When the time comes to make a change to your bathroom floor, the options can seem overwhelming. With so many different materials to consider in creating your perfect bathroom oasis, which one should you choose? Here are some types of bathroom floors you can choose from and some important things to know about them.
There’s a good chance that tile is the first flooring type that comes to mind for the bathroom. Ceramic, porcelain and natural stone tiles have been a bathroom staple for years. A major benefit of tile is that it’s water resistant. In an environment prone to moisture, tile makes cleaning up splashes and spills easy. And, you don’t have to worry about tile warping if you miss drying the floor immediately.
Across the three varieties of tile, there are several styles to choose from. Ceramic tile is available in many different colors, and can even resemble wood or brick if desired. Porcelain tile is available in similar patterns as ceramic, and is even more durable and water resistant. Stone tiles have the fewest color choices because they are natural and not manufactured. But they make up for the lack of variety with the beauty of red, brown and gray earth tones that can put your bathroom floor on another level.
Tiles do have their downsides, however. Because they are so water resistant, water can collect on them if it doesn’t get cleaned up. This can lead to slip and fall accidents if it goes unnoticed. Though they are strong and durable, there is always the chance a tile may crack or chip if something heavy falls on it. But, if you take care of your bathroom tile, it will last you for many years.
Vinyl is another great option for your bathroom floor if you’re looking for water resistance and versatility. Vinyl is available in many different style options – some of the most popular are styles that mimic the look of tile – for less money and less maintenance.
Vinyl flooring comes in sheets, planks and tiles. The latter two options are installed like laminate flooring – with a tongue and groove system that clicks together. Vinyl sheet flooring comes in one piece and is cut to fit the corners and around your bathroom accessories. Because it’s all one piece, vinyl sheets can be beneficial. The fewer seams there are for water to seep through, the less chance of running into problems later. However, there is a trade-off: planks and tiles are smaller and easier to install yourself.
Linoleum is similar in look to vinyl, but is a natural option made with linseed oil and various wood products. Linoleum also comes in sheets, planks and tiles – with the same pros and cons of water seepage and ease of installation.
Not only is linoleum water resistant, the linseed oil it’s made with is naturally antimicrobial, which makes it resistant to harmful bacteria. This is especially important in the bathroom where humidity can linger for a long time.
Linoleum is a great option if you’re worried about the impact on the environment. It is made from renewable resources and is biodegradable. So when it reaches the end of its 25 to 40-year lifespan and is removed, it breaks down naturally in the environment.
Laminate is a popular option throughout the house, so it’s no surprise it’s being installed in bathrooms more and more. Laminate flooring is made from dense fiberboard on the bottom, printed photographic paper in the middle and a clear plastic protective layer on top. The middle photographic layer is where the design of the laminate comes from. This paper is printed to look like high-end hardwood textures so you get the look you want at a fraction of the cost – without the headaches of using wood in a damp environment.
Laminate flooring is installed in planks, often with pieces that install easily by clicking together. Some brands of laminate planks even have the under-padding pre-attached so you only need to worry about one layer. Use caution when installing laminate planks in bathrooms. The plastic coating on top of the laminate will give you good protection, but always keep an eye on the seams between the planks where water could seep through to the boards underneath.
Generally, it’s a good rule of thumb that damp environments and wood shouldn’t mix. Wood is natural and will warp and bend with minimal water penetration. But, is wood flooring definitely a no-go in the bathroom?
If you really want wood flooring for your bathroom, consider going with engineered hardwood flooring over solid hardwood. While solid hardwood is prone to expanding, contracting and warping, engineered hardwood is built on a plywood base that is more resilient to environmental changes. It may be preferable to install hardwood flooring in a bathroom that is less frequently used, or one without a tub.