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Best foot forward. Choosing the right bathroom and kitchen flooring material.

Tread carefully. There are an abundance of flooring options out there to confuddle the most knowledgeable homeowner.

I always bring it up on the first meet. What I establish early on is the type of room we would be creating. Kitchen/bathroom/floor level/style/traffic, etc, etc. This starts to narrow down the route I suggest they take. A long gallery kitchen in a family of five household will lead me in a very different direction to a third-floor ensuite of a middle-aged couple.

Function, then flair.

It has to be in this order. It’s a rule I go by scouring the plethora of shopping options available.

Firstly it has to function. I’ll only suggest a material that I’m confident will fit your criteria. Laminate floor in a kitchen, or worse a bathroom, regardless of the manufacturers moisture-resistance claims, is a no-no. I’ll tell you this. For what it’s worth I’ll give you my honest opinion on anything you ask. (If you’d like it!)

In priority order flooring needs to be;

  • Safe. Highly-polished tiles can look fantastic on walls but but you’ve seen enough YouTube videos of ice-skating victims that really makes me suggest side-skating this option on a floor.
  • Resistant. The surface must perform well against water, spills and stain resistance. Its obvious but there’s plenty to catch you out. For example Granite tiles are particularly susceptible to irreversible staining from bleach.
  • Suited to the expected foot traffic volume and type. It’s not just wearing down that’s a factor here. But for instance light grey or white grout near a back door of a kitchen becomes a tiresome task to maintain.
  • Be U.V. stable. printed patterns across many materials can fade depending on the sun exposure. some rigid vinyl planks can also bow upwards with heat-expansion from direct sunlight exposure.
  • Durable/forgiving. Plates slip, perfume bottles get knocked off. It’s a worthy consideration.
  • Practical. Ice-white tiles look so contemporary and sleek but your 3 cats wont give a hoot about happily displaying their wondering tracks around it, fresh in from the garden.
  • Comfortable. Here’s where flair and style can muscle-in a bit. It’s ok to endure a hard, cold porcelain tile barefoot if the Victorian pattern makes you admire it day-in, day-out. Underfloor heating can chirp in here to combat that but be prepared for a sizable cost to fit a reputable brand. That is not something to be scrimped on.

After all that boring stuff I have to worry about the most fun part of choosing a floor for you is that it need’s to look fantastic. I believe I take most of the stress out of shopping! Happy to let you run wild up and down the aisles, but there to advise and steer through the maze of choice when we start nearing the checkout!

So what’s out there?

Legs. sorry, tiles. They are as classic as Nanny’s secret recipes, countless styles, and endure water spills like a superhero. There’s no denying they are still king for many rooms, areas and spaces above and beyond just the ugly kitchen floor of yester decade. Not my sole favourite (we’ll get to that) but done right, they are sleek, premium and a serious box-ticker! If a wetroom is on the cards then the rest of the floor is by default – tiled.

Tiled floor;

Pros: Whether ceramic, porcelain or stone, tiles are an ideal choice for bathrooms, ensuites, kitchens, utility areas, and more. They are great at withstanding water and come in a variety of different styles, sizes and colours, making it easy to match with the colour scheme elsewhere in the space. Hygienic and can be cleaned without much hassle and mostly require very little maintenance (although steer clear of natural tiles like slate that will need to be sealed every year).

Cons: Unless you have underfloor heating installed, tiles do not retain heat well and are cold underfoot – especially during the colder months and ground floor settings. Highly-polished finish combined with the wet can create a safety hazard. Grout discolouration over time (especially in traffic routes of the room. Potential chipping from dropped items.

The majority of traditional bathrooms harbour patterned porcelain tiles for the right look and feel. You have to prep and plan it right. But when you do…


Ignoring all the archaic alternatives like carpet, roll vinyl and laminate, and excluding real wood variants for obvious reasons, the only other contender – and it’s a worthy opponent – are rigid vinyl planks, click versions. The way I describe it is to imagine the way laminate floor fits and locks together with a tongue and groove mechanism to form the floor. The fitting method is similar.

Numerous manufacturers fall into two different types of what’s out there. LVT and SPC. This relates to the core material they are made with.

LVT stands for ‘Luxury Vinyl Tile’ either a click and lock ‘floating floor’ installation or glue down.

SPC stands for ‘Stone Plastic Composite’ click and lock ‘floating floor’ installation only.

Vinyl planks are a great choice because they’re waterproof, scratch-resistant, warm and comfortable underfoot, and less prone to noisy echoes than other hard flooring types. They are also incredibly attractive and can be nearly indistinguishable from real wood these days.

LVT/SPC Pros: Both traditional LVT and SPC vinyl are 100% waterproof. Spills of water, juice, wine etc. do not affect either the SPC or Vinyl Click Flooring.

Available in a variety of colours, sizes, patterns, decors, textures, plank width, etc. From modern to traditional and rustic styles, customers can usually find every variety of style and to suit your vision.

When you opt for either vinyl or SPC flooring, the greatest benefit is that it is easy to clean and maintain with regular sweeping and cleaning with a wet mop and bucket.

They are forgiving and resilient to hard items dropped on them

LVT/SPC Cons: It’s quite hard to populate the negatives on this flooring. Both types are for the most part designed mainly on wood-effect or stone-effect look. And many of them look great, even upon close scrutiny, but exactly that – it is an imitation product that some people wont like for that reason. it looks like the real equivalent, but they know it’s not. It is an imitation, a replica of the real thing. Maybe it’s psychological but if I was being a mean critic I could say it might feel to some quite lifeless to walk on.

Be it Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT), Vinyl Click or SPC Vinyl, the trend in the flooring market continues to move towards Vinyl Flooring.

We could dive really deep into all the exact differences and many different sites with often conflicting information but honestly – it gets really boring. After having fitted many of both types of core – go for what looks nice and if that happens to be LVT or SPC, that’s fine for 99% of domestic applications. Both require a good subfloor which is often glued and screwed plywood, or self-level for ground floor applications. I always check the specs if its a brand/supplier suggested that I haven’t used before. With the exception of LVT glue down sometimes being the more favourable option for kitchens, especially with islands and awkward floor shapes.

For us it is our ‘go-to’ starting point as it is such a good, versatile product, albeit still quite a newcomer to U.K. homes. Statistics show that the market share of Vinyl flooring has increased dramatically over the last few years. It is expected to continue to increase globally over the coming years as more and more people become familiar with it and its benefits.

My thoughts? L.V.T. all the way! J.

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