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Carpet in Bathroom: How to Make it Work, if You Must


Carpet in bathroom. Three words that fill Realtors' hearts with terror. They know that wall-to-wall carpet in the bathroom is about as good for a house's selling potential as being built over an Indian burial ground. Yet you keep seeing this all the time. What gives?

Moisture is the enemy of carpet. Not only that, but the mere feel of wet feet on carpet gives me the creeps. Still, I love a challenge, and it's now time to address the readers who, over time, have asked if it is possible to install carpet in a bathroom, and how to do it.

Here is what professional carpet installers recommend, in order to make wall-to-wall carpet work in a bathroom:
  • Olefin. Look for 100% olefin material.
  • Adhesive. Make sure you use indoor/outdoor carpet adhesive. A good, solvent-free, commercial-grade adhesive may advertise that it is resistant to water. (Buy Direct - Commercial Grade Indoor/Outdoor Carpet Adhesive)
  • Pile. Lower pile (thickness) means less problems, because less moisture can be absorbed.
  • Minimize Moisture. Avoid excessive water. Just as you would mop up puddles of water from impervious surfaces, do the same with your bathroom carpet. A wet-vac is your best friend for getting up moisture from carpet quickly.
  • Mats. Lay down a bathmat on top of the carpet. While it may seem odd to put carpet over carpet, this first layer will catch most of the water from people exiting the shower or bathtub.
  • Styles. "Grass carpet" style is just as it sounds, and would not be aesthetically appropriate for the bathroom. Instead, look for loop or needle-punch styles. While not exactly the lap of luxury (resembling a Marriott conference room, more than anything), these styles more closely replicate real carpeting.
  • Subfloor. Install on a concrete subfloor. If that is not possible, lay down concrete backer board such as Wonderboard over your existing subfloor, and then install your bathroom carpet.
  • Flooring Tiles -- Flor. Install modular flooring tiles, such as offered by Flor. Flor tiles are self-adhesive, easy to lay down, painless to rip up. The only caveat is that Flor is not forthcoming about its materials, saying only that it is "green" and "recycled." So, it's a safe bet that it is not 100% olefin.

    The benefit of using something like Flor, then, would be that you are minimizing the pain and effort involved with eventually ripping the stuff up again after a couple of years. Anybody with knowledge about installing Flor in wet applications, please feel free to contact me (homerenovations@aboutguide.com) and share your experiences.

    (Buy Direct - Flor Modular Flooring Tiles)
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