How to choose flooring for bathrooms

The key to having a successful bathroom is to select a great floor. The best floors are those that can stand up to the tests of humidity, exposure to water, and high temperatures.

But they also need to complement the color scheme and design of the rest of your home, be easy to install, have high durability, and should be easy to maintain. In this article, we explore everything you need to know about choosing the right bathroom floor for your home and tastes.

Laminate

Laminate flooring is a versatile and high-performing material that is ideal for bathroom floors. Although it was once considered a somewhat tacky and substandard alternative to timber flooring, it has progressed thanks to new technology into a less-expensive, highly-durable option that looks great in any space in the home, including the bathroom.

Select a variety that is resistant to humidity and spills, such as the Swiss Krono Laminate flooring range, because there will be a lot of this going on in your bathroom, especially if you have kids. Not only does this range have an authentic resemblance to wood, it is also highly durable and well-suited to the bathroom environment, although it is recommended that you install the recommended underlay to further proof your bathroom from future damage. For these reasons it will enhance the space in which it's installed and make your bathroom feel cozy and elegant all at once.

You can install laminate floors all by yourself, but once again as we advised with wood materials, you should consider hiring an expert if the layout of the room is unconventional or there are existing fittings around which you need to install the product.

To clean this product is a breeze. Just sweep up any particles and mop gently. Again, like wood, it is a bad idea to leave laminate floors soaking wet -- mop up any spills ASAP!

Tiles

Tiles are the most common type of flooring you'll find in a bathroom. Not only do they add a touch of homely elegance to your house, they are also highly hygienic and easy to clean. Furthermore, they stand up well to moisture and high temps and, when installed properly, they can outlast a generation.

If it's natural tiles you're after, then marble and travertine are your go-to choices. But beware: these are naturally porous materials, so you'll want to select a polished variety so they're protected against moisture absorption.

If you're happy with the manmade option, quartz, porcelain and ceramic are all high-performance tiles, which also come in a highly-polished finish. When it comes to complementing the overall design of the bathroom, you should choose a smaller tile format for those compact bathrooms, which will have more of a vintage effect. Larger tiles are more suited to industrial bathhouses or big, spacious residential bathrooms.

While hiring a professional will always achieve the best possible outcome for your bathroom, a big bonus to tiled flooring is that it is a relatively straightforward process to install. Even you're average DIYer can do it themselves. The way to install tiles is to find the center of the room. Lay out the first four tiles with spacers around that section then, working outwardly from the center in the same fashion, lay a few more in each direction. Repeat this until the bathroom floor is tiled.

This process will ensure that the tiles are spaced evenly and will create the most symmetrical look for your bathroom (although in some instances you may need to cut the tiles and lay them in slivers to cover any small gaps.)

As you work your way through the placement of your tiles, apply your adhesive in small sections to prevent it from drying out.

Once they're installed and have hardened into place, they are ready to be used. In order to clean tiles, to maintain their integrity, and to prolong their lifespan, you should vacuum or sweep before mopping to avoid scratches, and when you do mop, make sure you use warm soapy water with a mild detergent.

Wood

Wood flooring lends your bathroom a warm, natural ambience that other types of flooring simply cannot hope to replicate.

If this is the type of flooring you have your heart set on, however, you should make sure that you choose engineered wood as the flooring material. This is because engineered wood has a top layer that is specifically designed to resist humidity and fluctuations in temperature.

If you select solid wood, you run the risk of the wood becoming warped over time. This is because natural timbers tend to soak up moisture and can't stand up well to high temperatures, meaning that after a short time in the bathroom, they're likely to lift and twist, creating an uneven surface as well as an eyesore.

Nevertheless, should you choose a water-resistant variety, wooden flooring can look gorgeous in the bathroom. Gleaming lengths of highly-varnished timber underfoot will create a great bathroom atmosphere for yourself, your family, and guests alike.

To install a wooden floor, you may want to engage the services of a professional. This is particularly true if your bathroom has an awkward layout or if you need to install it around existing fittings. If this isn't the case and you're determined to adopt a DIY approach, your best bet is to choose a flooring variety with a click-lock system, which will enable you to secure your floor with relative ease.

Once you've got those planks snapped into place and ready to use, make sure you treat your engineered wooden floor in the same fashion as you'd treat a natural timber floor: use a damp mop to wipe down the slats and mop any spills ASAP. You should never allow water to sit on the surface of a wooden floor, regardless of its variety, as it might compromise the integrity of your floorboards and lead to water damage.

Vinyl and Other Types of Flooring

Vinyl flooring has come a long way in the looks department and can mimic natural materials in a convincing and genuine way. This includes solid woods, real stones, and ceramic/porcelain tiles.

If you opt for this variety of flooring, you should go for vinyl and rubber. These insulate for heat and muffle sounds. They are slip resistant and feel gentle to the feet, which are all huge bonuses.

Because these are due in a huge spectrum of colors, patterns and finishes, vinyl and rubber options are great for creating a contemporary, trendy look.

Vinyls are a breeze to install. Typically, you can stick them down using an adhesive or they'll snap together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle (just like laminate flooring.) However, you should make sure that you choose tiles or planks if you intend on installing this buy yourself -- avoid installing them in a large sheet, because if you have to make a cut and you overestimate the slit you make, you could be looking at a costly mistake.

To clean vinyl and rubber, just use a mop, soapy water and a mild detergent.

The best thing about rubber and vinyls in our opinion is that they are the most affordable materials on the market.

The Verdict

While all of the varieties mentioned above are highly suitable for a bathroom environment, the one that comes out on top in our opinion in terms of its appearance, durability and cost-effectiveness is probably laminate flooring.

They have a great visual appeal that will enhance the aesthetics of your bathroom; they are easy in the upkeep department; they'll last a lifetime if they're cared for properly; and, best of all, they're available at highly affordable prices, so they won't leave a huge dent in your bank account!

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