10 Flooring Materials Perfect for the Bathroom
While hardwood and carpet tend to dominate as flooring choices in bedrooms and living rooms, there are a number of options when it comes to the bathroom. Here are 10 different types and what makes them special.
It’s no secret that ceramic tiles reign supreme in bathrooms. Given that they are more affordable than natural stone tiles and are water-resistant, it’s not surprising. In addition, they are quite versatile — homeowners can get them in just about any shape or color. The downside? Ceramic tiles can be a bit cold and slippery.
With a natural resistance to water, natural stone tiles (think marble or granite) are a great choice for the bathroom. However, they are expensive and, like ceramic tiles, can get cold and slippery. Radiant heating and strategically placed floor mats go a long way to combat the latter.
Vinyl flooring’s versatility and affordability are what makes it work extremely well in bathrooms. It is waterproof, durable and has the ability to mimic ceramic and hardwood. In addition, vinyl is much more budget-friendly than tile and doesn’t get as slippery or cold. As far as installation, vinyl comes in sheets (sometimes a little tricky to work with in small spaces) and tiles.
Glass Mosaic Tile
Not just for your shower or kitchen backsplash, glass tiles can also be used as bathroom flooring. They do require a bit more maintenance, however, as dirt and debris will scratch and dull them.
If your aesthetic leans more industrial or contemporary, concrete makes an ideal choice for a bathroom floor. Not only is it highly durable, but it is water resistant as well — water cannot damage concrete. As with tiles, however, there is the chilliness factor, which makes concrete another prime candidate for radiant heating.
Since wood is susceptible to water damage — expanding and contracting, and inevitably swelling and buckling in humid conditions — it’s not the best choice for a bathroom. That being said, if you’re determined to have a wood floor in your bathroom, choose an engineered hardwood. It is considered more durable due to its construction, which features a thin layer of real wood over plywood.
Cork may seem counterintuitive in a moist environment like the bathroom due to its porous surface. However, when finished with a water-resistant coating it will actually have a long lifespan. In addition, cork floors have a slight springiness to them which make them quite comfortable, and they are a renewable resource making them an eco-friendly choice.
Made primarily from natural ingredients like linseed oil, wood flour and tree resin, linoleum is another good option for bathroom floors. Due to naturally occurring antimicrobial elements, linoleum prevents mold and mildew growth — a common problem in bathrooms.
Another smart alternative to true hardwood in the bathroom is laminate flooring. Made from layers of fiberboard and resin, laminate features a top coating that is highly water-resistant. It is also quite versatile, mimicking tile and hardwood and available in a range of patterns.
Similar to hardwoods, bamboo may not be the most durable material to use in a wet, humid environment. But it can be reinforced to be more water-resistant — hello engineered bamboo flooring. Engineered bamboo is made by inserting a sliver of bamboo between layers of water-resistant resin and then stabilizing it by securing it all to a piece of plywood. The bamboo look makes for a more natural feeling choice, and a unique bathroom experience.