Remodeling your bathroom is a simple task if you do your research. It’s important to understand what to look for in the materials you install in your bathroom. Showers are often the center focus of a bathroom and are a place to let your renovation truly shine.
Some of the best shower floor options combine style, traction, and proper water resistance. Concrete and vinyl can provide these, but so can pebbles and various types of tiles. Just be sure to look for small tiles, as they use more grout and will provide better grip.
In this article, we will go over the best materials for your shower floor, and what makes them suitable as a flooring option. We will discuss the pros and cons of each flooring type. We will also examine the ballpark cost of each flooring solution and tips for each type.
What to Look For When Shopping for a New Shower Floor
When you are choosing a new shower floor, there are certain criteria you should pay extra attention to.
One of, if not the, most important aspects of your shower floor is that it has good grip. Safety is a number one concern in all areas of life. People with children, older relatives, or balance issues should avoid flooring that doesn’t provide excellent grip.
Style is of course an important aspect of your shower floor as well. As empirical studies have suggested, aesthetically pleasing objects affect our mood positively. It’s important to invest in a flooring option that you find attractive, as you’ll be seeing it every day.
Obviously, the ability to withstand water over time is crucial for your shower floor. Shower walls and floors need to be properly sealed to stand the test of time.
Easy-to-Clean Shower Floor
Another attractive feature of certain types of shower flooring materials is how easy they are to clean. Certain flooring is prone to developing soap scum, while others clean with the wipe of a cloth.
Some of the most attractive types of shower floors are also the most expensive. If you’re remodeling on a budget, it’s important to strike a balance between the criteria above and the dollar amount that you’re willing to spend on flooring.
Something else to consider is the possibility of your flooring adding resale value to your home. Thinking long term, some of the types of floors below will last longer and attract future home buyers. This could also push you to invest a little more in your shower floors, as bathrooms are a key selling point of homes.
Best Materials for Shower Floors
Vinyl is a synthetic cousin of linoleum. It’s an affordable flooring solution for your shower floor. Vinyl is available in a wide variety of styles. It can be installed as one solid piece, which removes the concern of seams in the vinyl. Vinyl tiles can be used as well, though it may be worth it to bring in a professional, as it’s crucial to properly seal the seams.
If water does get under the seams of the vinyl, you can face mold, mildew, and expensive damage.
Vinyl is affordable. It can cost as little as $1.00 per square foot for vinyl sheets. Luxury vinyl tiles, also known as LVT, can cost between $2.50 to $5.00 per square foot.
It is extremely easy to clean. Vinyl needs little maintenance to keep clean. Regular bathroom maintenance is usually more than enough, unlike other finishes in this article which require heavy scrubbing.
It comes in a variety of styles, from faux wood to faux marble. This means you can get luxurious looks for less.
Vinyl has a soft finish, giving it good grip and making it comfortable to stand on.
Unfortunately, because vinyl has a soft finish, it can be dented if something sharp or heavy is dropped on it. These marks are difficult to repair. Most of the time, the damaged sections have to be replaced. If you have a solid sheet of vinyl, this means replacing the entire floor. If you have LVT, this means calling in a professional to replace and reseal the damaged floor.
Since vinyl flooring is inexpensive, it won’t add much to the resale value of your home. If you’re expecting to sell in the next few years, or you’re renovating to boost the asking price of your home, vinyl flooring may not be the best option for you.
Concrete can get a bad reputation when it comes to home flooring. This is because it is seen as cold and uninviting, and can be penetrated by water. But, if paired with a flooring heating system and a proper water sealant, concrete is an affordable and attractive way to introduce updated flooring to your home.
Concrete is highly customizable. Stains and dyes can be introduced into the cement to make a huge amount of colors. Concrete can be as white as marble, or as black as onyx. You can also use stencils to trace in tile lines if you prefer the textured look.
It is affordable, running about $2.00 to $6.00 per square foot for a basic finish. Extremely detailed finishes can cost up to $30.00 per square foot. These designs tend to be quite complicated and involve many different overlays and colors.
When polished, concrete can be slippery. While you can leave the surface of the concrete raw for more grip, this also makes it less comfortable to stand on.
Concrete flooring is cool to the touch, making it ideal for hot climates, and less than ideal for winters in Missouri. If you opt for concrete flooring, you may want to also install heated floors. This, of course, will raise the price.
Porcelain is often used in shower flooring. It is installed in tiles, which can be large or small, depending on your design. Porcelain is made from a dense clay body, making it extremely durable and waterproof.
Porcelain tile is extremely easy to clean. The most maintenance you’ll have to do is with a cloth and a mild detergent.
It lasts for years. Porcelain tiles are extremely durable and their style is timeless. The color of the porcelain also runs throughout the entire tile, so as it wears or if it chips, it will be much less noticeable than on other surfaces.
Porcelain tiles will increase the resale value of your home. Because they are so long-lasting, future home buyers will be happy to see the tile in your home.
While the tile itself is easy to clean, the grout around it is not. The larger the tiles, the less grout you’ll have to clean. You may find the surface more slippery this way, though.
Porcelain tiles are not the cheapest flooring solution. It can range from $3.00 to $10.00 per square foot.
Glass is an attractive option for shower floors. Delicately colored glass in blues and greens immediately gives your bathroom a sophisticated and beachy feel.
Glass tiles are easy to clean. All they need is a bit of Windex and a quick wipe with a soft cloth.
There are a large variety of colors and styles to choose from. Most glass tiles will elevate your bathroom and make it feel more contemporary and expensive.
Glass tiles are extremely slippery when wet. When using glass tiles for a shower floor, it’s important to use small tiles. This will allow a large amount of grout to be present, which will give grip to the floor.
Unfortunately, with grout comes great cleaning. You may need to dig into the elbow grease to keep the grout clean, even though the glass itself is easy to maintain.
Glass is also not the most affordable tile option. It costs about $5.00 to $10.00 per square foot, plus the installation costs of a professional.
Pebbles are an extremely popular option for people who want to bring an intimate, earthy experience into their bathroom. Spas and artisan homes in particular are fond of pebbled floors in their showers and saunas.
In a shower floor, pebbles can come in a rounded or flat shape. The flat shape will feel better to stand on, but takes the same amount of cleaning.
Pebbled floors bring a lot of texture into your bathroom. If you’re looking to nail a certain earthy style, pebbled floors will do that. And the texture isn’t just visual- the flooring provides excellent grip to stand on.
These floors may elevate the resale value of your home, depending on the buyer. When well done, pebbled floors can harken to a spa, and feel luxurious. When not well done, pebbled floors can fall apart quickly, and be painful to stand on.
Pebbled floors use a lot of grout. This means a lot of cleaning. If you live in an area with hard water, pebbled floors are especially prone to soap scum. This will intensify the cleaning needs, and if let to build up, will negate the gripping action of the pebble floors.
Pebbled floors are also one of the more expensive flooring solutions on this list. The finish can run anywhere from $5.00 to $25.00 per square foot.
Marble is often touted as one of the “best” surfaces to have in your home. It is extremely luxurious looking, and people are quick to correlate it with money. Marble may increase the resale value of your home- if it makes it there.
Marble tile is a gorgeous addition to your home. It is aesthetically very pleasing, and no two pieces of marble are identical. Marble will increase the elegance of your bathroom, and attract future home buyers.
Marble tile can be extremely slippery when wet. Small marble tiles are required for your shower floor to reduce the chance of injury.
Marble tile floors are also susceptible to chipping, scratching, and staining. It’s worth investing in a professional to install your marble floors, as a good sealant is a must for marble floors.
This type of flooring is one of the most expensive options on this list, if not the most expensive. Basic marble tiles can be found for $5.00 per square foot, if you find a good deal. Detailed marble tiles, however, can run upwards of $40.00 per square foot.
Travertine is a naturally occurring type of limestone that comes in a variety of designs. Its beautiful swirling tan finish is a popular choice for bathrooms, and it’s easy to see why. Installing travertine flooring will give your bathroom a warm feel, while increasing the resale value of your home.
Travertine is long lasting. As a natural stone, it’s very durable. It also has a naturally occurring high-grip surface, which makes it ideal for shower floors. The tumbled travertine in particular offers good traction.
This flooring is also a fantastic option for those who want a luxurious finish on a budget. Travertine floors average $3.00 per square foot. This is much lower than marble, while still providing a luxurious feel.
The main con of travertine flooring is that the tiles are porous. It is crucial to have a proper sealing on your floor to keep it in good condition. It is also recommended to reseal your floor every one or two years, especially if it is in your main bathroom.
Travertine flooring is also prone to staining. Mild detergents are the only thing that should be used on travertine. Avoid extremely tough chemicals or damaging products like bleach.
When looking for new flooring for your bathroom, it’s important to consider the following criteria:
- Added value
- Ease of upkeep
Some of the best shower floors are affordable and stylish, like travertine flooring. Some are more luxurious, like glass and marble tiles. The best flooring is the one that suits your style and budget, and provides proper grip to keep users safe.
If in doubt, consult a professional for advice and installation services.
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