When choosing the best flooring for your bathroom, it's important to consider your style, budget, and lifestyle. This simple guide to popular materials, such as bathroom tiles, vinyl, and laminate, can help you narrow the choices.

By Kathy Barnes

If you're planning a bathroom remodel, one of the most important choices you'll make is what type of flooring to install. There is an array of different bathroom flooring options, including vinyl, tile, wood, laminate, and more. We've combed through all of these choices to determine the best bathroom floor materials.

Before you make a decision, consider your needs and your budget. Do you plan to install a radiant-heat subfloor? If so, pick a material that is conducive to heat. Are you remodeling a powder room that lacks a shower or bath? Then don't worry about picking out a wholly waterproof floor. And how much are you willing to spend? Some materials, like high-end tile, are more expensive than others. 

We'll introduce you to our best bathroom flooring options and identify each of their pros and cons. For more information on any given material and how it may fit your needs, consult with a local flooring expert.  Now, who's ready to pick out their best bathroom floor? 

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Popular Bathroom Floor Tiles

One of the most popular flooring options for bathrooms is ceramic tile. It offers a clean and classic look that's also extremely durable, waterproof, and stain-resistant. To avoid slip-and-fall accidents in the bathroom, it's smart to choose a tile that is certified slip-resistant. On the downside, bathroom tiles are cold underfoot unless installed over a radiant floor heating system, which is a smart investment in a bathroom where it's important to keep bare feet warm. Also, tile can be tricky to install for even seasoned DIY workers.

When choosing a tile floor design, consider color. While white bathroom tiles look sharp, they're often hard to keep clean. Grey bathroom tiles, on the other hand, offer the desired neutral without being too difficult to maintain. Additionally, if you have shower tiles, bath tiles, or other bathroom wall tiles, consider incorporating the same color scheme or design on the floor. 

In terms of size, tiles for the floor can span from a few inches to a few feet. Smaller tiles will require more labor, and thus may cost more. Larger tiles also help to make a space feel bigger. But if your space is too small, you'll be forced to cut many of the tiles, which can also drive up labor costs. 

Sleek Vinyl Flooring in the Bathroom

One of the most budget-friendly bathroom flooring ideas, vinyl, is easy to clean, waterproof, and stainproof. Choosing a top-quality sheet vinyl (rather than peel-and-stick tiles) will reduce seams where water can seep under. A felt or foam backing makes vinyl softer than wood or tile, which is helpful in bathrooms where slip-and-fall accidents are common on wet floors. Experienced DIY workers can tackle vinyl installation, but professional help is advised for large bathrooms that will require piecing seams.

Environmentally Friendly Cork Flooring

Made from bark, cork is a highly renewable resource and great for the environment. It is resistant to mold, mildew, and water damage—perfect for a bathroom. A polyurethane topcoat will protect the floors from minor spills (the floor should be resealed every few years to protect against moisture). Glue-down tiles, which come finished or unfinished, are perfect for above-grade applications, but click-in-place planks should be used for below-grade bathrooms. To prevent water seeping between gaps, it's best to choose unfinished cork and finish the floor on-site. Installation can be tricky and is best left to a professional.

Stylish and Sustainable Bamboo Flooring

Made from a highly sustainable resource, bamboo is eco-friendly and easy on the budget, costing as little as half the price of hardwood floors. As a bathroom flooring option, the smart choice is engineered bamboo (rather than solid bamboo) because the planks are extremely durable and ideal for wet environments. They are also simple to install, and damaged pieces can be replaced easily. Keep in mind that cheap bamboo flooring is easily scratched, so you'll want to treat it like hardwood and lay down protector pads when moving furniture. 

Wood and Bathroom Laminate Flooring

A timeless choice that rarely loses popularity, hardwood floors create a warm and classic look in the bathroom. Engineered wood, which is made of real wood veneer backed by plywood, resists humidity better than solid wood and is a smart choice in a damp space. There are also many prefinished options that withstand heavy foot traffic and are water resistant. Budget-friendly bathroom laminate flooring gives the look of wood but is actually a photographic image sandwiched between two wear layers. The material is exceptionally scratch and stain resistant. When considering wood, know that water doesn't play well with these materials; one big water-line leak can cause serious and expensive damage.


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