Bathroom flooring is one of the design elements that can tie a room together, provide contrast and make a room feel larger. When searching for the right flooring for your project, consider how it will perform under stress (mainly water conditions).
If you have little ones, a more resilient flooring may be your best bet as water is so prevalent in bathrooms. To make sure all important factors are accounted for, we’ve outlined flooring durability, appearance, cost, and ease of installation for the most popular choices.
Porcelain or Ceramic Tile
wood texture porcelain tiled floor
Porcelain tile is a type of ceramic tile, though it is made from finer, denser clay and is fired at higher temperatures. Additionally, porcelain tile is tougher, more scratch resistant than other varieties, and more durable and resistant to stains.
Because there are so many different types of ceramic tiles, you can create the exact floor you want. You can even find ceramic tile that looks like wood or stone. Individual tile comes in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, from square and rectangular to octagonal and hexagonal.
While most ceramic floor tile is glazed, unglazed ceramic tiles, such as traditional Saltillo tile is an option. However, it must be sealed to protect the surface from liquids and stains.
Pros and Cons
- Many style choices
- Good resale value
- Works well with radiant heating
- Cleans up well
- Cold under foot
- Hard under foot, so it is difficult to stand on for long periods
- Often sterile-looking
There are many types of natural stone, including marble, slate, granite, travertine, limestone and sandstone. Each stone has its own unique properties, so consider the pros and cons of each one to know what type of natural stone, if any, is right for your home.
marble floor placed in front of glass shower accented with rain shower head and gray and white marble surround.
Marble, like any natural stone, requires protective sealant applications prior to use, which needs to be maintained and regularly reapplied for a full protection. Because marble is not stain-resistant, it is important that spills are quickly cleaned up to avoid the possibility of stain damage. Daily substances that contain acids can all cause damage or stain the marble if not immediacy cleaned up, including vinegar, alcohol, tomato products, fruit juices, salad dressing, mustard, coffee, tea, and cosmetics.
slate tile, seamless texture
Slate tile provides a slightly uneven and dull appearance compared to other natural stone options. This is one reason it is so popular, as it provides a slip-resistant tile for flooring. Compared to other natural stone options, slate is more stain resistant, highly durable and handles water well. Due to slate being formed within layers, it has been known to peel or flake in rare cases. Because of this, it is important that slate tile is immediately treated with sealant after installation, and well maintained with reapplying sealant regularly.
travertine bathroom tile
Travertine is often compared with marble or limestone, as it is created similarly. Travertine soaks up liquids, meaning it will stain if it is not treated, and spills are not quickly cleaned. Travertine is prone to stains from various acidic food, and due to being softer than other natural stones it will be susceptible to showing wear, tear and scratches.
Natural stone is a good choice for bathroom flooring as it is durable, aesthetically pleasing and returns excellent resale value. However, real stone flooring is by far the most expensive flooring option.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent resale value
- Very durable
Engineered wood is better than solid wood under high moisture conditions due to its dimensional stability. Engineered wood has a plywood base that holds up well against moisture. Plus, engineered wood flooring looks authentically like wood because the top layer is real hardwood veneer.
If you wish to have natural wood in a bathroom, engineered wood is the best choice. It is important to note that any type of wood product, no matter how well protected, is prone to damage in bathrooms.
Pros and Cons
- Best flooring choice if you want to have real wood in the bathroom
- Dimensionally stable
- Authentic hardwood on the top
- Oversanding can wear through the veneer layer
- Moderate-to-high expensive
To view popular flooring options, check out our bathroom project gallery.