What Sort of Flooring is best for the Bathroom?

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When it comes to home interiors, the choice of wall covering, flooring or ornaments is very much a matter of personal choice. Fashions come and go; in the 1970s it would have been the height of fashion to have a peach bathroom suite with a cream shagpile carpet. There are many other choices on the market nowadays, with advantages and disadvantages to each. We’ll take a look at all of the choices below.

The Best Bathroom Flooring

Carpet

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Yes it’s old-fashioned, but many people still like the idea of having carpet in the bathroom. The advantages to a carpeted bathroom is that it is warm underfoot for those middle of the night trips to the loo, and that carpeting a small room like a bathroom is relatively cheap. However, the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages. It is very difficult to keep bathroom carpet clean, and many cleaning products which can be used on tiles or lino cannot be used on carpet. The look of carpet is very dated and may put buyers off when you are trying to sell your home. Finally, if your bathroom is not very well ventilated, mould and mildew can grow on your carpet, making it look dirty and unhygienic.

If you’re still not convinced that having a carpet in the bathroom is a bad idea, it’s also worth noting that we did include it in our 5 bathroom design no-no’s.

Linoleum or Vinyl

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Lino is another sort of flooring which suffers from an old-fashioned image, but this is not the case. Modern vinyl floorings are available in a huge range of designs, some of which look like wood or tiles. Vinyl flooring is very easy to keep clean and can be used with underfloor heating too. If considering investing in vinyl flooring it is best to go for a good quality range as it will last longer and be more durable. Lino or vinyl can feel cold, but this is easily remedied by putting down some bath mats or a rug, and you really should have some sort of bath mat next to your bath or shower anyway to avoid slipping when you get out.

Tiles

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Tiles are another great choice for bathroom flooring as they are hygienic and easy to keep clean. Floor tiles come in all sorts of different shapes, colours and sizes and can be matched to tiles on the wall. The disadvantages of tiles is that they can be very cold underfoot, and tiles with a high gloss or very smooth finish are not always suitable for a bathroom floor as they can get very slippery when wet. Tiles can be tricky to lay if your DIY skills aren’t great, but if you are remodelling your bathroom they are probably the simplest choice. Certain types of tiles, such as those made from slate, need to be sealed once a year to keep them waterproof but this is a quick job which requires no specific expertise.

Laminate and Wood

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Hardwood flooring is hugely popular and fashionable at the moment for every room of the house. Laminate or solid wood has the advantages of looking great, being easy to clean and coordinating with any interior design scheme. It is possible to use laminate or solid wood flooring in the bathroom, but it is essential to buy waterproof products specifically designed for bathroom use. Ordinary laminate will not repel water, and may swell, crack and distort over time if you use it in the bathroom.

Rubber

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In appearance rubber flooring can be similar to vinyl, but its main advantage is that it is much more durable, making it the ideal choice for a high traffic area like a bathroom. Rubber is easy to maintain, but care needs to be taken with cleaning as some harsh chemical cleaning products can damage the rubber and discolour it. Rubber is more expensive than vinyl, but will last longer on average and is less slippery than vinyl, tiles or laminate. It is also available in a wide range of colours and patterns.

Bamboo

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Bamboo flooring is something which is becoming increasingly popular, and is a great choice for people with allergies (thanks to being water resistant and not providing homes for dust mites). Bamboo flooring can be used throughout the house, but will need surface sealing if used in a bathroom. Bamboo can be cheaper than using traditional solid wood flooring, and can also be used with underfloor heating. The disadvantage to bamboo is that it isn’t to everyone’s taste, and the colour can fade over time. It can also be marked or dented by shoes or by children dropping things onto it, so be careful if you do want to get it.

If you want a bit of softness on your floor, we’ve got a guide that covers the best bathroom rugs.