Deciding On Flooring For Your Bathroom Remodel: Tile Or Wood?

Deciding On Flooring For Your Bathroom Remodel: Tile Or Wood?

When it comes to bathroom flooring, many people automatically turn to a ceramic or porcelain tile variety, and for good reason. The classic look of a beautiful tile floor will reward you with many years of dependable, durable wear. However, with rustic trends taking hold in the past few years, homeowners are embracing the quaint look of weathered wood or even more traditional hardwood flooring for an elegant touch.

Whether your design aesthetic leans toward traditional, modern or contemporary, you always want to make a decision that is affordable, practical and beautiful. Most importantly, your master or guest bath renovation can yield a mighty return on its investment when done right.

If you’re wondering whether you should use tile or wood, the answer isn’t so cut and dry, so explore the many advantages and disadvantages involved with each, below.

Which is more durable? In a bathroom setting, moisture remains the most crucial factor when selecting a flooring material. Naturally, tile triumphs as the most resilient due to its resistance to cracking, scratching and water damage. Consider one of these hardy varieties:

  • Ceramic
  • Porcelain
  • Vinyl
  • Glass
  • Marble and stone

Since hardwood is much more susceptible to warping, it may be a disastrous choice for families prone to splashing. Still, engineered varieties of hardwood prove incredibly resilient when installed smartly. With some extra putty in between the cracks and a few coats of polyurethane, experts say wood can perform just as durably as tile.

What’s the cost, and does it matter? It’s hard to definitively say whether tile or wood is more expensive. An imported European marble could put you back just as much as the labor cost for hardwood flooring installation. Though since tile requires little upkeep beyond the occasional resealing, wood tends to prove more costly over time. With regular refinishing, resurfacing, and the like, hardwood is definitely a high-maintenance choice for a bathroom.

As long as you maintain your surface responsibly, though, initial cost shouldn’t drastically impact the life of your product.

Which is easier to customize? If you have a unique bathroom sink or bathroom cabinets, then you may have to base your flooring choice around what’ll fit.

Likewise, homeowners with very eclectic design taste may want to mix and match colors, shapes and sizes.

Hands down, tile lends itself to customization. Wood, however, will cost a pretty penny for precision cutting and installation.

Which is easier to clean? Ceramic, porcelain and vinyl tile tend to be very low maintenance. You can vacuum, sweep, mop and wipe without hesitation. However, if you’re slow to clean, dirt and debris can settle in grout for cleaning inconvenience.


Meanwhile, hardwood floors demand lots of preventative maintenance. Be prepared to wipe up spills immediately, and certain finishes call for special nonabrasive products. However, if sealed well with polyurethane, hardwood only requires a damp rag for a shiny clean.

Which one is more sustainable? Clearly, tile is the green choice for the modern family. But fear not, especially those who want that warm, rustic look of wood. Instead of cutting down trees, there’s always a happy medium.

The solution: Use one that looks like the other. Today, one of the most attractive options for your bathroom remodel is ceramic tile that mimics the look of wood planking. This popular choice is so convincing in its natural appearance that you won’t even know the floor isn’t real hardwood. Best of all, it’s much cheaper and requires next to no upkeep.