Bathroom Coverings: Ideas and Advice

What Are Bathroom Coatings?

The word coatings are not widely used in common jargon in contexts of nature, so to speak, building. It is, therefore, good to specify what is really meant for bathroom coatings. Simple: a couple of floor tiles plus tiles for the walls. The bathrooms, in fact, as well as the kitchens, need to be covered not only for the soil but also for the walls in order to protect them from water, which, inevitably, is dispersed during normal use of the premises.

For this and for other reasons, bathroom coverings must have at least two particular characteristics. Here are what.

  • Low water absorption rate. Although careful use can be made of the sanitary ware, sink, shower, and tub, it is inevitable that the water will fall to the floor or onto the walls. Therefore, there is a great risk of ruining the surfaces. For this reason, tiles, both for floors and walls, must “resist” water. In short, they must absorb little and possibly not absorb at all.
  • Resistance to certain chemical agents. The bathroom is probably the room in the house that gets dirty more frequently, and therefore more frequently should be cleaned. The use of cleaning solutions, such as surface cleaners, will ruin surfaces for a long time. For this reason, it is necessary that the coatings for the bathroom have a high resistance to certain agents, such as – precisely – contained in household products.

Coatings: possible solutions and materials

Choosing bathroom coatings is never easy. The crux of the problem is not exclusively aesthetic but also functional. Before deciding on the design, it is good to get an idea of ​​the various materials available and their properties. These are the most used.

  • Natural stone. In a theoretical line, it is the perfect material for bathroom coverings, especially for flooring. It has a porosity compared to water practically zero and is incredibly resistant to chemicals. Unfortunately, it has a particular “natural” aspect, which may not meet the tastes of those looking for a modern or minimal design.
  • Ceramic. It is the most widespread material, mainly for two reasons: good aesthetic performance and excellent value for money. The effectiveness, however, is average: the percentages of water absorption are low but not very low; chemical resistance is satisfactory but not exceptional.
  • Gres. Represents an evolution of ceramics. The ceramic mixture, in fact, is cooked at rather high temperatures. It has extremely low porosity, almost like that of natural stone. It is very durable, and the price, although higher than ceramic, is fairly affordable.

As for typology, there are many. The main criterion is cooking.

  • Single firing. Unique cooking, enameled surface, porosity, and medium strength. Very low cost.
  • Double firing. The first firing is applied to the support, the second to the enamel. Great resistance to chemical agents is reported.
  • Porcelain stoneware and red stoneware. Very high cooking, excellent resistance, and very low porosity. In the second case, the support is compact, of a natural reddish color.
  • Third and fourth fire. This typology is very expensive and has an essentially aesthetic value (despite being very functional). There are several cooking processes, each of which allows a separate decoration of the layer involved in the thermal process. The temperatures are progressive.
  • We also report the majolica, which is an all-Italian method. It combines a very particular aesthetic, able to reproduce suggestive motifs (mainly geometric), often like a mosaic. The percentage of water absorption is 10-20%. They are used almost exclusively to coat the walls.

Bathroom finishes: trendy styles

The bathroom has been playing a central role in the living experience for some decades. It is not only a place of hygiene but also a space dedicated to relaxation. For this reason, the aesthetic requirements of bathroom wall tiles have increased.

These have found a physiological development in a growing and increasingly suggestive offer of styles and trends. The more recent ones point on one side to highlight an idea of ​​essential modernity, almost minimal, which favors the white color; on the other, to pursue an idea of naturalness, always revisited in a modern (and functional) key.

Below is a brief selection of the most interesting styles of recent times.

  • Decoration pattern. Thanks to the latest techniques, coatings can be loaded with a certain aesthetic, if not even artistic value, without compromising functionality (especially with regard to the resistance of chemical agents). The result is represented by tiles able to produce a “wallpaper” effect, with the most disparate motifs and representations — a sign of strong discontinuity with respect to the sober style that has always characterized the bathroom.
  • Natural effect. This style is obtainable through the use of natural stone tiles. The current trend favors slate, with an intrinsic, spontaneous aesthetic value, the result of minimal treatment.
  • Eco natural. This style is a reinterpretation of the sober/classic style. There is an accentuation of light shades, with sporadic light blue appeals. It adapts to any type of material: ceramic, gres, etc.
  • Wood effect. It is a very particular style as it tries to reproduce the wood effect on materials that have very little to do with wood. The most suitable material for this style is the double-fired ceramic, given the resistance to enamel necessary for such an invasive aesthetic reworking. It is a demanding style also from the point of view of the design: it becomes easily tacky, if not combined with furniture with similar or compatible features.

Bathroom coatings: what are the prices?

Prices vary, but up to a certain point. Obviously, they are susceptible to the material. Here is a quick overview.

  • Single firing: from 4.90 € to 45.00 € per square meter
  • Double firing: from 4.90 € to 32.90 € per square meter
  • Majolica: from 7.90 € to 60.00 € per square meter
  • Porcelain tiles: from 8.90 € to 79.00 € per square meter
  • Red stoneware: from 16,00 € to 32,00 € per square meter
  • Third and fourth fire: from 8.00 € to 79.00 € per square meter
  • Natural stone: from 16.00 € to 80.00 € per square meter
  • Labor for laying: from 25.00 € to 35.00 € per square meter

Bathroom coverings: how to save money

The best way to save is to compare the quotes. This is always valid advice when you intend to carry out an intervention on your own home, and bathroom coverings are no exception. The professionals, or rather the companies appointed to lay the tiles, are required to offer specific information about the prices. If the contacted person refuses to deliver the quote or is very vague about the expense items, it is good to turn to someone else.

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