How To Choose The Right Bathroom Flooring
In your home, your bathroom has to stand up to a lot. It’s one of the most, if not the most, frequently used room in your house. So if you want to install some new bathroom flooring, or remodel your bathroom, you have a lot riding on your choice!
Depending on your daily use habits, your family makeup, where you live, and a variety of other factors, certain bathroom flooring options may work better for your home than others. Here are some bathroom flooring ideas to help you choose the best style for you and your home.
Is it a bathroom or a powder room?
One of the first considerations that you’re going to want to weigh as you decide on new bathroom flooring is just how “wet” your bathroom is going to get. If this is your family bathroom, complete with shower, tub or bath, where many family members will wash themselves on a daily basis, then some of your biggest concerns in choosing a bathroom floor should be waterproof quality and durability.
Best Waterproof Bathroom Flooring
When it comes to waterproof flooring options, the best types are either tile or waterproof laminate, which is why these two materials are fan favorites in the bathroom.
Starting with tile, you typically have two material options: either ceramic or porcelain. Between the two, porcelain is the better choice, as it has a higher waterproof factor. Although both materials are made from clay, according to Better Homes & Gardens, the clay used to make porcelain tile is more refined and purified. It’s also “fired at a higher temperature and greater pressure, resulting in an extremely dense and hard material.” This composition is what helps keep more water out. Ceramic tile is also waterproof, though, and will get the job done just as well.
However, engineered vinyl plank (or luxury vinyl plank) is seeing a big increase in popularity among homeowners in recent years. And the creators of these flooring types are able to do amazing things with the chemical makeup. Waterproof vinyl flooring is one of the hottest options in the home renovation market right now. This type of vinyl contains a waterproof core, so it’s a great choice for bathrooms and other moisture-prone areas, like the kitchen. In addition, this engineered vinyl flooring is often made to mimic the look of real wood, and comes in a variety of colors and styles to help you achieve the aesthetic that you are looking for.
As a rule of thumb, if you are looking at laminate or vinyl, read the fine print and make sure the material is “waterproof,” not just water-resistant. Especially if this flooring is for your primary bathroom in the house, you will want to make sure it is fully waterproof.
If your bathroom floors are going into a powder room (with no tub or shower), rather than a true bathroom, then you have a little more wiggle room when it comes to the necessity of waterproof flooring.
Do you have children?
Another question that will help decide which type of bathroom flooring is right for your bathroom remodel is, “Do you have children?” If you have a child or children in the home that will be using this bathroom frequently, you are going to want to select a bathroom floor that is both safe and easy to clean. After all, kids are not known to be the cleanest of people!
Easiest to Clean Bathroom Flooring
When it comes to cleanliness, it doesn’t get much easier to clean that vinyl flooring in the bathroom. Especially with many of the waterproof vinyl variations that have become popular, a simple sweep and Swiffer routine will help keep your floors looking in top shape (and keep them sanitary).
Tile is another great option on the easy-to-clean scale. Both porcelain and ceramic tile offer a clean and classic look that’s both waterproof and stain-resistant. To make your life even easier, however, when choosing tile to install in your bathroom, gravitate towards neutral tones over white. White tile looks classic and modern, but it can be harder to keep clean, as it shows dirt and grime more easily.
Laminate flooring is another easy-cleanup floor for the bathroom. Laminate is resistant to stains and moisture, which makes it a great option for any home. It’s easy to clean, and won’t harbor mold or mildew.
Most Durable Bathroom Flooring
If you’re looking for pure durability, your best option for bathroom flooring is going to be a natural stone floor. Overall, stone flooring is highly durable and scratch-resistant. It’s extremely hard, and will easily stand the test of time, and any wear and tear. Stone is a more expensive flooring option to install, but it pays off: stone floors are a great home improvement that adds major value, and are highly sought after by potential buyers. There’s no need to worry about water damage with stone flooring; stone floors, whether they are marble, granite, limestone, or another material, are naturally resistant to water, so they make a great choice for the bathroom.
Again, tile is going to be a highly durable option for bathrooms floors too, especially porcelain tile which is slightly harder and more durable than ceramic. A nice aspect of tile is that, if for some reason is does get damaged, it’s easy to replace one or a few tiles without disrupting the rest of the flooring.
Safest Bathroom Flooring
For homes with kids, or if you have other safety concerns for your bathroom, one of your best options for safe bathroom flooring is going to be a slip-resistant tile floor, or some sort of textured tile floor with grip. There are actually certifications out there for tile flooring that meets an ADA bathroom feature certification for slip-resistance. Look for this label when choosing tile floor for your bathroom to make sure it’s the safest option available.
Another excellent safety-forward option for bathroom flooring is non-slip vinyl flooring. In fact, there are specific vinyl flooring products out there that are designed for the purpose of being slip-prohibiting, so if you can find these brands, they will be your best bet for safety. Due to its structure, vinyl also has some built-in padding. So worst-case scenario, should there be any stumbles, vinyl will help absorb the shock better than other, harder materials.
For pure softness, cork flooring is a great, safe choice. Cork flooring is naturally moisture-resistant, due to a natural component of the cellular makeup: a waxy material called suberin. In addition, cork flooring is soft underfoot and also has a natural warmth to it, which can certainly be nice in the bathroom. However, since cork is not 100% waterproof, it may not be a great choice for your child’s bathroom.
If you do not have kids, then you can probably get away with a bathroom floor that requires a little more upkeep, won’t be as susceptible to damage, or isn’t childproof. For example, concrete floors are having a moment right now. A concrete bathroom floor is a bold choice, and the cool, gray material will add some serious drama to your home. But while concrete bathroom floors are striking, they are not always the most practical choice. When sealed properly, concrete floors are easy to clean, and hypoallergenic. But concrete floors can also be very slick and slippery, especially when wet. They definitely aren’t the best floor choice if you have unsteady family members (like toddlers and grandparents) in the house, but concrete is a great floor choice for modern homes.
Do you have pets?
While your pets won’t be actually using your bathroom, if your bathroom is located in a central area, and is big enough for them to walk into, you should account for your family pet occasionally wandering in there as well.
Best Scratch-Resistant Bathroom Flooring
Generally, any floor that’s hard and durable will be more resistant to scratches, as well as general wear-and-tear. Vinyl flooring is incredibly resilient, which is why it’s often used in heavy-traffic building like hospitals, grocery stores, and, of course, bathrooms. Especially with many of the new engineered wood plank floor options available today, these materials are both waterproof and scratch-resistant, which makes them a great choice for bathroom floors.
Tile floors are also worth mentioning here, as they are highly durable and resistant to scratches. If installed well and properly maintained, a tile floor can easily last 20 years or more, pets or no pets.
What does your budget look like?
Another important consideration for any home improvement or renovation project is budget. How much money do you have to spend on these bathroom floors? Here are a few suggestions for whatever range your budget happens to fall into.
Most Affordable Bathroom Flooring
If you’re looking to spend minimal dollars, you should check your bathroom dimensions to see if you can get away with a single sheet of vinyl flooring. On the whole, vinyl is highly affordable: the average cost of linoleum and vinyl flooring is $2-$2.50 per square foot, but vinyl flooring can be found for as low as $0.50 per square foot. This makes vinyl a popular option for homeowners on a budget. And if you have a small enough space to cover in your bathroom than you can get away with one singular vinyl sheet (with no seams), this is probably your cheapest option.
A nice middle of-the-road option is tile, which is moderately priced and highly versatile. Tile offers a wide range of prices, styles, colors and patterns, so no matter what you’re looking for, you can probably find a solution in the tile department. Tile is also a very cost-effective bathroom flooring option: the average cost of ceramic or porcelain tile is $0.49 – $15 per square foot, depending on quality.
Another way to save money in your new bathroom flooring is to choose a material that you can easily install yourself, if this is something you feel comfortable with. Vinyl is the most DIY-friendly bathroom floor material, followed by interlocking floor tiles. But as is the rule: if it’s easy to install, it’s probably easy to take apart or wear down as well. Consider this when you’re assessing your flooring choices.
Most Expensive Bathroom Flooring
By far, the most expensive bathroom flooring option is stone flooring. Since stone is a natural material, it has to be harvested from nature, which isn’t a cheap process. But on the positive side, like we mentioned, it will last for years and years to come.
You can also up the budget on your bathroom floors by adding in heated floors. It’s pretty easy to install in-floor heat or radiant heat, and it’s a nice addition for those cold winter mornings when you’re just shuffling out of bed. The cost to install radiant heat will vary depending on the size of your bathroom, but the average cost is about $6-8 per square foot.
Do you want to be different?
A major consideration for choosing the right bathroom flooring for you, the same as with making any interior design decision, is thinking about the aesthetic you want to create. Do you want to create a bright, open bathroom space, full of white floors and marble countertops? Do you want to ground your bathroom in dark colors, and add a little allure? Do you want to fit the mold, or do something different with your bathroom flooring?
Most Unique Bathroom Flooring
If you want your space to look truly unique, your best flooring for a bathroom is custom tile, or a laminate floor material that looks like hardwood. Since hardwood is a notorious bathroom faux-pas, this will be a very original look.
Or you can opt for a more traditional flooring material, like tile, but install it in a unique pattern or design. Tile is perhaps the most highly customizable flooring option out there. If you’re not ready to fully jump into a unique flooring option, test the waters with an original rug.
There’s no shortage of options to choose from when it comes to bathroom flooring, although probably the most popular and reliable choices are either hardwood or viable. Do your research of what will work best for you and your family, and start creating your dream floor today.