Bathroom Flooring – The Facts
The floor is a key element of the interior, literally the basis of every room.
After walls and ceilings, floors represent the largest surface area in the room. Which means that new flooring can entail a substantial investment of time, money an effort, so it is important to get it right. Equally important, the floor is a surface with which we are more or less in physical contact. What the floor looks like its basic character, colour, pattern or texture will inevitably set the tone for a decorative scheme. Technically, floors may be part of the background, but very few other elements of the interior have the potential to create such an impact on the way we live.
While it is easy to stand back and admire fresh paint work or a new sofa, what goes on underfoot often escapes our attention. Yet a beautiful floor can do more for a bathroom than almost any other aspect of decoration or furnishing. If you take the time and trouble to get the flooring right in your bathroom, the rest will fall into place much more readily.
Granite is a coarse-grained rock comprising of feldspa, quartz and mica which give sit an attractive crystalline appearance. It is exceptionally hard, highly resistant to wear and chemicals, and impervious to water.
Limestone is much softer than granite. Most types are fairly light in tone, ranging from warm neutral shades of oatmeal and cloudy white to dappled blue, green and grey, but there are dark and near black varieties.
Marble is the epitome of luxury. For centuries this cool, almost translucent stone, with its rich veining, subtle patterning and often vivid colours, has featured in the most elegant, lavishly decorated interiors.
Slate, like marble, is a metamorphic rock quarried in mountain regions all over the world. It comes in a range of beautifully dramatic colours dark green, blue, blue-grey, red, purple and black and tends to have a slick, wet look due to the high proportion of mica crystals layered through the stone. Slate is by no means inexpensive, but it is more reasonably priced than either granite or marbleand has other considerably practical advantages. Unlike marble or limestone, most types of slate are waterproof, which makes it excellent for areas indoors which are likely to get wet. It is also very hard, wear-resistant and needs little in the way of after-care.
Ceramic tiles are made from refined clay, which is ground, then pressed into moulds under great pressure before being fired at very high temperatures. The result is an exceptionally durable tile which is very regular in dimesion and colouring.
Mosaic is true floor-level art. Small cubes bedded in mortar in decorative or geometric designs give mosaic an irresistible intricacy and delicacy. The scale of individual pieces and the variations of light catching on their surfaces create a gentle, almost blurred effect. Mosiac floors are hard, but their appearance is soft.
SHEET & SOFT TILING
Soft, quiet and comfortable, cork makes a good-looking practical floor in many areas of the home, but especially bathrooms.
With its tough, industrial aesthetic, rubber flooring has long been a favourite with modern architects and designers. Hard-wearing, water-resistant, burn-resistant, extremely resilient, quiet and warm, it has all the qualities anyone could wish for from a utility floor. Naturally it is in bathrooms, kitchens and other service areas where its use is most prevalent.
Vinyl is very popular mainstream flooring. Affordable, easy to install, non-allergenic, simple to maintain and with reasonable life span, it offers a straightforward and practical solution to many flooring needs. The choice of colours, patterns, textures and ‘effects’ on the market is huge. Practicality is a major selling point. Vinyl is waterproof and makes an easy-care, all purpose flooring. Popular simulations include all forms of wood, as well as the ever-popular marble, slate, brick, quarry tile and terrazzo. Simulation designs are not the only types available. There are simple geometric patterns which can look very clean and fresh; mottled, speckled, metallic and flecked finishes; and lively contemporary styles.
Carpet can be used in bathrooms; indeed, in many homes it has a luxurious and humanizing effect in what might otherwise be a cold and clinical room.