Redoing the floor in your bathroom is a great way to update its look. A variety of flooring types are available, some easier to install than others. However, any flooring project can be simplified using careful preparation and patience.
You can use many different materials to floor your bathroom. The three most popular flooring materials are ceramic tile, laminate flooring and vinyl sheet.
Ceramic tile is beautiful and durable. However, it can also chip and break, and is perhaps the hardest to install and maintain.
Laminate floor usually looks like faux tile or wood. It's durable and easier to install than tile, but can be slippery when wet and hard underfoot.
The easiest by far to install is vinyl sheet. It's cost-effective and recommended in houses with kids because it is easy to clean and maintain.
Preparing the Floor
Preparing the floor properly will go a long way in making your bathroom flooring project easier. The most important part is to make sure it is smooth, dry and sound. Fill in any low spots with a hardening floor filler. Remove any fixtures like toilets and pedestal sinks that will be hard to cut material to fit around.
The underlayment is the layer to which your flooring will be adhered. Each type of flooring requires a different type of underlayment.
Ceramic tile needs a very stiff underlayment. A stable concrete slab is best, but it must be flat. If installed on top of a wood sub-floor, cement backer board must be used.
Laminate floor requires a foam underlayment. However, this layer is usually attached to the back of the individual laminate pieces.
Vinyl sheet uses 1/4-inch plywood for an underlayment. This plywood is cheap and easy to cut.
When installing your underlayment you need to make sure the seams are staggered and as flat as possible. Raised seams, or seams that line up across the entire floor, will be noticeable after your floor is installed.
Using Guides and Templates
Using guides and templates will make your flooring project easier and more professional-looking when it's complete.
If installing modular floor like tile or laminate, use a colored chalk line to make sure you're laying the pieces along straight lines.
If you're installing vinyl sheet, make a full-size paper template of your bathroom, and use this for cutting your underlayment and vinyl sheet.
Laying Your Floor
Laminate floors, also called "floating floors," do not use any type of fastener or adhesive. Ceramic and vinyl must be adhered to the floor.
Ceramic floors use a type of mortar called quick-set. It is laid with a trowel and tiles are placed into it. The gaps between the tiles are then filled with grout.
Vinyl floor uses vinyl floor glue, which is also applied with a trowel. Vinyl floor should be laid one half at a time. It must then be rolled with a heavy roller to eliminate bubbles.
Whichever type of adhesive you use, carefully follow the label's instructions for mixing, "open" time and cleanup.
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