2. Slippery floors
Shine is fine for faucets, but it’s bad for bathroom floors. Glossy tile and polished stone make for slippery, unsafe floors. These materials cause lots of falls, and they’re maintenance headaches, too, revealing every scratch and wearing unevenly.
Imperfections and bumps are good qualities in bathroom floors. The floor should be made of tumbled stone or tile that provides ample traction. Variation in color, texture, and size also helps to prevent falls, and it looks great, too. Use floor tiles smaller than 12x12 to increase the number of grout joints for improved traction. Shower floors need even smaller tile with lots of grout joints, both to offer traction and to conform to the floor slope. Porous tumbled stone (travertine, limestone, etc.) is an ideal bathroom-floor material, both for its traction and its low maintenance. I love designing small-stone and unglazed-tile mosaics for shower floors. Daltile (www.daltile.com) has a reasonably priced water-jet service that allows fine details and curves to be cut in even the smallest tiles, permitting the creation of almost any image or geometry in a tile field at far less expense than hand-laid stone mosaics.
Tread cautiously when considering a wood floor. Teak, ipé, and other tropical woods might make attractive bathroom floors, but building a safe, durable wood floor for a bathroom costs a lot more than laying basic tile over backerboard and thick plywood. I still doubt wood’s long-term durability, even with a good installation. As for carpet, just forget it. Water and carpet pad are a nasty brew, and don’t get me started about carpet around toilets. Ick! The year 1975 was very bad for bathrooms.