The bathroom, with its wet surfaces, high temperatures and even higher humidity, demands a lot from a floor. While most people consider a material based on looks, it's important to choose a floor for its ability to withstand the room's damp conditions. If your project calls for new floors, here are some options to look at.
For those on a low budget, sheet vinyl is a good choice. It's easy to install and is available in a wide array of colors and patterns. One of the drawbacks to sheet vinyl floors is that the edges can curl, especially in front of the tub or shower. I don't recommend the peel-and-stick type of vinyl tiles because water can seep between the tiles, causing them to lift and damaging the sub-floor.
If homeowners like the look of wood but want a floor that can withstand the onslaught of damp towels, laminate treated with water repellent is the way to go. Laminate is factory-finished, and it can be put in over an existing floor, making installation a snap. While laminate can look like real wood, it lacks the warmth typically associated natural wood.Like vinyl the edges can curl if it gets too much moisture.
Ceramic or porcelain tile is the product used the most often in bathrooms, There is good reason for this when it comes to bathroom floors. For water resistance, porcelain and ceramic are top of the line. They can be installed in a wide range of patterns, which adds to a bathroom's customized look. Objections to tile like it's slippery, cold to the feet, or difficult to clean are easily overcome.
In-floor heat will put a end to cold feet. Electric in-floor heating, more commonly known as radiant heat, is often used in renovation projects. A thin mat is installed on the sub floor, which is then covered in self-leveling cement. With the electric system you don't have to do the whole bathroom. You can do the area right in front of the sink where you stand in the morning or right in front of the shower. You can also install a timer to control the times when the heat is on. Tiles can have a textured surface to keep them from being slippery, and a grout sealer can be applied for easier cleaning.
Porcelain, travertine and marble, are more expensive than ceramic, but can also be arranged in an infinite number of patterns. Porcelain and stone have color that goes all the way through the tile, so chips are less obvious. However, marble can be extremely slippery when wet.
Hardwood flooring is warm and comfortable to the feet and can be a great option for a bath, as long as it's cared for properly. After wood floor is sealed with a water-based poly finish, it's impervious to the occasional splash and drip; however, water that sits on the floor for any length of time can do allot of damage. Don't let things like wet towels lay on the floor.
Cork or bamboo are both "green" flooring options for the bathroom, They are similar to wood in terms of care. Bamboo flooring provides the look of wood, although it is made from bamboo grass, a rapid-renewable resource. If bamboo is selected for its eco-friendly qualities, make sure the factory finish is formaldehyde-free. In a room filled with hard surfaces, cork can provide some sound control; it's something to consider if the goal of the remodel is to create a quiet retreat.