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Why You Shouldn’t Put Carpet in the Bathroom

By Jakemontgomery @LTDOnlineStores

Under most circumstances, carpet should not be used in the bathroom and there are several reasons for that. Carpet tiles and any other variations are included on the list of flooring materials that are not advised to be used in the bathroom but there are some solutions.

Although most remodelers would recommend that you do not put carpet in the bathroom, there are some ways that you can make it work if you just have to have it. I’ll include insight on why you shouldn’t put carpet in the bathroom, tips if you do choose to go that route, and provide some popular alternatives.

Red Carpet in the Bathroom

Anybody up for the Red Carpet Treatment? (CC)

“‘Carpet in the 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.”

-Home Renovations Expert Lee Wallender

Why You Shouldn’t Use Carpet in the Bathroom?

There are many reasons why you shouldn’t use carpet in the bathroom, water being the biggest deterrent. If it’s any sign of best practices, International Building Code prohibits the use of carpet in commercial bathrooms and requires builders to install nonabsorbent flooring. This does not apply to residential properties so you can use them in your own home bathroom if you desire.

The reason why you shouldn’t use carpet in the bathroom is that it creates a breeding ground for mold and mildew growth. Carpet will absorb all of the water that comes streaming down your leg after a long shower. This will sit in your carpet and eventually lead to mold growth.

Bathroom Mat

You can lay a bathroom mat directly in front of the shower so you can step on it when you get out of the tub. This way you can wash and replace your mat when needed. (CC)

Experts Weigh in on Carpeted Bathrooms

There is a long list of experts and companies that strongly advise against using carpet in the bathroom. The National Center for Healthy Housing advises that homeowners keep carpet out of the bathroom and other wet areas to maximize healthy air quality. The CDC also recommends avoiding wall-to-wall carpet in the bathroom as a means of preventing mold growth inside the home.

Cheryl Simmons, Rugs and Carpet Expert at About.com, had this to say when posed the question on twitter. What do you think about carpet in the bathroom?

@TradeWindsImp I prefer washable mats, but if you do wall-to-wall, it must be synthetic! And stock up on this: http://t.co/yrzrLNmm8G :)

— Cheryl Simmons (@CarpetCheryl) November 3, 2014

Tom Sullivan, Founder of Lumber Liquidators was pretty clear when we asked him what he thought about carpeted bathrooms.

“Carpet is filthy and a bad investment for any room of the house and to put it in a bathroom would be crazy unless you need to grow mold and diseases for some reason.”

-Tom Sullivan. Chairman/Founder Lumber Liquidators

Bathroom Expert Lisa Khan even brought up carpet as a being problematic in her article about mold in the bathroom.. You can read her post to learn what you can do to get rid of mold. Always remember that prevention is the key.

“Don’t even think of installing carpet in the bathroom, and thoroughly clean and dry or replace any water-damaged rugs.”

-Lisa Kahn Bathrooms Expert

Lisa provides a really thorough guide to handling mold problems in your bathroom. I’d recommend checking it out if you’re having problems with mold in your house.

How to Use Carpet in the Bathroom

Sometimes people install carpet in front of the vanity and away from the shower area which see’s the most moisture. If you absolutely must use carpet in the bathroom, make sure that you go with synthetic materials (like olefin) that are water, mildew, and stain-resistant. These types of carpet have a marine backing that prevents water from seeping through to the padding. Here are some further recommendations for installing carpet in the bathroom.

5 Tips for Using Carpet in the Bathroom

  1. Use outdoor grade adhesive that is water resistant.
  2. The lower the pile (thickness), the fewer problems you will have.
  3. Make sure your exhaust fan is big enough to keep moisture and humidity down.
  4. Use bathroom mats to minimize the contact you have with your carpet when you get out of the shower. The Moss Carpet is pretty creative. It acts as a bath mat and uses the extra water to feed over 70 types of moss.
  5. Flor makes carpet tiles that are easy to install and easy to remove if you end up having to take them out. Alternatives to Using Carpet in the Bathroom

So now that we know that you shouldn’t put carpet in the bathroom, what are your options? We contacted our friends from the NKBA to find out what types of trends they were seeing. Check out the NKBA Annual study to find what’s trending in the bathroom.

@TradeWindsImp Our members tell us: #1 porcelain/ceramic tile, #2 stone tile, #3 vinyl/linoleum, #4 wood and #5 cork. — The NKBA (@thenkba) November 5, 2014

There are many different types of flooring that are suitable for the bathroom and carpet typically is not one of them. Depending on your budget and your design needs, there are many different options you can choose. You can even think about installing heated floors to keep your toes warm while you’re at it. At the end of the day, you want a flawless design to match your functional needs so for most homeowners, you do not want to use carpet in the bathroom.

Additional Resources:

  1. Dealing with Bathroom Vanity Water Damage
  2. How to Get Rid of Shower Mold
  3. Does a Bathroom Extractor Fan Have to Run to the Outside of Your House

About the Author
Cheryl Khan is a designer and writer at Tradewinds Imports.com, an online specialty site dedicated to retailing fine bathroom furnishings. She has extensive knowledge about all the finer details that go into planning the perfect bath renovation project and is an expert on all things bathroom! Send her your bathroom Q’s on twitter @SuperInteriors!

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