When choosing from all the different types of flooring for bathrooms, it’s important to pick something that not only looks nice but is durable enough to withstand moisture and is easy to clean. You don’t want to waste your money on something that will be ruined in a couple of years.
Keep reading to discover the many different types of flooring for bathrooms as well as the pros and cons so you can make the best choice for your bathroom.
Probably the first flooring type you thought of while considering your bathroom renovation was tile. It’s a classic choice for any bathroom and has the added benefit of being extremely durable. There are a few different types of tile to choose from:
- Ceramic: resistant to water, scratches, stains, and dents, and costs a lot upfront but will last a very long time. They can also be very reflective, giving bathroom floors depth and making small bathrooms feel much larger.
- Porcelain is excellent for bathrooms with showers and/or baths since it is very waterproof and cheap, costing about as much as vinyl per m2, if you shop around.
- Natural stone: A traditional look and feel, and are easy to repair. They’re also less slippy when wet and give a softer feel under foot.
They are all completely water-resistant and last for a long time.
One downside to tile flooring is because it’s so water-resistant, it can become quite slippery when water has spilled over onto it, which is very common around showers, even with a good shower screen, you’ll still find bathroom floors get wet.
If you have a busy household with small children running around, you might want to consider one of the other materials listed below.
Laminate flooring is the way to go if you want the look of just about any flooring type but for a cheaper price tag. Note that laminate needs its base layer and joins to get as little moisture as possible, so it might be best to hire someone to install it for you.
The top layer is a clear plastic that protects the wood underneath and makes it stand up to moisture and spills very well. You should make sure that any flooring you’re considering is from a company that includes a warranty for that top layer, so if it does become damaged soon after installation, you won’t have wasted your money.
Not all laminate flooring is suitable for bathroom floors – you must check that your laminate is water-tight. Remember, laminate flooring is made from wood, which will absorb bathroom moisture, causing the planks to swell, split, and warp.
Always let your flooring provider know that you intend to lay the laminate in a bathroom, and advise on the range of waterproof designs available.
If you are looking for flooring for a family bathroom, especially a bathroom children will use, vinyl is your best option. Sheet vinyl has no seams except at the very edges, so as long as you seal around the edges, it will be impenetrable to water. Plank vinyl is also a good option for just about any other bathroom.
It’s best to avoid tile vinyl since it will have too many seams to block out moisture properly and is likely to not last very long as a result.
It is inexpensive to replace or repair should the need arise, and it allows for heated floors under it should you wish to avoid cold feet in the mornings or after a shower.
It also comes in slip-resistant brands, so if slipping or falling is something that you want to go out of your way to avoid, if you have young children or the elderly in the house, then there are options for that too.
Vinyl flooring has been a staple choice for kitchens and bathrooms for decades. It’s cheap, relatively easy to fit (all you really need is a sharp Stanley knife) and comes is a wide range of patterned designs.
Wait… isn’t linoleum the same as vinyl?
No, vinyl is made from Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) which is a synthetic plastic polymer. Linoleum on the other hand is made from natural materials such as pine resin and linseed oil. Linoleum is more expensive than vinyl, is a little harder to work with. But it is lasts longer, has better thermal insulation, is softer underfoot, and has a nicer smell.
Linoleum should be your go-to choice if mildew and black bathroom mould are a concern since its antimicrobial. It is also water and fire-resistant.
Linoleum isn’t even easy to scratch and is very durable and comes in rolls to measure like vinyl, so if children spilling water at bath time is a concern, then this right be the perfect flooring for you.
It’s best to invest in a good-quality linoleum floor as different brands can have very different thickness, durability, and textures. Better to invest a little more now and have the floor last.
Hardwood is not the go-to flooring choice for just any bathroom. It looks fantastic, adds a lot of warmth to a room, and gives off a lovely natural wood aroma, but it doesn’t hold up well when moisture is a constant. It will buckle and swelling with humidity or if water is spilled on it too often.
If you have your heart set on hardwood flooring for a bathroom, consider a guest bathroom that sees little use or a bathroom without a shower or bath to reduce how much moisture it will experience.
If you want to floor, that can get pretty much last through anything and is eco-friendly too, and then concrete flooring is what you need. There aren’t any seams for moisture to get into, and it takes a lot to leave a scratch or damage it.
However, if you do end up damaging it, it can be costly to fix because you’ll probably have to replace the whole floor. You can opt to install a different flooring type over top of the concrete, which will be a lot cheaper.
Terrazzo fits a more minimalistic style, and it has the advantage of being indestructible. Not only that, but it’s resistant to scratches, water and bacteria, making it incredibly easy to maintain.
It’s a little more on the expensive side because of high demand, but if you’re able to invest a little more of your renovation budget into your floors, then terrazzo will last a very long time, and you’ll be thankful for it whenever cleaning day comes around.
Cork is one of those materials that feels nice to walk on because it doesn’t have the sometimes shocking coldness of tile. Its soft material is great on the feet but can make it prone to damage and stains without a protective layer over it.
Unlike tile, you won’t have to worry as much about slipping, and it’s also antimicrobial. It’s also relatively easy to repair, even more so if you choose a cork tile.
Rubber is the material when it comes to waterproofing just about anything, so if you’re concerned about water damage, then this could be a good choice.
You can get rubber flooring in just about any colour you can think of, as well as many patterns to suit your taste. It also comes in tiles to get a similar look to tile flooring, but if you get a textured rubber, it won’t become super slippery when water spills onto it.
Carpet probably wasn’t one of the options you were thinking of for a bathroom, but there are some benefits that carpet is the best at providing.
If slipping is something you need to avoid, whether because of energetic kids or elderly family members, nothing is more slip-resistant than carpet. And you’ll never have to go through the discomfort of stepping on a cold floor first thing in the morning or after a refreshing shower.
Of course, water damage and staining are probably the top issues people have with installing carpet in a bathroom. However, carpet brands come with a water-resistant backing to prevent damage and mould and come with a protective topcoat to make cleaning easier.
Bathroom floors decked out in colourful carpets was quit common in the 1980’s – certainly in the UK. While carpet gives a luxurious feel as you step out the shower – or sat on the throne – there is more cleaning maintenance.
Whether you’re looking to update a busy family bathroom or refresh the style of a guest bathroom, knowing what you need from your floors is an essential step to picking the right one.
The choices can be a bit overwhelming at first but plenty of options means that you can rest assured that you will pick the one that works best for you and make your decision with more ease.