Today we are going over the best options when picking new flooring for your bathroom.
Flooring should always be resilient, but the more time you spend in one location, the more durable it needs to be. Studies have shown that people spend anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour each day in the bathroom. While some of that time could be spent sitting or standing, your feet are generally in contact with the floor.
The best flooring options for bathrooms can range from simple porcelain tile to exotic marble, as it all comes down to your particular style, budget, and the requirements of your family. Unfortunately, each type of flooring has its own strengths and weaknesses, which can make finding the right choice all the more difficult.
What’s the Current State of Your Bathroom?
What’s the condition of your bathroom, and why are you replacing the flooring? Whether you’re decided it’s time to remodel your guest bathroom or are redoing half your home, think about your current flooring and what’s underneath it.
If you already have ceramic, porcelain, or stone tile down, it will usually need to be removed, which isn’t easy and can be quite time consuming. You may be able to install engineered hardwood over linoleum, however, so it all depends on the style of flooring you have now. If there are problems with your subfloor or it’s uneven, a professional flooring company can get things back on track. If you find water damage or mildew….you definitely need a professional.
The Best Flooring Options for Bathrooms
You can practically use any type of flooring in your bathroom, from bare concrete to wooden planks. That said, some types of flooring are ideal for bathrooms while others may crack, stain, or begin to separate once a bit of moisture takes hold. Below you’ll find the most common styles of bathroom flooring along with their pros and cons.
The best flooring for the bathroom is ceramic, which should come as no surprise. Ceramic tiles have been used in shower stalls for decades, and they are a popular choice for flooring as well. They can also be very slick which is why you always need to pay close attention to the surface texture and size.
Right behind ceramic is porcelain, a similar material that’s often found in sinks, tubs and other home finishes. It’s fired at a higher temperature than ceramic, so while both are made from a clay mixture, porcelain is stronger.
Another advantage of porcelain is the fact that it has through-body construction, which means you won’t see color changes from a chip. It’s another popular material for shower stalls but can be slippery, and the selection is not quite as large as ceramic. Porcelain tiles can be difficult to work with and thus something to keep in mind if you are considering a DIY route.
If you are looking for something different in your bathroom, stone tiles should be towards the top of your list. The right kind of stone can be used in walls, floors, and shower stalls. Slate, limestone, travertine, and marble are excellent choices, and there is a finish and hue for almost everyone.
Stone will need to be sealed, however, and can be slick if you use something like polished marble. In other words, keep the texture of these tiles in mind and only look at tiles rated for use in bathrooms and other areas where moisture or water can be a concern.
You won’t have the same colors at your disposal compared to ceramic tile, but the available texture and patterns more than make up for that. Stone is more expensive and needs more care overall, but will give your bathroom a distinct style.
Sheet Vinyl and Vinyl Tiles
Vinyl may not be your first choice, but you’d be remiss to overlook vinyl flooring in your bathroom. Sheet vinyl is one of the best flooring options for baths due to its waterproof nature and the fact you can lay down a single sheet with no joints in the middle of your floor.
The main problem with vinyl flooring are VOCs (volatile organic compounds) which can be produced by the product or from glues.
Luxury Vinyl Tile is a vinyl variant and the only reason it isn’t the best tile for bathrooms overall is the fact it’s not made for use in showers. It will breathe life into any boring bathroom floor, however, and your choices are virtually unlimited in the style department.
Want a wood-like tile or a pale natural marble floor? You can have that with luxury vinyl at a fraction of the cost of traditional alternatives. The material is fairly easy to work with but not as durable as stone or ceramic so you will need to seal some seams.
Linoleum is considered a classic compared to vinyl tiles, and while it’s another product not found in shower floors, it’s very popular in bathrooms. It’s an eco-friendly material that’s biodegradable, and one of the most inexpensive styles of tile on our list. Linoleum can come in solid shades with intricate patterns, bold colors, or a light texture. Linoleum, though, is not waterproof so if not properly sealed, moisture spills or a misfire from your showerhead can cause problems.
Plastic is the main ingredient found in vinyl sheets and tile, but laminate flooring is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Laminate flooring is made from wood but shares more similarities with luxury vinyl planks than hardwood flooring.
These boards have a compressed or woodchip core which gives them stability and a feel akin to engineered or traditional hardwood flooring. While they can look realistic, the image on top is actually printed and covered with a wear layer. As they’re made from wood, this style of flooring is not ideal in wet areas.
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
How’s the decor in your bathroom? Are you remodelling the entire room or just redoing the shower with tile? Knowing the best types of tile for your bathroom or shower can certainly speed your project up, but there are still some things you’ll want to know if you plan on using certain types of tile in your bathroom.
Everyone has a different sense of style, it’s easy to put down a new bath mat that matches your flooring, but a wood grained cabinet may clash with your new white porcelain wall tiles. It pays to plan ahead, and you’ll want to consider any renovation plans down the line if choosing traditional tile as well. Removing or installing a new floor of linoleum or vinyl is considerably easier than tearing out ceramic tile or stone.
Let’s take a minute to talk about maintenance. Each style of flooring will require a different amount of care, which can have an impact on your buying decision.
Tile floors are generally easy to clean whether porcelain or ceramic. Eventually, you may have to refill a grout line or replace a tile, but they are very low maintenance and very durable. Stone is more porous than porcelain and glazed ceramic, so they are harder to maintain. They can be swept like any other style of flooring but highly textured tiles can be more difficult to clean. You’ll also need to check their water resistance periodically and reseal them as required.
Linoleum, vinyl, and laminates are easy to clean but you have to use solutions recommended by the manufacturers as some cleaners will cause issues. If you choose tile or planks, flooring will need to be sealed and grout joints can weaken over time on groutable vinyl tiles. Sheet based products are preferable from that standpoint, and require less maintenance than the other styles, but you may encounter some caulking issues.
Regardless of the flooring or wall tile you choose, think about how much you love or loathe cleaning. Some materials will require maintenance periodically as well. You may have to reseal stone or replace tile on occasion. Any bathroom floor tiles made from vinyl or linoleum will need to be sealed and you will need to caulk areas where tile meets tubs and toilets.
If you plan to install wall tiles, you can obviously skip this section. Grip and texture are critical for flooring however, and something you need to take seriously in shower stalls.
Regardless of the flooring you choose, take a minute and think about traction. A leak from the toilet or a spill from the tub can put you on your back quickly, which means you need to consider traction. You also need to think about anyone in your home with special needs that could have trouble finding their footing on certain types of flooring.
With tile, you have to think about the surface itself along with the type of finish. The Tile Council of North America and various flooring manufacturers use DCOF ratings (Dynamic Coefficient of Friction) to let you know how slippery floors can be, and it’s a great guideline to go by. The same rules apply for stone, vinyl, and other materials. In many cases, flooring is clearly labeled to let you know which room it’s best suited to as well.
While there are many flooring options you can use in your bathroom, it’s best to stick with products built for wet areas. No matter what style you choose, remember to keep your budget in mind along with slip resistance.
DIY or Hire a Pro?
If you want to install flooring in your home and forgo the cost of a contractor, the type of flooring you choose is critical. Stone may look good, but it’s heavy and usually something you’ll need help with. Cutting a stone tile can be tricky as well, and you’re likely to shatter a few clay-based tiles with a manual cutter as well.
More often than not anything that comes in a sheet or tile form will be easier to deal with and will go down quicker. That’s a huge advantage if you go the DIY route, but you still have to consider the cost of “extra” which comes into play. While it may be just a few tubes of glue or grout mix, it will add to the overall cost of the job. Tools will be required as well.
The biggest drawback to putting tile in a bathroom is that it can be a huge headache. That could rule it out for many DIY people. Bathrooms are typically small which doesn’t give you much room to work. There can be a lot of cuts in that small area. It’s also not easy on your back or knees and it can take a rookie several weeks to do what a contractor can do in a matter of days (and shut down that bathroom for all that time).
Hiring a professional to install flooring in your home is a wise choice if you choose traditional tile, stone, or sheet based products. They aren’t user friendly if you’re new to the DIY world, and mistakes can be costly during the installation or down the road if not done properly. Professionals will also save you the trouble of sealing the floor, can fix your subfloor issues, and will deal with all the mess of cleanup.
Finding the right bathroom flooring doesn’t need to be a chore or feel limiting. There are more options now than ever. If you are considering a bathroom redo in Bluffton, Hilton Head, or the surrounding area, please call May River Flooring at (843) 815-6297 for a free quote today!