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The Best and Worst Ideas for Bathroom Flooring Materials

The Best and Worst Ideas for Bathroom Flooring Materials

When considering bathroom flooring, it’s important to equally weigh aesthetic and practicality.  While herringbone tiles are a striking design, it may tip your budget or perhaps it doesn’t fit with the style of your mid-century modern home. Above all else, your flooring has to be able to weather moisture and humidity.  Below are the pros and cons of some of the most popular bathroom flooring options on the market today that you should consider before finalizing your renovations plans:

Natural stone

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Ideal for a bathroom, natural stone like limestone and granite react well to moisture and humidity, but keep in mind these floors come with a hefty price tag.

Pro

Natural stone bathroom floors add a polished and refined look to your bathroom. Incredibly durable, these floors also offer great resale value when it’s time to put your home on the market.

Con

In addition to being an expensive option, use caution when crossing these floors after your shower! When wet, stone becomes very slippery and treacherous. This is especially dangerous for homes with young children or elderly folks.

Ceramic or porcelain tile

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More affordable than natural stone, ceramic or porcelain tile is cost-effective, durable and refined.

Pro

The best part? This tile is waterproof and can handle all the excess water and moisture that builds up in your bathroom.

Con

Porcelain and ceramic tiles are often cold. While it’s refreshing in the summer months, this tile retains barely any heat in the winter. Depending on your climate, this can also be a pro if winters are mild. Keep in mind you can always add heating below the surface.

Laminate

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Laminate bathroom floors are the most DIY-friendly option on the list. Feeling handy? Many homeowners can replace their whole bathroom floor within just a couple days.

Pro

Laminate is highly durable, which makes it a great option in case you drop that curling iron on the floor. You won’t have to worry about dents or scratches. It’s also a great option for households with furry friends, as laminate is easy to clean.

Con

Keep in mind that with all that moisture comes the risk of warping. If your laminate floors are pooling in water, they might end up warped. Consider adding an exhaust fan to your bathroom to reduce excess humidity.

Engineered wood

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If you’re looking to add warm wooden textures to your bathroom, engineered wood is a stronger choice than natural wood, as it holds up against water and humidity .

Pro

Stuck with old stubborn tiles? Engineered wood can be installed over existing flooring, making for a great choice in older homes.

Con

Not as porous as natural wood, engineered wood is still vulnerable to  dents and scratches and, once installed, it’s difficult to replace individually damaged planks.  

High-end vinyl  

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For a fraction of the costs of wood or tile floors, luxury vinyl adds a high-end aesthetic to your bathroom and it’s exceedingly functional.

Pro

Do you have small children running around? This is a great option for post-bathtime cleanup as  vinyl is water-resistant, durable and not too slippery.

Con

Installing high-end vinyl floors is an accessible project for DIY fans. Yet, beware of the seams. The best vinyl floors are ones with strategically placed seams.

Solid hardwood

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Overview

Not as risky as carpet, solid hardwood’s porous surface offers its own set of perils.  

Pro

Reclaimed solid plank wood is a beautiful touch to an all white bathroom, adding balance and warmth. Solid wood will brighten and contemporize your bathroom.

Con

Due to its porous surface, solid hardwood is susceptible to dents, scratches and water damage. If your heart is set on hardwood, make sure to have these floors professionally installed and to add a durable top coat.

Marble

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Overview

Marble is a seriously hard surface and seriously expensive, too. It’s also meant to last for years, potentially saving you the cost of replacing your floors sooner than anticipated.

Pro

Because marble is an organic material, it’s naturally water resistant. Marble also adds glamour to your bathroom and a higher resale value to your home.

Con

While marble is water-resistant, it’s still porous. This means that over time, water can discolor your tiles.  As with marble countertops, make sure you add an annual sealant to your marble floors.

Carpeting

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Carpet in your bathroom is never a good idea. Yet, in the 60s and 70s it was seen as warm and luxurious, and many older fixer-uppers are still left with wall-to-wall bathroom shag.

Pro

If you ardently prefer carpet and are looking for a soft cushy base, make sure you consider carpet with low pile and that the material is similar to nylon or 100% inorganic.

Con

Carpet is extremely porous so moisture will remain in your carpet longer and dry slowly. It’s also prone to mold, bacteria and foul smells.

No matter your budget or style, you can’t go wrong with your flooring choice —  except carpet.

Learn more about how Emprove can empower you with your home design projects here.

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