Surfaces

Acrylic block windows and shower walls in a bathroom

Introducing Glass’s Second Cousin, Acrylic

Acrylic block combines the beauty of glass block with a tough scratch-resistant acrylic plastic, making it considerably lighter than glass block. It is available in prefabricated window and door panels that are fully glazed. These acrylic block assemblies are held together by resilient polymer clips and encased in aluminum or vinyl frames. The window and door panels are easy to install with standard tools, and because acrylic block is installed without mortar, there’s no mess and fewer headaches. The blocks are available in three finishes: clear, patterned, and frosted. They come in standard 6-inch and 8-inch square sizes and 2- and 3-inch thicknesses. The block can be used for custom windows, door inserts, wall partitions, and curved shower enclosures.

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Feet Standing On An Electrical Radiant Floor Warming System

Raves for radiant flooring

Tile is a great floor for any bathroom, but one of its drawbacks is obvious when your bare feet hit cold tile. The best solution to this chilling experience is installing an electrical radiant floor warming system before you install new floor tile. In fact, several manufacturers make low-wattage electric resistance mats that can be installed under just about any flooring material.

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Big bathroom

Floored by the choices

Did you know that a floor accounts for about one-third of the space you see in a room? So no matter what size bathroom you're planning, the flooring material you choose packs a wallop of an impression. Do you want the floor to be the focal point of the room or provide a neutral backdrop for the fixtures and furnishings? If you have a plain-Jane bathroom that can use some visual interest, an oh-my-gosh tile floor may be a tremendous improvement. But if the new wallpaper and cabinets you plan shout, “Look at me!” perhaps a more neutral or subdued flooring is the best choice.

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Bathroom cork floor

Floor Surfaces- Cork

Americans have been putting cork on their floors since the turn of the century- the twentieth century that is. Cork is a very versatile product made from the bark of the cork oak tree. Cork flooring, which you can find in parquets, tiles, or sheets, is warm, comfortable, and easy to maintain. The cork doesn’t look like your bulletin board; it’s available in colors and patterns and assures a soft-on-your-feet surface.

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A bathroom with laminate floors

Floor Surfaces- Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a popular choice for any room in the house. This product was developed in Europe and introduced to the United States market by Pergo. Manufacturers like Wilsonart, Mannington, Formica, Bruce, and others now offer laminate flooring systems. This hard-working surface continues to be a popular choice because it can withstand heavy traffic and is easy to clean.

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A floor with two different types of flooring

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is durable, water resistant, and easy to clean. Available in sheets and 12-inch square tiles, vinyl flooring is a composite material made up of a sandwich consisting of the top wear layer, a mid layer, and a backing layer. Printed floors are made by taking a picture of a pattern and placing it on a foam layer that is then placed on the backing material. On inlaid floors, small vinyl granules are placed directly on the backing. On both types of floors, the wear layer is placed on top of these layers, and all the layers are fused together with heat and pressure.

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Bathroom floor with sink in the background

Floor Surfaces- Underlayment

Beneath any great flooring materials is a great underlayment or subfloor. The purpose of the underlayment is to create a flat, sound surface for installing the flooring material. And you’ve never had more choices for flooring material for a bathroom. From simple vinyl floor tiles to designer ceramic tiles, the floor in a bathroom is a backdrop just waiting to happen.

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bathroom with lighted ceiling and fancy bathtub

Giving your ceiling the top treatment

Years ago, some decorating magazine must have featured a picture of a bathroom with wallpaper on the ceiling. It was a bad idea then, and it still is today, but many people thought it a clever idea. Unfortunately, the moist conditions in even the best-ventilated bathroom will force the corners of paper to peel off. Avoid the temptation and save the wallcovering for the walls.

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bathroom with synthetic solid counter top

Considering the Solid Characteristics of Solid Surfaces

Today’s solid surfaces are durable, long-lasting, and low-maintenance materials used for countertops, backsplashes behind sinks, shower and bathtub enclosures, and flooring. Many of these materials are available, and you’ll find them in displays at home design centers and at bathroom design firms, where you’ll find qualified fabricators to install them.

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bathroom with ceramic tile

Tooling Around with Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is made of clay. The raw materials- clays, talc, and other minerals -are quarried and refined. The tile manufacturer must be careful to get the proper mixture of these materials. The ratio of the mix of these ingredients determines the characteristics of the tile. After the formation of the tile body, ceramic tiles go through a firing process in a kiln under very high heat (2,000 degrees F) to harden the tile body (and undergo a second firing to create a surface glaze). Today some tile manufacturers use a single fire process that forms the body and glaze together.

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