Best Types of Flooring for Bathroom
Updated: Jan 13
You shower, bathe, shave, wash the pets and might even do laundry in your bathroom. Taken together, what do all of those activities usually result in? Often, a wet floor.
If you’re considering updating your bathroom, you might be looking down at the floor, wondering what the best flooring options are. Although looks matter when it comes to the best flooring for the bathroom, this is one room of the house where you want to emphasize function. Even if you don’t end up dripping water across the floor after a bath or shower, bathrooms tend to be the most humid rooms in the home. You want flooring that can handle humidity, more than anything else.
When you’re shopping for new bathroom flooring, here’s what to keep in mind and the type of materials to keep an eye out for.
What to Consider When Choosing Bathroom Flooring
What should you be thinking about when deciding between different types of flooring for the bathroom? It helps to take a step back and examine how your family uses the room, as well as what your design or aesthetics goals are for the bathroom. Here are a few things to consider.
1. The Size of the Bathroom
Some bathrooms are as big as a bedroom, if not bigger, while others are smaller than a linen closet. The overall size of the room can influence the type of flooring you choose, as the size determines how much material you need and how long the installation will take. The materials required and the installation process have some effect on the cost of the flooring project.
If your budget is tight, but your bathroom is small, you might be able to work with a higher-end material, such as porcelain or ceramic tile. If you have a more modest budget but a larger bathroom, you may need to consider less expensive flooring options.
2. Who Uses the Bathroom
Another thing to consider when you’re choosing bathroom flooring is who is going to use the room. If you’re redoing the floors of the kids’ bathroom or are adding a new bathroom to your home for your children to use, it can be a good idea to choose flooring that can withstand whatever kids throw its way.
Kids tend to be messier in the bathroom than adults. They’re likely to splash in the tub, forget to close the shower curtain all the way or drip water across the floor after bathing. Although moisture-resistant flooring is a good idea for any bathroom, for a kids’ bathroom, you want to pay particularly close attention to how well the flooring resists water and moisture.
That said, if you are putting new floors in a bathroom that doesn’t get much use, such as an en suite in a guest bedroom or a small powder room off of the foyer, you might be able to choose a material that’s less durable, or that has low moisture resistance.
3. How Your Family Uses the Bathroom
It can be helpful to take a few minutes and think about how your family members will use the bathroom. If it is a kids’ bathroom, are they going to spend hours in the tub, playing with bath toys and generally making a mess? If your family has pets, will you give them baths in one of the bathrooms? Are you concerned that your family’s dog will shake and spray water everywhere?
If you’re redoing the floors in your master bathroom, how much time do you spend in there? Do you have a soaking tub and find yourself spending evenings relaxing in the bath? Or do you hop in the shower for 10 minutes in the morning, then hop out again?
If you have a powder room or half bath downstairs, does it get a lot of use or only when guests come over? Do people tend to spill water on the floor in the half bathroom after washing their hands, or is it usually pretty clean and dry?
4. Your Budget
Your overall budget for your bathroom project will play a significant role in determining what type of floor is best for you. Some of the less expensive flooring options include vinyl and laminate, while tile and hardwood flooring tend to be on the pricier side.
While your budget is an important consideration, it’s doesn’t necessarily need to limit your flooring options. If you want tile but find that it is more expensive than you expected or might put you over budget, look for other places where you can cut back. If your budget is for an entire bathroom remodel, you might make adjustments to other fixtures or decide not to add specific features, so that you can comfortably afford the pricier flooring option.
5. The Style of Your Bathroom
One last thing to think about when choosing bathroom flooring is your decorative style. Whether you end up going with tile, vinyl or laminate flooring, you’re likely to find that each option has a variety of choices when it comes to colors and appearance. Vinyl flooring can resemble tile or wood planks, and laminate flooring often looks almost identical to tile or wood.
Some of the things to think about when deciding the type of style you like include:
The colors you like.
How you want the bathroom to feel. Do you want to feel energized as you get ready for the day, or would you prefer to create a place of calm?
The textures that appeal to you. Flooring can be smooth, have a wood-grain look and so on.
Best Types of Flooring for Bathrooms
Now that you know what to think about in general when choosing the flooring for your bathroom, take a closer look at some specific bathroom flooring options. Some of the best bathroom flooring options include:
Tile might be the option that first comes to mind when people think of bathroom floors. Made from ceramic or porcelain, tile flooring can create a classic look in your bathroom. It’s also water resistant and relatively easy to clean. Like any flooring, tile offers a mix of advantages and drawbacks. Whether the pros outweigh the cons of tile flooring depends mostly on your needs.
Pros of Tile
Some of the benefits of a tile floor include:
It’s water resistant. You don’t have to worry about moisture or water damage when you install a tile floor in a bathroom. Most types of tile used in bathrooms aren’t porous and won’t absorb moisture.
It’s easy to clean. Tile is relatively easy to keep clean. You can wipe it down with a soapy cloth or use a mop to clean larger areas. If there’s a spill or a lot of water splashed across the surface of the floor, you can use a towel to dry the tile.
It’s available in a wide range of options. Tile is available in pretty much any color, in a variety of shapes and a range of sizes, from small 1-inch squares to larger 12- or 18-inch squares.
It can provide traction underfoot. Since bathrooms tend to be wet, there is the risk of slips and falls. Some types of tile are treated in a way that gives them a grippy, slip-resistant surface. Smaller tiles with plenty of grout lines between them tend to be more slip resistant than larger tiles.
Cons of Tile
There are some potential disadvantages of tile, including:
It can be expensive. Tile does tend to cost more per square foot compared to other materials, such as vinyl.
It can feel cold. Since tile is made from ceramic or porcelain, it can feel cold to the touch. That might not be a big deal in the middle of the summer, but it can be a little uncomfortable against your bare feet in the middle of winter.
It requires some maintenance. The grout between tiles can become damaged and need repair from time to time, which can either be a DIY project or something you need to hire a professional to do.
If you’re looking to replace the flooring in a bathroom that will be primarily used by kids or teenagers, consider using vinyl. Today’s vinyl flooring is available in a broader range of options compared to the flooring of the past. You can choose from sheet vinyl, vinyl planks that imitate the look of wood or vinyl tiles that mimic the look of natural stone.
Like other bathroom flooring options, vinyl has a mix of pros and cons.
Pros of Vinyl
Some of the benefits of vinyl flooring in the bathroom include:
It’s water resistant. A synthetic material, vinyl can resist water and moisture. You don’t need to be concerned about the flooring absorbing water and becoming damaged or deformed.
It’s available in a range of styles. Whether you choose vinyl planks, vinyl tiles or vinyl sheet, you’re likely to find that the flooring is available in a variety of colors and patterns. Some types of vinyl flooring imitate natural materials, such as wood or stone.
It’s budget friendly. Vinyl flooring tends to cost less per square foot than other materials. Vinyl planks or tiles that look like wood or stone are usually much less expensive than the materials they imitate.
It’s easy to clean. Vinyl is pretty easy to keep clean. You can use most types of floor cleaners on it, vacuum it or sweep it to remove dust and debris.
Cons of Vinyl
A few potential disadvantages of vinyl flooring in the bathroom include:
Water can seep between the seams. Although vinyl itself is moisture resistant, if it isn’t installed correctly, there is a chance that water can seep between the seams, causing moisture damage below. Using sheet vinyl in the bathroom or having the flooring professionally installed will help you avoid the risk of leaky, improperly sealed seams.
It can be slippery. Like tile, some types of vinyl have a grippy surface, designed to reduce the risk of slips and falls. But some vinyl flooring is smooth and can be a slip hazard when wet.
Like vinyl, laminate flooring is made of synthetic materials and can be designed to imitate the look of wood or tile. It’s also somewhat moisture resistant, making it a good option for some bathrooms. Although laminate isn’t an ideal pick for every bathroom, it can be a good choice for some, such as a powder room or half bath. Take a closer look at the pros and cons of laminate flooring.
Pros of Laminate
Some of the advantages of laminate flooring for the bathroom include:
It’s available in a wide range of colors and styles. Whether you want to imitate the look of wood or tile, you can with laminate flooring.
It’s budget friendly. Often, laminate costs less per square foot than natural materials such as tile or wood.
It can resist moisture. Laminate flooring is sealed and can resist moisture to some degree.
It’s easy to clean. You can sweep, mop or vacuum laminate when cleaning it.
Cons of Laminate
Some of the drawbacks of laminate flooring include:
It’s not as moisture resistant as other flooring options. Although the wear layer on laminate flooring can resist water, the flooring won’t tolerate puddles or standing pools of water as well as options such as vinyl sheets or tile.
It can be challenging to repair. If laminate flooring becomes stained or damaged, you often need to replace the entire floor, rather than merely the damaged section.
Engineered hardwood can be a good pick for bathrooms that don’t get a lot of use or for any bathrooms that don’t have a shower or tub. If you have hardwood throughout the rest of your home, you might want to use it in a bathroom to create a cohesive, uniform look.
While solid hardwood flooring is usually not particularly moisture resistant and often isn’t ideal for bathrooms, engineered hardwood is created in a way that improves its moisture resistance. Like your other options for bathroom flooring, there are some other pros and cons to think about when deciding whether or not hardwood is the right choice for you.
Pros of Hardwood
Some of the advantages of hardwood flooring include:
It is warm and attractive. There’s a reason why hardwood is so popular. People often find that it looks good and creates an inviting environment in a bathroom or throughout a home.
It’s available in a variety of colors and species. Many different species of wood can be used to make hardwood flooring, each with its own set of characteristics. The wood can be finished in a range of colors, as well.
It’s durable. True to its name, hardwood is a hard-wearing surface, able to withstand a considerable amount of wear and tear.
Cons of Hardwood
A few disadvantages of hardwood flooring in the bathroom include:
Limited moisture resistance. Hardwood, even engineered hardwood, is considerably less able to repel moisture compared to other options. It’s usually not a good pick for kids’ bathrooms or any other bathrooms where water is likely to end up all over the floor.
It can be expensive. Hardwood often costs more per square foot than vinyl or laminate.
Tips for Choosing Bathroom Flooring
If you’re ready to take a closer look at your options for bathroom flooring, the following tips can help you narrow down your choices:
Be realistic. If you have a feeling that easy bathroom flooring, such as a material that is relatively maintenance-free and easy to clean, is going to work with your lifestyle, don’t trick yourself into thinking you need to have flooring that’s higher-end but also more challenging to care for.
Think of how you use the bathroom. The best flooring for your bathroom is one that will withstand whatever you throw its way. If you’re getting a new floor in a high-traffic, high-water-use bathroom, be sure to pick a flooring type that can handle it. If you don’t use the bathroom much, you can choose a flooring option that’s a little more delicate.
Try before you buy. The best way to get a sense of how a particular type of flooring will look in your bathroom is to see it in the room before installation. Have a flooring expert visit your home with samples so that you can see how tile, laminate, vinyl or hardwood will look.
Schedule an Appointment With FLOORS DEPOT to Get New Bathroom Flooring
A lot goes into choosing a new floor for a bathroom. Luckily, you don’t have to go through the process alone. FLOORS DEPOT offers in-home appointments and will bring our floor samples to you so that you can see how each option will look in your bathroom. We’ll also help you choose the best type of flooring for your needs, whether you’re looking for something that can handle daily splash-filled bathtimes or are looking for a new floor in a bathroom that sees limited use.
Schedule an appointment with us today.