts and pleases for a long, long time.
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