The bathroom is one of the most important — and highly used — areas in any home. It’s where many people start and end their days. If you are a considering a bathroom remodel, or you are picking out bathroom flooring for a new home, it is important that you consider the best types of flooring for bathrooms – both visually and functionally.

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How to Choose the Right Type of Bathroom Flooring

When thinking about bathroom flooring, choosing a practical material should override appearance or style. Above all, your new bathroom flooring must be waterproof.

Bathroom flooring takes a tremendous beating over its lifetime, and not just from foot traffic. Water often sits on bathroom floors due to spills from sinks, showers, and bathtubs. Additionally, bathroom flooring is constantly exposed to moisture from hot, steamy showers. 

Bathroom flooring options may not be as wide-open as they are with other areas of the home. But you still can find a bathroom flooring material that fits within your budget, and compliments your personal tastes and features already in the space, such as cabinets and countertops.

Modernize created this guide to help homeowners choose the right type of flooring for their bathroom renovation projects. Keep reading to find out the pros and cons of each bathroom flooring type, so you can narrow down your options and make the best choice.

Best Bathroom Flooring Options

Of course, you want to pick out bathroom flooring that beautifies the space. You have a tremendous range of options, from inexpensive vinyl to costly marble and natural stone depending on your renovation budget. Here’s a rundown on some of the most popular options for bathroom flooring.

Tile

Tile is a preferred flooring material for bathrooms by large national and mid-sized regional home builders due to its exceptional durability, vast array of sizes, colors and patterns, and its modest cost compared to other flooring options that boast similar features.

In addition to being exceptionally resistant to wear from traffic, tile also is waterproof. Ceramic bathroom tiles are finished with a glaze that makes them impervious to water damage and resistant to the humid conditions common in bathrooms, especially in winter months. Check out the latest bathroom tile trends in 2021 for inspiration.

Marble

Like tile, marble is highly water resistant. It offers exceptional durability and limitless flexibility in design options. Unlike manufactured tiles, marble tiles have different veins, shades and colors, so each tile is unique. Marble tiles can be used as part of your flooring, shower, backsplash, or countertops, which allows homeowners flexibility and symmetry in design.

If you do choose marble, be sure to purchase a few extra tiles in case one breaks so you have a better chance of matching the look of your existing tiles.

Marble flooring can be quite cold underfoot, however, and it also can be extremely slippery when it gets wet — which of course it will in the bathroom. Many manufacturers make patterned anti-slip marble tiles to counter this characteristic. Lastly, marble is on the high end of the bathroom flooring price spectrum, especially compared to tile.

Natural Stone

Natural stone bathroom flooring is often preferred by luxury home builders due to its unmatched elegance and style. This type of flooring can beautify any space because of its attractive natural patterns and mineral-rich colors.

However, it also has some performance characteristics of which you should be aware. Stone flooring, while incredibly hard, is naturally porous and can absorb moisture — but it can be sealed to enhance its water resistance properties. A few of the more popular types of natural stone flooring include travertine, granite and quartzite.

Vinyl

Vinyl bathroom flooring will always have a place in the renovation discussion if budget is a primary concern. Vinyl is durable and waterproof, and it comes in a huge selection of patterns and colors.

Unlike the other options listed here, vinyl flooring can be installed quickly and by most homeowners, even if you aren’t that handy with tools. You can opt for inexpensive vinyl sheet flooring.  You can also spruce up the look of your bathroom with vinyl plank flooring that imitates the look of natural wood or stone. Vinyl flooring can be sold in tiles that imitate the look of natural stone.

Bathroom Flooring: Hardness and Scratch Resistance

One additional fact homeowners should know regarding tile, stone and marble flooring. The hardness of each material can be determined by the Mohs scale, which is the measure of a mineral’s scratch resistance characteristics. The Mohs scale rating for a few of the more popular types of stone are as follows:

  • Soapstone: 1-2
  • Limestone: 3-4
  • Marble: 4
  • Travertine: 4-5
  • Ceramic Tile: 5-6
  • Porcelain Tile: 7
  • Granite: 6-7
  • Quartzite: 7

The higher the Mohs scale number, the harder and more scratch-resistant your bathroom flooring will be. For more durable options that withstand the test of time, opt for a type of flooring with a higher number on the Mohs scale.

The Bottom Line

If you opt for tile, stone or marble, these materials work extremely well with radiant heat systems since they conduct heat well. You don’t have to have cold bathroom floors! These materials also can be transformative. You can create a one-of-a-kind aesthetic in your bathroom depending on the pattern, style and layout of the flooring.

Lastly, they all are quite easy to clean. Dirt and dust easily wipe up, which leads to better air quality in your home. These products are all usually highly desired by homeowners, so they can help with your home’s resale value as well.

Choosing the right bathroom flooring can be difficult. Modernize can put you in touch with licensed flooring contractors in your area who can provide additional insight into these popular bathroom flooring materials and help you move your renovation project from discussion to reality.