When it comes to bathroom flooring, you can easily get overwhelmed by so many available options. It’s not always clear how to make your selection because this kind of choice needs to take into account your particular lifestyle. The flooring is a reliable foundation for any bathroom. Lots of people focus on durability as an important determining factor when making their choice, but you shouldn’t forget about style to obtain the desired bathroom look.
Extra water isn’t usually something to worry about when you consider the flooring options of other rooms. The bathroom is an exception here as all that moisture can become a problem that you have to prepare for in advance. Pick the wrong flooring option and you will end up ruining it due to the risk of water infiltration. While personal style plays an important role when deciding on other elements of the bathroom, this shouldn’t take priority when it comes to the flooring.
Before we look at the best flooring options you can try for your bathroom, let’s get out of the way the worst choices that you should avoid at all costs. Carpeting isn’t recommended for the bathroom given its tendency to retain moisture for extended periods of time. There are some workarounds (such as choosing a completely inorganic material) if you really wish to carpet the bathroom floor, but overall this is a poor option. Solid hardwood flooring should also be avoided because it lacks good protection against water.
Now it’s time to take a close look at the best flooring options for the bathroom. We take into account multiple aspects including durability and attractiveness, as well as budget and lifestyle considerations.
1. Vinyl Flooring
We’ll start with vinyl as it’s one of the most budget-friendly flooring options that can look very nice for a bathroom. This material is waterproof and simple to clean. The secret for a sleek vinyl flooring that requires almost no maintenance is to choose sheets instead of tiles. This minimizes the chances for the water to get under the floor surface.
Vinyl is an excellent bathroom flooring option mostly due to its durability. If you want to introduce a more interesting design, vinyl is very suitable thanks to the multitude of varieties available. You can make a statement in the bathroom with a colorful or patterned vinyl floor. Just remember to choose sheet vinyl flooring for best results. It may be harder to install compared to tile or plank vinyl, but you won’t have to worry about seams where water can penetrate.
2. Ceramic Tile Flooring
Ceramic tile flooring is a highly popular option that’s favored by fans of a clean and traditional look. It doesn’t disappoint in terms of durability thanks to its reliable stain resistance and waterproof capabilities. There are some disadvantages as well which can affect your decision. Unless you use a floor heating system, the tiles will provide a fairly cold experience underfoot. You also need to pick a ceramic tile variety that offers good slip resistance to avoid accidents in the bathroom.
In terms of maintenance, ceramic tile flooring is a solid option. The only problem that you might have to deal with regularly is the cleaning of grout stains between tiles. One thing that you’ll probably love about ceramic tile flooring is the versatility of colors and textures. White tiles provide that clean style that’s ideal for a bathroom while grey ones feel more neutral. You can use ceramic tiles to imitate a specific look as there are varieties that mimic natural stone or wood.
There are plenty of size and shape options when it comes to ceramic tile. Whether you prefer a square or hexagonal shape, a mosaic or tinted grout design, this type of flooring has excellent potential to show off your creativity and obtain a bathroom floor according to your exact vision. Ceramic tile flooring isn’t exactly cheap, but the good news is that you won’t regret your purchase. This type of flooring is built to last for years and will increase home resell value.
3. Natural Stone Flooring
If you wish to upgrade your bathroom flooring to a truly luxurious look, natural stone represents a popular option. Whether you prefer marble or limestone, you will be pleased to find out that natural stone offers a strong waterproof rating making it a durable choice to consider. There’s a bit of maintenance required, but the upside is that natural stone flooring has a long lifespan. The look of marble, onyx, and granite with their natural patterns can easily transform the bathroom into a luxurious oasis.
Marble usually stands out from other options due to its particular beauty and sophistication. You can purchase this flooring material as either entire slabs or just tiles. Depending on the marble type, you will find a nice range of colors and textures available to customize the look of any bathroom. Another popular natural stone option is Travertine. This is a crystallized stone with exceptional longevity thanks to modern innovations that make it less prone to staining. It offers the charm of a Turkish spa and infuses any area with an old-world vibe.
Go for naturally textured stone in case you’d like to minimize the risk of slipping accidents. Slate is a solid option in that case. The only big problem with natural stone flooring is the cost which is considerably higher than other options. This is completely understandable when you factor in the hardness and the aesthetically pleasing qualities of the material. If you’re willing to choose natural stone flooring, you will be very pleased with the investment.
4. Cork Flooring
There are some bathroom flooring options that stand out from the rest in terms of sustainability. Cork is a more eco-friendly material that can be successfully incorporated as the flooring of your bathroom. This is mostly due to its mold and mildew resistance. It can also handle water damage quite well. If you choose to go for cork flooring, it’s important to be aware that resealing every few years has to be done.
Installing cork flooring is a bit too hard for the average DIY enthusiast so you should let a professional deal with this task. Water can seep between gaps in the cork so we recommend sticking to unfinished varieties of the material and apply the finishing water-resistant sealer on-site. Even if there are a few drawbacks, cork flooring can be a very attractive choice given the soft texture.
Cork used for bathroom flooring is definitely a unique choice. The appearance is warm and inviting and the material boasts solid insulating and antimicrobial properties. As long as you’re careful about scratches and floods that can cause discolorations, cork flooring will hold well over time. The good news is that even if the floor gets damaged, it’s simple to repair compared to other materials.
5. Concrete Flooring
Polished concrete works amazingly well if you favor a more grown-up bathroom design with a slight industrial flair. The eye-catching appearance of concrete flooring is mostly due to the fact that this material is used as the finishing layer as well as the structural floor itself. It’s actually more cost-effective to incorporate this kind of single-material design for the bathroom floor.
Another great advantage of concrete flooring is its strength. It will take a lot of damage to scratch it or stain it. Concrete is both highly robust and provides dependable water resistance to make it suitable for a wet environment. While you won’t really have to worry about damage to this kind of flooring, if something does happen and you need a repair, you’ll most likely have to replace the whole slab of concrete. This is pretty much the main disadvantage of concrete flooring as fixing the damage can get quite expensive.
In case there’s only minor damage to the concrete floor, you shouldn’t have to go through a complete replacement right away. A quick and simple fix is to just add another flooring material on top of the existing concrete. This is one huge advantage of this bathroom flooring option because it enables you to lay down another material easily when you feel like the bathroom’s floor needs a makeover. In terms of eco-friendliness, concrete flooring does surprisingly well considering the ability to include recycled materials and aggregates that may even give the floor a unique look.
6. Linoleum Flooring
Often confused with vinyl, linoleum is actually a completely different material even if the two have a similar look. Linoleum flooring can be a good option for any bathroom thanks to its affordability, simple maintenance, and waterproof rating. Compared to natural stone or ceramic tile, linoleum is warm underfoot and it boasts natural resistance to mold and mildew. Keep in mind that not all types of linoleum can be used for bathroom flooring.
It’s important to do your research and check the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before installing a linoleum product as the bathroom’s flooring. While the water resistance of this material is overall excellent, linoleum isn’t fully waterproof. Without correct installation, you might stumble upon moisture penetration issues. This is why linoleum flooring is best installed by a professional that’s careful about sealing all the seams of the tiles and sheets.
If you’re an environmentally-conscious person, opting for linoleum flooring would be an excellent choice. The material uses up only natural renewable resources and is biodegradable meaning that it won’t pollute the environment after disposal. With regular maintenance, you can expect linoleum flooring to last for more than 30 years. This material is also fairly durable and doesn’t scratch easily.
7. Porcelain Tile Flooring
Porcelain tile is a type of ceramic tile that promises superior capabilities to prevent water infiltration. While it may seem similar to the classic ceramic tile, porcelain can be considered superior and better suited for bathroom flooring. If water resistance is the main factor for your bathroom flooring decision, porcelain can be easily considered the best choice. It’s hard to cut manually, so you should leave the installation process to a professional.
Many people appreciate porcelain tile flooring for its superb aesthetic. Both modern and traditional bathrooms will look amazing if you use this type of flooring material. There’s quite a large assortment of colors and finishes that can be selected when shopping for porcelain tile. You will be surprised to find out that this material isn’t that expensive so in most cases it’s more cost-effective compared to natural stone or others.
The fact that porcelain absorbs so little water can be a disadvantage in some cases. Tiles become extremely slick in a wet environment like the bathroom. This means that this kind of flooring is a bit riskier for slip and fall accidents. Overall, porcelain tile flooring is a great all-around option for bathrooms though not really ideal for half-baths. It’s well suited for high-traffic areas.
8. Pebble Tile Flooring
Those who like to have a natural touch in their bathrooms will probably love pebble tile flooring. Despite being less expensive than marble or granite, these little stones are sure to add a similar visual effect and overall atmosphere. Similar to how the beauty of marble comes from natural variations in the texture of the stone, pebble tile flooring can look amazing thanks to the differences in shape, size, and color. There are lots of designs to choose from allowing you to bring your dream bathroom to reality.
If you’re worried about the environmental impact, it’s good to know that you can find brands that provide recycled glass versions without sacrificing the natural look. Compared to other bathroom flooring options, pebble tile is probably the one that creates the strongest spa-like vibe. Some tile options enable you to enjoy a very pleasant textural feel underfoot which mimics a gentle massage.
As with other bathroom flooring options, pebble tile comes with a few disadvantages as well. The most notable one is the maintenance. You will need quite a large quantity of grout for proper sealing against moisture. Regular maintenance is essential to maintain the grout in perfect shape. That’s not really a great issue when you consider other advantages like the non-slippery texture that makes it ideal for bathroom flooring.
9. Rubber Flooring
Rubber is an ideal flooring material for high-traffic environments so that’s why you will find it used in lots of commercial settings. Given the increase in color, pattern, and texture options, rubber is now a fairly popular material for bathroom flooring. When you go shopping for this flooring material, one of the most preferable options is to have it installed as rubber tiles. Craft a uniform look with multiple tiles or just add different color tiles for a personalized floor style.
Whereas tile products are usually more DIY-friendly, you can risk moisture problems if you don’t do a proper sealing job. This is why we recommend going for a rubber sheet instead which is capable of delivering a more seamless flooring experience. Polished rubber can look quite attractive for some bathroom styles but you need to be aware of the danger of slipping. A safer option would be to invest in textured rubber flooring.
Rubber is known for its reliable durability. You will have a difficult time trying to scratch it or dent it. It’s safe to say that it can last for more than a couple of decades with proper maintenance. Rubber flooring requires regular waxing and needs to be cleaned quite often as it’s prone to grease stains and discoloration. Those who want a material with decent sound insulation properties will also like rubber as it can keep an apartment quieter.
10. Engineered Bamboo Flooring
Bamboo flooring may not sound that appealing for a bathroom considering the similarities with hardwood. This natural material is fairly well adapted to wet environments but that doesn’t mean it can work ideally for the flooring in your bathroom. The solution to incorporating bamboo is to choose the engineered variety which has been fortified for extra durability. Only this type of bamboo flooring can be recommended for high moisture and humidity areas like the bathroom.
One of the main advantages of bamboo flooring is eco-friendliness. It’s crafted from a natural resource that scores high on sustainability. The cost is also quite low compared to other bathroom flooring options. Bamboo has experienced quite a surge in popularity thanks to its stylish look that gives off solid tropical vibes. While it’s comparable to hardwood, bamboo is tougher and can last for a long time if it’s properly installed and maintained.
We recommended opting for engineered bamboo planks for best results. It’s important to limit the risks of damage and scratches to the flooring surface as much as possible. In case the floor becomes damaged, it may not be easily repaired. It depends on the particular brand and bamboo flooring product as some versions are adapted for the bathroom and hold up better than others.
11. Terrazzo Flooring
One of the best bathroom flooring options money can buy, Terrazzo flooring has a distinctive minimalist look of ultimate durability. For those unconcerned about budget limitations, this type of flooring should be somewhere at the top of their options list. Terrazzo is built from a special mixture of various aggregates like marble and granite with concrete or epoxy-resin. The finished product is colored and treated to be virtually indestructible.
Aside from the exceptional durability, Terrazzo has other benefits that you should keep in mind. For starters, it’s very low maintenance. The high resistance to stains means that you won’t have to deal with difficult cleaning jobs. Hardly a lot of upkeep is required when Terrazzo is used as bathroom flooring thanks to its reliable water resistance.
Despite the initial goal of creating an affordable material for commercial and institutional applications, nowadays Terrazzo’s increased demand made it very expensive. You will frequently find it used in luxury homes. If you can afford it, Terrazzo bathroom flooring is certainly worth the investment, particularly if you prefer a modern minimalist look with extra texture. Lots of Terrazzo types make use of large aggregate chips with different colors allowing homeowners to make a design statement.
12. Recycled Glass Tiles
Thanks to their jewel-like look, recycled glass tiles for bathroom flooring reached quite a popular status in recent times. The main advantage is the creative potential of this material to come up with some interesting flooring designs. There’s also the fact that you can choose a more sustainable option for the bathroom flooring. Given how glass is a durable material and so much of it ends up in landfills, a large amount gets recycled for various applications. One of them is the creation of decorative glass tiles which have a strong hand-crafted appeal.
You can use recycled glass tiles for other areas as well, including the kitchen backsplash. This material has a decent level of sturdiness and water resistance. This allows glass tiles that have been recycled to be used as bathroom flooring. Just make sure you get a professional install and select a quality type that’s extra resistant to scratching or other damage. Depending on the type and design of recycled glass tile you choose, the costs can really add up. Make sure you are prepared for this kind of investment.
13. Wood Laminate Flooring
When you compare it to hardwood, laminate flooring is the superior choice for the bathroom environment. Even if it may not be an ideal choice at first, you can make wood laminate work nicely as bathroom flooring as long as the seams between the planks are tightly sealed. Many people like the look of this type of flooring and that’s the main reason to consider laminate bathroom flooring. You can take advantage of a wood style in the bathroom without the usual water infiltration problems.
Another great advantage is the simple maintenance. Given how laminate is just a special paper treated with resin over the wood chip base, you just need to make sure the outer layer stays clean. The surface of the laminate plank has been designed with reliable strength in mind to resist wear in the long run. That being said, there are still some limitations when it comes to excessive moisture. Water can still penetrate the wood laminate floor because true waterproof types don’t exist yet.
Overall, laminate flooring could be considered a great choice thanks to its cost-effectiveness and versatility. The building process for this material allows you to craft almost any look you need as the resin-impregnated paper can contain the image of any custom design you prefer. Just make sure you stick to reputable companies to ensure a smooth installation process with high-quality materials that won’t allow moisture to reach the fiberboard layer easily.
14. Engineered Hardwood
Hardwood is not a good choice for bathroom flooring, but there’s a specially engineered type that you shouldn’t overlook if you’re determined to get this look everywhere in your home. The wood used for this flooring option is real and the only difference is the construction as there are multiple layers with a veneer top. Compared to regular hardwood, this material is much more resistant to water damage and high humidity.
An important aspect to remember is that despite the best technologies available, there’s no completely waterproof hardwood. There’s still a higher risk of water infiltration problems as opposed to other bathroom flooring options. The main advantage is that you can benefit from a spectacular look with countless variations of colors and styles to suit your tastes. Aside from choosing high-quality engineered wood, you will also need to find a professional installer to avoid the risk of gaps for moisture.