When asked what the most dangerous room in their house is, for most the answer would likely be the kitchen. Cleaning products and a hot stove make that room a clear winner in the minds of most. If you believe that as well then you will be very surprised to learn that the most dangerous room is, in fact, the bathroom. Hundreds of thousands of people every year rush to the Emergency room with bathroom injuries. Of these cases, some require hospitalization and for the aging population, a fall could be fatal. It is important to consider the safety of the bathroom in your home in order lessen the chances of these preventable accidents.
To minimize bathroom electrical hazards any outlets near water should be outfitted with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI). These protective gadgets would prevent any electricity related accident by disconnecting from the electrical flow in an instant should the need arise. Another good feature, although not the prettiest idea, is to install grab bars in key locations near the bath and the toilet.
Of all the bathroom accidents though, the most common cause is slippery floors when exiting the shower or bathtub. Therefore, it is very safe to say that the flooring you choose would be the most likely culprit compromising your safety in the loo.
Right from the start, there are two flooring options to not even consider; laminate and carpet. They are great options for a family room or bedroom but keep them out of the bathroom please. Laminate is a fibreboard product that will hold moisture. Eventually the laminate will peel, swell and you will need new flooring. As for carpet, it is another terrible choice because it will hold moisture and that could lead to mold and mildew issues. It also puts you at risk for a rotting sub floor.
Granite and marble, although they look great, can be incredibly slippery when wet. Again, not a good thing if you are concerned with the safety of the bathroom. Granite is a very porous material and can stain easily; it takes a fair amount to upkeep. Sealants are available but it is likely that they will make the floor even worse than if it was untreated.
Pick the right tile!
It may seem like the safe flooring options are rare. That is simply untrue. The best floorings for preventing bathroom slips would be porcelain, ceramic, travertine or slate. Both travertine and slate are natural stone and definitely the more expensive option. With slate, keep in mind that using sealants on them can also promote slipping due to the glossier surface. Travertine commonly has a more natural looking surface with small holes and divots throughout. If you choose to go with travertine, the only drawback would be that all those holes that add character could also be nooks for dirt.
Lastly porcelain and ceramic are the more traditional choice and there are a lot of bathroom floor tiles made from these materials that have rougher and more textured surfaces nowadays. Some porcelain and ceramic options available today even closely resemble hardwood flooring.
It is highly recommended that you use a sealant on the grout of a newly tiled floor. Do this after allowing the proper amount of curing time post installation. By sealing the grout, you will prolong the beauty and cleanliness of your new and most importantly safe, bathroom flooring.