Being eco-friendly while building your home should be on the top of your priority list, right along with practicality and aesthetics. The bathroom, perhaps one of the most used rooms in your home, needs a lot of planning and choosing materials. Nowadays there are a plethora of options for bathroom flooring, even eco-friendly ones. Not to worry, eco-friendly does not mean expensive in this case. There are many options for those who want to be eco-friendly but also stay within a certain budget. Going eco-friendly does not mean you have to sacrifice style as well. There are chic, beautiful eco-friendly options that are also durable and practical.
When it comes to eco-friendly flooring, cork is usually the first to be mentioned. That’s probably because its a rapidly renewable resource. It resists moisture and growth of mould/mildew. If you are looking out of the obvious choice of tiles for the bathroom, cork may be a better option over many hardwoods and carpets. Cork is made into tiles that are installed by clicking them together. The main drawback for cork is that you have to make sure that you don’t leave puddles of water stagnant because it can warp the shape. If the water seeps under the tile, the adhesive can come loose. If you live in a very humid place, cork might not be right for you since humidity will cause the tiles to contract and expand.
Another ‘green’ flooring that you can consider is bamboo as it is a fast-growing, highly renewable resource. Its affordable, durable and looks great in both modern and traditional spaces. If you like the look of wood for your bathroom floor, but want to take the ‘green’ route, bamboo is a great alternative as it can be harvested in about 3 years, unlike hardwood trees which take between 50 and 100 years to reach maturity. Because of the light colour, bamboo can be used in small bathrooms to brighten up the space and make it look bigger.
You can go for either engineered or solid bamboo. Engineered, though, is the more durable option. To avoid water damage, you can use a good topcoat that will stop water from seeping in. You can also use mats where it’s most prone to wetness so that water doesn’t collect there.
Solid bamboo comes in a natural light blonde colour but you can stain it to any colour of your choice. A big benefit of solid bamboo is that it can be refinished with a light sanding and new finish coat when it shows signs of wear. Engineered bamboo cannot be sanded down.
Both bamboo and cork can be used in the bathroom, but it will be better if you choose it for a bathroom that’s not used very often, like the guest bathroom, since they aren’t the most water-resistant.
Recycled glass tile floors look extremely attractive and are available in a variety of colours, patterns and finishes. They are non-absorptive, do not stain and are not damaged by excessive moisture like most natural materials; they are easy to clean and maintain. Glass tiles also have a unique quality of reflecting light instead of absorbing it which makes it suitable to light up dark bathrooms. However, they are high cost, difficult to install and have a high susceptibility to scratches.
Because glass disintegrates in a natural way, it’s considered to be an extremely ‘green’ option. They are a beautiful option that can be used both as backsplash and flooring. Get lights that compliment the tiles for best effect. They shouldn’t, however, be used in the shower and other wet areas as they can be slippery. If you do decide to choose it for your floor, do make sure that you get a topcoat that will seal the tiles and provide some grip.
Reduce, reuse and recycle right? Terrazzo is all about recycling scraps of other tile materials like glass, marble, and quartz to create unique, beautiful new tiles. Known for its durability, this option is perfect for those who want a sustainable and long-lasting flooring. The downside is that it can be a little pricey, especially if you have a lot of floor space to cover. It can also be slippery (like glass tiles) so its best not to use it in the shower area. You must also seal it for a shiny finish and to prevent staining.
Linoleum is one of the greenest and most recommended bathroom flooring options. Made of cork dust, wood flour, linseed oil and other organic materials, it’s naturally hypoallergenic and water-resistant. Like cork, it has antimicrobial properties that fight mould and mildew. It’s also biodegradable without releasing harmful chemicals. Linoleum is resilient, requires minimum maintenance and comes in a range of colours to choose from. Although it’s moisture-resistant, excessive water can warp the surface and its installation is complicated, expensive and needs professional services.
Concrete may look odd on a list of eco-friendly materials but it has earned its reputation as a green material. A layer of concrete exists beneath most bathrooms. Uncovering this layer and using it as flooring if more environmentally friendly. It resembles stone in its looks and when properly sealed, can look chic. Though it is cold, hard and slightly rough to walk on, it is extremely durable, inexpensive and low on maintenance.
Rubber floors are made from recycled tyres. They are water-resistant, making them an excellent choice for bathrooms. They are great to walk on and come in a variety of colours and patterns and are durable. However, rubber floors are very smooth in texture, increasing slippage; they are also highly susceptible to damage from detergents and other abrasive cleaning agents.
Hygiene, durability and style should be the essential characteristics of any bathroom floor. Adding eco-friendliness to the list not only makes you a more responsible citizen of the world but helps to increase environmental sustainability. So, if you are in the market for bathroom flooring material, why not go the green route? Now get your bathroom done within your budget and without the hassle of dealing with construction workers yourself. Sounds too good to be true? It’s not! Get in touch with the HomeLane team who will help you design your bathroom that checks all your requirements.