brikar

Bathroom flooring choices for elderly

brikar
last year

We are preparing the bathroom for my parents, who will probably move in with us. They are 86. My mother has osteoporosis and Parkinsons. She has fallen a few times. Right now we have stud walls and want to make good choices for them. I am questioning if a tile floor is the right choice for them. Please advise...

Comments (28)

  • Mrs Pete
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I like the sheet vinyl in my kitchen better than the tile in my bathrooms. The tile is cold and -- as someone said above -- hard on joints. Also, if falls are a possibility, tile is a bit softer.

    My grandmother was VERY upset at giving up her small throw rugs. I made peace -- barely -- by buying her a pair of very good quality LL Bean "wicked" slippers, which she wore around the house constantly. They have a fuzzy interior and a nice rubber-ish sole. She was still angry about losing her throw rugs, but I told her these were "wearable throw rugs".

    I agree with grab bars everywhere. As my grandmother drew near 100, she placed chairs everywhere she didn't have grab bars. Didn't matter that it was inconvenient; she didn't feel comfortable without something upon which to hold.

    brikar thanked Mrs Pete
    Best Answer
  • handymac
    last year

    Tile that is not slippery when wet is ok. Rubber backed small rugs that can be located where needed are a really good idea.

    Grab bars are a HUGE help. And not just by the toilet/tub. Put them so they are always available to use.

    brikar thanked handymac
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  • brikar
    Original Author
    last year

    I will have to search and see what tile is least slippery. I will make sure to put up additional grab bars. I was focusing on the toilet/shower area. Thank you!

  • maifleur01
    last year

    I would suggest no rugs not even rubber backed because they all have edges that toes can catch on. This includes the ones that are angled on the edges.

    For a fall'er I would suggest either a soft surface tile or a sheet of vinyl. Ceramic and porcelain are hard to land on. Do not have one that is too soft as the mind could translate as an uneven surface.

    If it has not already been installed I would also suggest installing a motion detection light although it needs to be aimed where it will not shine directly on the head of the bed. If in the future one of them becomes ill the turning on of the light could interrupt their sleep.

    brikar thanked maifleur01
  • jlhug
    last year

    You can buy ADA compliant skid resistant tile. IMO, any area rug is a trip hazard for any person who may have mobility or balance issues. Grab bars are essential in the shower and toilet areas. It is possible to buy grab bars that are disguised as soap holders, towel racks, toilet paper holders, etc.

    brikar thanked jlhug
  • brikar
    Original Author
    last year

    I was planning on tile, but I keep thinking about falls. I started to question if I should go with sheet vinyl. Have never heard of soft tile. Don't even know how that is possible. I will have to Google it. Thanks also for the motion detector suggestion. I couldn't sleep last night because I was thinking of all of this! I really want to do this right!

  • maifleur01
    last year

    Soft tile is a vinyl that has a thick layer of padding on the back vs. just a thin coating. You may not find it under "soft tile"


    Having been there before my husband had to go to a nursing home please look at previous postings to ease your mind there is no way to do it right. Only to the best of your ability. There will be something that the person/people that you are caring for will have happen that no one could have foreseen. You also need to be aware that unless they pass away sometime in the future they will probably need 24/7 care something that most cannot provide at home and not stay healthy yourself. Too many try it and end up in worse condition than the ones they have been caring for. Now is the time to talk to your parents about their wishes but be aware their wishes may not be able to be fulfilled. Also with your partner/spouse so when/if the time comes they will be aware of the plan. If you do not have a POA for both you absolutely need one.

    brikar thanked maifleur01
  • Christine Smith
    last year
    Check out Mannington luxury vinyl sheet flooring. I️ know someone who just installed this as she too was concerned about falling on tile. They have some really pretty patterns that look like cement tile. https://www.mannington.com/Residential/LuxuryVinylSheet/Search?FilterCollections=0
    brikar thanked Christine Smith
  • brikar
    Original Author
    last year

    Thank you for explaining, I could find nothing under soft tile, but I did find ada slip resistant tile. So that helps. I appreciate the advice as well. Part of my angst is that contractors will start sheet rocking inon Monday, so I want to make sure I am ready for that. My husband is in early stages Parkinsons and he isn't getting that we need to prepare for him as well. He thinks we can do those things later when needed. I am making sure we prepare now, while we are remodeling. The experiences of others are invaluable. Appreciate these boards!

  • annied75
    last year
    I think sheet vinyl would be your best bet. It's softer and not cold on the feet. I have Mannington sheet vinyl in my cottage kitchen and bath, and love it!
    brikar thanked annied75
  • SJ McCarthy
    last year

    I've sold 6mm or 8mm cork glue down tiles to retirement homes and "age-in-place" situations. Cork tiles (100% cork) can be made water proof by adding a few layers of water based polyurethane to the floor once it has been installed.


    Loba 2K Supra AT polyurethane has some of the best anti-slip properties (wet or dry). If a fall does occur, thick cork tiles (6mm or 8mm) can prevent breaks. In several situations (retirement homes) I've heard that a fall on cork resulted in deep bruising, but nothing worse.


    A fall is still a fall. It still hurts, but it doesn't have to lead to a bone being broken. I would highly recommend looking at cork as an option. At the end of the day, the cost of material + installation will be identical to regular tiles.

    brikar thanked SJ McCarthy
  • brikar
    Original Author
    last year

    iI did not think cork was appropriate for a bathroom. So much to consider! I am so grateful for all the suggestions. Thanks everyone!

  • maifleur01
    last year

    I would not use cork simply because not only does the top need sealing the bottom must also be sealed to keep out moisture from underneath. No matter how well the sides are sealed some moisture can enter.

    brikar my advice for a POA for your parents is even more important that you receive and give one to your husband as he can be fine one day and terrible the next. With a husband with Parkinson's you and every spouse of both sexes need to be aware of the Spousal Impoverishment guidelines under Medicaid. You may never need them but just being aware that they are there can provide much needed information to ease the worry of how am I going to live if spouse becomes very ill.

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  • beaniebakes
    last year

    brikar...make sure the contractors put blocking behind the Sheetrock wherever you want grab bars.

    brikar thanked beaniebakes
  • swrite
    last year
    Tile is also incredibly hard & painful to walk on if you have any kind of joint tenderness or inflammation issues. I would recommend sheet vinyl. Much softer under foot & easy to clean. There are a lot of better looking & thicker options with today’s sheet vinyl than the old, thin, cheap looking stuff. I ripped out the previous owner’s tile & had sheet vinyl from this company installed. https://www.ivcfloors.com/flooring/sheet-vinyl-flooring/
    brikar thanked swrite
  • brikar
    Original Author
    last year

    I will make sure to put in blocking. I know nothing about the spousal impoverishment guidelines, but it sounds like something I should learn about. I will do that. And I have decided (with your help) to look at sheet vinyl. I have been agonizing over the tile, and I feel so much better taking that risk away of my mother falling on it. Oh.... The peace that I have just found in this decision! Thanks again!

  • H B
    last year

    We have sheet vinyl in a bathroom and I love the pattern on it, and it doesn’t feel cold to walk on. My sister has cork floor in kitchen and it can be very slippery. Marmoleum in bathroom, that is very nice also. Good luck.

    brikar thanked H B
  • bpath reads banned books too
    last year

    Small tiles, like 1" tiles, are less slippery than larger format tiles. They work very well in a shower, too.


    As you plan, remember to leave room for a person with their walker and an aide alongside, and somplace to put the walker (or wheelchair) when doing things, and able to move it easily. Walk through it, using or imagining a walker. Where do you put it when you reach the commode and need grasp the grab bar and turn around?

    brikar thanked bpath reads banned books too
  • brikar
    Original Author
    last year

    This is really good advice that I wouldn't have thought of. Thank you!

  • maifleur01
    last year

    Going along with the leaving room you may have to bathe the person you are caring for so design things so that they are also within easy reach of you. Small things like will you have to lean over someone to reach the soap. Is there room for bath or shower seat which you will need. Make certain there is at least one longer handheld shower wand that can reach so you can rinse the back.

    Probably much to late in the design but I like some of the hotels I have stayed in with my husband where there is no lip to the shower. I believe a metal pan is fabricated for under the floor. Allows for rolling or walking into it with no fear of having to lift feet. Of course depending on the medical conditions a bathtub may be needed rather than a shower for soaking various body parts.

    brikar thanked maifleur01
  • PRO
    Filipe Custom Woodwork
    last year

    Also radiant heat will help.

    brikar thanked Filipe Custom Woodwork
  • brikar
    Original Author
    last year

    We are putting in radiant heat. My big regret for this project is installing a fiberglass walk-in shower. Wish I could have a do over on that! I decided to just put up a shower curtain, in case there is help needed in the shower. I don't know if that is sufficient. There is a small lip at the bottom. The master shower is no threshold shower, so that is available if needed. Otherwise, I think the space is well laid out. I had a lot of help with that on this site.

  • PRO
    Designer Drains
    last year

    No rugs and walk in/curbless shower would be the best way to go.

    brikar thanked Designer Drains
  • maifleur01
    last year

    Another suggestion for when the time comes. If anyone falls but is uninjured have your local fire station or fire department non-emergency telephone number so you can call for what is called "Lift Assist". Fire department will send someone to help get them on their feet without sending police and full fire equipment with sirens blasting. They will always ask if the person hit their head. If you think they need to go and they are refusing simply state they may have hit their head. They will take the person to the emergency room immediately. However if they are bleeding or appear to have broken something call the 911 number.

    Some areas have a fee service where for a monthly or yearly charge if a person needs to go to the hospital the charges are covered. Most insurance may cover one trip if medically necessary but no more than that. Last time my husband needed transport I called a medical transport company rather than the ambulance. $150 vs. $780 and that was three years ago.

    brikar thanked maifleur01
  • brikar
    Original Author
    last year

    Thank for this. Valuable information!

  • swrite
    last year
    brikar, also forgot to tell you the better sheet vinyl is at the flooring stores, not the hardware or big box stores. And often hidden in the back, so sometimes you have to ask to see it. Was a few years ago when I bought mine & none of the big box stores or salvage outlets had any of the good stuff. Was all the old, crappy looking thin stuff. Only found the better looking vinyl at local flooring stores.
    brikar thanked swrite
  • brikar
    Original Author
    last year

    I wasn't going to buy from a big box store. I suspect the store I was going to look at carries both...good quality and garbage. Hopefully, the difference will be obvious. Thanks for the heads up!

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