Choosing the Ideal Bathroom Flooring

You walk on it several times a day, drip water and spill on it, and then leave it in a humid environment until you can clean it up.  What area in your home could you possibly treat this way?  The bathroom floor, of course! 

Bathroom flooring is expected to look stylish and complement your bathroom design, like these options in our design gallery.  At the same time, you expect it to withstand high levels of foot traffic, moisture, and dirt, all while remaining easy to clean and highly durable.  It’s no wonder that selecting the right floor for your bathroom renovation is a daunting task.

Here are 5 factors to consider when selecting bathroom flooring:

1.       Color and style: The bathroom floor connects the dots between your vanity, tub, shower, and walls.  It is typically either a neutral palate for the rest of the room or a carefully chosen color, material, and design that complements and pulls together the rest of your bathroom style.

2.       Durability: The bathroom floor is expected to withstand heavy wear and tear and still last for years.  It must be moisture, mold, and mildew resistant, and be able to handle constant foot traffic.

3.       Ease of maintenance: Bathrooms require constant cleaning and maintenance so the last thing you want is a material or design that is difficult to keep clean.  You must be able to clean not only the material itself but in the case of tiles also the grout lines.  Select a material that is stain resistant and easy to clean, and be aware of which materials (including grout) need to be re-sealed over time.

4.       Price: There are many different options available for bathroom floor materials.  Several may meet your bathroom design requirements, but depending on the material and ease of installation may also vary widely in price.  Adding radiant underfloor heating to avoid having cold bathroom floors in the winter months will also increase your overall bathroom remodeling budget.

5.       Slip factor: Design incorporates all of the senses, so the texture of your floor is just as important as color and pattern.  Think about how the floor will feel under your feet, and even more importantly how slippery it will be when wet.  Ideally you want to pick a floor material with some texture to it, as a surface that is too smooth can be hazardous in a wet bathroom.

You can select almost any material for your bathroom floor, though some materials are obviously better suited to a space that is prone to damp, mold, splashes, and spills.  Here are a few of the choices available:

Tile is typically the surface of choice for bathroom floors.  Porcelain or ceramic tile provides a classic look that is durable, waterproof, and stain resistant, like the design below left.  They can be found in a wide array of sizes, shapes, colors, and patterns to suit any design. You can also achieve the look of wood flooring in the bathroom in a much more durable way with porcelain wood effect tiles.  Stone tiles have a much more natural look and organic feel, and offer a unique appearance for your floor like the design shown below right.  Tiles tend to be very cold under foot so you may want to include radiant underfloor heating.

Vinyl is a budget friendly, waterproof, easy to clean option for bathroom flooring.  It is available in sheets or tiles, and offers a wide range of option for colors and patterns.

Hardwood floors can be used in a bathroom design, though they must be sealed to combat moisture damage.  A better choice may be laminate, which gives the look of hardwood but is more budget friendly and scratch and stain resistant.

Cork or bamboo are both highly sustainable, eco-friendly options.  Both are durable for a wet environment, though engineered bamboo is better for bathrooms and cork must be sealed to be spill resistant.

Consider all the options for flooring when doing a bathroom renovation. Find the ideal flooring material that offers you the durability, ease of maintenance, color, shape, and style that best complements your space.  A bathroom design expert can help you navigate the many options available to find the right one for you.