I’ve been writing a lot recently on the different choices of hardwood flooring available for different spaces, and it turns out I actually have quite a lot to say on the topic. So please let me continue with this theme for one more post, and I promise this will be the last wood themed article for a while!
When researching design ideas for the bathroom, all the images I preferred seemed to have one thing in common, and that was a traditional hardwood floor. While typically bathrooms are a crisp, clean and modern space, the wooden floors added a fantastic rustic vibe which I find can be lacking in some designs. What’s more, there is something about the combination of wood and the colour blue which I have a weakness for, and the blue patterned tiles I had purchased for the bathroom just so happened to be the perfect shade to match with a hardwood floor!
But the question was, is a hardwood floor in the bathroom really practical? A beautiful shot taken for a magazine is one thing, but when it comes to functionality and long term use, it can be a completely different story. I was suspicious, so began doing a bit of investigative work before making any decisions.
Now when it came to installing hardwood floors in the kitchen, depending on who I asked, I seemed to receive a bit of a mixed response, with some saying it was a good idea and others saying it was a no-no. Overall however, the general consensus was that hardwood flooring in the kitchen can work, as long as you are careful with the type you select (further outlined here).
When it came to installing them in the bathroom however, every single expert I approached all said this was a bad idea, regardless of whether the wood was engineered or not. To keep things simple, wood and water do not mix well. Continued moisture can kill the wood, resulting in cracks, expansion and even the growth of mould. No matter how careful you are in the shower, water will always find a way to spill over onto the floor, and that’s my personal experience as someone who is sensitive about water splashing over to the other side. Plus, no one wants to be the girl who lectures her guests on mopping up spillages each time they take a shower…
I was advised that the only exception for wood in the bathroom came in the form of exotic wood. Bamboo for example can be perfect for humid spaces, since it is water and mould resistant. While an environmentally friendly product, my problem with bamboo was unfortunately its look. Being a darker, richer wood made up of shorter planks, it didn’t give off that same rustic, character vibe I was after. Plus the colour didn’t match with the new tiles…
The solution came one happy day while kitchen tile shopping, when we discovered the existence of imitation hardwood tiles. From a distance, and even up close, it was hard to believe that these tiles were not actually fabricated from wood. The texture is of course different, and once installed would feel colder underfoot than hardwood, but the overall appearance is remarkably similar.