Bathroom Floor Safety Tips Part 1
Of all rooms in the home, bathrooms present the greatest fall risks.
Therefore, all discussions regarding bathroom safety are priority.
When it comes to slipping and falling though, the floor will most likely be the culprit. And if it wasn’t a slippery floor that caused the issue, landing on an unsafe flooring material can potentially only worsen an already devastating situation.
Taking all this into consideration, we have created this discussion where we go through safety considerations for bathroom flooring so that we can prevent unwanted circumstances.
In our discussion about safe bathroom floors we will discuss which floor materials are the best when putting down a new floor as well as solutions for incorporating anti-slip to an existing floor.
As we all know, there are many types of flooring materials. Until I did research into the topic myself, I was pretty clueless about the characteristics of the different materials, aside from their appearances of course:) Seriously though, putting appearance aside, flooring materials certainly have essential characteristics which can play a significant role for safety.
We have therefore decided to go through the basic flooring materials that are commonly used in bathrooms to delineate their advantages and disadvantages in the realm of bathroom safety.
In addition, we are quite aware that most people are not necessarily ready to jump into replacing floors in their home. Whether you like your current floor aesthetically, it has just been replaced recently, it’s simply in good condition, or practically speaking your finances won’t allow for it right now, we know that installing a new floor might just not be the route you are looking for.
Therefore, we have decided to go through some basic solutions which can be implemented on to your current floors to improve safety conditions without actually putting down a new floor.
We have divided our discussion into two separate posts. The discussion here will be about choosing the best flooring material when putting in a new floor or replacing an old one. In a following post called Bathroom Floor Safety Tips Part 2 will be the solutions for decreasing the slip factor on current floors.
The most common flooring materials used in bathrooms are ceramic, porcelain, glass, vinyl, stone, wood, and laminate. Follow along with us as we go through each one and its pros vs cons.
Ceramic, Porcelain and Glass tiles are often used in bathrooms because of their aesthetic appearance, cheaper cost, and waterproof features. BUT, they are the most slippery and therefore not necessarily the safest. These tiles are also very “hard” when it comes to falls which can cause an already unpleasant fall into an even more unpleasant situation. There are solutions out there for decreasing the slip factor, but let’s continue down the list of options to determine if there is possibly an even better option.
Vinyl sheets, planks or tiles are another very common flooring material used in bathrooms. Vinyl tiles are easy to install, aesthetically pleasing, very durable (i.e. with wheelchair use), and the most slip-resistant as well as having a softer feel and the best waterproof features. All of these features lends itself to vinyl often being the best option for the best bathroom floor material. We will still go through the other common flooring options just to give you a picture of their pros and cons.
Stone materials are often used because of their aesthetics, durability, and waterproof features. BUT, stone is also a very hard surface, can be slippery and is quite costly which is often why stone is not the most recommended.
In general, wood may give a beautiful and unique appearance in a bathroom, but is not the most recommended as it is easily damaged from moisture. The most recommended wood-like flooring for bathrooms is ‘engineered wood’ which is created with features which can survive in a bathroom environment. BUT, as in many of the other flooring materials engineered wood has a ‘factory finish’ layer on top, which tends to be slippery. I would not recommend wood because there are too many ‘ifs’ involved which can lead to unwanted circumstances (water damage, accidents etc.). If you do want a “wood-like” finish though, you can always get the wood style vinyl tiles/planks. Laminate also comes with “wood-like” finish options, BUT…
Laminate tends to be in the same category as wood in more ways than one. Laminate might be inexpensive and easy to install, but any moisture that finds its way to unwanted areas can destroy the floor. Additionally, it has the same ‘factory finish’ as engineered wood which causes an increased slip factor. Laminate is therefore usually not most recommended.
So, what’s the conclusion?
Vinyl definitely has the most bathroom-friendly and safety features of all of the potential options.
Every situation is different with its own unique circumstances so as long as you have the knowledge to go into a building or remodeling project well-educated, you can make the best decision which will hopefully leave you with the results you were hoping for.
For more info on bathroom flooring options with their pros vs cons check out The Spruce.
In our next post called “Bathroom Floor Safety Tips Part 2” will be our discussion on solutions for decreasing the slip factor on an existing floor.
That’s that for Bathroom Floor Safety Tips Part 1.
As always, contact us with any comments/questions.
To safe and happy homes,
Golda, a licensed Occupational Therapist and Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS professional) was inspired to specialize in an area which she felt would increase her clients’ quality of life beyond typical therapy treatment sessions. Golda embraces the idea of increasing clients’ abilities to reside in their homes barrier-free as providing a level of quality of life which cannot be matched. Follow along with Golda on her journey of creating a comprehensive resource center for home accessibility modifications here at adapttostay.com.