Choosing Bathroom Flooring
In addition to matching your decorating style, flooring for bathrooms must be able to stand up to daily moisture. Slip-resistance is another concern. And, of course, comfort under bare feet is a must.
With this in mind, here are just a few flooring options to consider for your next bathroom remodel.
Hardwood flooring continues to be one of the most popular flooring choices for home décors – and bathrooms are no exception. While solid wood is much more susceptible to the effects of moisture and humidity, it can be successfully used in bathrooms, with a few precautions. Adding extra layers of water-resistant polyurethane, in addition to filling cracks between boards with wood putty, will help prevent water from seeping in between or under the boards. Spills or standing water should be wiped up immediately, and an efficient fan or vent system will help minimize bathroom humidity levels.
However, a more practical choice for bathrooms is factory-finished engineered woods, which are more dimensionally stable and better able to withstand moisture than solid woods. Engineered woods are constructed in way that allows planks to grow and contract when exposed to changes in moisture and humidity levels. Engineered wood floors can generally be installed in any type of home and in any room – whether above grade, on grade, or below grade. While solid woods are not recommended for installations over concrete slabs or in rooms that are below grade. Hardwood flooring installations may require removal of an existing floor or installing a subfloor, which should be factored in when determining total costs.
Luxury Vinyl Tile
Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is a great choice for homeowners looking for a less-costly and more durable option to high-end materials like hardwood, ceramic tile, limestone, and travertine. Applying the latest imaging technologies, LVT realistically captures the looks, textures, and grains of the natural materials it replicates, with high-end products from top flooring often hard to distinguish from the real thing. But what truly sets LVT apart is a specialized wear layer that protects this flooring from scratches, scuffs, indentations, and stains. Also resistant to chipping, warping, and yellowing, LVT is easy to maintain, less slippery, warmer underfoot, and often much less expensive than natural materials. But perhaps the biggest perk: LVT won’t swell or buckle when exposed to excess moisture – making it a perfect option for bathrooms. Tiles are easy to install and can be glued down or floated over most existing flooring, with no underlayment needed.
Laminate flooring is another great option if you want the look of hardwood flooring without the high cost. Extremely durable, laminate resists stains, fading, and moisture and won’t harbor mold, mildew, and other common bathroom allergens. And laminates don’t just replicate hardwoods. Many collections showcase natural stone looks, too. Much like LVT, high-end products offer tremendous realism in both texture and visual appearance and include a protective wear layer that guards against scratching and scuffing. Laminate can be susceptible to excess moisture, though, so look for products with sealed edges for added protection.
Laminate floors are easy to clean and can be floated over a variety of subfloors. Many laminate manufacturers include snap-and-lock technology for easy installation and increased protection against water damage.
Looking for an affordable way to add a more unique decorating style to your bathroom? You may be pleasantly surprised at the variety of design possibilities available with today’s cork flooring. A popular eco-friendly choice, cork is a highly renewable resource harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree. What makes cork great for bathrooms is its natural resistance to mold, mildew, and moisture. Also naturally spongy, cork flooring is extremely resilient and comfortable underfoot. And, in addition to absorbing noise, cork provides good thermal insulation.
While resistant to water, cork is not impervious to moisture. Therefore, a protective polyurethane topcoat is recommended, and floors should be resealed periodically. Cork is available in glue-down tiles, ideal for above-grade installations, or click-and-lock planks, recommended for bathrooms that are below grade.
Another eco-friendly flooring option for bathrooms is bamboo, due in part to its incredible durability and rich, beautiful appearance. Bamboo looks like traditional wood floors, can be installed and maintained in the same ways as wood, but it is naturally harder and more resilient than real woods. Like cork, bamboo is naturally resistant to mold and mildew and will repel moisture, especially when a protective topcoat is applied.