When it comes to choosing flooring, bathrooms require a little more forethought and consideration than many of the other rooms in the home. That is because the bathroom is a relatively volatile space: a place where there is moisture in the air and water splashing everywhere, it is a place of acidic cleansers, of powders and scrubs and lotions, all of which can interact with the flooring material that you choose.
The following are some of the most important characteristics to pay attention to in any bathroom flooring material which you are considering.
Absorbency in a Moist Environment
The more absorbent a material is, the more that moisture will be able to penetrate its surface and get into its interior. If a colorful liquid is absorbed into your bathroom flooring material it can cause a permanent stain throughout the tile. Even in the case of clear liquids such as water, highly absorbent flooring can end up degrading over time due to fluctuations in heat and cold causing the moisture to expand and contract.
Some of the most absorbent flooring options are things such as various types of natural hardwood, sandstone, and slate tiles. If you choose to use one of these materials in your bathroom application then you should be certain to apply a high quality sealing agent to protect the surface of the floor after installation. You may also need to reapply the surface treatment on a regular basis in order to preserve the look and feel of the flooring material.
Slippage and the Coefficient of Friction
One of the most important things to consider when choosing the type of flooring you would like in your bathroom, is how slippery it is going to be. The friction of a surface material is measured using a coefficient that ranges from 1.0 – 0 with a higher number indicating greater traction and a lower number indicating a more slippery surface. The American’s with disabilities acts requires that flooring material have at least a .6 dryness in order to be used in residential flooring applications.
In a bathroom, spills and splashes can cause the natural coefficient of friction in your flooring material to drop below industry standards, representing a hazard for slippage within the room. This can be offset by choosing a flooring material with an even higher level of traction. You may also be able to mitigate slippage to some extent through the use of rubber bath mats placed throughout the room.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Some bathroom flooring materials are going to be easier to clean, while others are going to require less daily maintenance. Mosaic glass tiles have a smooth polished surface that not only makes it easy to see when dirt and grime appears, but also makes it relatively simple to swipe the unwanted particles from its slick surface.
On the other hand, mottled multicolored materials with a textured surface such as natural stone and certain ceramics will tend to hide dirt and stains which occur. That means that even in between regular cleanings, these floors will not show much in the way of mold and grime. On the other hand, a more polished, solid colored surface will show every tiny speck of dust or dirt that settles on it.
When you consider flooring, you always need to be thinking about your toes. The bathroom is a place where you are probably going to be going barefoot a lot. That means that you have to make considerations for the texture and temperature of any flooring that you place in the room.
Most tiles, including ceramic, porcelain, and glass mosaics are very good conductors of heat. That means that in the summer they will warm easily, but in the winters, they will lose all of that heat and can be very cold to the touch. This can be especially important first thing in the morning on a chilly winter’s day.