Page 8 - Ultimate Bathroom Planning Guide
P. 8

Countertops, Flooring & Walls
Make sure the materials you select for bathroom walls,  oors, and countertops are practical as well as stylish. It’s important to consider maintenance needs and durability in this high-moisture environment.
NATURAL STONE adds elegance and offers several options. Gran- ite is durable and curling iron-proof, but requires professional instal- lation and periodic sealing to repel stains. Marble and limestone are classic and luxurious, but are softer than granite so they can scratch and stain. Buying direct from a stone yard may cost more, but you’ll see the exact piece you’ll get.
SOLID-SURFACE countertops blend plastic, stone, or glass into a resin or cement base. Find panels in neutrals, pastels, and stone looks. Any scratches in the nonporous material can be sanded away. Matching sinks create a seamless installation.
QUARTZ-SURFACING is also called engineered stone because its mix of ground quartz, resins, and pigments forms consistent stone-like patterns. The surface is nonporous and scratch-resistant.
LAMINATE is affordable and resists water and stains, but the thin top layer can scorch and dull over time. Pre-formed countertop/back- splash units are easy to install and easy to clean (no seam along the wall). Longer pattern repeats help this manufactured material better mimic natural stone.
CULTURED MARBLE contains natural marble chips embedded in plastic resin. It comes in sheet form and in standard counter depths.
CERAMIC AND PORCELAIN TILES, when glazed, repel moisture and some stains. Avoid lead-base glazes. In porcelain tile, color goes all the way through so scratches and dents are less visible Choose larger tiles for fewer grout lines and lower maintenance.
GLASS AND GLASS-AGGREGATE counters set a glamorous, shimmering mood. Insist on tempered glass for safety and professional installation for security.
RESILIENT SHEET  ooring is soft underfoot, durable, and moisture-resistant. Vinyl  oors offer a wide range of patterns with realistic textures that mimic the look of stone and wood. Eco-friendly linoleum comes in many colors, while cork is naturally quiet and germ- resistant.
STONE adds elegance and durability, but it can be slippery when
wet and often requires professional installation. Choose a honed or tex- tured  nish for slip-resistance, and opt for smaller tiles in the shower.
HARDWOOD offers a classic beauty but must be coated with a urethane  nish to protect against moisture. Or you can choose engineered wood; its fused layers add stability in humid environments.
LAMINATE  ooring can be a convincing, easy-care substitute for wood, tile, or stone. Choose planks or tiles.
TILES are generally water-resistant, and if they chip, they’re easy to replace. Ceramic, porcelain, and glass tiles are all offered in a wide range of colors and designs. Mixing accent tiles and  eld tiles can help you create
a custom look. Both large-format and mosaic tiles can make a bath feel larger. Run tiles to the ceiling to empha- size height. Mosaics in glass, stone, and metal can be a DIY project if bought on a mesh backing. For durability, be sure to use only wall tile for walls and  oor tile for  oors. Tiles require little maintenance, but the grout may need to be resealed or redone after a few years.
PAINT is the least expensive option for walls and ceil- ings. Gloss and semigloss  nishes work best in the bath’s humid environment, but keep in mind that they’ll accen- tuate any irregularities on the walls. Use epoxy paint if you want to cover a tile, glass, or porcelain surface.
WALLCOVERINGS need to be tough to stand up to use in this humid room. Opt for vinyl coverings (espe- cially vinyl laminated to fabric) rather than traditional wallpaper for the best results.
SAVE MORE: For stylish tub surrounds, select cultured marble sheets instead of ceramic tile. You’ll save money on labor costs, and the marble sheets are easier
to clean. Consider covering walls with inexpensive beadboard
panels for a charming cottage look.
SPEND SMART: Install radiant-heat panels or mats below tile, vinyl, and hardwood  oors to keep feet warm on cold winter days. Electric versions can operate on timers and warm de ned areas, such as in front of the vanity or beside the tub.

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