Smart Tips for Choosing Bathroom Flooring

Smart Tips for Choosing Bathroom Flooring

Choose the right bathroom flooring based on your priorities — cost, kids, safety, and Eco-friendliness.

Vinyl flooring comes in an array of colors and patterns at a relatively modest cost.

Highlight: Sheet vinyl and vinyl tiles are considered the lowest-cost option for bathroom flooring. Vinyl is tough flooring, and the best brands offer 20-year warranties.

Drawback: Vinyl tiles aren’t best for bathrooms — too many seams for water to seep through.

The Designer’s Choice

According to a survey by the National Kitchen and Bath Association, ceramic tile bathroom flooring is the preferred choice of 83% of respondents. With good reason: Ceramics come in a huge array of sizes and shapes, and can be mixed to create endless custom patterns — it’s the ultimate designer’s medium.

Highlight: Ceramic tile is a clay-based tile fired at high temperatures. Ceramics last forever and are resistant to scratches, cracks, and chips.

Drawback: Ceramic tile can feel cold in the morning. If you have sensitive feet, install a radiant heating mat underneath.

Tip: Decorative edgings and inlays can boost cost considerably; you can save and still create great-looking designs simply by using same-sized tiles in different color combinations

Best for Safety

Glass and glazed ceramic floor tiles with an anti-slip finish are designed to provide superior traction.

Highlight: Grout lines between glass and ceramic tiles provide texture that increases traction. Mosaic tiles — 1-inch-by-1-inch or smaller — produce lots of grout lines.

Drawback: Don’t use glass on shower floors, because glass scratches and can become dull from cleaning.

Tip: Use a light-colored thin set behind glass tiles to enhance sparkle

When Money is No Object

Looking for a little pampering in your master bath? Stone floor tile — granite, marble, limestone, slate, and travertine — gives a bathroom a luxurious feel.

Highlight: They’re beautiful, durable, and water- and stain-resistant.

Drawback: Honed and polished stone tile can be slippery when wet, so choose stone that has a textured, skid-resistant surface. Tumbled varieties of stone — stone that has been mechanically mixed to knock off rough edges and soft spots — have rustic textures that provide good slip resistance.

Tip: Marble is stunning in bathrooms, but don’t choose marble with thick veins that could contain iron and age unappealingly. To test how much iron a tile contains, soak it for two days, let it sit for two days, and then see if/how the color changes.

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