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Choosing materials for your bathroom

Choosing materials for your bathroom

Whether you are updating an existing bathroom or planning a new one, many factors will play a part in the finished look. The design of the fixtures and fittings, the type of flooring, and the colour scheme all deserve time and consideration to make sure that your money is well spent and the end result is pleasing.

Fixtures

White fixtures are the "little black dress" of bathrooms - always looking crisp and fresh and adapting to any style.

Coloured suites, particularly darker shades, need to be kept scrupulously clean or they show up water marks and soap deposits. Most bathroom textures, including toilets, basins, and bidets, are made from vitreous china, which is durable, hygienic and scratch-resistant.

Tubs and shower bases come in a wider choice of materials, including acrylic, mineral resins and steel. Acrylic and mineral resin are warm to the touch and strong. Mineral resin textures resist staining and scratching while acrylic tubs and shower bases are more easily scratched, and need thick sides and strengthened bases to prevent them from flexing when in use. Enamelled bathroom steel bathtubs and shower bases are expensive but durable, though impact from heavy objects can result in the surface becoming chipped or cracked.

Fittings

Chrome fittings are the most popular for bathrooms because they are hard wearing and the mirror finish suits both modern and traditional styles. Gold plate, brass, polished and satin nickel, bronze, and copper require more care to maintain the finish but will add interest to plain fixtures. lf you wish, coloured door and cupboard handles can add a fun touch to your bathroom design.

Floors

Stone and ceramic tile floors in bathrooms are hard-wearing, easy to clean and ideally suited to hot climates as they feel cool to walk on barefoot. ln colder regions it may be practical to fit underfloor heating, which will also help retain warmth in the bathroom. The colour and sound -insulating properties of wood make it suitable for most situations, but bare wood should be sealed to prevent water damage. Linoleum, vinyl, and rubber are waterproof and durable and offer id the widest choice of colour, pattern, and texture. Carpeting is warm and soft to walk on barefoot and to sit on; synthetic fibres are most suitable for moist bathroom conditions.

Walls

Ceramic tiles are ideal for bathrooms since they are both hard wearing and waterproof. Mosaic tiles add character and texture to walls and there is a wide range of colours to choose from. Stone and marble are expensive and require professional installation. Providing wood is oiled or sealed with a waterproof finish, it is useful for covering uneven walls and concealing ugly pipework. Paint is inexpensive and quick to apply; be sure to use vinyl paints that contain fungicides to restrict mildew growth. Wallpaper is the least durable surface for bathroom walls but, so long as it is not in direct contact with water, the wide range of colours and patterns in which it is available can lift your bathroom out of the ordinary.