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Best Flooring Options for Bathrooms

Your bathroom is one of the most important rooms in your home. A basic necessity for everyday convenience, your bathroom is a key feature in your home whether you’re in it for the long-haul, or considering resale. It’s no surprise that when it comes to remodeling or purchasing a home, bathrooms are typically near the top of the priority’s checklist list.

This important space comes with some special considerations when it comes to finishes – in particular the flooring. Whether from overspray, spill, leak, drip, or just kids being kids, water will inevitably end up on your bathroom floor, and the walls, and even the ceiling!

When considering a bathroom remodel, it’s a good idea to research your options to determine what really is the best bathroom flooring for your project. There may be more to it than you think!

WATERPROOF VS Water-resistant

Not sure what is the difference between waterproof and water-resistant? Water-resistant flooring can, as the name implies, resist water, but water can, and eventually will, penetrate and damage the flooring.

When selecting flooring, water-resistant flooring is a great option for rooms in the home where water is a consideration like kitchens, basements or laundry and mudrooms. Water-resistant flooring is generally less expensive than waterproof flooring, but these porous inner materials are also what contributes to swelling, warping, and peeling when exposed to moisture.

Waterproof flooring is completely unaffected by water. Water can sit on it or even penetrate the surface of the flooring without damaging the material or the subflooring beneath. Waterproof flooring is considered impervious to water or moisture. So, when selecting your materials for bathroom flooring, the best options are the waterproof options.

Before we cover the best options for waterproof flooring, let’s talk about what NOT to do.

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DON’T DO THIS IN YOUR BATHROOM

Not to be Captain Negative, but there are just some flooring options you don’t want to select during your next bathroom remodel. And they may surprise you. 

Carpet

Carpet is great for softness underfoot. It comes in a variety of loops, weaves, patterns and colors. It’s inexpensive and adds style and beauty to many rooms. BUT It’s dated and horrible for bathrooms. Carpeting soaks up moisture and turns it into mold and mildew. We won’t even go into the germ factor, but as most of us are aware, bathrooms are a yucky place. Do you really want a bathroom floor that you can’t wash thoroughly?

Hardwood & Laminates

Hardwood floors are a great choice in many spots in the home. They look timeless, are durable, and can be refinished, offering decades of great flooring in nearly every room of the home. But don’t put them in the bathroom. Hardwood floors would have to be perfectly installed and perfectly sealed from moisture. Otherwise, water will penetrate, and they will rot.

Laminate flooring and engineered woods are also not the greatest choice for bathrooms. Often the material underneath the wood layer is not waterproof or even water-resistant. Such is the case with laminate floors, which typically are not great with water. 

Remember, your flooring professionals at Refloor can always help you navigate through options of water-resistant vs waterproof flooring and bad vs. good. So don’t hesitate to reach out before you start your project. Get Refloor involved early and use our experience to help with planning and product selections.

Now, let’s get to the good bathroom ideas, shall we?

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BEST BATHROOM FLOORING

When it comes to making a good selection for bathroom flooring, waterproof materials are critical, as we established. Typically, this means harder surfaces, rather than soft ones that will trap water. Remember absorption is the enemy – looking at you, carpet.

Ceramic or Porcelain Tile

The most popular choice for bathrooms is tile. Specifically, ceramic and porcelain tiles are great options for bathrooms. Tile flooring is resilient, waterproof, available in a variety of colors and designs, and generally less expensive than other hard surface options. Porcelain tiles absorb less water than any other ceramic product. Ceramic and porcelain can handle even pools and puddles of standing water, which makes them great options for shower tile. 

Tile is a hard surface, so it’s often called “hard” or “cold” or even “sterile”.  While it’s true that standing for extended periods of time on tile can be uncomfortable, that is true for any hard surface, and temperature of the floor can be addressed as porcelain and ceramic both works well with radiant flooring systems. As for sterile, that’s great! Tile doesn’t absorb water and germs and cleans easily, which makes it a great option for sterile environments. 

For tile flooring, especially in a shower, find a tile with a textured surface for safety.

Natural Stone Tile

Another great bathroom flooring option is natural stone. Natural stone offers many of the same positives of ceramic and porcelain tile. Resilience to wear, waterproof, variety of naturally occurring colors and patterns, stone is offered in tiles, planks, even mosaics backed with mesh to hold the smaller tiles together.

There are a few things to consider when looking at stone as an option for bathroom flooring, however. Stone can be difficult to install for the do-it-yourselfer. Be aware of this if you attempt this project on your own. Stone can be slippery like tile, but grout patterns and finishes applied after to “rough” the surface can minimize this. It can also require more regular maintenance than other options, as some stone products require periodic applications of sealant to maintain the stone finish and prevent penetration of dirt and debris, or absorption of moisture.

The largest drawback to many customers looking at natural stone is cost. Natural stone offers a luxurious finish for any bathroom, but it can come at a cost. Stone is one of the most expensive flooring options available. It is a natural, and therefore limited resource which accounts for the additional cost.

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl, however, is on the less expensive side of bathroom flooring options. Vinyl is a great waterproof option for bathrooms and other wet, high traffic areas. Vinyl can look like wood planks, stone, and even ceramic tile. It is more commonly offered in planks but can be found in square tile as well. The core of these products are made from wood or stone polymer compounds and protected by a wear layer, making both of these great waterproof options for bathroom floors. 

Speaking of vinyl, Refloor can help you pick the best Vinyl flooring for your next home improvement project!

don’t forget to have fun!

One other thing to consider when looking at bathroom flooring is size. They say size isn’t everything, but if you have a small bathroom, it’s a great opportunity to stretch your flooring wings and dollar. A small bathroom lets you experiment with pattern tile, which can really make the space look bigger, and you can get a more expensive tile, as you won’t require as much material as you would in a larger bathroom. Go bold, and don’t be afraid to try something different or out-of-the-box.

Finding the right bathroom flooring doesn’t need to be a chore or feel limiting. As you can see, there are many more options now than you may have had in years. And remember, your flooring experts at Refloor can assist in your search for the perfect floor!

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