Your Guide to Bathroom Flooring

Bath Design

All You Need To Know About Bathroom Flooring

If you’re planning a bathroom remodel, one of the most important choices you’ll make is what type of flooring to install. There is an array of different bathroom flooring options, including tile, vinyl, wood, and more. Before you make a decision, consider your needs and your budget. Do you plan to install a radiant-heat subfloor? If so, pick a material that is conducive to heat. Are you remodeling a powder room that lacks a shower or bath? Then don’t worry about picking out a wholly waterproof floor. And how much are you willing to spend? Some materials, like high-end tile, are more expensive than others.

And, let’s face it, depending on the size of your family and the number of bathrooms you have, this may be one of the most used rooms in the house. So, you need something that can handle the traffic, the moisture and humidity, and all the messes that wind up in the bathroom. We’ll introduce you to our best bathroom flooring options and identify each of their pros and cons. For more information on any given material and how it may fit your needs, consult with a design expert. Now, who’s ready to pick out their best bathroom floor?

Bathroom Flooring Materials


One of the most popular flooring options for bathrooms is ceramic tile. Why do so many people choose tile for their bathroom? With ceramic and porcelain tile, you won’t need to worry about water or moisture damaging your flooring.

Plus, there are so many different options to choose from. If you’re a fan of hardwood flooring, you can even find ceramic tiles that look like wood. They are easy to maintain and look very classy and clean. In the case of ceramic and porcelain tiles, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

Yes, they are tough to install, but wouldn’t you rather have someone else do it anyways? It offers a clean and classic look that’s also extremely durable, waterproof, and stain resistant. To avoid slip-and-fall accidents in the bathroom, it’s smart to choose a tile that is certified slip-resistant. On the downside, bathroom tiles are cold underfoot unless installed over a radiant floor heating system, which is a smart investment in a bathroom where it’s important to keep bare feet warm.

When choosing a tile floor design, consider color. While white bathroom tiles look sharp, they’re often hard to keep clean. Grey bathroom tiles, on the other hand, offer the desired neutral without being too difficult to maintain. Additionally, if you have shower tiles, bath tiles, or other bathroom wall tiles, consider incorporating the same color scheme or design on the floor.

In terms of size, tiles for the floor can span from a few inches to a few feet. Smaller tiles will require more labor, and thus may cost more. Larger tiles also help to make a space feel bigger.

Vinyl Flooring

One of the most budget friendly options you can choose is vinyl. Vinyl flooring today can take several forms, including sheet flooring, vinyl tiles, and vinyl planks sometimes referred to as luxury vinyl. Vinyl offers several distinct advantages no matter what form you choose. It’s a very durable material, tough yet surprisingly soft underfoot. And, the main reason that vinyl flooring is popular in bathrooms is because it is resistant to moisture, steam, and humidity. This means that vinyl can be considered the ultimate waterproof solution.

Lastly, vinyl is easy to maintain and clean. It’s resistant to dirt, stains, and scratches (for the most part- nothing is totally indestructible… yet!)

While vinyl flooring is not completely impervious to the rigors of these rooms, it is very resistant to water and easy to clean and maintain, making it a low-cost, low-hassle flooring choice.


Green Alert! Cork is one of if not the most environmentally friendly flooring option. Made from bark, cork is a highly renewable resource and great for the environment. It is resistant to mold, mildew, and water damage—perfect for a bathroom. A polyurethane topcoat will protect the floors from minor spills (the floor should be resealed every few years to protect against moisture). To prevent water seeping between gaps, it’s best to choose unfinished cork and finish the floor on-site. Installation can be tricky and is best left to a professional. However, cork is not for everyone, it doesn’t offer color variations and may not fit into every design style.

Slate or other Natural Stones

Natural stone–and don’t be fooled by porcelain tile that looks like ​natural stone–is not cheap. Much of it is not domestically quarried. Natural stone often travels quite some way to get here and gets shipped via container across oceans to your home. The supply line is long, and middlemen need to be paid-before you can get your stone. However, natural stone is a very good choice for bathrooms, the tile stands up well to the moisture and humidity in the space. So, it is a good, long-term investment in your home.

There are few moisture problems with marble, granite, limestone, and the other stone flooring options. Natural stone is hard, durable, and aesthetically pleasing. Stone flooring returns excellent resale value and adds an instant luxurious feel to your space. But stone flooring can be cold and slippery. Coldness can be solved by installing radiant heating, which is ever so popular to our Midwest friends, and the slip factor can be mitigated by having the stone textured with sandblasting or by purchasing naturally textured stone, such as slate.

Flooring to Avoid in the Bathroom

Wall-to-Wall Carpeting

Because carpeting retains moisture for so long, it tends to dry out slowly within the confined spaces of bathrooms. This makes carpet a poor flooring choice for bathrooms. However, if you do wish to have carpet in the bathroom, make sure the pile is low and the material is 100-percent inorganic, such as olefin or nylon.

Solid Hardwood

Except for its top coating, solid hardwood has no protection against moisture. Even the smallest amount of moisture that works its way into the wood will eventually rot it out. Only slightly better than carpet, solid hardwood looks great and feels warm under foot. If you absolutely do want solid hardwood in your bathroom, make certain it is perfectly installed, with zero gaps for moisture. This means hiring professional installers. It also means that site-finishing your hardwood flooring works better than installing prefinished flooring. Site-finishing floods the seams between the boards with coating, effectively blocking moisture migration from the top side.

The Verdict

Which option really is the best for bathroom flooring? Well, that simply depends on you.
Are you on a tight budget?  Consider ceramic tiles or vinyl.
Would you prefer a green option? Go with cork – the eco-friendliest choice, by far.
Does your home’s resale value top your priority list? Invest in a higher end product like natural stone.

These are some of the many factors that weigh into the decision.  Want to talk about what else you think is important when choosing the best bathroom flooring for your home? Chat with one of our talented designers below about your project or thoughts about all things design and flooring!

Drury Design can help you transform your bathroom, whether that be a small powder room or a large master bath, with the right flooring and design combination that is perfect for your house and lifestyle. 

Choosing all the elements for your remodel can be a daunting process but with the help of professional designers, your choices will be educated, and your bathroom will be beautiful and functional. With over 30 years of interior design experience, you’ll be in good hands. We’d love to send one of our qualified designers to your home and start exploring options with you! Contact us HERE or chat with us below to find out more.

About Drury Design Kitchen and Bath Studio

Founded by Gail Drury, CMKBD in 1987, Drury Design’s Client Focused Design™ approach integrates design recommendations, materials selection, and construction management into one seamless customer design, project management, and build experience. For kitchen, bath, and home remodeling ideas view Drury Design’s design portfolio or stop by the studio at 512 N. Main Street in downtown Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

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