metallic epoxy singapore bathroom floor
31
Aug

The Three Best Materials For Your Bathroom | Blog Post #21

What are the best materials for bathroom interiors? Can your toilet floor handle the daily moisture abuse and damp conditions? Today’s post looks at the top three materials for protecting and beautifying your bathroom.

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One of the most damp, and bacteria- and mold-prone areas in your homes, which material is the best choice for your bathrooms?

While every material has its pros and cons, the most important consideration is the individual homeowner’s needs – the material with the most suitable properties should then be chosen. For the bathroom, we’ve narrowed the most popular options down to the best three – vinyl, marble, and metallic epoxy.

cat pushing cat
With so many choices, we have selected the top 3 which we think are the best. ©giphy

Yet, the term best is highly subjective. Hence, in the context of a bathroom, we propose judgement by these specific criteria: hygiene, bathroom-specific damage, and general suitability.

Hygiene – The bathroom is a special place – you go in dirty and come out squeaky clean. There’s no explaining that, it’s just magic! But the amount of organic debris, dirt, and bacteria you leave behind are anything but magical. Hygiene is a measure of how much non-magical grossness your interior material traps, and how easy it is to clean.

hand in toilet bowl
No one likes a dirty toilet. But how clean is your toilet floor? ©giphy

Bathroom-specific Damage – The bathroom does not see as much traffic or physical stress as the living room or kitchen, but it’s exposed to more chemicals and water than every other room in the house combined. This category includes near-constant exposure to cleansers and abrasives (exfoliants, anyone?), water of varying pH levels, and good old overzealous scrubbing.

No, your toilet bowls may not explode. But the constant exposure to moisture and water, can your bathroom floors handle the daily abuse? ©giphy

General Suitability – The last category is a catch-all for any remaining aspects of material suitability, such as changes in material integrity or appearance over time, or how slippery it is when wet.

Man slip on wet floor
Did you know: According to Straits Times, every 32 minutes, an elderly person turns up at the A&E due to a fall in Singapore? Just how safe is your bathroom flooring? ©giphy

Vinyl

Vinyl has been a popular material for a very long time, thanks to its low cost, durability, and multitude of design options. Ordinarily, vinyl is installed in tiles to take full advantage of its low cost of replacement. However, bathroom installations typically demand large sheets of vinyl, since vinyl tiles have seams that let water enter on the surface and pool beneath the tiles. Considering this, just how well do vinyl sheets fare in the bathroom?

vinyl bathroom floor
Vinyl Bathroom Floor ©HGTV

Hygiene
Vinyl is non-porous and doesn’t trap organic debris, meaning bacteria and scum find it difficult to take root. It’s also relatively tough and can be cleaned well, but mind what you use – stiffer brushes could scratch the vinyl. Vinyl is chemical resistant as well and can be cleaned with normal household cleansers. Very suitable for the bathroom.

Vinyl Floor Bathroom
Vinyl is really popular in countries with drier and cooler climates. But in hot and humid Singapore, is it really the best choice? ©Moduleo

Bathroom-specific Damage
The two biggest sources of damage in the bathroom are water and chemicals from hygiene or conditioning products. Vinyl is waterproof and chemical-resistant, making these matters a non-issue. However, depending on how well your vinyl is laid, water may pool beneath and cause a different set of problems. Natural rubber products like non-slip surfaces will also permanently discolour your vinyl, especially in the bathroom where wet surfaces abound.

Overall perfectly suitable for the bathroom, but no rubber products.

laying vinyl sheet
Remember, vinyl is an overlay material which is glued/stuck to your current floor. However, an improper waterproofing job will result in more than just slight popping; it may promote bacterial and mould growth. ©thespruce

General suitability
Smooth vinyl gets slippery when wet and present a huge problem in the bathroom. Thankfully, textured vinyl is widely available, but may be more difficult to clean. Vinyl also doesn’t age well and may warp or crack as it degrades, trapping water beneath it.

Alright for short- to medium-term usage, not ideal for long term.

old vinyl floor peel
Vinyl is cheap. But not very durable and long-lasting as compared to other materials available. ©stackexchange

Marble

Marble is an old-world material used in posh hotels and luxury homes. While it has notably terrible durability and poor economy, it is treasured for the beauty and character of its natural grain and colours. Since marble doesn’t do well in wet conditions at all, it is often paired with water-proof ceramic tiles in locations that you’d expect to get wet. If you choose to line your bathroom solely with marble, you’d have to use a sealant to waterproof the marble.

marble bathroom floor
Marble Bathroom Floor ©sebringdesignbuild

Hygiene
Marble is a porous stone that traps organic debris easily and promote bacteria growth, while not allowing thorough scrubbing since it scratches easily. This means frequent cleaning with soft rags and brushes are necessary to keep your bathroom in a habitable state. You may also be restricted to certain specialised cleaning chemicals, since the sealant may react with normal household cleansers. Marble tiles also mean gaps and grout, which trap more debris and bacteria.

High effort involved in maintaining hygiene.

marble floor water damage
Water marks and discolouration from water damage, as well as moisture seeping into the marble pores allow bacteria growth. ©hangovercure

Bathroom-specific Damage
Marble is highly reactive and is easily stained by many liquids, including non-pH-neutral water. In addition to chemicals from bathroom products like hair dye or cleansers, there are many ways that bathroom marble can get permanently disfigured. The high level of moisture in a bathroom also rusts iron deposits in some types of marble, resulting in permanent discolouration.

Overall, terrible for unsealed marble, potentially dangerous for sealed marble.

discoloured marble floor
Not really the sight you look forward to seeing, especially after paying so much for a beautiful floor. ©emotionpierres

General suitability
Sealed marble is slippery when wet. Ideally, ceramic tiles which match the marble could be used to line the floors, providing better grip while preserving the theme of the bathroom. High maintenance is required, since any breach in the marble sealant could result in permanent and widespread discolouration.

High maintenance required, some compromise on material is advised.

marble polishing floor
Constant polishing and high maintenance is require to keep your expensive marble looking sharp. But is the hassle and high costs worth it? ©srucarpetcleaning

Metallic Epoxy

Metallic epoxy is remarkably competitive in all its properties and truly shines in the bathroom.

metallic epoxy bathroom floor galaxy
From out of this world galaxy themes, metallic epoxy designs are limited only to the imagination.

Hygiene
Being non-porous, seamless, and chemical-resistant make metallic epoxy a dream to keep clean. It doesn’t trap any grime or house bacteria, while allowing regular and vigorous scrubbing – all with the help of the strongest household cleansers.

A no-brainer here, perfect.

matte gloss bathroom floor
With different choices of top coat finishes available, from matte, anti-slip or gloss, each is catered for different frequency or traction requirements.

Bathroom-specific Damage
Waterproof, chemical-resistant epoxy shrugs off chemicals in the bathroom. A seamless surface means no openings that might allow leaks and pools beneath your floors.

Probably the best material money can buy here.

metallic epoxy bathroom floor stone
As constantly mentioned, metallic epoxy coatings are seamless and non-porous, making it both waterproof and stain-proof.

General suitability
While smooth epoxy or polyurethane is slippery when wet, the metallic epoxy installed in the bathroom is often finished with a rougher, slip-proof surface for safety. This finish is also tougher than a perfectly smooth epoxy finish, giving you extra protection. While sunlight naturally discolours the epoxy’s protective coating over time, it’s durability remains entirely functional.

Slight discolouration over time, no shortcomings.

metallic epoxy wood bathroom floor
The protective topcoat literally does what it is supposed to do: protect your gorgeous epoxy flooring.

Water Off A Duck’s Back

Unsurprisingly, metallic epoxy is the overall winner. Vinyl is highly competitive, but ultimately loses out in the long run. Marble is only ever chosen for its aesthetics, but since there’s no accounting for taste, we felt marble deserved a place on this list – if only for its rarely matched beauty. Metallic epoxy can be customised to your desired theme, while offering you a whole array of protection that no other single material can. To find out more about what makes metallic epoxy so effective, head over to this blog post.

Check out “Is It Worth It: The Benefits of a Metallic Epoxy Coating: Part One and Part Two” for more information!

Learn which are the best materials for your kitchen in our previous post!