Walls – We’ve got it covered!
The bathroom once a place reserved purely for functionality and cleanliness is now a retreat; a haven for relaxation and stress relief.
The decor chosen is obviously down to individual preference but careful consideration should be made when deciding on your choice of wallcovering in the bathroom environment, which can be hot, humid and steamy.
Ideally the finish needs to be waterproof, washable, hardwearing and impervious to stains from everyday bathroom products. Whatever finish you prefer tiles, paint, wood, wallpaper etc there is a wide selection available to choose from.
Popular since the Roman era, ceramic tiles are still widely used – due to the vast choice available and their waterproof, hygienic qualities.
- Coloured grout though may be quick to date
- One-off hand made tiles for a totally unique look
- Small, matt, unglazed tiles in earthy, natural tones
- Oblong shaped tiles can be staggered to create a brick wall effect
- Ceramic tiles are very low maintenance, however the grout used in-between can start to look dirty. There are ‘touch-up pens’ on the market that can restore the grout to its clean, original look.
- Cold and hard underfoot
- Can become slippery when wet
- Mosaic Tiles
Mosaic tiles are currently enjoying a huge revival as more and more people realize that, although they look difficult to apply, they are actually relatively quick and easy.
This type of tile can be used to create intricate designs resulting in one off works of art as they are available in a variety of shapes. Venetian glass mosaics are the most expensive to buy but give off a superb gem-like translucency.
Marble has a timeless quality and though associated with wealth and glitz it is now widely and cheaply available in the form of tiles, veneers, marble and resin composites. It also comes in a variety of colours and patterns, though because of the nature of the stone, no two tiles will be identical. Always seek professional advice when fixing and finishing marble.
- Marble is porous so can be easily stained if not sealed properly
- It can also be extremely heavy so if you plan to use it on the wall or floor it may be necessary to get the advice of an architect
This particular covering is currently very popular with interior designers who require a contemporary, clean look due to its natural colouring and characteristic grain and texture. It is extremely hard wearing and easy to clean but can be expensive to buy and install.
Concrete is a very popular and trendy finish at the moment; smooth to the touch and warmer than marble, it feels like stone and can be cast into a variety of shapes and forms.
Splash-backs are made by pouring the concrete mix into a wooden frame, up to a depth of 1cm. Once it has set the solid sheet is then polished with beeswax to make it waterproof, this process will need to be repeated occasionally.
Glass blocks are an ideal way of getting more natural light into your bathroom. They can be used to add interest to an otherwise plain wall, screen a showering area or even replace an entire wall (please seek professional advice if contemplating this). The blocks are available in many different colours and degrees of translucency and opacity but it is vital to use a laminated or toughened glass.
Paint is an extremely versatile form of wall covering but you should ensure that you use a specialised paint for wetrooms which reduces the condensation build up. Current trends are towards very muted, earthy colours with large areas of solid colour.
Wood has the ability to breathe and stabilise the humidity but should be carefully selected to prevent if from cracking and deteriorating.
- Softwood has a natural resilience to water but needs to be treated and sealed Kiln dried will crack if it is constantly in contact with water
- Cedar is resistant to rot
- Tropical has a natural water repellant and anti bacterial property which can be taken advantage of
- Cladding the walls with wood is a good way to cover uneven surfaces or unsightly pipe work, and it also insulates against heat and sound.
Steel is very popular at the moment but over use can look cold and clinical. Mixing it with natural materials such as wood and warmer colours can soften this. Metallic tiles are available and are easier to manage than using full sheets of metal but can be pricey.
Wallpaper is an excellent way to hide uneven or patchy plasterwork and there are plastic coated versions available for use in moist, humid environments.