The 5 best options for your new bathroom floor
It’s easy to get a little overwhelmed with all of the choices you can make when fitting or refitting a bathroom to your home — bath, shower, or both? What kind of faucets are best? What sort of lighting should you go for? Of the options you’re presented with when designing the room we think it’s easy to overlook one key area in particular – the floor.
In any room getting the flooring right for the room, taking in both the practical and aesthetic qualities of each option is important, but it is especially so in the bathroom. This is because bathroom floors tend to receive the highest amount of traffic and footfall of any room as well as having to stand up to moisture and humidity to boot.
While there are a few types of flooring that most decorators and interior designers now concede are just not a good choice for bathrooms (carpet) you still have a fairly wide choice of materials to use for your bathroom flooring. Here’s what we think are the best options with a few practical considerations about each to help you decide what’s right for you.
By far and away the most popular type of flooring used in bathrooms is ceramic and porcelain tiling. And it’s no real wonder why, tiled flooring is easy to clean, robust and relatively inexpensive compared to some other options. It also comes in just about every single style, colour and pattern imaginable so with some shopping around you’ll be sure to find some tiling that you love.
The difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles is small, but important to be aware of. Porcelain tiles are still technically ceramic tiles, they however are known as such because they have been certified by the Porcelain Tile Certification Agency (PTCA) as having a water absorption rate of 0.5% or less. This means that they will absorb less water than a regular ceramic tile, while this doesn’t mean that a non-porcelain floor won’t stand up to all the splashing and spills you can expect in a bathroom, if water seeping into the floorboards beneath is something you’re particularly worried about going for certified porcelain tile is a better option.
Vinyl flooring is another popular choice. Compared to many more expensive bathroom flooring options, vinyl solutions offer an extremely high level of practicality: cheap to purchase and fit, vinyl is incredibly easy to clean and offers a great level of water resistance.
Vinyl is commonly sold in sheet forms, as well as tile and plank options. Some may tell you that as well as being cheaper and easier to fit, sheet vinyl should offer better water resistance. While this may be true in the case of vinyl tiling laid by a novice, properly installed tile and plank vinyl should be as water resistance as the sheet varieties and allow you to achieve a mosaic style flooring just like you can with real tiles.
Vinyl is available in a colossal array of styles including many imitation options that replicate the appearance of other materials such as hardwood and stone. While many good quality manufacturers offer imitation vinyl flooring that looks like the material it’s trying to replicate, at least up until close inspection, it never quite feels like the real deal. This could however be a bonus to some who are for example wanting to avoid the extremely cold underfoot feeling of materials like marble.
Stone is perhaps the most visually stunning material to use for bathroom flooring. Most varieties of stone are resistant to moisture and will last an exceptionally long time, however, it is also the most expensive option to purchase and install which is what likely puts many off of its charms.
While some varieties of stone can feel cold underfoot and become slippery when wet this could be resolved by also fitting underfloor heating and sandblasting the stone to give it texture (some stone options such as slate are naturally textured so slipperiness is not so much of a worry).
Engineered wood is a type of flooring which processes and treats natural hardwood options and attaches them to a water-resistant plywood base. It’s relatively inexpensive and quick to install and has the look and feel of a real wood floor but won’t warp as a result of heat and moisture like un-engineered hardwood flooring will over time, making it a good contender.
While the use of concrete flooring was once reserved for extremely utilitarian spaces such as garages and warehouses. Modern mixing and setting techniques mean that it’s now possible to create concrete flooring in a wide range of different colour and texture effects – allowing you to create incredibly beautiful flooring.
On top of that, concrete is just about the most robust and long lasting material you can use for a bathroom, providing it receives a quick sealing treatment to prevent staining. it’s also comparatively cheap. Unfortunately concrete's main strength — it’s toughness, is also it’s key drawback. Being such an incredibly tough material, those who take a slip and fall are likely going to hurt themselves on it, making it a less than ideal choice for the elderly or those with young children. A knocked bottle of expensive perfume is far less likely to survive the fall onto concrete than it would onto, say, vinyl.