Two important factors to consider when choosing bathroom flooring is color and the type of material.
Because the bathroom is a place that’s associated with being clean, a lot of bathroom floors tend to be lighter colors such as white or light grey especially in commercial bathrooms like hotel rooms. This way anyone cleaning the rooms can quickly see stains that they need to wipe and people using it also feel like they’re in a clean environment when using the bathroom.
Another reason people may lean towards lighter colored flooring material is because there’s usually not a lot of natural light streaming into bathrooms so people tend to prefer lighter colors which make the bathroom appear brighter and bigger unlike dark colors which will make it look smaller.
If you’re bathroom has a lot of light or the walls and other parts of the bathroom are white or lighter colors then you may opt for darker stones like travertine to complement them.
Tiles such as those with mosaic patterns can be used to complement a centerpiece, such as a beautifully designed and striking bathtub.
When it comes to materials, you don’t want anything that doesn’t dry well and is slippery. Taking all this into account, our top 7 bathroom flooring options are as follows:
1. Engineered Wooden bathroom flooring
Wooden flooring is gorgeous in any part of the house and it comes in a wide range of colors but it’s demanding to maintain when it’s continuously exposed to moisture.
Despite there being good oil-based polyurethane sealers, you will have to make sure that the floor is mopped as soon as it gets wet. You will have to apply a finish, probably annually and you should install a vent fan to reduce moisture in the bathroom. In addition, get a mat near the shower/ bathtub so that you drip on to the mat instead of the floor. And know that it will be very hard to get a flooring manufacturer to honor a warranty for wooden flooring.
If you know that wooden flooring will be costly and hard to maintain for you then engineered wood is a better option. It copes better with moisture and looks just as good.
If you’ve never thought of using concrete for bathroom flooring, you’ll probably think it’s boring when it’s actually not. It has a minimalist appeal and this calming grey works wonderfully to contrast with wooden pieces or to make other colors and areas of the bathroom pop.
Other advantages include it being cost effective and if you feel grey is too boring for you, you can paint over it, color it or stain it. It’s easy to clean, maintain and unlike wood, it can’t be altered by water.
To counter it being too slippery, you can paint over it with anti-slip paint or ask your contractor to give it a finishing that has slight friction to prevent accidents in the bathroom.
It can get really cold making it uncomfortable to walk on during cold months but you can wear warm house slippers to counter this.
Marble is a beautiful, luxurious stone to install in the bathroom. It’s loved for its veining and unique patterns and can be paired with marble walls and countertops to create a breathtaking effect.
It’s main hindrance is it’s porosity and slipperiness. To counter its absorbency, you would have to make sure it is sealed before you buy it. Because of its porosity, it can stain so ensure that you’re marble tiles are sealed and reseal them every few years.
Marble contains iron particles which can rust when soaked so before you purchase the tiles, take a sample home and soak it for a couple of days to see whether there’s any discoloration.
Travertine is a natural stone that has this strong, beautiful presence. It comes in darker colors compared to other natural stones. It has a very earthy feel and you can get it in a range of tan, brown, black and beige.
For the bathroom, choose travertine tiles that have more of a rough finish so that people don’t slip in the bathroom. Rough looking travertine tiles also give a coral like look.
Travertine comes in a variety of finishes which can give it a range of looks and styles from modern to rustic.
Travertine is easier to install than marble which makes it more cost effective and it ranges between $4 to $8 but can be more expensive depending on the finishing and style.
Like marble, travertine is porous making it susceptible to staining, wear and tear if it’s not well sealed.
5. Ceramic Tiles
One of the features that has made ceramic tiles competitive is it can be made to mimic other materials such as hardwood and marble without the weaknesses of those materials. Ceramic tiles are made from sand, water and clay. The tiles are baked and usually coated with a glaze to make them waterproof.
Ceramic tiles come in a variety of colors and they’re durable. You will get cases where the tile is thin and cracks or they were not laid well which also leads to cracking but overall they are very durable.
Unlike Terrazzo, ceramic tiles are not as taxing to floor and if you carry out enough research, it can be a DIY project. They’re not affected negatively by temperature and they’re refreshingly cool during the summer. Tiles are easy to clean but in bathrooms, especially in showers, they need to be scrubbed with a green scrub scouring sponge pad at least once a month. You can use a toothbrush to get in between the edges and grout lines.
Price wise, tiles are pocket friend and start from $3. For wood-look alike tiles, they get a bit more pricey at $9 per square foot but it’s still a steal when you compare it to the price of actual wood flooring.
Ensure that you lay the tiles with grout. Grout is usually available in powder form and it’s used to fill in spaces between tiles. Grout makes it easier to maintain tiles in wet areas and they make sure your tiles don’t shift or rub each other and
6. Porcelain Tiles
The main difference between porcelain tiles and ceramic tiles is their water absorption rate. Porcelain has a 0.5% water absorption rate or lower. It’s also more dense and durable than ceramic tile but unfortunately there are a lot of fake porcelain tiles in the market.
Because porcelain tiles are more expensive to produce than ceramic tiles, its selling price is always higher but despite this, its water absorption rate makes it more suitable for bathroom flooring.
Porcelain can be designed to look similar to marble and it’s cheaper than marble and more durable.
Terrazzo means terrace in Italian and was developed (not invented) in Venice as a low budget flooring option. These floors were very popular around the 1500s and have evolved over time. Terrazzo has been used for plazas, hotels, homes and even swimming pools showing how water resistant it is meaning it’s great for bathrooms.
If you grew up seeing terrazzo, whenever you see it now, it probably has a sweet sense of nostalgia coupled with an appreciation for its simple beauty that’s long lasting. It has this feeling of assurance that it will be there with you for the long haul.
Terrazzo is a mix of granite, marble, glass, quartz chips, and other stones and it’s held together with concrete. Currently, you can get it in bright and bold colors and its variations are close to endless.
Its customizability is a feature that makes it very competitive when it comes to flooring options. One might even dare to say that perhaps it’s the best floor for a bathroom but that’s just our opinion.
Along with customizability and a variety of options, it’s durable and can accommodate high traffic meaning it works well for both commercial and household bathroom flooring.
Despite initially being developed for its affordability, it’s become quite pricey and can go for $40 to $70 per square foot. Another con is that it can’t be installed as a DIY project like concrete flooring. It requires a professional to mix the materials and install it.
Maintaining bathroom floors
- For wood, make sure you wipe water immediately. Keep mats on the floor near the bathtub and shower so that water doesn’t drip onto the floor. Don’t use strong detergents or vinegar to clean your wooden floor otherwise you may end up with light patches.
- For the natural stones and ceramic and porcelain tiles, make sure that they’re sealed when you buy them so that the stones don’t absorb water and for the natural stones, reseal them periodically. When cleaning the stones or tiles, a mop and soapy water will suffice but you will need to scrub them every so often to get rid of the grime. Clean up spills from soaps, shampoos and hair dye to avoid discoloration.
- Concrete and Terrazzo do require sealers as well but besides that, a mop with soapy water will suffice to clean and maintain these types of floors.