Choosing the right bathroom flooring for your home can help elevate your interior décor and your property value.
When it comes down to decorating your living room or your bedroom floors, your style preference tends to be on top of the priority list; whether you want herringbone wood flooring in light or in a much deeper colour or carpeted flooring could easily be accommodated.
However, with bathrooms as high-traffic wet areas, there are other important factors beyond your space appearance that you need to take into account when you need to decide on the type of flooring that you want.
Resistance to mould and humidity as bathrooms involve lots of water spillage, durability, ease of installation and upkeep, and the pricing of the selected bathroom flooring type are additional elements to consider for a successful interior decorating project.
Below are a few suggestions to explore for you to decide on the best bathroom flooring style for your space based on your interior style preference, everyday practicalities, and your budget. With bathroom flooring designs available in a variety of styles, colours, and surfaces, there is now a design to satisfy every homeowner’s bathroom dream.
Porcelain tiles tend to be a very popular bathroom flooring option for homeowners, because they are waterproof, cost-effective, and are available in an array of colours and styles that can accommodate many interior design aesthetics. Porcelain, which is a type of ceramics, is made with a special kaolin clay containing a mixture of quartz and feldspar, which is finer and purer than most ceramic clay.
Photo: © Porcelain Superstore
It is fired for longer and at higher temperatures ranging from 2,200 to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. This turns it into a dense, fine-grained, smooth tile that is a more durable and less porous surface material than a traditional ceramic tile.
Its ability to mimic brick, natural stone, and wood such as terracotta, marble, limestone, terrazzo, or mosaic with such refined and elegant finishes without the high maintenance and high costs associated with these other flooring options makes it very appealing to people.
Porcelain tiles are available on the market glazed or unglazed. Glazed porcelain tiles do not require to be sealed as part of the installation process, but they can be slippery and slightly more vulnerable to chipping. On the other hand, unglazed porcelain tiles are less slippery, as they have more grip and texture, which make them a safer choice for bathroom flooring, particularly when you choose to pair them with underfloor heating for comfort.
Vitrified porcelain tiles are also bathroom styles to look into. They tend to have greater strength and much lower porosity as a result of a combination of clay and other materials such as silica, feldspar or quartz mixed at higher temperatures to increase their durability.
In spite of porcelain tiles’ appeal, it is worth mentioning that their installations are far from being straightforward and are best carried out by professional tilers, who will use the appropriate tools and sealing to ensure your bathroom floor is covered correctly.
- Available in many colours and design options
- Low maintenance, requiring only period sealing of the grout lines
- Cold under feet, especially if no underfloor heating is installed
- Needs specialised tools and professional tilers for long-lasting installation
Ceramic tiles, another form of ceramics, use a less refined clay and a smaller quantity of fine kaolin clay free from a quartz and feldspar mixture present in porcelain tiles. They are generally fired at temperatures not exceeding 1,650 degrees Fahrenheit. Consequently, they can be a little less resistant and slightly more porous than porcelain tiles, although such difference in water absorption is significantly reduced when ceramic tiles are glazed and sealed properly.
Photo: © Mountain Tile
Ceramic tiles are one of the most durable tiling options which can be used on both walls and floors to create a seamless look in your bathroom. They are also more cost-effective than porcelain tiles and are easy to maintain. Ceramic tiles have excellent heat resistance. They are available in a broad variety of colours and styles, which enable you to create a high end or child-friendly bathroom look, depending on your preferences. They are installed in a similar fashion than porcelain tiles.
- Good water resistance when glazed
- Low maintenance
- Cold under feet, if no underheating is available
- Tricky installation process best left to professional tilers
For those who are into luxurious bathroom interior design, marble tiles are worth considering. Its refined texture and understated beauty due to the subtle veins or patterns of colour that appear on the material surface add depth and character to your elegant bathroom floors.
As a natural stone, marble tends to be susceptible to scratches and stains and is not very easy to clean.
Photo: © Walls and Floors
It also does require a lot of upkeep to maintain it in great condition, and it can be cold under feet and quite slippery unless textured. Marble tiles have to be sealed properly to maintain their relatively low porosity.
- High end finish
- Low porosity
- High maintenance
- Susceptible to scratches and stains
Other Natural Stones
Pebble tiles: If you want to recreate a coastal holiday theme or add a little interest and textures to your design, pebbles are great options to explore for your bathroom floor space.
Slate tiles: they work very well for high-traffic bathrooms needing a long-lasting and robust finish. Slate is one of the toughest tiling materials that hardly tends to scratch or chip. Like all-natural stones, slate tends to be expensive.
As natural stones, the colour of pebbles tend to vary from white, pale grey, to warm beige tones and are generally sold as mosaics. For a long-lasting installation, ensure your pebble mosaics are sealed before and after grouting.
Read More: How To Make A Small Bathroom Look Big
Limestone tiles: Favoured for its hard wearing and durable properties, limestone is an ideal choice for rustic, natural-toned or muted design bathroom schemes. It can provide an easy maintenance floor surface and is available in soft beige, brown and grey hues to bring comfort and durability to your space.
Limestone is a soft stone that is easy to shape and cut fto produce specific patterns and placements. As a porous stone, it must be sealed properly to avoid cracks and abnormal changes to its appearance. To keep it clean and ensure a long-lasting upkeep, you are better off using cleaning products with a neutral pH.
- Elegant colour schemes
- Relatively low maintenance
- Relatively costly
- Cold under feet if no underheating is added
Mosaics are made of different tiling materials, including ceramic, marble, other natural stones and glass. The tiles tend to be very small in size, and they can be pieced together to create eye-catchy effects and designs in a wide variety of colours and patterns that work beautifully for accent walls, backsplashes, or the shower floor area in your bathroom. They are best used sparingly when you want to add an interesting design element to your space.
Photo: © Original Style
Their installation process very much depends on the type of mosaic tiling material that you have selected for your bathroom flooring.
- Eye catchy
- Available in various colours and designs
- Unsuitable for full bathroom flooring
- Could be difficult to clean due to their tiny size
Vinyl flooring is a synthetic flooring material made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) – plastic that is durable, water-resistant and affordable to many DIY homeowners. Depending on the manufacturers, some vinyl plank floors include layers made of other materials such as rubber or fiberglass. Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and vinyl planks are gaining in popularity due to their versatility and their availability in realistic flooring designs from wood effect to creative marble & tile effect vinyl.
Photo: © Carpetright
Although vinyl plank flooring has somewhat supplanted vinyl sheet flooring (6- or 12-foot rolls that come as a single sheet), the latter still remains the better flooring option to install in high-traffic family or children’s bathrooms where a lot of water is expected to be splashed.
In spite of its popularity, vinyl flooring is not what you might call an eco-friendly flooring option. In light of the synthetic nature of vinyl flooring, a lot of toxic chemicals are used in its manufacturing process, with some vinyl flooring potentially releasing high levels of Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) after installation. Consequently, when buying vinyl flooring, look out for providers with ISO environmental standard certifications such as those from Amtico or Karndean Design Flooring.
Sheet vinyl flooring could be difficult to fix if there is any issue that arises with the flooring system. It might need to be removed and replaced.
- DIY friendly
- Water resistant
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Not very eco-friendly
Laminate flooring is a resin paper on top of a wood fiberboard, with an image of wood grain sealed beneath a clear protective layer. All these layers are then bound together to provide a more rigid and realistic flooring material.
Laminate flooring is generally sold in planks that snap together to create the look and feel of hardwood floors. They are quite affordable and tend to be DIY friendly to install.
Photo: © BerryAlloc
There are however some drawbacks to laminate flooring. Because of the wood base, they are quite vulnerable to humidity and moisture and need extra precautions when installed as a bathroom flooring option. Laminate will warp and swell if water penetrates the seams.
- Easy to install as DIY friendly
- Vulnerable to moisture and humidity
If If you truly fancy having wood flooring in your bathroom, then engineered wood flooring is one of the options for you to consider, as it performs better than solid wood under high moisture and heat conditions due to the stability of its core plywood base.
Unlike solid wood, which consists of a single piece of timber, engineered wood is made up of several layers, and the multi-layered nature of engineered wood contributes to its greater dimensional stability. To be considered an engineered wood floor the decorative layer must be real wood, and the ticker the top layers the more durable the surface, since it can be sanded more times.
However, it is worth noting that engineered wood is still vulnerable to scratches and marks and is not waterproof, since its top layer is real wood. The flooring option would work relatively well in low-traffic, well-ventilated and quite spacious bathrooms.
- Luxurious finish depending on chosen design
- Not waterproof
- Vulnerable to scratches and marks
Stratex is a next generation waterproof flooring which performs much better than engineered wood flooring in bathrooms due to its mineral/resin composite core, which confers it high level stability, making it a very strong and durable choice, particularly within spaces with high humidity and temperature variation.
Photo: © Woodpecker Flooring Lynton Seagrass Oak Stratex Flooring
Each board benefits from a built-in underlay and Easiloc joints which result in an easy to install range, perfect for modern spaces.
With Stratex you have the option of creating a real wood or embossed wood-effect finish in more than 25 colours, which makes it a versatile bathroom flooring option for your interior.
- Easy to install
- Limited market availability
Rubber Bathroom Flooring
An outstandingly resilient, hardwearing and waterproof material, rubber flooring is gaining in popularity in interior decorating well beyond hospital and gym settings they tend to be associated with.
Rubber flooring is made from either natural tree rubber or from synthetic materials, which are often recycled from vehicle tires. These allow for an extremely durable and low-maintenance surface option for homeowners who want to find a durable and water-resistant flooring solution for children’s or older people’s bathrooms, as they are able to withstand plenty of liquid spillage. A textured finish is best for rubber flooring to prevent any slips when wet. It also tends to be shock absorbent, warm underfoot and easy to clean and maintain.
Rubber flooring is available in different colours, patterns and designs, which makes it quite versatile. Multiple application methods exist for you to choose from, depending on the surface and the dimensions you are seeking to cover.
- Still an emerging trend in residential bathroom interior decorating
- Reputation associated with hospital, gym or care home settings