Care needs to be taken when choosing bathroom flooring, probably more so than in any other room because of the need to be able to deal with the amount of water likely to be spilt on it. There are enough different products out on the market today to cater for all personal tastes although and cost will undoubtedly have something to do with it as well.
Carpet Still the Number One Bathroom Flooring Choice
Carpet will feel warm to bare feet whereas most waterproof bathroom flooring options will feel cold, a bit of an unpleasant shock in the mornings, particularly with the climate in the UK. Despite its popularity it is an unwise choice for bathroom flooring as it will hold water for some time. This may cause damp problems in a poorly heated and ventilated bathroom and in extreme cases eventually lead to damp damage in floorboards and joists.
Some people do choose carpet as bathroom flooring purely for the luxurious feel, but often when a whole house or floor is being carpeted it’s simply easier and cheaper to have the bathroom done at the same time. Despite this it is best to install a separate carpet, one aimed at bathroom use, rather than use the same as other rooms.
Consider Carpet Floor Tiles in the Bathroom
Floor tiles rather than fitted carpet are often a good idea for a bathroom as they are easier to clean and can be moved around to even out wear. They can even be taken out to dry on the line if they get absolutely soaked.
If you’re renovating a bathroom with an existing waterproof flooring layer in good condition, laying the carpet over the current bathroom flooring will help to keep the floorboards and timbers of the bathroom dry. This is less of a problem with a concrete floor, although it’s probably worth lifting the carpet periodically to make sure there’s no water damage at the edges.
Vinyl and Laminate Bathroom Flooring
More functional bathroom flooring is available in the form of vinyl in rolls or tiles. There are a multitude of patterns, colours and styles and it is easy to cut and lay but a more expensive choice for bathroom flooring than carpet. Cushioned vinyls give a luxury feel with a slight give underfoot and it’s wise to look for a non-slip texture for use as bathroom flooring too.
Laminate wood flooring has taken the UK by storm in the last decade or so and as long as the right product is selected can be an excellent choice for a bathroom. The laminate boards are not as resilient to water damage as vinyls and care should be taken when cutting around bathroom fittings to make sure there is a snug fit. Water can get into the inside of a laminate board through the cut edge and, as most boards have some kind of fibre in the middle, they will soak up the moisture, expand and split.
Ceramic and Stone Tiles
Tiles of various types can be used for bathroom flooring but the most common are ceramic and stone. Ceramic tiles are cheaper and come in a wide variety of colours and patterns but stone lends an air of class to a bathroom.
Laying any tile directly onto wooden floorboards needs care and the right glues so if the floor is at all uneven it might be worth putting down a layer of MDF or plywood panels first, then gluing the tiles to that layer. As well as evening out the undulations this will also ensure that the floorboards aren’t covered in glue, so they will be in better condition if tastes change and the bathroom flooring needs to be lifted.
Underfloor Heating Moves the Goalposts
One final point is that installing underfloor heating for a bathroom can change the available options for bathroom flooring. This is not an easy or cheap thing to do and some bathroom flooring options cannot be used with it so it’s vital to check the manufacturer’s recommendations before buying the flooring.
But the good thing is that underfloor heating will dry the bathroom out thoroughly and any flooring that you install will feel warm underfoot, even stone or ceramic tiles.