Is polished finish too slippery to be used as flooring in a washroom or bathroom?

Yes, generally speaking I would advise a more anti-slip finish for floor areas that are subject to spillages close to a wet room. A honed / matt finish seems more suitable as it offers enhanced slip resistance while maintaining the same look. The only difference between polished and honed (in most cases) is that the light would simply reflect differently. However, some darker materials tend to go lighter when honed. In this case, we can apply a colour enhancer to bring some of the colour back.

Within a wet room or the shower enclosure, you can even take it to a textured finish to make it even more anti-slip. Sandblasted finish seems to be a popular option. It provides a surface with a smooth granular relief and Tthe final result is a finely dotted base with a rough surface that nevertheless maintains uniformity in texture.

With most materials, a rougher finish results in a lighter surface. Again, a colour enhancer will bring some of the colour back, but it is unlikely to take it to its original colour. Also, be mindful that a textured finish is more difficult to clean.

Whilst a honed finish normally offers the equivalent of R9 a sandblasted finish might reach R10 or even R11. The R scale (created for porcelain and ceramic tiles) runs from R9 to R13, where R9 is slippery when wet, and R13 the least slippery. Floor surfaces that are classified by the DIN 51130 standard as R9 (or in some instances R10) will be slippery when used in wet or greasy conditions. Whilst this is all very well and good, it is important to remember that things are not quite as “clear cut” with natural stones. First of all, each and every stone or marble reacts differently to the finishing process and consequently performs differently. Also, it is important to remember that natural materials are not “made for purpose” (we use them for flooring and the likes, but this is not their intended use) and generally speaking natural stones are rarely tested for anti-slip resistance (tests might or might not be run and offered by the quarry). So, common sense is key here : the more slippery the area can potentially be, the rougher the finish. Also, always bear in mind who the users are : if there are kids and elderlies around, one more reason to use an anti-slip finish.

Alternatively, if you are not prepared to compromise on a polished finish, there are some anti-slip treatments that can be applied once the floor has been laid. Slipstop is one of them. These treatments are not floor coatings and will consequently not peel off. Through a chemical reaction, this treatment creates a micro structure to the surface, leaving the floors slip-resistant even when exposed to water, grease, oil, etc. These treatments require specific care and maintenance regimes and might need to be re-applied on a regular basis.

I hope this blog gives you enough to go by for now and I invite you to get in touch for further assistance or if you have any questions.

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With over 15 years of experience within the industry, Paolo is an expert consultant of stone, tiles and wood flooring. Driven by the passion of what is aesthetically pleasant and practical at the same time, Paolo has a strong voice within the marketplace and he is not afraid to use it.