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What Is the Best Wet Room Flooring for Disabled Users?

Vinyl flooring is widely considered the best wet room flooring for disabled users because of the wide range of anti-slip vinyl flooring, varying in price and style. Depending on the manufacturer, anti-slip vinyl flooring may be called non-slip vinyl, slip-resistant flooring, or safety flooring. 

Preventing slips and falls is often one of the key reasons for installing a mobility wet room. The importance of selecting the safest wet room flooring for disabled users is critical when designing a wet room. Non-slip flooring is designed to have an exterior surface that helps to reduce the potential of slipping or falling. The effectiveness of this will vary depending on the material used and how it is maintained. 

Anti-slip Vinyl vs Anti Slip Tiles

The two main choices for wet room flooring for disabled people to help prevent slips and falls are anti-slip vinyl and anti-slip tiles. So what do you need to know to make the right choice that meets your own unique needs and preferences — and make the most of the benefits of a mobility wet room?

Anti-slip Vinyl Flooring 

Anti-slip vinyl wet room flooring is the most popular choice for mobility bathrooms. There are different types of non-slip vinyl flooring available with different qualities and finishes:

  • Sheet vinyl flooring. Also referred to as cushioned vinyl flooring, sheet vinyl flooring is measured to fit the exact dimensions of the floor in one piece, so it is seamless and completely waterproof. Sheet vinyl flooring can imitate wood, stone, ceramic tiles, marble, and concrete or can be printed with a design — the choices are endless. 
  • Plank vinyl flooring. Also referred to as wood effect vinyl flooring, plank vinyl flooring mimics wooden flooring. It can come with a rigid core layer that makes it look and feel more like wood. Plank vinyl flooring is normally classed as water-resistant rather than waterproof, as the seams make it more vulnerable to water penetration. 
  • Luxury vinyl tiles (LVT). Square or rectangular vinyl tiles are made to mimic the look of tiled flooring. As with plank vinyl flooring, the gaps between individual tiles make this type of flooring water-resistant rather than waterproof.

Anti-slip vinyl flooring benefits:

  • Affordable
  • Fully waterproof
  • Soft surface
  • Can be cushioned
  • Good insulator of heta
  • Stain resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable
  • Low maintenance
  • Extensive choice of finishes and designs
  • Can be fitted over tiled floors
  • Can be used with underfloor heating systems.

Anti-slip vinyl flooring disadvantages:

  • Can not be easily repaired
  • Can be difficult to remove
  • Potential for dents, punctures, or tears
  • May become discoloured due to sunlight

Textured vs Smooth Non-slip Vinyl Flooring

Non-slip vinyl flooring can be smooth or textured. Often, it is assumed that to be non-slip, the surface must have a textured finish, but if you prefer the look of a smooth surface, don’t fret — you don’t have to choose between style and practicality! All types of surfaces and finishes are available for every type of non-slip vinyl flooring for disabled wet rooms.

Anti-slip Tiles

If you prefer the look of a tiled floor over vinyl flooring, you will be happy to find out there are anti-slip tiles, also called non-slip or slip-resistant tiles. The tile surface has to be textured to make them anti-slip — but not all anti-slip tiles will have the same degree of slip resistance. This is why anti-slip tiles are given a slip resistance rating, called the R rating.

A number between 9 and 13 determines the R rating; the higher the number, the higher the anti-slip surface of the tile. For safety, tiles should have a minimum rating of 11 if they are to be used for wet room flooring for disabled or elderly people

Anti-slip tiles can be made from different materials, which have various properties:

  • Ceramic tiles. Hardwearing and generally less expensive than other types of tiles, ceramic tiles offer a wide choice of styles and effects. The Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) gives the surface of glazed ceramic tiles a PEI rating according to their durability. The rating goes from one to five, with five being the most durable. A rating of three or four is suitable for bathrooms. However, as wet room flooring for disabled users will typically be exposed to more water, a PEI rating of four is strongly advisable.
  • Porcelain tiles. Less porous and more durable, porcelain tiles are less prone to chipping or cracking than ceramic tiles. The key benefit is all porcelain tiles must have a PEI rating of five, making them a good choice for wet room flooring. Additionally, if you want underfloor heating, porcelain tiles are more efficient for energy use and heat up faster. As with ceramic tiles, they can imitate other surfaces such as stone and marble, as well as offering numerous finishes and designs.
  • Stone tiles. Certain types of stone tiles, such as limestone, will naturally have a textured or rougher surface, creating an anti-slip surface. However, natural stone tiles will not have a rating to indicate to what degree they are anti-slip. You must be careful when buying stone tiles, especially ones with rough surfaces. Most natural stone tiles are porous and will need a sealant if they are used in a wet room. The sealant protects them and prevents excessive moisture from being retained in the tiles. Without sealant, something called efflorescence, which causes a white powder to appear on the surface of the tiles, may occur and the tiles may also become discoloured.
  • Marble tiles. Tiles made from marble can have a smooth, highly polished surface, or they can be tumbled with a rough and textured finish. As with natural stone tiles with a rough surface, tumbled marble tiles are classed as anti-slip but must be sealed for wet room flooring. 
  • Sealant for stone and marble tiles. Certain sealants could reduce the anti-slip of stone and marble tiles, so always check the sealant is non-slip. 

Benefits of anti-slip tiles:

  • Durability. Anti-slip tiles are extremely durable. With the correct maintenance, ceramic and porcelain tiles can last for 50 years or longer, while stone or marble tiles can last for 100 years or more as long as they are sealed. 
  • Repairable. Anti-slip tiles can be repaired or replaced individually. This means a tiled floor will always look good, unlike vinyl, which is difficult to repair if torn or punctured.
  • Popular. Anti-slip tiles are extremely popular due to their longevity and the way they look. Installing anti-slip tiles in a wet room for disabled wheelchair users and people with limited mobility may even add value to your property.

Disadvantages of anti-slip tiles:

  • Maintenance. All tiled floors will require maintenance of the grouting as it is porous, meaning it will absorb moisture. When tiles are used for wet room flooring, the grouting should be resealed every one to two years to prevent the growth of mould and bacteria. Stone and marble tiles will also need resealing every two to five years on average.
  • Risk of Injury. Anti-slip tiles are extremely hard and increase the risk of a serious injury if a fall does occur. Unlike anti-slip vinyl flooring, anti-slip tiles can have a “cushioned” underlayer that can help absorb the impact of a fall. This is a huge benefit of anti-slip vinyl flooring in wet rooms for disabled people. 
  • Cost. Anti-slip tiles tend to cost more than anti-slip vinyl flooring and will also cost more to install. 
  • Time. Laying anti-slip tiles takes longer than laying vinyl flooring, increasing the time it takes to install a wet room for disabled and elderly people. 

Take Away

There are several advantages of anti-slip sheet vinyl flooring over anti-slip tiles. In addition to providing reliable anti-slip surfaces, anti-slip vinyl flooring can imitate almost any other material and doesn’t require ongoing maintenance. It’s also incredibly easy to keep clean, making it a great option for wet room flooring for disabled people and people with limited mobility.

Anti-slip vinyl flooring is also made from conductive materials, making it perfect to partner with underfloor heating systems as it heats up quickly and will use less energy. 


Age Care Bathrooms is one of the UK’s leading installers for mobility wet rooms. We have been designing and fitting mobility bathrooms for over 30 years. 

Give our UK team a call or request a free home survey if you would like to discuss the best wet room flooring options for your disabled wet room or mobility bathroom.


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