If you’re looking to remodel your bathroom, there are a number of different flooring options available. However, it’s not a case of any flooring will do; many of the usual options, such as carpet and solid wood, simply can’t stand up to water and humidity. Moisture will quickly ruin the wrong flooring – and then you’re right back where you started.
You want flooring that will look good and complement your chosen style, as well as being practical, slip-resistant and easy to clean. Here we run through some of the best options to consider for your new bathroom.
Porcelain and ceramic tile
Porcelain tile is everything bathroom flooring should be: waterproof, stylish and cost-effective. The only difference between the two is that porcelain tiles have a water absorption rate of 0.5 percent or less and are thus subject to less water infiltration. Hardwearing and easy to clean, porcelain and ceramic tile is highly versatile and offers many style choices – you can even find ceramic tile that looks like wood or stone.
Keep in mind that highly polished porcelain tiles can be slippery when wet, so it’s best to opt for a textured finish. The majority of floor tiles these days are given an anti-slip rating. This value ranges from R9, which has a small degree of slip resistance, right up to R13, which is the highest slip resistance – usually reserved for public wet areas such as pools and changing rooms.
Vinyl has been a popular choice of bathroom flooring for years, being highly durable, easy to install and 100% waterproof. Vinyl can handle large amounts of water and has very few seams, so this is your best option if you have children using the bathroom. There are thousands of style options available, including wood and stone effects that come really quite close to the real thing.
Vinyl has improved considerably over the last decade, both in quality and finish, and works well over underfloor heating. Luxury vinyl tiles are an increasingly popular choice, being softer and warmer underfoot than stone or porcelain. They’re a little more expensive than traditional vinyl, but will last you a good 12-20 years.
Natural stone is a great choice for the bathroom – if you can afford it. Stone tiles provide a stunning finish, with a wide range of options to choose from. Marble, granite and limestone tiles are durable and non-porous, adding excellent resale value to your home.
However, there are some drawbacks. Stone can be higher maintenance than options such as porcelain and vinyl, and it does need to be looked after properly. It can also be cold and slippery, so you may want to opt for naturally textured stone with underfloor heating. Real stone flooring is by far the most expensive flooring option, but worth it if you crave that particularly beautiful, long-lasting finish.
Tough, hygienic and shock-absorbent, textured rubber flooring is ideal for family bathrooms and available in pretty much any colour, pattern or texture. As well as being easy to clean and maintain, it is soft underfoot and slip-resistant. It often comes as tiles, but can also be fitted as one single sheet.
A number of different looks can be achieved with rubber flooring: opt for bold and bright patterns or something more subtle. Abrasive and acidic cleaners should be avoided when cleaning.
Solid wood makes for beautiful flooring, but offers no protection against moisture. By contrast, engineered wood is made up of several layers and has a plywood base that holds up well in humid conditions, making it the best choice if you want to have real wood in the bathroom. However, it’s worth noting that any type of wood product, no matter how well protected, can still be prone to water damage.
Laminate can also work in bathrooms if you take precautions to protect the base from moisture. It’s less expensive and easy to install – but if it should succumb to water damage, you will have no choice but to tear it out and replace it. As such, engineered wood and laminate flooring are not well-suited to family bathrooms that may be prone to spillages.
When choosing bathroom flooring, consider your lifestyle. Do you have pets or children that will require a floor with high wear resistance? Are you looking for a floor that requires very little maintenance or one that offers maximum resale value? Regardless, avoid wall-to-wall carpeting or solid wood at all costs – these offer zero protection against moisture and will quickly start to rot. The quality of your subfloor will also factor into the longevity of your floor finish.
Need help or advice about your next remodel? Get in touch.