Errors to Avoid in Bathroom Floor Renovations

by Raymond Alexander Kukkee

image of bath floor under construction

Sometimes the bathroom floor problems run deep!

We may prefer to ignore a dated, damaged or deficient bathroom floor, but if the floor is unattractive and in bad condition, it could be time to seriously consider floor renewal.

It takes courage to start; everyone knows there are potential errors and gaffes that happen in all jobs, and we can only imagine the potential terrors lurking under that old tile.

Bottom line, if the floor displays damage, excessive wear, or is simply out-dated, it’s probably time to think seriously about installing a new, more attractive and functional floor . Grab a coffee, a notebook, and be brave.

Let’s inspect the floor first, and make a decision. Are there loose tiles? Lift one. Cracked tiles? There’s a reason for that too; the floor should be replaced. There are a number of common indicators that suggest when it’s time to replace your bathroom floor. There are aesthetic reasons to consider floor replacement, but specific physical conditions can confirm that floor replacement is the best strategy.

What to do next? It’s a big job to take on, but you want to end up with an attractive project you can be proud of, and everyone can use some good tips on how to get started (LINK to ensure the new floor will be just right. Many decisions should be made, involving best procedures, materials choices, project scheduling, and planning.

Are there common mistakes that can be made doing something as simple as flooring? Absolutely. Errors can occur in any renovation, and the installation of new bathroom flooring is no exception. Here are the most common errors that you can avoid renovating your bathroom floor.

Forgetting to plan carefully. This is exciting! What about that 13″ bronzed Italian porcelain tile with those neat accents? Charcoal slate? Glass and mosaics? Beautiful! –But hang on, let’s step back for a moment. Shouldn’t we really be considering a renewal of those out-dated1970’s plumbing fixtures first ?

” for best results, consider only flooring types recommended for bathroom use “

Does your project require a change in design of the bathroom before you install that beautiful new flooring for the premium outcome we all look forward to? Having to replace ugly fixtures a few months down the road might be an expensive lesson in what not to do.

The design and shape of contemporary plumbing fixtures and pipe access requirements may be different. Plumbing issues must be resolved. Perhaps a total reorganization of the layout of your bathroom would be more suitable for your lifestyle. Maybe you should install that raised Jacuzzi tub after all.

Before you commit to any new floor installation, take time to plan thoroughly, and plan ahead. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. You’ll be glad you did. Now, about those tile choices and modern design ideas? Some of the best advice to keep in mind is that it always pays to go to the professionals for pointers and advice. At any good flooring or building center, advice is usually free.

Hiring the wrong Contractor Hiring a bad contractor can be worse and more expensive than doing it yourself. If you go the contractor route use caution. Make sure the contractor you hire is competent, conscientious, available when he says he will be, and fully prepared to do all plumbing changes, proper substrate evaluation and preparation, as well as the actual floor installation job and finishing required to complete your project. Ensure he understands what is included in the job.

Create a list of requirements including permits required in your jurisdiction, and obtain three quotes for peace of mind. Will he supply all materials, or will you be left on the hook for the bill at the building center after he’s taken your money and disappeared? It happens, so consider hiring only a contractor that specializes and will freely offer job and business references.

Inadequate Evaluation of Existing Floor Conditions. This is one of the most common and serious errors made, particularly if there are underlying structural or water-related problems in the bathroom. Existing conditions have a lot to do with why a floor failed in the first place.

Careful evaluation is required . Look for condensation from the toilet tank and water seepage from the toilet seal that can creep and soak into layers of plywood, sight unseen. For a new installation, going on the cheap and ignoring water-damaged, blistered , warping, decay, or weakness of the main plywood floor and sub-floor plywood is false economy. Similarly, floor joists must be sound . All of the substrate must be in good condition.

Why? A new ceramic tile installation, however carefully installed over a spongy, decayed surface that flexes is virtually guaranteed to fail. Grout lines crumble, and the tile itself may break . Tile needs support underneath. Self-adhesive vinyl tiles will soon loosen as adhesive fails to bond securely on problematic wood .

If wood is swelled and inner layers remain even a bit damp from previous water damage, the new installation will be unstable and stressed as the substrate shrinks and dries. Damp wood may harbor unseen mold that can potentially cause health problems. If underlying leakage problems go unrecognized and unsolved, decay will eventually contribute to the early failure of even the best flooring installation .

Beautiful Flooring, but the Wrong Application There are now many choices in flooring types that were once not available . Some are very beautiful but may not tolerate water adequ, and may not even perform well in a damp bathroom environment, so for best results, consider only flooring types recommended for bathroom use. The optimum flooring for one bathroom may be totally inadequate for another, depending on the lifestyle of the user and conditions it is subjected to.

By avoiding these common errors, you can ensure your project will proceed with the fewest headaches and your efforts will provide you with a sparkling, attractive bathroom floor you can be proud of for years to come.

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