Choosing the right bathroom flooring is a crucial part of any home improvement project. The bathroom floor not only needs to look good, but it also has to withstand humidity, water spills, and frequent cleaning. With so many bathroom flooring options available, it can be challenging to decide which one is the best for your needs. This guide will provide you with detailed information about various types of flooring suitable for bathroom use, helping you make an informed decision.
When selecting the best bathroom flooring, there are several factors to consider. These include durability, water resistance, installation method, maintenance, comfort, safety, and aesthetic appeal. Choosing the right flooring also can speed up your bathroom renovation.
The bathroom is one of the most frequently used rooms in the house, so the floor needs to be durable enough to withstand heavy foot traffic, dropped toiletries, and the weight of fixtures. Ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles, and stone flooring are some of the most durable options.
Bathrooms are wet areas, so the flooring needs to be either water-resistant or waterproof. While water-resistant flooring can withstand moisture to some extent, waterproof flooring is completely impervious to water, making it a better choice for bathrooms. Ceramic tile flooring, porcelain tile, and vinyl flooring are excellent waterproof flooring options.
Some flooring options are a lot easier to install than others. For instance, vinyl flooring and laminate are the most popular flooring options that can be installed by most homeowners, while ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles, and natural stone may require professional help.
Bathroom floors need to be cleaned frequently, so choose a flooring option that is easy to maintain. Ceramic tiles and porcelain tiles are easy to clean, while natural stone may require special cleaning products.
The bathroom floor should be comfortable to walk on and safe. Smaller tiles with more grout lines can be installed to provide a textured surface that is less slippery. Underfloor or radiant heating can also be installed to make the floor warm underfoot.
The right type of bathroom flooring can enhance the overall look of the bathroom and increase the home’s resale value. Natural stone, for instance, is considered luxurious and can add significant value to other rooms in the home.
In the following sections, we will explore various bathroom flooring options in detail, discussing their pros and cons, installation, and maintenance.
Porcelain and ceramic tiles are among the most popular bathroom flooring due to their durability, water resistance, and aesthetic appeal. They are made from clay and fired at high temperatures to create a hard and durable surface that is resistant to water, stains, and long periods of wear.
Porcelain and ceramic tiles require a level subfloor and a cement board underlayment. They are installed using thin-set adhesive and grout. While the installation process can be labour-intensive, the result is a durable and water-resistant floor that can last for many years with proper care.
Maintenance involves regular sweeping or vacuuming to remove dirt and debris, followed by mopping with a mild detergent. Grout lines should be sealed to prevent staining and should be resealed every few years.
Natural stone tiles, such as marble, granite, and limestone, offer a luxurious and unique look to a small bathroom. Each stone tile is unique, adding natural beauty, colour and character to the bathroom.
Natural stone tiles require a sturdy and level subfloor due to their weight. They are installed using thin-set adhesive and need to be sealed after installation to protect against stains and water.
Maintenance involves regular sweeping and mopping with a stone-safe cleaner. The tiles and walls should be resealed every few years to maintain their resistance to water and stains.
Vinyl flooring is a synthetic material that offers many benefits for bathroom use. It’s available in sheets, planks, or tiles, and comes in a wide range of colours and patterns, including options that mimic the look of wood, stone, and ceramic tile.
Vinyl flooring can be installed over a smooth, clean subfloor. Sheet vinyl is the best flooring used for bathrooms because it offers a virtually seamless installation, reducing the risk of water seeping underneath. Vinyl planks and tiles are also suitable for bathrooms and offer more design than the best flooring options above.
Maintenance is simple and straightforward, involving regular sweeping or vacuuming to remove dirt and debris, followed by mopping with a mild detergent. Avoid using abrasive cleaners, which can scratch the surface.
Engineered wood is a more practical choice for bathrooms than solid or hardwood floors. It features a real wood veneer layer on top of a plywood base, providing the look and feel of solid hardwood wood with better resistance to moisture and temperature changes.
Engineered wood can be installed over a clean, level subfloor using nails, glue, or a floating installation method. It should be sealed after installation to protect against moisture.
Maintenance involves regular sweeping or vacuuming to remove dirt and debris, followed by mopping with a wood-safe cleaner. Avoid using excessive water, and clean up spills promptly to prevent water damage. The floor can be refinished a few times to remove scratches and restore its appearance.
Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) or Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) is a high-end version of vinyl that replicates the look of natural materials like wood and stone. It’s a popular choice for bathrooms due to its waterproof nature and durability.
LVP/LVT can be installed over a clean, level subfloor. Some types require adhesive, while others use a click-together system for a floating installation. It’s important to leave a gap around the long edges and ceiling of the room to allow for expansion.
Maintenance involves regular sweeping or vacuuming to remove dirt and debris, followed by mopping with a mild detergent. Avoid using abrasive cleaners, which can scratch the surface.
Laminate flooring is a synthetic product that replicates the look and texture of wood or stone. It consists of a photographic layer (with the image of wood or stone) on top of a wood chip base, covered by a clear wear layer for protection.
Laminate flooring can be installed over a clean, level subfloor. It typically uses a click-together system for a floating installation, making it a good DIY project.
Maintenance involves regular sweeping or vacuuming to remove dirt and debris, followed by mopping with a laminate-safe cleaner. Avoid using excessive water, and clean up spills promptly to prevent water damage.
Stained concrete is a durable and affordable option for bathroom flooring. It can be dyed, polished, stamped, or painted to create a variety of looks, including a finish mimicking the appearance of stone or wood.
Stained concrete requires a clean, level concrete slab for installation. The concrete is stained, polished, and sealed to create a durable and water-resistant surface.
Maintenance involves regular sweeping or vacuuming to remove dirt and debris, followed by mopping with a mild detergent. The floor should be resealed every few years to maintain its appearance and water resistance.
Engineered bamboo flooring is a sustainable and durable option for bathrooms. It features a top layer of solid bamboo over layers of plywood or fiberboard, providing the look and feel of solid bamboo with better stability and resistance to moisture.
Engineered bamboo flooring can be installed over a clean, level subfloor using nails, glue, or a floating installation method. It should be sealed after installation to protect against moisture.
Maintenance involves regular sweeping or vacuuming to remove dirt and debris, followed by mopping with a bamboo-safe cleaner. Avoid using excessive water, and clean up spills promptly to prevent water damage. The floor can be refinished a few times to remove scratches and restore its appearance.
While there are many suitable flooring options for bathrooms, there are also some that should be avoided due to their lack of water resistance or other issues.
Carpets are generally not recommended for bathrooms. It absorbs moisture, which can lead to mould and mildew growth, and it’s difficult to clean thoroughly. While there are some water-resistant carpets on the market, they are still not as easy to maintain as hard flooring options.
While some laminates are designed to be water-resistant, they are not completely impervious to water. If water seeps into the seams, it can cause the laminate to warp or swell. For this reason, porous, non-waterproof laminates are not recommended for bathrooms.
While cork is a sustainable and comfortable flooring option, it’s not the best choice for bathrooms. It’s naturally water-resistant, but not waterproof. If water seeps into the seams of cork floors or if the floor is not properly sealed, it can cause damage.
In addition to the traditional popular flooring options above, there are also some innovative bathroom flooring ideas that can add a unique touch to your space. For instance, you could use pebble tile for a natural, spa-like feel, or use heated floors for added comfort. You could also use a combination of different flooring materials to create a unique design. For instance, you could use ceramic tile for the main, laminate bathroom flooring and a small area of wood or bamboo for a warm, comfortable place to stand when getting out of the shower.
Choosing the right bathroom flooring involves considering a variety of factors, including durability, water resistance, comfort, and style. By understanding the pros and cons of each option, you can make an informed decision that suits your needs, preferences, and budget. Whether you prefer the classic appeal of ceramic tile, the luxury of natural stone, the warmth of wood, or the affordability of vinyl, there’s a bathroom flooring option that’s the perfect fit for you.