Flooring of Bathrooms

After effects if there are mistakes in flooring

Below mentioned are commonly observed effects of having gone wrong with flooring step by step sequence:

  1. Toilet remains wet for a long time.
  2. Chances of people slipping is more.
  3. Flooring pattern gone wrong and end up being an eyesore at many locations.
  4. Tiles around floor drains irregularly cut and ends up being an eye sore.
  5. Toilet floor becoming quickly dirty irrespective of the effort put in for cleaning and frequency of cleaning.

The correct sequence to follow

Step 1 : The very first step is to finalise the flooring material and it's sizes.

I will never say one material or brand is material than another. It finally rolls down to the preference of the end user. I personally like engineered marble or kota flooring more than tiles for bathrooms. Whatever it, the material and the sizes are the be finalised much before any planning is done.

Step 2: Fix the number of drains.

This is a smart thing to do and the number of drains would depend on the size of the bathroom. Obviously there is a drain point in the bathing area which I will call the wet area. I would also advise to have an additional drain somewhere near the closet area. I personally prefer to treat wet area and dry area differently in flooring too. I do not like it when the closet area is wet and therefore, if left to me, I would provide an additional drain point may be underneath the wash basin or underneath the commode if it is wall hung.

Step 3 : Fix the drain cover material

This is something that is going a bit beyond most people would say. But the way I see it, it has to be finalised anyway and if by finalising something sooner, if it has some advantage, then why not do it. This is what I think - The drain cover material sizes will have some bearing on the flooring pattern, and this bearing is more aesthetic than anything else. But we are attempting to make the bathroom very visually pleasing.

I have also seen bathroom drain covers which are long and made chrome plated, other than the usual PVC and round ones which are too common. If suppose the long ones are chosen, then it definitely has an impact on the flooring pattern.

Step 4: Fix the type of commode/closet.

There are broadly two types of commodes - Wall hung and floor mounted. From the perspective of flooring, what we need to finalise first is which type of commode it is. This again has an impact on flooring pattern. Personally, I prefer wall hung commode. The reason for this choice is an altogether different topic and I will deal with it separately later on.

Step 5: Finalise the drops in floor levels.

First things first, let me tell you why there should be this level differences. That is because we are trying to create physical barriers for water to leave a certain area and enter a more dry area. As I said earlier, water should not come to the commode area from the bath area and therefore, we create a 10mm/12mm drop in the flooring level and water ceases to enter. The small level difference actually ensures that even splashed water coming to dry area is limited.

Apart from the bath area and commode area, additionally it is a good practice to provide one more such difference at the entry door level. This ensures that even during cleaning, water does not spill into the living area.

Some bathrooms are larger and it makes sense to provide more tile drops depending on the use. What is important is that this is finalised at the right time.

Step 6: Finalise the slopes

Gravity is our friend and we need to use this friend to our advantage. The smartest design would ensure that water natually flows to the drain. The slope completely depends on the size of the toilet or the area under consideration and how far the drain is from the farthest point in the area considered.

It is upto civil engineers like me to be super careful when doing the flooring to ensure that this slope is maintained. If not tended to properly, chances for mistakes are very higher. Unfortunately, most people make serious mistakes during execution in this area.

Step 7: Determine the gap between each material piece and determine what the filler material is.

This is a good practice. I take the example of flooring tiles. It needs to be determined beforehand what type of joints the tiles would have; in simpler words, what is the detailing at the points where one tile meets the other. In case where there is small gap of say 2mm or 3mm, spacers are used. This is an easier and faster way of execution. If spacers are used, it also needs to be determined, what is the filler material. We do not want a gap of 2mm between tiles and then after few months of usage, these joints to be dirty.

Step 8: Finalise the laying pattern.

This is done by the architect. Depending on the accurate dimensions and the points mentioned above, the architects arrives at the correct laying pattern of the flooring material. It is expected of the civil engineer to stick to this design.

Step 9 : Work execution

The civil engineer executes the flooring completely based on the drawings and specifications shared by the architect.

Some mistakes to avoid

  1. The texture of the flooring material is very important. It should be anti skid. This is very important from the end users' perspective.
  2. The colour of the flooring material determines how lit up the bathroom is. Generally lighter shades is what I personally prefer because I like to feel larger in the bathroom. However it should not be too light, because the dirt in the bathroom stands out in lighter shades and the bathrooms appear dirty. In hotels or regularly serviced bathrooms, this is not an issue. However, I prefer that my bathroom looks clean with minimum effort from my side.
  3. The level difference between the main room and the bathroom, and the difference between the bath area and closet area is very important. I would personally prefer at least 10mm each from the bath area to the closet area and closet area to the main room area.
  4. Most people miss providing slopes. The slopes should be natural and it should end with the drain. Water naturally draining with ease to the drain ensures that the bathroom gets dry soon after it becoming wet.

The end product

If all the above are followed, we will have a beautiful bathroom, which quickly gets dry after each use, beautifully floored with minimum chances of slippage, and one that stays cleaner for a longer duration.

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HIO Labs Private Limited

Spring Valley,

North Kalamassery,

Kochi, Kerala, India