You rarely think about it, but your bathroom is one of the most important parts of your home. It provides necessity and also comfort. Where else in your home can you take a mini vacation away from the rest of the family? In addition, it is second only to the kitchen in terms of importance for resale. This is why bathrooms and kitchens are the most often remodeled rooms in every home.
But when you are considering updating your flooring, what questions do you need to ask? The absolute most important factor here is water. The shower always manages to spray on the floor, and the steam from the shower permeates the room. Bathrooms need to be thoroughly waterproofed to prevent mold and rot. That is why we are Schluter Systems Certified. Schluter systems are second to none for waterproofing, and we want to install the best quality materials to ensure that your bathroom withstands many years of moisture.
You know that it has to be waterproof, but what bathroom flooring is best for your needs?
Does Bathroom Flooring have to be Waterproof?
Yes! Your bathroom flooring choice absolutely has to be waterproof, and in addition, it needs waterproofing beneath it. We always recommend Schluter Systems for waterproofing that lasts. Lots of flooring is water resistant, but that does not work in the wettest bathroom in the house. Water resistant is fine in a utility room, basement, or kitchen, but not in the bathroom. Water resistant flooring in a bathroom will swell, warp, and cup. It’s just a matter of time.
The difference between water resistant and waterproof is that waterproof flooring will not absorb water under any circumstance. In addition to keeping your flooring from becoming damaged from moisture, waterproof flooring also protects your bathroom from mold and mildew. Don’t try to save money on your flooring or waterproofing during your bathroom remodel, or you will wind up paying much more for mold remediation. Mold is toxic, it causes all kinds of health problems, and is difficult to get rid of. Skipping waterproofing your bathroom, and choosing waterproof flooring, costs a lot more than what is saved initially.
What is the Best Bathroom Flooring?
Tile! Tile is such a great flooring for your bathroom that it doesn’t even have to be real tile! Luxury Vinyl Tile is a great lower cost option and looks just like ceramic or porcelain tile. Handy, DIY homeowners find it easy to install. However, nothing beats the years and years of durability and waterproofing of ceramic tile. It comes in every shape and color you can imagine to design a truly unique bathroom. You can make remodeling your bathroom a creative experience with tile. Or you can install a neutral colored tile to maximize its market appeal.
Ceramic and Porcelain Tile
Far and away, the most popular choice for bathroom flooring is ceramic tile. It is durable, its waterproof, and it comes in hundreds of shapes and sizes. The most popular is square, neutral colored tile on the floor along with a subway tile backsplash. Many homeowners also choose a bright colored tile for an accent. When you choose tile, you can choose to tile the floor and backsplash behind your vanity only. Or you can tile all of the walls. In addition, many homeowners opt to get rid of their tub shower in favor of a tiled step in shower that flows seamlessly into the rest of the room. Another popular option is a mosaic tile accent in the shower floor, on in a recessed shower shelf.
The only concern with tile in the bathroom is that it can be slippery. If you are tiling a shower, choose very small tiles, or even mosaic tiles for the floor. This creates more grout lines and better traction. There are also textured tiles available that are anti-slip. You can choose to install an anti slip mat or grab bars for safety.
Check out this link for an article on the best tile brands.
Luxury Vinyl Tile
Not all Luxury Vinyl Tile is waterproof. If you intend to install it in your bathroom, you have to make certain that it is waterproof. Certain cores in LVT are still susceptible to moisture. LVT is a great, low cost option for remodeling your bathroom floor as long as it is installed correctly. Waterproof vinyl tile is more affordable than stone but you can find LVT that mimics the look of natural stone. LVT will not last as long as ceramic or natural stone tile, however, it is easier to demo and replace when the time comes.
Natural Stone Tile
Granite, Marble, and Limestone offer the same benefits of ceramic or porcelain tile. Plus natural beauty. Its durable, waterproof, and there are tons of patterns and shapes to choose from. However, natural stone tile often requires regular maintenance that ceramic or porcelain does not need. Many types of stone must be sealed periodically. Stone can also be slippery, but the surfaces can be made rough with certain finishing techniques to solve this problem.
If your bathroom has a concrete floor beneath it, there’s great news! As long as it is finished and sealed, it’s waterproof! You may even have a drain in the room already. There’s even more great news! You’re not stuck with a gray floor if you don’t want it. You can stain concrete to match the decor of your bathroom. Just like stone and ceramic tile, concrete can be slippery, and cold. Consider this before choosing your flooring in a bathroom built on concrete.
Never Use This Flooring In Your Bathroom
Now that you know the best options for your bathroom, let’s talk about what type of flooring to never install in a bathroom. This flooring is not waterproof, and not designed to be in a bathroom. It will quickly become damaged and grow mold.
Bathroom Double Vanity Ceramic Tile Rick
Hardwood – Laminate – Engineered Wood
Hardwood, Laminate, and Engineered Wood flooring will all become damaged when exposed to regular moisture. Sure, you can spill something on hardwood as long as you clean it up quickly, but that is very different that the constant moisture in a bathroom. These wooden types of flooring will warp, cup, and swell in the bathroom. Then they will provide food and moisture for mold growth. Do not try to install them.
Here at Flooring Masters, we always advise against carpet. It’s the worst flooring option if you have pets or children because you can never truly get it clean. It creates a place for dander, dust, and dirt to hide, and you can never get rid of those irritants. Carpet is awful for people with allergies. Even with regular shampooing, you can never get carpet totally clean. In addition to these problems, carpet cannot be installed in a bathroom because it will never dry out, and all of that dirt deep down inside it will provide food for mold to grow. Don’t ever install carpet in a bathroom, or anywhere else in your home.
The Short Version
In short, if you are choosing flooring for your bathroom, choose tile. It lasts for years, its waterproof, and all of the different colors, shapes, and laying patterns will allow you to truly customize your bathroom.
For more help choosing the best flooring for your bathroom, or installing it, please contact us using the form in that link, or give us a call any time at 812-944-6383.