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December 22, 2021

What Are the Best Flooring Options for a Bathroom?

Many homeowners only think about looks or price when picking bathroom flooring. However, performance factors like durability and water resistance are even more important. Here are the best options for new bathroom flooring and the factors to consider when picking.

How To Choose the Best Bathroom Flooring for Your Home

Bathroom flooring needs to stand up to years of water and regular use. Here are the most important factors to consider when picking new flooring for your bathroom.

Water Resistance

The level of water resistance depends on the kind of bathroom. You will want something waterproof for rooms with a bath or shower, but a lower tolerance is okay for half-bath and powder rooms.

Durability

For your master bathroom, you need something that can stand up to years of daily use. But something less durable will work for a guest bath and powder rooms.

Maintenance

Aside from regular cleaning, also consider the maintenance of the flooring. You will need to reseal natural stone, concrete, and cork in time to keep them waterproof.

Safety

Also, consider how safe the flooring is for your family and guests. Smooth flooring is slippery when wet, especially glazed ceramic tiles and natural stone.

Cost

Cost is often a major factor. However, your bathroom flooring is an investment in your home. Consider how much you are spending today and how long your new flooring will last.

Installation

If you plan to install the flooring yourself, think about the tools and skills necessary to put it down. This will also impact the installation time and how long you will go without a working bathroom.

The Best Flooring for Bathrooms

Porcelain or Ceramic Tiles

Porcelain or ceramic tiles are a classic option for bathrooms. Available in many styles, colors, shapes, and textures, they are waterproof, durable, and affordable. However, it can take a long time to install and is slippery when wet.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Many options available
  • Easy to clean
  • Long-lasting

Cons

  • Slippery
  • Cold

Vinyl Sheets, Planks, or Tiles

A popular flooring option, vinyl resists water and is cost-effective. It also comes in many different styles, colors, and textures. Vinyl planks and tiles are easy to install yourself, but vinyl sheets are often tricky.

Pros

  • Many options available
  • Easy to clean
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Damage is hard to fix
  • Seams are not waterproof

Natural Stone

Natural stone flooring adds luxury and durability to any bathroom. However, it tends to cost more and requires more maintenance. You will need to reseal the stone every two to five years. Smooth stones like marble and granite are also cold and slippery when wet.

Pros

  • Many options available
  • Luxurious and elegant
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Slippery
  • Cold

Concrete

Common in homes with slab foundations, concrete floors are becoming popular. They offer a sleek and modern look and are extremely easy to maintain. You can also polish, dye, stamp, or even paint them. A little texture will help prevent slips.

Pros

  • Many options available
  • Sleek and modern
  • Easy to clean
  • Long-lasting

Cons

  • Cold
  • Difficult to remove

Cork Planks or Tiles

More sustainable than some options, cork flooring is becoming popular for bathrooms. Its natural texture prevents you from slipping and is very comfortable under your feet. Cork comes in many different grains and patterns as well. Although, it does require resealing every few years.

Pros

  • Non-skid
  • Comfortable underfoot
  • Many options available

Cons

  • Water can cause damage
  • Requires more frequent maintenance

Engineered Wood Planks

Made from wood, resin and adhesives, engineered wood gives you the look of hardwood floors with superior strength, durability, and water resistance. However, water will still damage engineered wood. For that reason, it’s best suited for half-baths or powder rooms.

Pros

  • Looks like wood

Cons

  • Water can cause damage
  • Requires more frequent maintenance

Laminate Planks

Laminate planks have become a popular option because they are an inexpensive flooring option. Similar to engineered wood and vinyl planks, laminate flooring has a printed texture sandwiched between a resin layer on top and a processed wood base. While it is easy to clean and maintain, it does not offer the same protection against water.

Pros

  • Many options available
  • Easy to clean
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Damage is hard to fix
  • Seams are not waterproof
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Kinds of Flooring You Should Avoid in the Bathroom

Wall-to-Wall Carpeting

Although inexpensive, you should avoid using carpeting in the bathroom. Since both the padding and the carpet fibers retain water, they dry very slowly. Over time, this will wear them out faster and lead to mold problems.

Solid Hardwood

Hardwood floors look great, but even a little water can damage them. Water will cause the boards to warp, rot, or mold. Given the expense of hardwood flooring, they are not worth the maintenance or the risk of damage.

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