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What are the Different Types of Bathroom Flooring?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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There are many different types of bathroom flooring options available and they have advantages and disadvantages that should be considered. The main concern with flooring used in bathrooms is the moisture that may occur even when plumbing isn't leaking. For instance, occasional water spills may loosen adhesives on some kinds of floors and if a bathtub or toilet overflows, some types of bathroom flooring may have to be replaced. Laminate, wood, carpet, vinyl, ceramic and stone are some of the most common types of flooring materials that people consider installing in their bathrooms.

Stone floors in bathrooms can look naturally elegant, but they are also the most expensive choice. Stone bathroom floors can feel cold on the feet and many types of stone are slippery when damp. Slate is considered a good choice for stone bathroom floors as it has a rougher texture that helps prevent slipping and it's less expensive that most kinds of stone. Ceramic bathroom flooring is excellent for bathrooms if it's unglazed, as the glazed type may get slippery. An advantage of ceramic for bathroom floors is that it can blend well with ceramic tile used in the shower or counter areas.

Vinyl is a good budget floor option for bathrooms although the tiles may lift up over time. The sheeting type of vinyl flooring is best installed by professionals. Although vinyl doesn't usually look glamorous, there are many color options available. Another advantage of vinyl bathroom flooring is that it tends to wear well.

Carpet is easily the worst bathroom flooring choice. Even if a heavy duty marine type of carpet that resists moisture is used, there is still the problem of hygiene around the toilet area. Germs can get trapped in the soft carpet fibers, while they can be scrubbed off of hard flooring. Carpeting as bathroom floor covering isn't beneficial in terms of increasing a home's value since many home buyers are turned off at the idea of carpet in bathrooms. Bathroom mats that don't slip and can be machine washed are a better choice for adding warmth and color to bathrooms.

Wood floors in the bathroom may be a concern for some home buyers. Wood can be used successfully as bathroom flooring, yet spills have to be cleaned up immediately. If a wood floor is going to be used in a bathroom, it should be hardwood rather than softwood because softer wood absorbs moisture more easily. Some popular types of hardwood flooring include walnut, maple, cherry, oak and hickory. Sealing a wood bathroom floor with a polyurethane finish helps protect it from moisture problems, but very humid bathrooms may still warp the wood or build up moisture under the floor that can cause mold.

Laminate floors look like wood as they are photographs of wood graining that are covered with a thick acrylic coating. Laminate flooring poses problems if moisture gets underneath the floor and this could happen in a bathroom if the tub or toilet overflows. Not only can moisture that may cause mold get trapped under flooring, but trapped water can cause the floor to bubble and be ruined. If laminate bathroom flooring is tightly sealed around the edges, it may be a possible choice for bathrooms.

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Discussion Comments

By mobilian33 — On Jun 03, 2014

My next door neighbor has a linoleum rug in her bathroom. She recently discovered she had a slow leak from the toilet and the water had leaked beneath the rug. She is going to have to replace it because the backing on the linoleum is ruined.

The biggest problem was that she didn't have any sealant around the toilet. regardless of what type of bathroom flooring you have, you should use a silicon sealant around areas where water might leak. This will protect your flooring.

By Feryll — On Jun 02, 2014

There is old vinyl flooring in my girlfriend's new house. The flooring is white and the house had not been lived in for over a year when she bought it. The floor looked like it had not been cleaned in several years. I was certain we were going to have to pull it up.

We mopped the floor a couple times so that we could be certain the surfaced had been thoroughly disinfected. Still it did not look a whole lot better. After a couple of weeks, I tired of looking at the floor and decided to get a mixture of bleach and water and a stiff brush.

The dirt started coming out of the floor immediately. I had to scrub a long time, but the vinyl looked good when I was finished. It is actually white again, and it looks like real ceramic bathroom flooring. I highly recommend vinyl tile for its durability.

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