Selecting the floor of your bathroom is one of the toughest decisions you’ll make during a renovation or a new home project. It is hard to choose because there are a lot of ideal bathroom flooring options available in the market today. Each one has its unique selling proposition. Each one has its pros and cons.
In this blog, we enumerate the best flooring options for your new bathroom and everything you ought to know about each one.
Here are your potential choices:
Many designers recommend porcelain tiles as a bathroom floor for a good reason.
PROs: The material is dense, non-porous, hygienic, sturdy, and scratch and stain-resistant. The tiles come in a wide range of textures, colours, designs, and sizes, so it suits a lot of styles. Use it to create classic, traditional, modern, and luxurious bathrooms. The best part? Some high-end porcelain tiles mimic the look of expensive natural stone (e.g. marble) and timber. Use these to create your dream bathroom at a lower price and in a more practical way.
CONs: Porcelain tiles get cold quickly — good thing they are compatible with underfoot heating. Tiles are unrepairable when they chip, but the colour runs through the whole tile, so chips are less visible. Dirt builds up in the grout joints, but it won’t be visible when you use a dark grout.
Maintenance: You don’t need to seal porcelain tiles but clean them using your household cleaner and a damp mop regularly.
For homeowners on a budget, consider ceramic tiles. These are more affordable than porcelain tiles.
PROs: Ceramic tiles are durable, low maintenance, stain-resistant, and compatible with underfloor heating. They come in a wide range of styles and mimic high-end flooring materials. These are more porous than porcelain, which makes them easier to cut.
CONs: Tile chipping is more noticeable because the design of ceramic tiles is only on the surface — it doesn’t continue through the tiles. It is also a cold and hard underfoot.
Maintenance: Clean ceramic tiles using your regular household cleaning products and a damp mop.
Encaustic cement tiles
Many designers recommend encaustic cement tiles when homeowners want stunning tile work in the bathroom.
PROs: Handcrafted encaustic cement tiles possess beautiful patterns and vibrant colours which stand out from a neutral background. These are slip-resistant and durable. The tiles won’t crack as long as they’re on a perfectly level surface. Tile chipping isn’t apparent because of the thick layer of coloured pigments used.
CONs: Encaustic cement tiles are porous and installing them is lengthy. The tiles need to dry before you seal them, and the sealant needs to dry before grouting. It requires two coats of penetrating sealant as well.
Maintenance: Even if well-sealed, you need to mop spills on the tiles immediately. Clean the tiles with a pH-neutral soap only. Never use ammonia, alkaline, or acidic cleaners since these damages the surface of the tiles. Use wax to protect the tiles from staining. Use oxalic acid to remove difficult stains on the tiles.
Designers recommend travertine tiles to homeowners who want to build a luxurious bathroom. The tiles offer a high-end look and are an excellent substitute for marble.
PROs: It is easy to clean, hardwearing, repairable, and compatible with underfloor heating. When you buy travertine tiles from your supplier, choose the tumbled finish — this is slip-resistant.
CONs: All natural stone tiles are expensive and high maintenance. Travertine tiles are heavy, so it requires a sturdy sub-floor and regular sealing. It is a cold and hard underfoot, and it gets scratched easily.
Maintenance: Use a neutral pH cleaner and plain water – no ammonia, acidic or alkaline cleaners.
Slate is one of the most beautiful tile options available in the market. It features unique velvety markings against dark stone.
PROs: Slate tiles are durable, low-maintenance, and compatible with underfloor heating. These come in honed and polished finishes. When one of the tiles crack, you can quickly repair it.
CONs: Slate is a high-maintenance flooring material which requires sealing every 12 to 18 months. It heavy, so it needs a sturdy sub-floor.
Maintenance: Remove the dirt and grit of slate tiles when you sweep, vacuum, and mop the floor using a mild detergent.
For homeowners who can splurge a bit, consider marble floors. These floors offer a timeless, modern, dramatic, and luxurious look. Choose large 80x80cm slabs of Carrara marble in small bathrooms to make it bigger, lighter, and more spacious.
PROs: Marble is compatible with underfloor heating. It comes in a wide range of patterns and colours and no tiles are the same. When a tile breaks, you can quickly fill the cracks to fix it.
CONs: Marble is porous, high maintenance, and susceptible to stains and etching.
Maintenance: You need the help of marble specialists during installation; otherwise, the stone might crack. It requires sealing before grouting and again afterwards. To clean marble floors, use a mop in a dry sweeping motion to avoid scratching the floor. Use plain water and a pH-neutral cleaner only.
Engineered timber floorboards
These offer the natural look and warmth of solid wood. Consider this when you want wooden floors in the bathroom, minus the worries.
PROs: Engineered wood is as soft and warm as solid hardwood, but these are more stable in high-moisture and wet environments. These come in a variety of timber species, widths, styles, colours, thicknesses, and finishes. You can sand and refinish thick floorboards several times. Engineered wood is also compatible with underfloor heating as well.
CONs: Water damage is still possible, so never leave standing water on floorboards.
Maintenance: Sweep the floor before you mop the surface. Use a cleaner specialised for engineered wood. Avoid wax-based cleaners and harsh detergents.
Laminate is an excellent choice when your budget is tight. It is one of the most affordable bathroom materials, considering it has a ten-year warranty on the protective layer.
Pros: Laminate is moisture-resistant, easy to clean, comfortable, and won’t require sealing. It comes in many colour choices and can mimic the look of wood, stone, or ceramic tiles.
CONs: It is not suitable for underfloor heating. Unlike hardwood floors, you can’t refinish laminate flooring. When a portion of the laminated floor gets damaged, you are compelled to replace it.
Maintenance: Use laminate floor cleaner and dry the floor at all times to avoid damage. Do this to prevent accidents as well.
High-quality vinyl tiles
Vinyl tiles are one of the most budget-friendly options for home renovators.
PROs: It’s stain-resistant, waterproof, and durable. It comes in a wide variety of designs: geometric, polka dots, stone, or timber. It’s compatible with underfloor heating, but check the temperature restrictions with your supplier to be safe.
Cons: Some vinyl tiles feel plasticky. The design of the tiles can fade over time as well.
Maintenance: Avoid using abrasive cleaning materials. Use a soft broom to sweep the floor and clean it using a mop and soapy water.
Cork is a versatile flooring perfect for traditional bathroom designs.
PROs: Cork is resistant to mould and mildew, hypoallergenic, durable, sustainable, and recyclable. It offers warm and soft underfoot plus good sound insulation. Most cork flooring options today come in an engineered board form with a moisture-resistant core.
CONs: It is a light-sensitive material, so it’s likely to fade when exposed to intense sunlight. It is high-maintenance, challenging to repair, and isn’t suitable for underfloor heating.
Maintenance: Seal cork floors every two to three years and clean it using a vacuum and a damp mop.
For a modern, industrial, or edgy look, concrete floors or cement tiles are your top choices
PROs: Concrete is a durable, robust, low maintenance, and versatile building material. It is compatible with underfloor heating, which keeps it from getting cold. It won’t harbour pests as well.
CONs: Concrete is porous. After a few years, small cracks might develop, especially when not laid correctly. Concrete is massive, and it requires strong support underneath. For best results, hire a contractor specialising in this type of bathroom floor.
Maintenance: Wash concrete floors using a damp mop. Use plain water or a mild, non-acidic detergent only.
The last on our list are rubber floors which are perfect for families with young children.
PROs: Rubber is comfortable to walk in. It is durable, sustainable, and waterproof. You can buy it as tiles and as a sleek, seamless sheet. It is compatible with underfloor heating, but check the ideal temperature range with your supplier first.
CONs: Rubber is not scratch resistant, hard to repair, and fades quickly.
Maintenance: Clean rubber floors with a damp mop and the supplier’s recommended detergent.
Your lifestyle has an impact on your decision
To identify the best bathroom flooring for your home, start by identifying who will use the bathroom.
For families with small children, choose non-slip floors which withstand splashes and pools of water during bath time.
The bathroom for the elderly members of the family must offer a right level of slip resistance, and a floor which is soft underfoot in the event of falls.
Choose a bathroom flooring that’s kind to your bare feet, low maintenance, easy to clean, and gorgeous
Then think about the style you’re aiming. Do you want a rustic, contemporary, modern, minimalist, Scandinavian, Hamptons, etc.? Which bathroom flooring suits your style?