Laying Bathroom Floors

Making Changes to Floor Surfaces

Laying Bathroom Floors Making changes to existing flooring, or replacing the floor altogether, is often the first step towards more general renovation of a room. For example, if you are converting an upper-storey room into a bathroom you will need to consider strengthening joists to cope with the weight of a bath filled to capacity. You may be forced to make changes due to adverse circumstances, such as damp penetration in a suspended floor, the best remedy for which is often to replace it altogether with a solid concrete floor. Prevention is the best cure, however, and another project described in this site, is how to add ventilation to the underfloor area in order to avoid damage from damp.

Laying Floors in Bathrooms

If you feel confident about laying floors in any other room in the house then the bathroom should present no particular problem. However, there are a few special considerations, most of which relate to all the water involved in the day-to-day activities that take place – bathrooms can be extremely wet and measures need to be taken to minimize the amount of moisture damage to the floor. The damp air, leaking pipes from baths and basins and the weight of the tub all conspire to cause damage to both the subfloor and floor covering.

Dealing with Moisture

To ensure the longevity of flooring in a bathroom, an adequate ventilation system is essential to eradicate the presence of condensation. Care over plumbing work and regular inspections will make sure that all pipework connections are tight and leak free. Laying bath mats will go some way to minimize the damage due to splashes from baths and basins, but more important is to ensure the floor covering is waterproof or resistant to moisture and that all areas where moisture can penetrate are adequately sealed. Before laying any new floor covering carefully inspect the existing subfloor for water damage and rot. Remove the bath panel and check below the bathtub. Leaking pipes should be obvious and need to be rectified immediately.

A musty smell is a sure sign of problems and must not be ignored, sections of the floor that are soft or rotten will need to be replaced. If you are buying sheets of manufactured board, remember to tell your supplier that these are being laid in a bathroom, as there are special water resistant grades which are better suited to the damp environment.

The Bathroom Suite

If the flooring is being replaced or re-laid as part of an overall bathroom refurbishment the suite is probably also being replaced at the same time. If not, then before the floor can be replaced you will need to remove the bathroom suite and any other cabinets and fixtures attached to the floor. When flooring is to be replaced as part of a much larger refurbishment program it can be a good idea to lay the floor covering before the installation of toilet, bath, bidet and basin pedestal. Though not always practical, where it is you avoid having to lay the floor covering in what is often a tight space that will require lots of fiddly cutting.

By using whole sheets the lack of cutting means you are able to put down the floor much faster and will end up with a neater finish. Moreover, because the suite sits on top of the flooring there will be less chance of water finding its way onto the subfloor. The only drawback is that you need to be careful not to damage the floor during the installation of the suite and when the plumbing and decoration is carried out, but even then the floor may be protected with lust a few sheets of hardboard.

Weight Considerations

If you are installing a larger bath you will need to take into account the stresses this may impose on the floor. Replacing a standard bath with a jacuzzi will add about an extra 225kg (500lb) when the bath is full. It is quite likely that you will need to add some local strengthening to the joist, and the floorboards may be too thin to support the weight of the feet. If you are at all concerned then you should consult a structural engineer, who will be able to assess the risks and recommend a course of action. You will have to pay for this of course but it is better than having the bath end up in the downstairs living room!

Types of Flooring

Almost any type of flooring can be used in a bathroom — even hardwood floors can be treated with a water-resistant finish. Check with your supplier whether the flooring you intend to buy is suitable for bathrooms.

Carpet is best avoided as water can soak through and rot both the carpet and the subfloor underneath, although there are varieties of carpet specifically designed for bathrooms which are water, mildew and stain resistant with a backing that does not allow water to seep into the pad.

Tile and sheet vinyl floors are probably the best choices as they are easy to clean and effectively resist staining and moisture penetration.

Whatever flooring you choose, always use waterproof adhesives and grout, and seal holes with silicone where pipes come through the floor. Moisture resistant flooring and MDF have a green tinge to them, so can be easily identified against standard products which are usually biscuit colour.

13. December 2010 by admin
Categories: DIY Home, Flooring, Sheet Vinyl | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Laying Bathroom Floors


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