Summary: Planning walls and floors in a bathroom, using wood, ceramics, glass and stone in a bathroom.
When it comes to choosing wall and floor coverings, safety and hygiene must be a consideration. Stone, wood and vinyl are the most popular materials but you should bear in mind that natural wood and exposed plaster will be more susceptible to damp. Some flooring can be slippery so choose a textured or non-slip material, such as cleft or sandblasted stone, especially if you are planning a wet room.
Wooden cladding or panelling can cover the whole wall or just the lower half. It can be painted for a more classic look or left bare for a contemporary feel. Dark wood cladding can create the feel of a Swedish sauna or log cabin. Make sure you choose a waterproof cladding to prevent rot.
Wooden floorboards must be treated with wood preserver and a waterproofing agent, and sealed. Bamboo flooring requires less maintenance than hardwood floorboards and is suitable for damp conditions. It can be slippery though so would not be suitable for a wet room.
Ceramics and glass
If you choose tiles, you must make sure the walls and floor are strong enough to support the weight. Wall tiles should be no more than 10 or 12mm thick. Ceramic tiles are relatively cheap, hardwearing and easy to clean, and can be used to create mosaic patterns. Children’s bathrooms can be made fun with a few animal tiles dotted around. Ceramic bricks are also popular in modern bathrooms.
Glass mosaic tiles are a relatively new development. Using tiles in ocean colours can create a warm, relaxing atmosphere in a shower or wet room. Glass tiles can also be used as accents or borders to cheaper porcelain tiles. Shimmering gold and silver tiles are the latest in bathroom trends for an original look.
Stone tiles can be very heavy so make sure the surface is strong enough to support them.
Slate is a very durable stone with a rough surface and requires little maintenance, making it a popular material for bathroom flooring. Dark slate can be striking in contemporary bathrooms whilst paler slate creates a softer, natural ambiance. Quartzite is another hard stone with a textured finish often used in bathroom flooring.
Soft stones are prone to staining unless they are sealed and maintained. Limestone and Travertine are similar stones available in a wide range of pale or dark shades, with natural flecks of colour and veined patterning. Marble and sandstone also require regular maintenance. Tumbled limestone and marble have a sumptuous porous texture without any veins or patterns.
Laminate flooring can be cheaper than authentic wood or stone but can be damaged by water so check that it is suitable for bathrooms. Imitation slate, travertine or Tuscan stone are now available.
Vinyl strips, tiles or sheets can be laid on any level surface. Non-slip vinyl is available, as is cushioned vinyl, which is comfortable underfoot.
- Step by step guide to planning a new bathroom
- Clearing an air lock in a bathroom tap
- How to replace a bath
- How to use a pipe bender
- How to change a tap
- How to cut pipe
- Installing a shower cubicle