Bathroom Flooring Guide

Bathroom flooring comparisons... To help you decide which flooring type works best for you!

Since most flooring areas in a bathroom are small, expense may not be an issue, but moisture and water is... and the truth is, some types of floor coverings are just not meant to be installed in a bathroom...

Bathroom flooring takes a lot of abuse! Naturally we want it to look good, even great, and hold up under pressure too...

Here you will find the simple facts about different types of floor covering typically used for bathroom flooring, with brief descriptions of each and links to other pages on this website where you will find all the details.

Natural Stone

Stone floor tile in bathrooms create a very luxurious effect! Made by nature to last a life-time... natural stones are very beautiful and captivating with a one-of-a-kind uniqueness!

Of all the natural stones, marble, granite, slate and travertine are the ones used the most often for bathroom floors.

Above everything else, bathroom flooring should be slip-proof and able to resist (or cope with) water. Warmth and comfort should also be considered...

Floors are a focal point in every room, so choose wisely...

Marble is sleek and elegant, granite is dramatic and rich with colors, while slate and travertine have multiple, mingled earth tones and warmth appeal.

Visit Bathroom Floor Tile to learn more about these extremely artistic, durable, timeless flooring materials.

The demand for stone tile floors in a bathroom is at an all-time high, and it doesn't appear to be slowing down... You can't go wrong with natural stone floors...

Disadvantages of Stone Tile:

  • Expensive to buy and install
  • Hard & Cold underfoot
  • Needs regular re-sealing and grout cleaning.

Hardwood Flooring

Solid Hardwood flooring is timeless! Classic, warm and natural and looks good in homes of any age. Very durable and will last years and years in most settings.

Hardwoods are available in a wide range of colors, grain patterns, grades and prices. The more evenly colored the more costly it will be.

All hardwood flooring materials are tough enough for domestic use, but some are tougher than others.

You can choose a hardwood floor finish that is matted, semi-gloss or high gloss...

All wood floors are sensitive to moisture, even those with a high gloss. In reality, water and wood floors just don't get along and should avoid each other, so using it as bathroom flooring is risky... but it isn't out of the question, and many consumers want nothing else!

However, hardwood flooring with a penetrating oil finish is the only one that can withstand moisture on a constant basis. This type of finish protection works from the inside-out and will require a paste wax be applied to the surface every 6 months. This is the one wood finish that works very well for bathroom flooring.

Although wood floors are relatively easy to clean, they need to be cleaned often and keeping a good finish or surface wax on the wood is a must to keep it looking it's best and prolonging the life of the wood!

Disadvantages of Hardwoods:

  • Expensive to buy and install
  • Hardwoods require high maintenance
  • Solid hardwoods are very heavy
  • Can be noisy if not sound insulated
  • Porous and NOT ideal for wet areas

NOTE: Engineered wood is real hardwood on the surface glued to plywood underneath. It can be sanded, but not often, and will tolerate a bit of moisture, although it is not built to last forever where moisture is a constant factor...

Laminate Wood

This may be your best choice if you absolutely MUST have wood for your bathroom flooring.

Laminate flooring has come a long way in the past decade. It has all the charm and effect of real hardwood & natural stone without the price! The machine made duplication have been so perfected that both the wood and stone "images" look authentic.

Affordable and exceptionally durable, laminate is built with a water resistance core to resist moisture and an Aluminum Oxide coated surface to prevent staining and a high degree of scratch protection.

Installation is made easy with the tongue & groove (click) system and maintenance is pretty much effortless. Just sweep often and mop as needed with a damp mop or just use a Swiffer product made for laminate floors.

Disadvantages of Laminate:

  • Shorter life span than hardwoods.
  • Over time it will buckle if exposed to too much moisture.

Ceramic & Porcelain Tile

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are resistant to moisture and acidic products and make one of the best choices for a bathroom floor! Both are considered ceramics, as are clay and terra-cotta floors.

Long-wearing, affordable, easy to install and take care of makes them a wise alternative when compared to natural stone tile.

As "manufactured" (man-made) tiles, ceramic offers more vivid, "baked" on colors, shapes, sizes and designs, where porcelain has fewer sizes and more "earthy" tones, but the color is throughout its thickness.

Both ceramic and porcelain tiles will need to be sealed after installation, or you can buy them already sealed from the manufacturer.

Porcelain tiles have a matted finish, whereas ceramic tiles tend to be glossy. Either one will make your bathroom flooring come alive with its own unique "look".

Disadvantages of Ceramics:

  • Ceramic tiles may chip or crack during installation or shipping, so buy extra tiles at the time of purchase.

Go to ceramic tile flooring to learn more about these terrific flooring materials!

Resilient Flooring

Cork

Cork has been around for hundreds of years, but is sometimes ignored as a flooring option...

Although some claim cork flooring is not as durable as vinyl, that is not necessarily true! There are "old" (Library of Congress) buildings still in use with the original floors still in tact... Hard to believe, but true!

Warm and soft underfoot, cork must be sealed for waterproofing where moisture is a constant factor, like a bathroom or kitchen.

Its natural properties are resistant to moisture, bugs, rot, bacteria, mold, dust, stains, punctures and most everything else. It is a natural insulator and noise buffer, light-weight and very long-wearing.

NOTE: For areas where water and moisture are a constant factor, (bathroom, kitchen, utility rooms) applying a coat of water-based polyurethane sealant immediately after installation (and every 5-7 years thereafter) will give your flooring added protection against moisture.

Easy to clean and maintain. For the do-it-yourselfer it is very easy to install...

Cork is a terrific bathroom flooring material, as well as a remarkable, natural product... Cork floor tile is a "snap" to install... Try it, you'll like it!

Disadvantages of Cork:

  • Shows scuff marks (easily removed with light sanding)

Vinyl

Practical, inexpensive and easy to install, vinyl may still be the most popular flooring in bathrooms today!

Vinyl flooring is available in sheeting or floor tile form with varied thicknesses to chose from. Tiles offer greater flexibility to be creative and are easier to install. Thicker vinyl sheeting is stiff and difficult to handle, but will wear longer... and cost more.

Self-adhesive tiles are available, but not recommended because they are usually of poor quality.

Scads of Colors, patterns, strips, borders and simulations of every wood and stone is available to choose from, with price brackets to suit any budget.

Vinyl can wear well with proper care and is inexpensive to replace when needed.

Disadvantages of Vinyl:

  • Sheets are stiff and hard to handle when installing.
  • Tiles are prone to coming up at the corners.
  • Vinyl is vulnerable to cuts and punctures.

Rubber

Meet the the new kid on the block... you will be surprised!

Ideal for bathrooms, kitchens, utility areas, childrens room, most any room, but especially those that need to withstand lots of moisture and abuse, rubber flooring is made of synthetic materials and is available in tile or sheet form with many different thickness and sizes available.

Practical and hard-wearing, it is slip-proof (textured finish) resistant to moisture, heat, sound, shock, and is easy to take care of.

Warm and comfortable underfoot, tiles are inter-locking and easy to install, as is sheeting.

You'll find a whole array of colors to choose from, ranging in colors of warm neutrals to as bright as you like, plus a matte or polished finish with either textured, smooth, dimpled or swirl designs.

One exceptional thing you'll notice about rubber flooring materials is the color is throughout the thickness of the rubber, so it will never fade!

Disadvantages of Rubber:

  • More expensive than cork or vinyl
  • Abrasive particles can mark the surface
  • Sharp objects may puncher it, but it will re-close itself.

Carpeting

NEVER in a bathroom! The only "carpet" suitable on a bathroom floor is washable, easy to clean area "rugs"!

Some people like carpeting in a bathroom, even though it is definitely the most unsuitable floor covering for wet areas!

Just think of bacteria, mold and rot... What better place for it to grow than on a bathroom floor covered wall-to-wall with carpeting... you would be putting it down only to rip it up within a very short time...

Not only does it become a HEALTH issue, there is the water and carpet do not mix issue, too, plus the feel of wet carpet under your feet... yuk!

But if you MUST, make sure it is made of 100% Olefin (synthetic) material, low/short piled and glue it down with indoor/outdoor carpet adhesive. The sub floor should be of concrete, or lay concrete backer board over the existing sub floor for protection.

Remember, carpeting is hard to keep clean and should be vacuumed often. A shop-vac will extract water and moisture.

Disadvantages of Carpeting:

  • Harbors dust, mold, bacteria!
  • Does not cope well with moisture.
  • Easily marked with dirt and spills.
  • Difficult to clean and keep clean.
  • Not suitable for a bathroom, kitchen or other wet areas.

HAVE A PLAN!

Would you believe designing a bathroom is can actually be fun? The ideas are endless...

Bathroom Design Ideas
Great Bathroom Design Ideas, pictures and tips.
New trends in bathroom designs, designer bathrooms.


Compared to most rooms in a home, the bathroom is usually smaller in comparison but the traffic is high! A whole lot of wonderful things can happen with smart planning... and you have so many great bathroom flooring materials and ideas to choose from. Let your personality shine through!

We hope this guide serves it's purpose when choosing a floor covering for your bathroom.... The rest is up to you.

No matter what flooring material you choose for any room it will be noticed and should make a positive impact, so chose wisely!

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