• Tiles or Waterproof Laminated Panels on your Bathroom Floor?

    Your Bathroom Floor – Tiles, or Waterproof Laminated Panels?


    You’ve selected the most awesome looking porcelain tiles and the bathroom installer is just finishing off the last few cuts around the ‘shower tray wall’. It looks stunning, everything you’d hoped for when you imagined it.

    The fittings help. You’d decided to have designer bathroom goods, but still hold on to some semblance of a budget to achieve your desired look.

    Now, your bathroom installer says it’s ‘make your mind up time’, are you going to have a tiled floor, or are you going for a modern alternative and having Waterproof Laminated Panels on the floor?

    The last thing you want to do now is compromise the quality of this wonderful room. Let’s do our usual and take a look at the ‘fors’ and ‘againsts’ of each so we can make an informed decision.

    Tiled Floor ‘Againsts’

    1)      So you want tiles, you like the material and you think it will complement your tiled porcelain walls. Fair enough. What’s your view on a stepped threshold between your landing and bathroom though? Most tiled floors if placed over a wooden floor will require over-boarding on top of the floor boards first. Good practice will stipulate approximately 18mm board to help reduce flex in the floor, additional £40. Add to that the adhesive thickness and the tile thickness and you are looking at a potential step difference of between 20mm and 30mm from a carpeted landing to your new tiled bathroom floor. Can you live with that?Carpet - Tile Threshold - how2bathrooms (Copy)

    2)      So, you chose the tiled option and you over-boarded. Another outlay you hadn’t catered for. Now your bathroom installer tells you that your bathroom door needs reducing in size to match the new smaller door aperture. Only problem is, he doesn’t touch doors, so he makes a call to his ‘chippy’ mate. £40 later, you have a lovely snug fitting re hung bathroom door. Current out of pocket total £80.

    3)      You’ve got the 18mm over-boarding down, but being honest, the floor still has detectable flex. It’s an old house, what do you expect. Your bathroom installer recommends a ‘super flex’ floor adhesive for just this type of situation – add more cost to your bill. Oh, and you’ll need to add to that an especially flexible grout – add yet more cost.

    4)      Bathroom floor tiled, looking the part you have to admit, and very glad you’ve gone with it. Another 8 hours and you can walk on it, but my, now that you’ve waited and walked in bare footed the next morning, how cold! You hadn’t catered for that. Almost wish you’d had underfloor heating now. Still, roll on the summer and you’ll be grateful of the cool, fresh ceramic underfoot, just got to survive winter.

    5)      You’ve braved winter on your cold ceramic floor, and getting on your hand and knees for your pre spring clean, you notice cracks in your grout, not one or two, but loads, and evenly spread over the floor. You feel like crying. Stressing over your new bathroom, you call your installer, who agrees to come and sort it out at cost zero to you. Result, but it leaves you wondering if you’ll have to go through this again and hoping the bathroom installer doesn’t let you down. You know there’s nothing in it for him. This can happen on tiled floors, especially as the floor begins to settle and the floor adhesive is drying to its core. If it does happen, more often than not, an additional visit will usually permanently resolve the situation.

    Broken Grout on Floor - howbathrooms (Copy)

    6)      Still on your hands and knees, you notice your vanilla toned grout is quite a bit darker in a few patches. Out comes the trusty old toothbrush you use on just such occasions and the scrubbing commences. 15 minutes later and its all the same darker shade of damp ivory. 3 hours later and it’s improved, but not gone completely. This is unfortunately the nature of a tiled and grouted floor. If pristine appearance is paramount, tiles may not be the choice for you.

    7)      At least you can drop water on the floor to your heart’s content as its tiled. Can’t you? Oh no, this is a big mistake many make and can vastly reduce the life of your tiled floor and in severe circumstances, result in water making its way downstairs, giving you another headache to resolve.

    8)      Back from your evening meal out with friends, you notice the puddle of water on the kitchen floor, what’s above you think, oh, the bathroom! Out comes the installer again, but in order to access the leaking pipe under the floor, the lovely tiled floor has got to come up. Feel like crying again?


    Tiled Floor ‘Fors’

    1)      It’s hard to beat the look and feel of quality ceramics or porcelain underfoot and you will certainly achieve this if you opt for the tiled floor.

    2)      When installed correctly and after perhaps one or two maintenance visits, you should expect a reasonably long life from your tiled floor.


    So that’s your Panel ‘fors’ and ‘againsts’. What of the option of tiles I hear you say?


    Waterproof Laminated Panel  ‘Againsts’


    1)      Well there’s no kidding anyone, it’s not actually the real thing, it’s a copy. If you actually want tiles, there’s no real alternative to the feel of a real tile.

    2)      They’re not cheap to purchase. At the end of the day, they’re a quality product and as such come with an equivalent price tag.

    3)      So you need 2.1m2 for your bathroom floor. If it was tiles, you’d order 2.1m2. As you decided to go for the waterproof laminated panels option, your initial pack of 1.84m2 won’t get the coverage, so you have to commit to another pack. Plenty of leftover then.

    4)      Did you want underfloor heating? These waterproof laminated panels aren’t really designed for that. Go for a tiled floor instead.




    Waterproof Laminated Panel ‘Fors’

    1)      Want quality that looks good and stays looking good for a long time? Consider waterproof laminated panels as one of your options.

    Waterproof Laminated Panel Floor - how2bathrooms (Copy)

    2)      Often come with commercial grade warranties for up to 10 years

    3)      Have children and they enjoy making a splash at bath time? This type of flooring is waterproof in itself. Add a silicone seal between the floor and all walls and you’ve effectively got yourself a completely watertight floor, at least for the splash happy children.

    4)      Cold bathroom in winter. These will make walking bare foot slightly more pleasant as they are much warmer to the touch than tiles.

    5)      You didn’t want that big threshold difference between the landing and the bathroom did you? Good job you opted for the waterproof laminated panels as they don’t require that you overboard your floorboards. Simply add a fairly thin underlay and lay your floor – no large steps, no re cutting of the door, less cost.

    6)      Got a leak? Well you’ll probably still need your plumber, but getting the floor up just simple as it clicks together and is floating, so reaching that compression fitting under the floor is a doddle and won’t ruin your bathroom.

    7)      Don’t like grout and the dirt it attracts? This kind of flooring does away with the need for grout and all the worries that come along with grout.

    8)      Limited budget? Although this product is far from cheap, when combined with fitting costs and comparisons with a tiled floor and special adhesives required, you can expect to save yourself a sizeable chunk of cash.




    So when your plumber asks that question, ‘tiled floor or waterproof laminated panels’, what will you say?

    In summary, both types of flooring will always have their place and both look good when installed and if you prefer any one over the other, then that is the choice for you.

    For a lower maintenance, easy access option though, waterproof floor panels are the hassle free option. Take a look at some styles we use in our bathroom installations and which produce countless very happy customers.



    Have you installed a tiled floor or waterproof laminated panel’s floor? Please share your experiences here…

  • So is it Tiles or Panels for your Bathroom?

    So you’re lying on the bathroom floor, legs resting on the carpet as you’re straddling the threshold of the bathroom and landing, propping your head up with both hands cupping your cheeks, pondering, Tiles, or boards on my bathroom walls?

    We should probably start by taking a brief look at the ‘fors’ and ‘againsts’ of each if you’re to get a good feel for the products.

    Panel Againsts

    1)      They’re plastic, relatively thin plastic at that, so don’t expect too much in terms of robustness. The way I see it, if you’re happy with the impact resistance you get from a skimmed plastered wall, you should be OK with the durability of panels.Panel Damage - how2bathrooms

    2)      Maximum length: Most rooms will be OK with the panels maximum length (usually 2.7m), but some of the older houses/apartments won’t be suitable for a panel length of only 2.7m as the ceiling height is too great.

    3)      Some of the original panels were printed to gain the aesthetic finish. This is OK in most scenarios, but should you accidentally get any sticky tape on the panel surface, you’re likely to be removing the pattern with the tape!Sticky Tape Panel - how2bathrooms

    4)      Again, and typical mainly with the older generation panels, UV stabilizers weren’t in use. Not such an issue if your bathroom doesn’t receive too much direct sunlight, however, if you are fortunate enough to have direct sunlight on your walls, expect discoloured and faded panels over time.

    Panel Fors

    1)      Don’t like keeping grout clean? You don’t have to with these beauties! The single biggest positive of the panel is the removal of grout from the bathroom, and we all know how hard it is to keep grout clean.

    2)      Completely waterproof for all areas of the bathroom. Unlike tiles, which require water resistant adhesives and quality grouts to keep the water out, the panels can form a water tight seal with the unique tongue and groove feature.

    3)      Generally cheaper, if taking in to account the supply and installation of panels versus tiles. Whilst some tiles are cheaper per metre squared of coverage, when factoring in the time your bathroom installer will take to fit them, panels come out a clear winner.

    4)      Not an intended outcome in the design of the panel. That said, the composition of it, a front piece, a back piece and a collection of veins, extruded as a single piece sheet, mean that the panel with its pockets of air sandwiched between two halves actually has quite an impact on the overall warmth in the bathroom. A plus for those looking to shave a fraction off their heating bills.


    So that’s your Panel ‘fors’ and ‘againsts’. What of the option of tiles I hear you say?


    Tile ‘Againsts’


    1)      Tiles take longer to fit than panels, meaning you get charged more in labour from your installer. Add to that the cost of quality bathroom specification wall adhesive and mold resistant grout and your costs are significantly higher with tiles. If you’re contemplating porcelain tiles instead of ceramic, you can add even more to the potential figure. Specialist adhesives, specialist cutters, specialist drill bits and even more time in installation.

    2)      Grouts. We all hate grouts, and that’s because they appear dirty after a while. In fact, they are actually dirty. Grouts, and we mean all grouts here, are porous, meaning they absorb at some level. Once the dirt or grime is in, you’ll greatly struggle to remove it.

    3)      You’ve got your swanky bathroom, just like you’d imagined it, now for the finishing touches. Hubby picks up the drill to hang the mirror cabinet and ‘crack’, the tile gets it! Now you’re fretting, have you got another tile? You want it putting on correctly, so that’s another call to the fitter and 2 hours charge!

    4)      You never actually get a truly waterproof seal with tiles as you are using a water resistant adhesive, resistant being the operative and a porous grout.


    Tile ‘Fors’


    1)      There’s no denying the awesome finish you are capable of achieving with tiles, either ceramic or porcelain. It really has no equal except with the option of natural stones or marble type products.

    2)      Generally more sturdy as a product.

    3)      Although grouts do tire, the tiles are generally likely to be around, surviving everyday use, wear and tear, a lot longer than panels. It is not uncommon for us to encounter bathrooms with tiles upwards of 50 years in age. Could we say that about panels in 50 years?


    So you’ve got the facts. You’ve also got the dream.

    In summary, if you have no particular preference and a very limited budget is on your side, I’d steer towards the panel option for a well-priced, smart and relatively economical job that will last well.

    If on the other hand a wow factor is what you require, keep in mind you will spend more and you’ll need a fraction more time on its upkeep, but tiles are definitely your choice.


    Have you got a view on Tiles or Panels for the bathroom?