Flooring Options for Your Bathroom
Attractive features around the house gain recognition from a variety of guests who are welcomed into our homes. Beautiful furniture and unique pieces of art are spectacular conversation starters, but those features are far from impressive for your real estate appraiser. He is more concerned with the bare elements of the home like structure, quality of materials used in the kitchen and bathrooms, and the investment features that show how well the designs of the home are managed. Therefore, choosing the right bathroom flooring should be a process of thinking ahead as an investment to enhance the value of your home. With manufacturers stepping up to offer more options to today’s homeowners, it may be difficult to understand the properties that bathroom flooring designs offer, as all manufacturers claim to produce the best!
Ensotile is dedicated to helping our clients with better understanding the differences in the quality of bathroom flooring tiles to determine the most suitable product in achieving your desired bathroom theme, while also adding to the value of your home. Let’s start by discussing the worst possible options for bathroom flooring, and how they can cause the value of your home to decrease.
Carpet and Natural Wood Flooring
Carpet is the worst choice of all bathroom flooring options. Though cozy for your feet, carpet absorbs moisture that will eventually cause big problems, which can only be solved by removing the carpet. As a result, the homeowner is at risk for a higher cost in repairs from rotting floors, walls, and structures, or is responsible for cleanups from health hazardous agents. The fact that bathrooms are exposed to more moisture than any other room in your home, and the steam of your warm shower or bath causes an increase in room temperature; carpet in a bathroom floor will soon become a breeding ground for mold and mildew, leaving an averse smell throughout your home. Therefore, carpet is best suited for dry areas like bedrooms or family rooms.
Wood flooring is a great flooring option that provides a traditional and comforting appearance throughout the home. However, wood flooring is just a step up from carpet on the worst flooring option for a bathroom. The exposure to constant moisture in the bathroom will cause warping, rotting, and cracking for solid wood, and you will be left with a disaster that must be removed, and replaced. Though there are sealers that could help to protect solid wood floors in the bathroom, they will eventually wear, and your expensive wood flooring project will become worthless, causing you more money for a repair and replacement. You can get the same look as natural wood by choosing porcelain wood planks. They are water resistant, durable, and work better in bathroom floors than anywhere else in the home.
Laminate, Linoleum, and Vinyl
Laminate, linoleum, and vinyl each offer features to help the homeowner achieve the same, or similar, look as ceramic, natural stones, and even wood, at a much more affordable cost. However, as far as durability and moisture resistance, it all boils down to floor prep and sealing. The materials used to make these alternative bathroom floors are effective in keeping water from penetrating through to the structure of the floor, but unless properly sealed, you could have problems with water damage, mold, rotting subfloor, and even pilling and breaking for the tile versions of laminate, linoleum, and vinyl. Each has their own positive and negative features, but since we are discussing the quality of materials that increase the value of your home when considering quality bathroom flooring options, these materials are not high on the list of the best. Yes, you can achieve a desired look at a fraction of the cost of the real thing. However, this is a prime example of “you get what you pay for.” Laminate, linoleum, and vinyl are limited to visual aesthetics, and have no effect on adding value to the home. In addition, for many people that have experience with ceramic, natural stones, and wood, the difference is easily distinguished by the appearance of laminate, linoleum, and vinyl. These materials are best used for a quick fix that is not intended to add value to your home.
Ceramic and Porcelain Tile
When it comes to achieving a theme, ceramic tiles achieve a great number of opportunities for your bathroom, without breaking the bank. This is the point where bathroom flooring can begin to add value to your home, while still accomplishing a visual feature that completes the aesthetics of your style. Though porcelain tile is essentially a ceramic formed from clay, there is quite a difference that sets porcelain tiles apart from other ceramic tiles. In addition to the differences across ceramic quality, there are also variations in the glaze finish that distinguishes the tiles as suitable for flooring, versus other areas of the bathroom.
Porcelain tiles are the cream of the crop in comparison of all other ceramic tiles. They are dense and have an extremely low water absorption rate of less than 0.5%. Porcelain tile features scratch, damage, and wear resistance. In addition, true porcelain is a full-body tile, meaning that the color runs throughout the body of the tile, rather than only on the surface. This comes in handy in case your tile ever chips. With most other ceramic tiles, the color or design is baked onto the surface, causing a white or red clay appearance to show through the chipped area.
The Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) rates the hardiness of tile to determine its most suitable use. On a scale from one to five, with one being least suitable for flooring, and five being the most suitable for flooring, tiles with a PEI 5 rating are considered great for flooring in high traffic areas. Most porcelain tiles come with a PEI 5 rating, while most other ceramics endorse a PEI rating between 1 and 3. This is a result of their inability to withstand strong temperature changes that cause the underlying concrete to expand and contract, eventually leading to cracking of the tiles. To help ceramic tile overcome this problem, radiant heated flooring systems provide a counteractive measure that prevents the risk of cracking, while also taking the chill out of the touch of bare feet to cold floor. Ceramic tile is a great way to accomplish a wall cladding effect that adds depth and visual appeal to the bathroom.
Porcelain and ceramic tiles are sometimes glazed with a liquid coating of glass to better accommodate stain resistance and to add more color variations. Just as there are different finishes of wall paint with gloss, satin, and matte, the same applies to tile. For a glossier glaze on the floor, you should consider smaller tiles that allow more grout to better achieve slip resistant traction. Satin finishes are better, but matte is best for slip resistance. Keep in mind that with an exception to porcelain, other ceramic tiles on the floor are prone to wear on the glaze when frequently walked across, and the baked on design is subject to fading.
Ceramic and porcelain tiles come in an endless variety of shapes and designs, and offer infinite possibilities for the home owner to create a brilliant space with any color palette. Ceramic is easy to clean and serves the needs of moisture resistance. Preparation and formation should be left to skilled professionals to eliminate the risks of uneven and unsecured pieces, as well as proper grout. Once laid, the grout must be maintained throughout the lifetime of the flooring to prevent cracking and movements caused from excessive exposure to water and the settlement of the structure.
Natural Stone Tiles
Moving even further up the ladder of value, true natural stone tiles offer the most return for your investment. Slate, travertine, limestone, marble, and granite are all natural stones that are commonly used in bathroom flooring designs, as well as showers, walls, and a variety of rooms inside and outside of the home. When choosing a natural stone, keep in mind that they must be sealed periodically to maintain their appearance. There are also different finishes, including polished, filled, honed, tumbled, chiseled, and brushed. If you are considering natural stones for bathroom floor designs, try to go with a finish that is tumbled, chiseled, or brushed to keep the stone closest to its original state for better traction and slip resistance. The smoothness of polished, filled, and honed stone could cause a slippery disaster with higher exposures to moisture and bare feet. The best way to compliment a bathroom with the smooth surface stones is to use them for wall accents throughout the bathroom and in the shower wall area.
Slate is a metamorphic stone that contains quartz, chlorite, and micas in sedimentary rock quarried from the sides of mountains in the form of shale, or mudstones. Slate tile is fine-grained, dense, and has a naturally rustic appearance. Slate is often created from the gray, green, and black composites in the original state it is retrieved, but color is also added to slate to create appealing variations. Typically, slate is a great option for dark bathroom tiles to keep closer to the natural state. Slate tiles may be rough to the touch, which naturally offers a slip resistant surface. However, slate can also be honed smooth by the manufacturer, which makes for a smoother surface. If you choose slate for your bathroom floor option, go with the rough texture. Slate also makes a beautiful tiled shower, backdrop, and countertop. Durable enough for high traffic and water resistant, slate is distinguishable from other stones for its unique cleft feature and rustic appearance.
Limestone is a sedimentary rock that is mostly formed from crystalized calcium carbonate as a result of the remains of ancient sea life that floats to the sea floor, and encounters long periods of compression. The soft colors of limestone are earthly tones that create a representation of the ocean where it was retrieved. Limestone must be sealed periodically, as it is porous and can absorb water. Installed correctly, and cared for properly, limestone is a highly valued natural stone option for a master or guest bathroom floor. However, any acidic substance can cause stains on limestone tiles, and all spills must be cleaned quickly. The mineral values of the fossil composites in limestone are not compatible with damaging chemicals and substances. Cleaning products must also be limestone safe. Limestone is often used for bathroom flooring, wall tiles, backsplashes, and vanity tops. Limestone is not recommended for kitchens, as fruit juices and alcoholic beverages tend to stain the stone, and limestone is also prone to scratches. To sustain the best features of limestone for your bathroom floor, sealing limestone periodically will help to prevent all risks to damaging the beloved stone bathroom flooring.
Travertine is a form of limestone that comes from natural spring water, and is used to establish a variety of bathroom features. Its durability and elegant appearance makes travertine a great choice for bathroom flooring. However there are a few facts that you should consider when choosing travertine. Out of the limestone family, travertine is one of the most highly rated porous stone. Therefore, to ensure moisture resistance of this stone, sealer is required to ensure that the quality of the travertine sustains its intended longevity. The stone comes in colors ranging from beige to brown and requires special cleaning care. However, travertine is not highly recommended for the kitchen, as there are risks for stains and scratches from acidic solutions.
Marble has long been one of the most popular of all natural stones for the bathroom. It is formed from limestone that encounters extreme pressure and high temperatures, which causes a metamorphosis into a strong stone with distinct characteristics of veined features. Depending on the mineral composites in the marble stone, the color can vary including white, black, red, yellow, and blue-gray. It is durable and can encounter intense polishing, and is shaped to accomplish a luxurious appearance. Marble is best used for tub decks, walls, floors, and showers in the bathroom. However, as with any mineral formed stone, proper care is needed to ensure that the appearance does not fade as a result of acidic substances. The level of water resistance in marble varies by the grade, which should be considered when choosing the right marble for your bathroom.
Just after diamonds, granite is the hardest known stone in the world. There is no wonder it has become one of the most popular materials for kitchens, bathrooms, and floors. Granite is an igneous rock formed from magma melting sediments that are cooled and encounter extreme pressure and high temperatures for several years. As the earth’s crust shifts, granite is pushed to the surface similar to the formation of mountains. Granite is quartz based and filled with minerals that are visible in its finished state through flecks or veining designs. In addition to its strength and durability, granite will maintain an infinite high glossed finish once it is polished. Granite is easy to clean, and comes in an endless array of colors. Resistant to scratches and wear, granite is the ultimate choice for bathroom floors, walls, showers, and tub decks. The versatility and durability of granite makes the investment worthwhile, as it will outlive the structure of any surface without ever showing the effects of age.
Still need help deciding which flooring option best suits your bathroom?
Ensotile is pleased to offer our assistance to clients who are considering a new bathroom floor, but unsure of the best choice. We would like to extend our services by offering a free consultation in the effort to help develop the best plans for your bathroom remodeling project. Serving the Atlanta, Alpharetta, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Johns Creek, Marietta, Lawrenceville, and surrounding areas, we strive to help our customers with the best selection in materials that will meet the demands of real life, in addition to the real estate market, while delivering superior customer satisfaction. We specialize in high-quality tile installation, as well as the complete bathroom remodeling design. Take a look at our portfolio, and explore our past projects. Call to schedule your free consultation today!