Carpet…in the Bathroom?
The words “bathroom carpet,” when used together in a
sentence, may seem a bit oxymoronic. Indeed the superior moisture resistance of
other flooring materials,
such as tile, vinyl, engineered wood, and laminate have precluded carpet from
the vast majority of bathroom
remodels. Yet anyone who has used a bath mat can attest to some of the
advantages of carpet in the bathroom.
Choosing carpet in the bathroom must be a highly selective
process, as mold, mildew, and general water damage must be taken carefully into
account. Nonetheless, carpeting the bathroom has been and certainly can be
done. Following are some pros, cons, and examples of bathroom carpet which will
illuminate ways in which you yourself can successfully incorporate carpet into
The Pros of Bathroom Carpet
Carpet offers a plush and slip-resistant surface for the
bathroom. The greatest portion of our bathroom time is spent barefoot, so the
warmth and softness underfoot inherent to carpet is an obvious benefit.
Carpet is also the most inexpensive flooring option,
oftentimes reaching as low as $1 per square foot. Not only that, it is simple
to install. You can purchase sectionals from a retailer, which you can cut to
fit and install yourself, or you can hire a flooring contractor
(often through your bathroom
remodeler), to ensure a professional and lasting installation.
Carpet manufacturers have taken steps to mitigate the
largest concerns regarding bathroom carpet—mildew, mold, and staining. For
starters, moisture resistant pads are available for installation beneath the
carpet to protect the subfloor (replacing carpet is relatively easy, tearing up
rotted flooring is a much larger job). A good bathroom carpet will also come
with a built-in mold and mildew resistant backing. Mold and mildew treatments
can also be purchased for additional protection.
Staining, mold, mildew, odor – these are the main drawbacks
to carpet in the bathroom. Carpet is innately like a sponge compared to tile or
linoleum. Bathrooms create moisture, and thus attack carpet, from all sides.
The sink, shower, and toilet are all potential splash and leak creators.
Regardless of extra padding, treatments or careful attention paid, eventually
the carpet and water are going to be at odds.
The disadvantages of carpet in the bathroom increase
exponentially for every child living in the house as well. Most moms and dads
don’t have time everyday to spend laboriously cleaning the bathroom floor—a
big reason why carpet typically loses out to other bathroom flooring materials.
Getting Your Fiber
All types of carpet are made from fibers of some kind.
Therefore they are naturally inclined to soak up spills and splashes. As a
general rule, when it comes to carpet fibers, more plush and natural fibers
such as wool retain the most moisture while synthetic fibers such as nylon
retain the least. Subsequently, it becomes obvious that thinner, harder,
synthetic fibers will be the most advantageous for use in the bathroom.
Nylon is by far the most common carpet material in use
today, regardless of which room of the house we’re referring to. Nylon is
durable, static-free, maintains its height, and is the best resistor to
staining and mildew—hard to find a better choice for the bathroom. According
to carpet.org, nylon
carpeting starts at about $8 per square yard (less than $1 per square foot).
Followed by nylon is olefin, made with polypropylene. Olefin
is colorfast and holds much of the advantages of nylon carpet. It is just a bit
softer than nylon and slightly more absorbent. Nonetheless it is mildew and
stain resistant to an extent outstripping most of its rivals. Olefin is most
common in Berber carpets.
Above we briefly mentioned the option of using sectionals
and cutting and installing them yourself. Along those same lines, but with an
even more bathroom-friendly improvement, come removable squares, or modular
carpet tiles. Using FLOR
tiles as an example, modular carpet tiles come in roughly 20” sections
that can be mixed and matched to form any design. Moreover, they can easily be
removed and cleaned or replaced—a big advantage for bathroom installations.
They simply utilize a non-toxic adhesive that sticks to the bottom of each
tile, not to the floor, so DIY installation is a snap. FLOR tiles are also
low-VOC for added health.
Of course area rugs, the more conventional approach to
carpet in the bathroom, cannot be ignored. All of the above information
regarding fibers and carpet types will hold true. Although area rugs provide
more flexibility because they can be removed, so softer, thicker rugs may be
employed—just pay attention to the cleaning requirements for each type.
If you want to, get unique and go “green” in the
bathroom. Have a look at “Moss
Carpet” from designer La Chanh Nguyen. Now you can actually step onto
real moss upon stepping out of the shower. The bathroom carpet is made of a
foam called plastazote—it looks kind of like a cupcake baking tray. Each
cell holds one of three different types of moss, and the humidity, splashing,
and drops flowing from a wet body waters the moss. You simply cannot get a more
natural feeling underfoot in the bathroom. Designers are putting on the
finishing touches and hope to have a product to market by the end of 2009.
When used together in the same sentence, “bathroom carpet” may seem a bit oxymoronic. Indeed, the superior moisture resistance of other flooring materials, such as tile, vinyl, engineered wood, and laminate has bested carpet from the vast majority of bathroom remodels.
Yet anyone who has used a bath mat can attest to some of the advantages of having carpet in the bathroom. Here is some more information to help you decide if it’s the right choice for your space.
One of the most inexpensive flooring options, carpet can cost as little as $1 per square foot. Carpet installation also runs considerably cheap—get a price quote for labor rates in your area.
When it comes to bathroom flooring, carpet is certainly not the most durable option. Without the proper padding and cleaning treatments, it will probably start to look worn-down after a few years.
On the other hand, carpet is generally pretty simple to maintain, as long as it is cared for on a regular basis. Vacuuming can get rid of everyday dirt and grime, while steam cleaning once in a while can get rid of those deep stains.
Common Questions and Answers
What is the best type of carpet to use in the bathroom?
All types of carpet are made from fibers of some kind, so they are naturally inclined to soak up spills and splashes. As a general rule, when it comes to carpet fibers, more plush and natural fibers such as wool retain the most moisture, while synthetic f
What is the best carpet to purchase if a homeowner wants to install it themselves?
One excellent option is FLOR tiles, because they are easy to install and bathroom-friendly. FLOR tiles are simply modular carpet tiles that come in roughly 20” sections and can be mixed and matched to form any design.
Moreover, these carpet
HistoryWhile carpets have been used all over the globe for centuries, the United States didn’t begin manufacturing carpet until William Sprague started the first carpet mill in 1791 in Philadelphia. Today it remains one of the most popular flooring options available.
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