Replacing your bathroom’s floor is the perfect way to transform and modernize this room’s style. However, aesthetic appeal is only one of many factors that you must focus on in order to choose the best flooring for bathrooms. After all, this is generally a smaller room than most others in the home, and the floor may be exposed to heat, high levels of humidity and even standing water at times.
What to Look for in the Best Flooring for Bathrooms
The last thing that you want is to go through the time, effort and expense of installing new flooring in the bathroom only to find that it is irreparably ruined by environmental factors soon after it is installed. You also do not want to choose a material that is unbearably difficult to install in such a small space. The best flooring for bathrooms is moisture resistant and easy to install in this type of environment. More than that, it will have the desired style and will be affordable for the budget that you are working with. Given these requirements, you can quickly remove carpet and hardwood floor from your list of options. How do some of the other more common types of flooring materials compare?
Ceramic and Porcelain Tile
Many people assume that ceramic and porcelain tile are the same. The reality is that porcelain tile is a special type of ceramic tile. Ceramic tile is generally known for its affordability and durability. This material is resistant to water damage, and it is available in a wide range of colors, sizes, shapes and styles. In fact, some tiles mimic the look of high-end materials like marble or hardwood. The primary difference that sets porcelain tile apart from other tiles in the ceramic family is its water absorption rate. Porcelain tile absorbs very little water compared to other ceramic tiles. Because of this, the porcelain tile is well-suited for full bathrooms where standing water may be likely on the floor. In a powder room, however, both types of tile would work well. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are easy to clean and maintain, and they can have a positive impact on the home’s resale value.
One of the more common complaints about tile is that it is cold to the touch. Ceramic and porcelain tile can both be installed over a radiant heating element to resolve this problem. If you choose to install tile in your bathroom, choose a textured material to reduce the risk of slipping when the floor is wet. An alternative is to use smaller tiles. The grout placed between the smaller tiles can reduce the overall slickness of the floor.
Vinyl Flooring Materials for Bathrooms Floors
Vinyl floor is available in tiles, sheets and planks. Higher-quality vinyl can impressively mimic the look of other materials. Vinyl is completely waterproof, and this includes at the seams. The material is known for its affordability. Because it is easy to install, homeowners can save money by installing the material on their own with relative ease.
In a small bathroom, a full sheet of vinyl can be installed to create a seamless surface. Luxury vinyl planks that have a higher-end look, on the other hand, may have many seams that must match up perfectly for aesthetics.
Unfortunately, vinyl floor is so well-known for its affordability that it is often viewed as being cheap. This can have a poor effect on a home’s resale value. In addition, because this flooring material is relatively thin and is not placed on a special under-layer, any blemishes on the subfloor may be visible after the vinyl floor is installed.
Natural stone like limestone, marble, slate, granite and others are resistant to moisture damage. These materials are very hard and durable, and they have long-lasting appeal. Because natural stone is considered to be a high-end material or an upgrade, the impact on the home’s value can be tremendous.
On the other hand, natural stone may be slippery and cold. As is the case with ceramic and porcelain tile, you can bypass these drawbacks by installing radiant heating elements underneath the floor and by choosing a textured material. Perhaps the most significant drawback associated with natural stone in the bathroom is its cost. In addition to the high cost of the material, the homeowner typically must pay for the professional installation of natural stone.
Unlike true hardwood flooring, engineered hardwood is comprised of a plywood base topped by several layers of hardwood material running in opposing directions. The top of this material is usually a waterproof veneer layer. While the surface is waterproof, water can seep between the wood slats and cause warping and other issues.
Engineered hardwood is usually more affordable than natural stone materials, but it is still one of the more expensive flooring materials available overall. In addition, the impact on resale value may be questionable. While engineered hardwood in other areas of the home has undeniable appeal to a buyer, many buyers may have an aversion to having any type of wood flooring in the bathroom.
Laminate flooring is known as being a more affordable alternative to hardwood and engineered hardwood. Its top layers are a durable resin and a clear wear layer that are both resistant to moisture damage. Underneath these layers, the base is usually comprised of a wood chip material. A laminate floor can look remarkably similar to cherry, oak and other types of wood. It can also mimic the look of marble, slate or other natural stone materials.
Its primary benefits are that it is easy to care for and affordable. On the other hand, the wood material at the base of the laminate planks will absorb water. Water may not penetrate through the top wear layer, but it can seep between the materials. When the wood material absorbs water, the material will bubble. The only cure for this type of damage is to replace the planks. Thankfully, however, laminate is easy to install. If you keep extra slats in storage, you can easily replace the damaged planks as needed.
What Is the Best Flooring for Bathrooms in Your Home?
The best flooring for bathrooms will be determined by the need for a completely waterproof material or a moisture-resistant material, your budget, the preferred style, your plans to install the material yourself and other factors. Now that you know more about what to expect from common flooring materials, you can make your selection with confidence.