Bathroom floors degrade faster than any other below foot surface covering in the home. That is because they have to contend with all of the worst hazards of water, humidity, heat, stains, and corrosive soaps and substances. One simple, cost-effective option that can be easily replaced periodically is to make use of self-adhesive tiles.
These are often the ideal option for dealing with even high use bathroom conditions. Relatively inexpensive, they can usually be purchased for a few dollars per square foot or less, and they are available in literally hundreds of different colors, patterns, and faux-natural looks. They are also highly durable and are resistant to almost all stains, water damage, and physical harm.
There are a few drawbacks to the use of these materials. Even high-end luxury vinyl tiles will only last for about 8-10 years of use before they start to fade. Lower grade products can also be made using dangerous chemicals, which can be harmful to the environment, and which may off-gas Volatile Organic Chemicals over time, which can be particularly dangerous to the air quality of small enclosed bathroom spaces.
However, most reputable vinyl manufacturers have processes in place that minimize ecological impact from material production, while also offering products that do not give offgas Volatile Organic Chemicals. As long as you do due research on the flooring you are purchasing, this can be a great option for bathrooms.
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This is a relatively rare option that has some great characteristics that can make it perfect for use in a bathroom. Rubber is water resistant and will be impervious to most stains, although there are a few chemicals that can cause blemishes. It is also naturally slip-resistant, and it comes in a variety of thicknesses, many of which provide padding that can make these wet environments much safer.
The main drawback to using rubber in a bathroom is that it is only available in a limited number of colors and patterns. While manufacturers are starting to produce more options, your decorative choices are limited right now, and these products are usually only available in a few solid hues, and speckled looks. Recycled rubber can also have a slight odor, which is harmless, but may be irritating in small, enclosed spaces.
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While this is another inexpensive and easy to install self-adhesive option it is generally not recommended for bathrooms. That is because it is not as waterproof as other materials, and may be subject to curling or warping over time in these humid environments.
Self Adhesive Bathroom Installation
Generally, these products are available with peel and stick backing, with a paper sheet on the underside that can be stripped away to reveal an adhesive surface. That allows you to simply stick them into place wherever you like. In most cases, you can even install them directly over existing hard surface floor coverings such as wood, tile, concrete, and stone. Check the box to make sure that the glue is made to be used on the material is being placed on.
Bathroom flooring installation is often complicated by the need to cut materials so that they fit around fixtures such as toilets, tubs, and vanities. The difficulty of this will vary based on the thickness of the product chosen. Most vinyl can be measured directly against the obstacle and then cut with a simple shop knife. Heavier rubber pieces may require more effort and or special tools.
Maintenance of Self Adhesive Bathroom Floors
With vinyl and rubber, the maintenance of the floor will generally be fairly simple. These materials are resistant to most stains and water damage so you don’t have to worry about long-term damage. You will want to wipe up soap spills so that they do not cause a slipping hazard, and you never want to immerse these surfaces in liquid as it can seep down between the seams, damaging the subfloor and or wearing at the glue holding them in place.
Note: One advantage of rubber over vinyl is that it tends to plump, making the individual tiles press closer together. That makes it harder for water to penetrate down past its surface. These products are also often sold in larger tiles which means there are few vulnerable divisions between them.
Most self-adhesive tiles are designed to last for just a few years of use in a bathroom before they need to be replaced. This is offset by the fact that they are easy to install, which cuts down on the cost of hiring a professional, and also easy to remove. Most products will also be relatively inexpensive, although the price can vary greatly depending on the quality of the material.