Although bathrooms don’t receive as much foot traffic as living rooms do, that doesn’t mean you should install any type of flooring in your bathroom. A well thought-out plan will help save money and increase your home’s value. Mindful designing needs to be taken before you install flooring in your bathroom.
Bathrooms and kitchens are considered to be high-moisture areas, which basically means your flooring – if it’s not a high-moisture / water resistant material – may pay the price (well, so will you in the long run).
Floors for Bathroom
Not all floors are equal. There are many types of flooring: vinyl, hardwood, tile, bamboo, and laminate flooring, though not all can withstand the high-moisture of a bathroom.
Hardwood especially comes to mind. Natural wood absorbs water. Wood flooring wouldn’t be a first choice or last choice to install in a bathroom, unless it’s engineered wood – even then it is not recommended as it doesn’t perform well with water on it; but it can handle the moisture, which makes engineered flooring great for kitchens and half bathrooms.
What’s considered high-moisture?
Ideal moisture / humidity inside a house is between 40% – 50%. This range is ideal for good indoor air-quality, prevent mildew, dust mites, and slow bacteria growth. When it comes to flooring, high-moisture may expand your boards, swelling with moisture – and if your flooring hasn’t acclimated to your home’s moisture prior to installation it may buckle once installed.
Bathroom areas will definitely go beyond the ideal humidity range after a shower. With time and shower frequency, flooring (again, if it’s not high-moisture / water resistant) will swell and buckle. And, don’t forget, your bathroom floor, if it is a full bathroom, will encounter water, and most likely small pools of water – this alone is a determining factor in choosing the best floor material for your bathroom install.
Vinyl is very durable. It is resistant to steam, humidity, moisture and water.
Vinyl tile is fairly easy to install – which makes bathroom install relatively quick. However, there is a draw back. Vinyl tiles may allow moisture in through the seams between tiles to penetrate passed the water-resistant material and reach the subfloor.
Vinyl sheet is an ideal choice for a vinyl install as the sheets are wide enough to only have a few seams, minimizing moisture exposure. Drawback: measuring sheets for bathroom install can be very difficult and tedious, and any mistake may cause you to ruin your vinyl sheet – throwing money away.
Something to consider: individual tiles can be replaced if they get damaged, but with a vinyl sheet the entire flooring needs to be ripped up and new vinyl flooring reinstalled.
Laminate is a superior bathroom flooring option when compared to hardwood. The surface of the laminate is water & humidity resistant.
Laminate planks offer very tight seams against one another – making moisture almost impossible to penetrate to subfloor. Though, if moisture or water does penetrate the surface and reaches the sides of the plank it will take only a few hours to noticeably see damage. Once in contact with water, the exposed plank will begin to swell, bubbling the laminate surface – it will not return to its original shape.
Unfortunately, there is no waterproof laminate flooring, only the surface of the laminate is what is resistant to water and humidity.
Ceramic and porcelain tiles are very resistant to water and humidity, which makes this material the ideal choice for bathroom installs. Tiles come in different shapes and sizes, they also can be used on walls – a great option for the designer that would like to match floor with wall. Actually, tiles are very versatile when it comes design, even the grout can be colored to make a feature pop or highlight the tile’s hue.
However, tile install is more time-consuming than the other flooring options talked about in this article.
If you are up for the task of laying down flooring for the bathroom, go for it. But if you are not that handy, don’t have enough time to complete install or not confident to instal flooring in a bathroom, consider calling a professional installer.