Choosing flooring for a bathroom is a little different than choosing flooring for any other room in your home. While aesthetics is important and is often uppermost in a purchaser’s mind, making sure that bathroom flooring will function as a protectant against water and mold damage is probably the most important thing to consider. Due to the humidity of bathrooms, it’s even more prone to moisture damage than kitchens.
Most experts warn against using wall-to-wall carpeting or solid hardwood in the bathroom since neither can protect against the ravages of moisture settling in and causing damage. Some love the look of hardwood floors. It is possible to use this in the bathroom. Although it didn’t make the top four, it can be used as a secondary flooring option. It would be placed in the main vanity area and away from the bath or shower area.
Let’s look at several bathroom flooring options that provide moisture protection and pleasing aesthetics.
1. Ceramic and Porcelain Tile
Both ceramic and porcelain tiles are extremely popular options for bathrooms. They look both classic and stylish, no matter what style of bathroom you have. Both types of tile are durable and stain resistant and are relatively easy to keep clean (although white tiles tend to show grime more readily than other colors).
Luckily, there are many sizes, colors, and designs of tiles, so as a consumer, you have a whole host of choices.
The size of tiles may be only a few inches or can be a foot or more in diameter. And tiles come in different shapes as well, from square to rectangular, hexagonal, and more.
One slight downside with bathroom tiles is that they can be cold underfoot. Consider installing a heated flooring system underneath. This would be a very smart investment.
Tile tends to be slippery, so choose a tile that is certified slip-resistant to avoid any accidents. Alternatively, a very textured tile tends to be less slippery. Smaller tiles have more grout which also lessens the chance of slipping.
Porcelain Vs. Ceramic?
So what is the difference between the two? Even though porcelain is part of the ceramic family it is less porous than ceramic. Hence it is more waterproof. It tends to also be more durable due to its density and hardness. In a heavily used bathroom, it would be wise to install porcelain tiles.
Ceramic tile might be more suitable in a half bathroom or powder room where usage is lighter.
Porcelain does tend to be more expensive than ceramic due to the higher costs of manufacturing. It generally costs about 60 percent more than ceramic tiles.
To sum up:
- Tile flooring is a good investment for resale
- Comes in many colors, styles, and sizes, meaning that you have unlimited options
- Works well with radiant heating
- Cleans easily
- Porcelain tiles are very waterproof
- Professional installation is generally best
2. Natural Stone
Natural stone is a flooring material that is ideal for your bathroom. However, many would consider it luxury flooring since it is the most expensive type of flooring. If you are on a budget you can opt to use natural stone in a smaller-sized bathroom, as it won’t cost as much as a master bathroom. Natural stone tiles are long-lasting and offered in many different styles, colors, and natural patterns. Think granite, marble, limestone, sandstone, travertine, and slate.
If you are looking to create a spa-inspired bathroom, natural stone can be the perfect option. It can help create a natural, relaxed atmosphere. They all work very well with in-floor heating systems.
Some stone products do require sealants added periodically to maintain the finish and keep out dirt and moisture.
Marble, granite, slate, and travertine tiles can be quite heavy, and you must check if your home can handle the weight. Slate in particular, requires very rigid, non-flexing support under the tiles to avoid cracking. Installation is best done by a professional, so again, increased cost.
When wet, a natural stone floor can be slippery if it has a polished finish. All four of these should be sealed to prevent staining. They all are naturally hypoallergenic.
To sum up:
- Natural stone flooring is the most expensive flooring option
- Like ceramic and porcelain, it comes in an impressive array of colors, styles, and patterns
- Like ceramic and porcelain, natural stone tends to be cold underfoot, so adding radiant heating adds to your comfort
- Natural stone can be slippery, so finishes can be added to add texture to the surface
- Stone can be difficult to install, so best to have a professional do it
- It is durable, beautiful, and long-lasting
- It will add great resale value
Vinyl flooring seems like a no-brainer when it comes to practical flooring for the bathroom. At a reasonable cost, it offers a lot to the consumer. Vinyl is attractive, easy to care for, waterproof, and stain resistant. Choose sheet vinyl (to reduce seams) especially if your bathroom is heavily used and if large amounts of water make their way onto the floor.
Luxury plank vinyl can also be used and is much thicker than sheet vinyl and so is softer underfoot than stone or ceramic tiles. It is installed plank by plank to create a natural wood look.
To sum up:
- Vinyl flooring is quite economical
- It is 100% waterproof – seams are also waterproof
- It is fairly easy to install
- It is easy to clean and stain-proof
- Not slippery like stone and ceramic flooring
- But the resale value is not optimal
4. Cork (Green)
“Green” flooring materials are becoming ever more popular, and cork is one of the most environmentally friendly flooring materials in the world. It is highly renewable and hypoallergenic. It is made from tree bark and is mold, mildew, and water resistant.
Due to more demand in recent years, these green flooring materials continue to become more stylish. Cork adds a warm, inviting look suited to most décor. Since cork is filled with air holes it is spongy and soft underfoot and even adds a level of soundproofing.
Since it is water resistant but not waterproof It will require a topcoat of polyurethane to protect the floors from spills. You have a choice between glue-down cork tiles, which come finished or unfinished, or click-in-place planks. Installation of cork bathroom floors is best left to the professionals but is doable by an experienced DIYer.
To sum up:
- Cork is resistant to mold and mildew
- Cork is water resistant (not waterproof)
- Needs a polyurethane coating to protect floors from spills unless pre-finished
- Is very environmentally friendly
- Best to let professionals install this type of flooring
- Soft and warm underfoot
5. Real Linoleum
Good old linoleum flooring can last a l-o-n-g time as some old timers can attest to having seen it in already older homes when they were kids. Environmentally friendly, sustainable, somewhat soft, and warm underfoot. Natural linoleum flooring is also water resistant.
It is now available in interlocking tiles as well as on a roll. Like all of the floors mentioned above, it should get regular vacuuming or damp mopping, and wet spots should be wiped up quickly.
Linoleum has become a generic term and is sometimes used when referring to vinyl flooring, but natural linoleum has linseed oil as a primary ingredient, so be sure to check the material list.
Sunshine Sunrooms are master craftsmen for all your kitchen and bathroom renovation needs. Call us today at (972) 243-5390 or contact us online to find out how we can help make your home renovation dreams come true.