Sunday, February 6, 2011

To carpet, or not to carpet (the bathroom), that is the question!

Carpet in bathrooms.  Three words that surely send a chill down the spines of Realtors everywhere.  As a Realtor, I know it's as much an asset to a house as being built on an ancient Indian burial ground.
When it comes to bathroom flooring, the possibilities really are endless.  So many choices:  tile, vinyl, engineered wood, hard wood, laminate, linoleum.  And the list goes on.  But wait, what about carpet, you ask.  While a lot of buyers give two thumbs down to the notion of stepping out of the shower onto someone else's hand-me-down wall-to-wall bath mat, it is still everywhere.  Especially, for some reason, in master bathrooms.  Coupled with brass fixtures and shell-shaped toilet seat lids, almost nothing screams "OUT" more. 

Made popular in the late 70's and 80's, wall-to-wall carpet covered virtually every floor surface in our homes.  Gleaming hardwoods were hidden and immaculate ceramic tile was banished.   But those days are over and hardwood flooring is seemingly back to stay.  Folks love the rich warmth of oak, the elegance of cherry and the rustic appeal of hickory.  I am personally a maple girl.  I just love it.

However, as a cost effective alternative for builders and homeowners alike, carpet is still very mainstream.  At as little as $1.00 / sq ft, it remains quite popular.  The trick, however, is selecting the right product for your home and lifestyle.  Especially for the bathroom!  

If you simply must carpet a bathroom or powder room, here are a few pointers to keep in mind:

1.  Plush, natural fibers (read: wool) retain the most moisture.  Therefore, something synthetic is far better option.  Hint:  nylon yard has just become your best friend!
2.  As with any room in the house, proper padding (stay tuned - more to come about padding) and cleaning treatments are crucial.  Regular vacuuming and occasional steam cleaning are recommended. 
3.  Be sure to select carpet that is water, mildew and stain resistant. 
4.  Carpet backing should protect padding from any spills and moisture.
5.  Lay a (washable, please) bathmat on top of the carpet.  Step on it when exiting shower/tub to reduce water contact with carpet.
6.  If budget allows, it is highly recommended that you install bathroom carpet on a concrete sub floor.  If you are unable, products such as Wonderboard will suffice. 
7.  Consider modular flooring tiles rather than actual wall-to-wall.  Tiles are, so they say, easily laid and removed.  I like the sound of that!  Visit for details.
8.  Investigate using indoor/outdoor carpet.  It's rubber backing deflects moisture and eliminates the potential for mold and mildew.

If you are reading this and you are a fan of carpeted bathrooms, I hope you learned a thing or two.  May your carpet provide many years of warmth and comfort!