January 28, 2022

Bathroom Flooring Options: What to Choose, Pros & Cons

When I think about flooring throughout the home, the first thing that comes to mind is that it should be beautiful but functional. What I mean by this is that the flooring of each room should suit what the room will be used for. So when I decided to upgrade my bathroom floor, I wanted great-looking flooring that could also withstand the moisture and heat of a bathroom.

Some of the popular flooring options available for a bathroom are porcelain or ceramic tiles, wood, vinyl, natural stone, cork, marble, and linoleum. Before deciding on the best bathroom flooring, you should remember the flooring needs to withstand heat, humidity and be highly water-resistant.

Factors To Consider Before Choosing Bathroom Flooring

There are a few things to remember when deciding to upgrade or build your bathroom floors. The ideal bathroom floor needs to be:

  • Durable: With people in and out of bathrooms, it needs to handle the wear and tear of everyday life. 
  • Highly water and moisture resistant: Bathrooms get wet, it’s a fact, so the flooring you choose needs to withstand constant moisture.
  • Able to withstand extreme heat and humidity: Heat from the steam of a hot shower or bath can leave the bathroom humid for a while, so it’s essential that the flooring can handle the heat.

Various Flooring Options:

Comparing the different flooring options is the best way to ensure you choose the best option to suit your needs. Here are a few of the flooring options available for bathrooms:

Wooden Flooring 


The first flooring option I am going to talk about is wooden flooring. Wood is not the best choice for bathrooms. Even hardwoods known to be naturally waterproof and warm would not work as flooring in a bathroom. Wood naturally absorbs water, and in high moisture and humid conditions, wood flooring will expand and contract. 

The hot, humid, and wet bathroom conditions will lead to wood flooring swelling and warping, not to mention mold and wood rot would set in quickly. You can paint protective coatings over wood bathroom floors to seal the wood grain from moisture.

Pros And Cons Of Wood As Bathroom Flooring

MoistureWood doesn’t do well in wet conditions and will swell, warp and eventually lead to mildew and mold.
CostWood is more expensive than other flooring materials, mainly hardwood.
InstallationWood flooring is not easy to install as a DIY project and needs to be installed by professionals.
Slip resistanceWood floors are slippery, especially when wet; slip resistance can be improved with a non-slip coat, but it should be reapplied after cleaning.
Look/designNothing looks as good as wood flooring in a home, adding a stylish and classy ambiance.
DurabilityWood, especially hardwood, is a durable material that will last years if properly maintained.
MaintenanceWood floors usually need minimal yearly maintenance, but when used in the bathroom, you need to do more regular maintenance to ensure it doesn’t warp or rot.
RemovalWood is one of the harder flooring materials to remove; the wooden planks need to be cut into smaller sections and pry up. It’s not easy to remove quickly.

Vinyl Flooring


Using vinyl flooring has been a go-to flooring material for bathrooms for many years. There are three types of vinyl flooring: tiles, planks, and sheets. The installation of planks and tiles is easier than sheets because there are individual pieces, and sheets are long pieces, almost like wallpaper. Overall it’s an easy DIY project.

Vinyl flooring comprises a base layer of fiberglass, then coated in plasticizer and PVC vinyl. The sheets are great to use in children's bathrooms, where you can expect big splashes. Vinyl floors are easy to clean and last for years. It is an affordable option. 

Pros And Cons Of Vinyl As Bathroom Flooring


Vinyl flooring is completely synthetic, waterproof, and non-absorbant, one of the best materials for bathroom floors.
CostVinyl flooring is much more budget friendly than other flooring materials.
InstallationVinyl flooring is an easy DIY installation project.
Slip resistanceThe top coating of vinyl flooring is non-slip.
Look/designYou get a variety of styles, colors, patterns, and flooring options that are made to look like wood.
DurabilityIf installed correctly, vinyl flooring can last at least 15 years.
MaintenanceIt is some of the easiest floors to maintain, only needing regular cleaning.
RemovalRemoving vinyl flooring is just as easy as installing the flooring.

Tile Flooring


The other flooring that is popular to install in the bathroom is tiles. There are two types of tiles you can install, porcelain and ceramic. Porcelain is the best tile to use in bathrooms. It is waterproof, and it’s easy to install. There are different styles, colors, and shapes to choose from. 

Tiles last for years and give you the stylish look that you want. You can create unique designs and patterns that will enhance the overall look of your bathroom. Some tiles look like stone flooring, wood flooring, marble flooring, and much more.

Pros And Cons Of Tile As Bathroom Flooring

MoistureTiles are waterproof, although ceramic tiles have a low absorbency rate and aren’t waterproof.
CostMost tiles are affordable to buy; just ensure you buy a box extra should a tile break.
InstallationIt’s an easy DIY installation job
Slip resistanceTiles are slippery, especially when wet, and you need to buy tiles with textures on them and put a non-slip coating on them after each cleaning.
Look/designYou can create many different designs, shapes, and patterns to match any bathroom theme.
DurabilityTiles are highly durable and will last for years.
MaintenanceThere is little maintenance on tile flooring. You might need to deep clean the grouting now and then and replace the grouting should a piece fall out due to age.
RemovalTile removal is not easy. It is secured with a tile adhesive that is very hard, and removing the tile and adhesive takes time and sometimes specialized equipment.

Natural Stone Flooring


Natural stone is one of the better options for bathroom flooring if you can afford the high cost. It has great resale value and is less absorbent than other stone flooring types like limestone and granite. Stone flooring is durable and can last as long as you want it in your bathroom.

Besides the cost, some of the issues with natural stone flooring are that it can get slippery; it’s very hard and cold. You can install radiant heating to help ease the cold in winter and choose stone flooring with a natural texture to navigate the slip resistance like slate. Remember that stone floors need to be sealed properly, or they will stain.

Pros And Cons Of Natural Stone As Bathroom Flooring

MoistureWhile stone flooring can absorb water, it will be moisture resistant when sealed correctly.
CostStone flooring is by far the most costly flooring choice for a bathroom.
InstallationIf you want to have stone flooring in your bathroom, it’s best to hire professional contractors to install it. Installing stone flooring is labor-intensive, time-consuming, and difficult work.
Slip resistanceStone flooring can be slippery, but you can choose a textured version to increase the slip resistance.
Look/designWe all know that natural stone is one of the most beautiful floorings for any room of the home and gives a sophisticated look to any bathroom.
DurabilityStone flooring is very durable and won’t need replacing for a few decades.
MaintenanceMaintaining stone flooring can be more difficult because it’s porous and needs a top coat or sealant to ensure it won’t absorb anything that will stain it, as stains are hard to get out.
RemovalRemoval of stone flooring is best left to the professionals as it is very difficult and needs special equipment to do so because stone flooring is costly; most people want it removed as delicately as possible to resell it at a high price.

Marble Flooring


Marble flooring is a good option if you don’t mind spending a little more on your bathroom floor. The marble looks classy and stylish in a bathroom and can enhance the lighting in the bathroom. Marble is porous, so it will need a sealant or topcoat to keep it from absorbing too much water when it’s washed, you shower or take a bath. 

The good thing about marble tiles is that it's fairly easy to install yourself, and they will help reduce the overall cost if you do it yourself.

Pros And Cons Of Marble As Bathroom Flooring

MoistureMarble flooring is one of the more porous stone floors and will need to be sealed.
CostMarble floors are more expensive than tiles and some other flooring options.
InstallationMarble tiles are easy to install; you follow the same installation steps as normal tiles.
Slip resistanceBecause you need to add a top coat or sealant to the marble, it is very slippery.
Look/designThe marble looks fantastic in any room but more so in a bathroom. The designs draw the eye to the intricate details of the marble swirls.
DurabilityMable is very durable and can last as long as tiles and vinyl.
MaintenanceExcept for the topcoat now and then, to protect the marble from absorbing water or staining, you only need to clean it weekly with cleaning materials that aren’t acidic.
RemovalRemoving marble intact is just as difficult as tiles, and it is best left to the experts.

Cork flooring


Cork flooring for a bathroom will work well if you are up for a bit of maintenance now and then. Because of the polyurethane coating, you need to seal the cork with; it is waterproof, soft, and warm to the touch. Cork flooring has a unique look that fits most décor styles. Cork is easy to install, but the polyurethane coating might be a bit intimidating for a beginner DIY enthusiast.

There is a downside to cork flooring, it is a lot of work to maintain. You need to reapply the coating if needed, and the softness of the cork will mean it dents, scratches, and cracks easily, so you will need to make regular repairs to any dent or scratch.

Pros And Cons Of Cork As Bathroom Flooring

MoistureThe coating makes it waterproof and won’t lead to moisture issues.
CostCork flooring is not expensive if you don’t buy very thick tiles or sheets. It’s still more affordable than most of the other flooring options.
InstallationCork flooring is easy to install, but you may need help with the sealant.
Slip resistanceCork is soft and has great balance, easily making it less slippery.
Look/designCork floors look beautiful; many brown and dark beige shades will fit in with most themes and color schemes.
DurabilityIf properly maintained, cork flooring can last quite a few years.
MaintenanceMaintaining cork is easy, but it’s a lot of work; you need to clean it properly and regularly fix any scratches and dents it might have, and reapply the sealant when it wears down.
RemovalRemoving cork flooring is not difficult, and you can easily remove the flooring on your own.

Linoleum Flooring


Linoleum flooring is often mistaken for vinyl flooring, and some of their styles, colors, and patterns might look the same, but they are not composed of the same materials. Linoleum is made from natural materials, and the linseed oil used in the flooring makes it waterproof and antimicrobial, making it a great flooring option for children’s bathrooms.

Linoleum is affordable and easy to install, meaning it will save you money as you won't need to hire someone to do the installation. It lasts decades if you keep it clean and it’s properly maintained.

Pros And Cons Of Linoleum As Bathroom Flooring


Choosing the right floor that is best suited to your bathroom will depend on your taste and the performance you are looking for. For children’s bathrooms, you should probably go with vinyl as it rates best amongst the different choices and suits most budgets. 

For flooring for my bathroom, I decided on textured tiles that look like hardwood, and it was cost-effective and easy to install.

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Written by


An interior design professional with a Master's degree in Architecture and 14 years of practical experience.
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