Selecting the Right Bathroom Flooring

There are many factors to consider when choosing a flooring type for your bathroom. Our expert shares advice on flooring options that are powder-room friendly.
Upscale Beach House Bathroom

Upscale Beach House Bathroom

This luxurious bathroom is the perfect place to relax after a long day at the beach. The marble of the walls and the floor gives the space an elegant feel, while the clean lines and bright white color of the vanity makes the space feel fresh and bright.

Photo by: Craig Denis

Craig Denis

By: Heather J Paper

When choosing the right flooring for a bathroom, there's more to keep in mind than personal style. Some very specific factors come into play: Is your flooring, for instance, impervious to water? Will it stain easily when makeup takes a spill? Is it safe when walking across with wet feet? Given those considerations, here are some of the top contenders in bathroom floor surfaces:

Carpet: Many people think that carpet isn't a reasonable option for potentially waterlogged bathrooms. However, all you need to do is make some careful choices. As long as your carpet is water-, mildew- and stain-resistant — with a backing that doesn't allow water to seep into the pad — you're good to go. And it's worth looking for options within those parameters. Not only does carpet provide softness and warmth underfoot, but the color and pattern options are practically limitless, too.

Ceramic Tile: Ceramic floor tile differs from, say, wall tile in that it's designed with more of a texture to prevent slippage. It is typically between 1/2-inch to 3/4-inches thick, and measures anywhere from 4 x 4 inches to 2-feet-square. In addition to squares, other shapes are available, including octagonal and hexagonal. And mosaic tiles (2 inches square or smaller) come in pre-mounted fabric mesh sheets. Ceramic tile is available in a vast variety of colors and patterns; plus, you can take your creativity to yet another level with colored grouts. This type of flooring is durable and hygienic, but make sure that you pay close attention to the porosity rating; it's critical in a space such as a bathroom that requires something that's moisture-proof. The porosity classifications range from impervious (the least absorbent) to vitreous, semivitreous and, finally, nonvitreous (the most absorbent).

Laminate: Made of layers of materials literally bonded together for strength — resin, wood fiber and Kraft paper, for example — laminate flooring is compacted under pressure to create the final product, which is then transformed into planks. In fact, the surface of a laminate plank is actually a photographic image, printed from film onto a thin decorative layer, which is in turn protected with a wear layer. The high resolution of the film results in a realistic appearance, so laminates may appear to be a variety of other materials; wood grain is one of the most popular. And because it's durable and easy to clean, laminate flooring a logical choice for bathrooms.

Hardwood: Part of hardwood flooring's charm is that it lends a sense of warmth to your bathroom. Plus, if hardwood is your flooring of choice throughout the rest of the house, you'll create a cohesive look. What's more, even worse-for-the-wear hardwood floors can be given a fresh outlook; you can stain or paint to complement the rest of the room's decor.

Natural Stone: Cut into tiles, typically 12 inches square or larger, stone is easy to care for and durable, but it does require a strong subfloor. It also has the potential to be slippery when wet, especially in a polished form. As an alternative, however, stone can be honed (ground flat but not polished) or textured (by sandblasting); keep in mind, though, that unpolished forms may require a sealant to prevent stains. And one more word to the wise if you opt for a stone floor: Keep a pair of slippers handy as it tends to be cold underfoot.

Vinyl: Long one of the most popular choices for bathroom applications, vinyl comes in sheets or tiles. Sheet vinyl comes in rolls that are 6- or 12-feet wide, providing a seamless look. Vinyl tiles, on the other hand, are typically 12 to 18 inches square and lend themselves to a variety of different patterns. Tiles are usually easier to install, and it's simple to replace just one, if need be. On the downside, though, a vinyl tile installation has many more seams, which creates more places for germs to grow. Both options, however, are easy to clean and effectively resist stains and moisture.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Flooring Buyer's Guide

Given the wide array of flooring options available, you're bound to find one that fits your lifestyle and budget. Learn about 10 popular flooring types to find your match.

Selecting Carpet

Ask these key questions to pick the best carpeting.

Fresh Choices in Bathroom Flooring

Ceramic tile may be a traditionally popular bathroom flooring option, but it's certainly not your only choice. Here are some alternatives to consider.

Flooring That Stands Up to Bathroom Wear

Choosing the right bathroom flooring can be a daunting task. These tips will help you choose flooring that looks great, is durable and feels fabulous underfoot.

Determine Your Bathroom Layout

The best bathroom remodels start with a thoughtful layout. Here are some important tips when considering your remodeled bathroom's new floorplan.

Selecting Outdoor Kitchen Flooring

Before you buy that giant grill, make sure you have the right surface to place it on. Here's how to choose the best floor for your outdoor kitchen.

Combine Bathroom Colors with Confidence

Some basic color theory, a color wheel and the 60-30-10 rule will have you combining bathroom colors like an interior design pro.

Guide to Selecting Bathroom Countertops

Bathroom surfaces don't have to be as buff as the ones in the kitchen, so you can focus more on style and design.

Under Foot: Outdoor Flooring Buyer's Guide

What's the best material to build your driveway, deck or patio? We look at five outdoor flooring choices and the cost, pros and cons, and ideal locations for each.

Kids Put Their Own Stamp on Bathrooms

Getting the little ones involved in designing their own bathrooms makes sense. But there are limits to how much control they should wield.

On TV

Yard Crashers

7:30am | 6:30c

Yard Crashers

8:30am | 7:30c

Yard Crashers

9:30am | 8:30c

Yard Crashers

10am | 9c

Yard Crashers

10:30am | 9:30c
11am | 10c
11:30am | 10:30c

Pool Kings

12pm | 11c

Pool Kings

12:30pm | 11:30c

Pool Kings

1pm | 12c

Pool Kings

1:30pm | 12:30c

Pool Kings

2pm | 1c

Pool Kings

2:30pm | 1:30c

Pool Kings

3pm | 2c

Pool Kings

3:30pm | 2:30c

Pool Kings

4pm | 3c

Pool Kings

4:30pm | 3:30c

Pool Kings

5pm | 4c

Pool Kings

5:30pm | 4:30c

Pool Kings

6pm | 5c

Pool Kings

6:30pm | 5:30c

Pool Kings

7pm | 6c

Pool Kings

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

First Time Flippers

8pm | 7c

First Time Flippers

8:30pm | 7:30c

First Time Flippers

9:30pm | 8:30c

First Time Flippers

10:30pm | 9:30c

First Time Flippers

11:30pm | 10:30c

First Time Flippers

12:30am | 11:30c

First Time Flippers

1:30am | 12:30c

First Time Flippers

2:30am | 1:30c

First Time Flippers

3:30am | 2:30c

Elbow Room

4:30am | 3:30c

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.