Advice

Carpeted Bathrooms

by Nick Gromicko and Kenton Shepard

Carpeted bathrooms are bathrooms that have carpeted floors instead of traditional floor surfaces, such as tile or vinyl. Despite their tendency to foster mold and bacteria, carpets are sometimes installed in residential bathrooms for aesthetic purposes. Carpets should never be installed in bathrooms in commercial buildings.

Advantages of Carpets in Bathrooms

Disadvantages of Carpets in Bathrooms

The pad beneath the carpet may soak up large amounts of moisture. Some of the common ways that carpets may come into contact with moisture in bathrooms include:

The presence of moisture in the pad will lead to the growth of decay fungi on the wood or oriented strand board (OSB) sub-floor. The sub-floor will be decayed and weakened by mold. Mold also releases spores that can cause respiratory ailments, especially for those with certain health problems. Inspectors can use moisture meters to determine if there is excess moisture beneath a carpet.

In addition to potential mold growth beneath the carpet, bacteria can accumulate in carpeting that surrounds the toilet. Bacteria are contained in urine, which can be accidentally deflected onto the carpet.

Carpeted Bathrooms in Commercial Buildings

It is against code to install carpet in commercial bathrooms. The 2007 edition of the International Building Code (IBC) states the following concerning carpeted bathrooms in commercial buildings: In other than dwelling units, toilet, bathing and shower room floor finish materials shall have a smooth, hard, nonabsorbent surface. The intersections of such floors with walls shall have a smooth, hard, nonabsorbent vertical base that extends upward onto the walls at least 4 inches (102 mm).

Recommendations for Clients

In summary, carpets installed in bathrooms can trap moisture and urine, substances that can cause structural damage and health problems.

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