Cool ceramic or resilient rubber? Patterned vinyl or engineered wood? Durable stone or natural cork? There’s an endless choice of bathroom floorings that are affordable, practical and wonderfully attractive.
As well as looking good and working with the overall scheme, bathroom floor coverings must, first and foremost, be supremely practical: non-slip and resistant to water and humidity, easy to clean and comfortable underfoot. A key consideration is who will use the room, as a family bathroom will have different requirements to a guest bedroom’s en suite, for example. We outline a range of different possibilities.
Stone – like ceramics and porcelain – tends to be cold and hard underfoot. It’s also really heavy, and it may be necessary to consult an expert before installing, to ensure your floor joists can safely take its weight. That said, stone is tough, durable and possesses an incomparable natural beauty, with a wide variety of finishes and patterns. Natural stone can be quite porous, and is likely to require sealing before and during installation, and careful cleaning afterwards. Marble, because it is so smooth, tends to be slippery, while limestone and sandstone have a more matt surface, and granite and slate can be given a non-slip finish. Use an experienced installer, as stone is tricky to lay and any mistakes can be costly.
Vinyl and luxury vinyl tiles
Quick and easy to lay, vinyl is warm underfoot, durable, stain-resistant, water-resistant and easy to mop. Many types work with underfloor heating, but check this with the manufacturer. Some sheet vinyls are very affordable, while luxury vinyl tiles (LVTs) are more costly, but come in exciting, fashionable patterns and finishes. Either way, the range of patterns is impressive, some of which replicate the appearance of natural materials such as wood, stone or ceramic tiles. Buy the most cushioned version you can afford, as they are more comfortable to walk on.
Ceramic and porcelain tiles
Often the go-to when it comes to bathroom floors, tiles are infinitely variable – in size, shape, pattern and price. They have every quality necessary, except that they are cold and hard underfoot – and hence are often combined with underfloor heating. And, unless they have a matt or textured surface, they can be slippery when wet. Size-wise, they vary from tiny mosaic, laid in intricate patterns, to large-format tiles – very on-trend at present. Porcelain tiles can imitate the look of wood or stone incredibly well, without some of the drawbacks of those materials, and so make a great choice if you love the natural look. Bear in mind that floor tiles are thicker and more expensive than wall tiles but can otherwise look identical; make sure you get the right ones.