Bathroom Flooring Options, Tips & Ideas for Your Home

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Practicality & Safety First

When it comes to creating an attractive bathroom, your floors are a big part of the equation. Besides your walls, your floors cover a large surface area and will attract substantial attention from your family, friends, and casual visitoes. Even if nobody notices your perfect bathroom floors, people will be using it on a daily basis. No matter your design objectives, remember that above everything, your bathroom floor needs to be safe. Let's be real - what good is a gorgeous but slippery floor that sends you and your loved ones to the emergency room? Injuries and falls are absolutely terrible, so instead of going for the shiniest and most slippery matterial, select a floor that suits your family's lifestyle needs. Make sure that your material of choice has plenty of traction to avoid slipping and sliding wet feet.

If you're concerned about safety, you may find yourself wondering - "why not take an extreme approach and install wall-to-wall carpeting?" This is actually a bad idea. Remember, bathrooms are small spaces that accumulate excessive moisture. And what are the consequences of moisture? Wear and tear. Mildew. Mold. Yuck. Make sure that you select a floor is easy to clean and able to endure a humid environment. Otherwise, you may end up wasting money on repairs and replacements.

Rule number 1: Avoid carpets. In a bathroom, they are difficult to clean and will grow mildew as a result of dampness. Imagine a carpet that is always wet, moldy, and difficult to dry. The bad situation that carpet creates will become even worse when the bathroom begins to smell like mildew.

Rule number 2: Stay away from hardwood floors. Moisture will cause dramatic wear and tear in a short amount of time. If you absolutely must install hardwood floors, make sure that you hire professionals for the installation. The floor should be crack-free in order to prevent water damage. Instead of installing real hardwood floors, you can install a false one. Faux-hardwood floors are made from vinyl and photos of real types of wood. Many people use these false wood designs as an environmentally conscious decision or to replicate a material that is otherwise expensive.

Your Bathroom Flooring Options

Even though there are materials that you should avoid, you have plenty of choices when it comes to finding a floor type that works with your style, design objectives, and budget. Check out some of these options for creative design tips:


Stone is among the more expensive options, but it can create the luxurious look and feel of similar but more water damage-prone materials such as marble and limestone. In spite of the benefits of a luxurious look and feel, stone floors have their drawbacks: they are slippery and need to be retextured every so often to maintain traction. You can buy pieces of stone that are already textured, but you may end up spending more money. If you tile your bathroom floors with stone, make sure that you invest in some high-quality bathroom rugs since these surfaces can feel cold.

Ceramic Tiles

This type of flooring is inexpensive, durable, and water resistant: three important qualities for practicality and longevity. Installation is straightforward, and you can choose a variety of colors, styles, and shapes: square, rectangle, and hexagonal. Experiment with ceramic tiles to create unique and creative patterns in your bathroom. If you are looking for a do-it-yourself project, ceramic tiles are among your best options and are readily available. When shopping for ceramic tiles, make sure that you buy a couple of extras. If you drop something heavy, your tiles may crack or chip and can be difficult to fix. Years after you install your floors, you may have trouble finding the same or similar tiles, especially if you choose a unique color or design. Keep spares accessible to help with your repairs.

Vinyl Tiles

Vinyl tiles are ideal for people who are looking for quick and easy design projects. This option is moisture resistant and available in a variety of patterns and colors for easy coordination. If you're ambitious, you can tile your bathroom yourself, without the help of a professional, in a day or two. Save money on installation fees by doing this project yourself. Some vinyl tiles are available in sheets. You can customize sheets to meet a specific square footage for more efficient installation.

Glass Tiles

This type of flooring is ideal for people who have a creative design plan. You can use glass tiles to decorate almost every inch of your bathroom including your walls, shower, bathtub, and floor. They are water resistant and long lasting, and you can even "go green" by choosing recycled glass.If using glass tiles, it is advisable to tile your bathroom with small pieces in order to ensure that pressure is distributed evenly across your floor (you don't want to accidentally break a tile after stepping on it! That would be dangerous and disappointing!) Glass tiles will provide you with the perfect opportunity to design a fancy mosaic anywhere in your bathroom.

Mix and match a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes to create a beautiful and unique style that is truly your own. Glass tiles are widely available in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. You'll probably spend a little more than you would for traditional ceramic tiles, but you will have more opportunities for fun and creativity. Just make sure that you have a clear objective for what you want to accomplish, and remember to stay patient.

Synthetic Wood

In general, wood is not ideal for bathrooms since it is prone to water damage and difficult to install. If you want the look of wood but want to avoid the hassle of real wood, consider a synthetic material such as laminated flooring or engineered wood. This type of flooring looks like wood and has a hard, non-porous surface with glued edges. A plywood base will protect the surface from water damage. Engineered wood will look like the real deal: it strategically incorporates a type of photograph on the surface, so it will look like the wood that you are trying to replicate such as oak or redwood.

Last Updated: January 19, 2012

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