Which Flooring is Best for Bathrooms?

which flooring is best for bathrooms

Choosing the right type of bathroom flooring can be difficult.  

Essentially you’re going to be simultaneously juggling style, budget and practicality all within one decision. When you factor in the time required to install a new bathroom floor, and any potential future repairs, the decision starts to become even more important.  

That being said, there are still some easy do’s and don’ts, as well as classic options, that mean choosing the correct type of flooring can be hassle free if you ask the important questions upfront.  

Which Flooring is Best for Bathrooms?

Porcelain 

What is it? 

Porcelain tiling is like the older, tougher sibling to ceramic.  

Both options are very, very similar although porcelain absorbs even less water and is extremely resistant. This means it’s a great, long-term option, although it can be slippy (because it’s so resistant) and pretty cold if you’re planning on standing on it barefoot for long periods of time.  

Despite those downsides, it’s a classic bathroom look although you should be aware that it’s generally more expensive than ceramic.

Pros 

  • Extremely water resistant 
  • Durable 

Cons 

  • More expensive than ceramic
  • Cold 
  • Potentially slippy 

Slate 

What is it? 

Slate is a natural stone flooring option, and a glorious one at that.  

It’s generally well known as a high-end option that can instantly add a natural, rugged look and feel to your bathroom. Due to its natural origins, colour choice can be limited, but it can be a great choice if you’re looking for something different.  

As usual, there are a few downsides, including the fact that slate is generally more expensive than other options on the market. Slate comes in various levels of quality so you should be aware that a cheaper cost could represent a drop in quality. This could lead to higher maintenance costs over the longer term as slate, due to its porous nature, requires regular sealing treatment to avoid water damage.  

Pros 

  • Eye-catching 
  • Natural styling 

Cons 

  • Expensive 
  • Requires maintenance 
  • Heavy material 

Ceramic 

What is it? 

When people think of bathrooms, they generally think of white tiles, and those tiles are almost always ceramic.  

A ceramic tile is the classic bathroom tile and for good reason. It’s rugged as hell, easy to maintain and extremely water resistant, when compared to some alternative flooring materials, although less so than its porcelain cousin.

Just be wary of choice and try to get something certified slip-resistant.   

Pros 

  • Cheaper than porcelain
  • Classic style 
  • Water resistant 

Cons 

  • Grouting issues (requires regular cleaning) 

Natural Stone 

What is it? 

We’ve already mentioned slate as an option (because we really like it…) but there are other natural stone bathroom flooring options like marble and limestone to consider. 

The benefits of a natural stone floor are pretty obvious. They provide a natural, timeless style and are extremely durable and long lasting, as well as being water resistant. Just think about all those marble floors you used to see in banks, council buildings or concert halls before they were all ripped out (we’re still slightly sore on this)! 

Obviously all of the above comes at a cost. The biggest downside, when it comes to natural stone floors, is the expense. However, it should be noted that beautiful natural floors regularly add value and increase the overall price of a property, should you ever decide to sell in the future.  

Pros 

  • Durable 
  • Water resistant 
  • Adds property value 

Cons 

  • Expensive 
  • Installation/repair issues 

Resin Flooring

What is it? 

If we’re honest, resin isn’t the most common choice when it comes to bathroom flooring, but it is still an option so it’s worth considering.  

Put simply, resin is an extremely hardwearing form of plastic that can be laid down in multiple styles.

Due to its form, resin floors can come in a range of styles but potentially lacks the wow factor of beautiful tiles or wood effect flooring. However, a resin floor is 100% water resistant and extremely durable.

Pros 

  • Extremely durable 

Cons 

  • Basic style

Polished Concrete/Stone 

What is it? 

Polished concrete is literally what you think it is.  

Think of a concrete floor (like the floors in your house before putting down carpet etc.) and then polish it up to a useable, liveable finish and standard.  

We’ll admit this would be a pretty unusual bathroom floor option, but it can be done and might be of interest if you’re going for an industrial, natural or minimalist style.  

If you are considering it, keep it mind that it is cold and hard (naturally…) and also needs to be sealed, and periodically resealed, to avoid water damage. On a positive note, it’s extremely durable and resistant to damage.  

Pros 

  • Extremely durable 
  • Minimalist style 

Cons 

  • Cold 
  • Plain/dark 

Solid Hardwood 

What is it? 

Everyone knows solid hardwood floors look incredible. Thankfully the phase (can multiple decades be a phase?) of covering up beautiful hardwood floors is over, but do they work in the bathroom? 

The reality is probably a negative. Some of us have tried hardwood flooring for bathrooms in the past, and the result is usually the same. No matter how careful installation is, this material will invariably soak up water and moisture over time, and this will usually lead to swelling or warping.  

This might be one of those interior decor mistakes we all just have to make, but don’t say we didn’t warn you… 

Pros 

  • Timeless style 

Cons 

  • Highly prone to water damage 

Vinyl Flooring

What is it? 

Wait! Don’t turn your nose up just yet… 

We know vinyl flooring can fill some people with dread, and memories of cheap rolls curling at the edges, but hear us out.  

There are plenty of great vinyl options out there nowadays and, it probably won’t come as a shock, but it’s a seriously water resistant and durable material. Perfect for busy bathrooms or young families.  

Finally, it’s also a pretty cost effective flooring option and there are so many designs available that you’ll be spoilt for choice!  

Pros 

  • Huge choice 
  • Water resistant 
  • Durable 

Cons 

  • Not high-end 
  • Not natural 

Wood Effect 

What is it? 

As you’ll have already read (see solid hardwood section above), real wood floors are extremely difficult to maintain in bathrooms.  

So, step forward wood effect options! 

Wood effect options come in both vinyl and tile form, and does what it says on the tin. With a wood effect floor you’ll get all the benefits of a real wood floor, without the negatives. That means you’ll have a floor that’s water resistant, easy to maintain, and in whatever style or colour you want. Win! 

Pros 

  • Water resistant 
  • Cheaper (than the real option) 

Cons 

  • Not the real thing (obviously…) 

Tiles 

What is it? 

This is a bit of a catch all for anything we haven’t already covered. 

Obviously you can get ceramic, porcelain and more, but it’s also important to remember other tiling options like glass, terracotta, cement, encaustic, and mosaic.  

The usual pros and cons of tiling apply, but the big positive here would be the opportunity to add extra style, or that finishing touch, to your bathroom.

Pros 

  • Variety 

Cons 

  • Style concerns 

Cork 

What is it? 

Of all the options, cork bathroom flooring might be the least common. 

If your only prior experience with cork comes in the form of wine bottles, you’re actually not that far off. The flooring material is similarly spongy and represents an eco-friendly option, which is never a bad thing in 2019 and beyond.  

The big downside is, yep you’ve guessed it, that cork flooring will be prone to moisture and water damage issues.  

If you’re noticing a theme with wood flooring options in the bathroom, it’s because there is one!

Pros 

  • Eco-friendly 
  • Warm 

Cons 

  • Water/moisture issues 

— 

Have you made your choice yet?  

In our experience, most people already have a vague idea lurking somewhere in the back of their head. Whether it’s a Pinterest board, a magazine article, or a blog, we bet you already know what you like and what you hate.  

After that, it’s about honing in on the option that balances style, budget and practicality for you. Happy hunting.

#GoodLittleBathrooms 

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