Following the first Block bathroom reveals a lot of you asked me if it was really practical to use timber in the bathroom or did it just look good? I asked Reece Bathrooms’ Belinda Geels for her expert advice.
Timber has been a big feature of many of The Block teams’ bathroom spaces this season. From the bespoke timber vanity tops in Brad and Dale’s bathrooms and feature paneling in Alisa and Lysandra’s main bathroom, to Steve and Chantelle’s parquetry ceiling feature and the stunning full timber wall in Kyal and Kara’s perfect score main bathroom, it’s been a winning element of many of the standout bathrooms from both the fans and favourites.
We often get questions from customers about how to properly use this beautiful material in bathroom spaces, particularly when it comes to reducing the risks of swelling or warping of timber in damp spaces or close to wet areas. To help out those of you looking to recreate some of The Block’s best looks at home, we’ve compiled top tips from our experts and industry partners on using timber in everything from vanities to flooring and feature walls in your bathroom.
Timber choice is key
Whether you’re looking to use wood for your vanity, flooring, walls or furniture, your timber selection is crucial. As well considering the look and feel of your timber, it’s important to think about the tightness of the wood grain. According to Stephen Royce from Australian bathroom product manufacturer Formed, solid timbers with a tight grain are best for bathroom spaces as they’re less likely to be affected by moisture. Think mahogany, teak, cedar or even bamboo (preferably local plantation grown) for best results.
Seal for success
One of the most common questions asked about timber in the bathroom is around the risk of expansion or warping. According to Stephen, regardless of the timber you choose for your bathroom space or how you plan to use it, you must ensure that it is properly sealed and waterproofed.
“It all comes down to using the correct seal. Sealing prevents moisture getting into the timber, and can reduce any issues with warping, staining or significant expansion or contraction,” he says.
Sealing is the most important factor in the process, as it helps make the timber more resistant to water and moisture. There are various water, oil and wax-based sealants available on the market, which are suitable for different timbers and applications. Be sure to speak to an expert to help select the best sealant for your timber and to ensure it is properly applied. To be doubly sure that your timber doesn’t stain or warp, make sure you wipe up any water that may pool on its surface as quickly as possible.
Timber looks beautiful in the bathroom, however, as it’s a natural material, it pays to ensure you’ve got the right ventilation in place. A well-ventilated bathroom space will reduce the moisture in the air as quickly as possible, helping ensure the timber will respond well over time as the product ages.
If using natural timber is not for you, there are now plenty of great ‘timber look’ options available, particularly for flooring.
Kate Fuller from our tiling partner Perini Tiles says porcelain timber tiles are becoming increasingly popular. As well as looking and feeling like real timber, they’re perfect for wet areas like bathrooms as they’re water resistant, low maintenance and durable. They won’t warp or scratch and don’t require the sealing or oiling real timbers need in damp spaces.
“Timber tiles have become so popular there is now an abundant of colours and textures available — from oak, blackwood, spotted gum to recycled, raw and coloured options. Advancements in tile technology and digital ink printing ensure tiles perfectly simulate the look and feel of the real thing with no two tiles looking alike,” Kate says.
Reece Bathrooms provide the bathroom products and accessories you see on The Block each week. Check out www.reece.com.au for more bathroom inspiration and how to incorporate the timber look into your bathroom.