When you’re remodeling a bathroom, you have a lot of decisions to make — about everything from layout to vanity style to paint color. One of the key decisions centers on the flooring. Today’s bathroom market includes all kinds of options for flooring. Do you go with tile? If so, what type, style and size? Do you go with hardwood? Or will you regret using it in a high-moisture, high-humidity space? You could opt for wood-look tile floors for a best-of-both-worlds solution, but then there’s also inexpensive vinyl, among other possibilities. So how do you make a choice that will result in a floor that you enjoy for years to come? How do you choose the right bathroom flooring for your space? To help answer these questions, here’s a look at some key tips and principles for picking the best bathroom floors for you.
Pros and Cons of Different Bathroom Flooring Options
A good place to start when investigating bathroom flooring options is looking at what’s available. What does each of the different kinds of flooring have to offer, and where does each fall short? To help you feel more informed as a shopper, here’s a look at some common flooring possibilities, along with their respective pros and cons.
- Carpeting: While it was once a common choice, carpeting in the bathroom has decreased in popularity today — and with good reason. Homeowners have realized how poorly carpet performs in high-moisture environments. As you’re regularly using the bathroom to shower, bathe and get ready, the resulting condensation and moisture affect carpet all the way down to its padding. This gives your bathroom a damp, dank smell that makes the room musty and makes thorough cleaning almost impossible.
- Ceramic or stone tile: One of the most popular bathroom flooring options today, on the other hand, is tile. Whether you go with ceramic or stone, tile gives you a beautiful, durable, water-resistant flooring option that can handle regular moisture. Tile comes in all kinds of colors, shapes, sizes and designs, so you have a huge variety of possibilities for customizing your room to your tastes with this type of flooring. You can even choose wood-look tile to achieve the aesthetic appeal of hardwood but with better durability.
- Hardwoods: Hardwoods are a timeless flooring choice, renowned for their beauty and quality. In a bathroom, however, they don’t tend to do well. The moisture of the bathroom environment can damage the wood, making it warp and crack over time, leaving you with a real headache on your hands.
- Cork: Cork floors come from bark, which means they’re made of a renewable resource. Both eco-friendly and resistant to mold and mildew, these floors need to be sealed every few years to protect against moisture. For best results, they should be finished on site in order to prevent water seeping between gaps.
- Laminate: Laminate floors come in so many different styles and colors today that they potentially can be a good choice for a bathroom. You’ll want to stay away from laminate floors with seams, however, as water can leak into the seams and cause blistering or warping.
- Vinyl: Inexpensive and incredibly durable, vinyl also has a lot to offer. You can go with vinyl tile, which is a cinch to install and is made to be waterproof. Alternatively, you can choose sheet vinyl, for all the benefits of vinyl floors without having to deal with seams.
- Linoleum: Last but not least, there is linoleum. Like vinyl, it’s available in tiles or sheets, and it’s water-repellant for better bathroom longevity than hardwoods or even laminates. The tiles will have seams that could potentially allow for moisture and later warping, but the sheets eliminate that concern.
Questions to Ask as You Shop
Even after you understand the ins and outs of different floor options, you may find yourself stumped about which kind to use. To help you think through the decision, here are some helpful questions to keep in mind:
- What option is both timeless and trendy? Trends change, but whatever is “in” also appeals to buyers — at least when it’s still popular. To maximize your return on investment, look for floors that are both trendy and timeless.
- What fits my budget? You may love an expensive ceramic tile but find that filling your large bathroom with it is out of your price range. Explore the different cost options to see what works for you.
- Will it last? Different flooring materials have different durability potential, so if you’re looking for something that can last, stick to the water-resistant, long-lasting options.
What does each of the different kinds of flooring have to offer, and where does each fall short?
To help you feel more informed as a shopper, here’s a look at some common flooring possibilities, along with their respective pros and cons.