The Best Flooring for Bathrooms: The Complete Guide

When renovating your bathroom, there’s a lot to think about. Bathrooms are a key part of our homes – they’re essential and see a lot of traffic, yet they can be a stylish and serene place to unw.

By Amy Booth Updated: July 21, 2022 7 mins read

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When renovating your bathroom, there’s a lot to think about. Bathrooms are a key part of our homes – they’re essential and see a lot of traffic, yet they can be a stylish and serene place to unwind, too.


But when it comes to choosing the right flooring, the choices can sometimes seem a little overwhelming. Water is everywhere in a bathroom, so you need to consider how your flooring will cope under pressure.


With bathrooms, you have to prioritise function – but that doesn’t mean your flooring can’t be beautiful as well as practical. In fact, your flooring can be as much of a design feature as anything.


To help make your decision a little easier, we’ve put together the complete guide for choosing bathroom flooring. From design to materials to aftercare – we’ve got you covered.


What Is the Best Flooring for Bathrooms?

Tiled flooring is by far the most popular choice for bathrooms. Bringing the best of both worlds, porcelain and ceramic tiles offer unrivalled durability and style.


Thanks to their waterproof properties, tiles will make sure your bathroom floor can cope with the volume of splashes and spills it will see.


They can withstand pools of water, making them an excellent choice for shower tiles, too. While both are great options, it’s worth noting that porcelain absorbs less water than ceramic products.


Tiles are also easy to clean and can handle regular exposure to household cleaning products – essential for busy bathrooms. And because they are waterproof, they don’t absorb germs like some other floor coverings do.


But apart from their impressive resilience, tiles come in a vast range of colours, patterns and shapes, guaranteeing plenty of ways to make your bathroom a stylish space. From wood-effect to marble to terrazzo, there is something to suit all tastes and all properties. You can also use coloured grout to be even more creative.


If you’re concerned bathroom floor tiles might feel cold underfoot, you can remedy that with underfloor heating. Porcelain and ceramic work well with electric and water heating systems offering a luxurious feel any day of the year.


Natural stone tiles including granite, marble and limestone are also a brilliant option for bathroom floors. Like porcelain and ceramic, they are durable, waterproof, and come in many shapes and sizes.


They are often a less slippery alternative to other tiles because they have a rougher finish, but they may need more maintenance. You will regularly need to apply a sealant to certain stone tiles to protect them from dirt and moisture.


If you’re looking for a more affordable alternative to tiles, vinyl flooring is fantastic for bathrooms. WPC and SPC vinyl flooring is durable, waterproof and scratch-resistant – and it’s a little warmer underfoot than tiles.


It comes in a range of looks, including wood, stone and ceramic tile-effect. Plus, vinyl is easy to install yourself compared to other options so you can save some money on the fitting, too.


How to Choose Bathroom Flooring

Before you choose bathroom flooring, you should think about your budget, the space you have, who will be using the bathroom, and the design you want.


Firstly, consider the size of your space and where exactly you want to tile. If you have a big, spacious bathroom, complement it with large tiles to create a contemporary look. But if you need to lay flooring inside your shower, consider smaller tiles.


The extra grout will help provide more friction underfoot, so you’re less likely to slip when the tiles are wet. If you opt for ceramic tiles, make sure they are suitable for floors because some are designed for walls only.


When it comes to budget, the cost of bathroom flooring can vary greatly. It’s crucial to set a figure in your mind so you don’t overspend at the expense of the rest of your bathroom design.


You can save money by undertaking some work yourself, but this isn’t always possible when considering tiles or natural stone.


Vinyl flooring can be cheaper than other options – but make sure you don’t scrimp on the quality. It’s important to select high-quality, waterproof vinyl to protect your subfloors.


Think about the people who will be using your bathroom, too. If you have children, you’re certainly going to need more watertight and durable floor coverings than if your bathroom is used only by adults.


You should also decide how much maintenance you’re happy to do. Some floor coverings will require more maintenance than others. Smaller tiles like mosaic have a lot more grout than larger options, so that’ll mean more scrubbing in between your tiles.


When considering design, picture the overall look you hope to achieve in your bathroom. Do you want a pattern or colour that contrasts with your walls? Or do you want a seamless scheme with the same materials and colours on your floor and walls?


Remember, your bathroom is your space – if you have a separate downstairs loo, guests will rarely see your main bathroom. You’re the one who has to live with it every day, so it should be a place you love to spend a bit of time.


Don’t be afraid to experiment with colour and pattern in smaller bathrooms – you can make a huge impact with bold tiles even in the most compact spaces.


Do I Need Waterproof Flooring?

Waterproof flooring is essential for bathrooms. Due to the amount of moisture and spills your bathroom floor sees, it needs durable, high-quality coverage to protect the subfloor underneath.


It’s vital to understand the difference between waterproof and water-resistant flooring, too. Waterproof is what it says on the tin – water can sit on it or penetrate the surface without damaging the material or flooring underneath.


Water-resistant flooring offers a little protection, but over time it will become damaged and the wood beneath will rot.


How to Care For Your Bathroom Floor

Sweep and clean porcelain and ceramic tiles using a soft mop or sponge and a mild detergent. Tiles can scratch, so it’s advisable to avoid using an abrasive sponge and take extra care when vacuuming.


Vinyl flooring is easy to keep clean and doesn’t scratch easily. You can sweep or vacuum your floor and give it a quick mop to clean it. Use a gentle detergent and avoid abrasive cleaners.


Natural stone flooring will usually have a sealant applied to keep it from absorbing stains and moisture, but you may need to reseal it depending on the product.


You’ll also still need to keep the floor clean by vacuuming and wiping up spills, and bear in mind you might need to buy special cleaning products. Ask your supplier how to keep your chosen stone looking its very best.


What Flooring Is Easiest to Install?

Vinyl flooring is the easiest to install if you’re looking to do the work yourself. Vinyl comes in planks like wood or squares like tiles. You can purchase self-adhesive strips of vinyl or pieces that simply click together.


If you have a very small floor area in your bathroom, you may even be able to find one large piece of vinyl to fit, meaning you’ll have no joins to contend with.


If you have chosen tiles or stone, it is usually best to leave it to the professionals. If you intend to do the tiling yourself, bear in mind that porcelain tiles are more difficult to cut than ceramic. You may need to invest in some special tools.

Amy Booth

Amy Booth is a freelance writer that’s passionate about all things home decor, art, literature, and nature. She lives in an Edwardian home in the North East of England, where her renovation adventures began with her husband and newborn daughter, Violet. Amy describes her home style as “traditional with a twist”, and in her spare time, she shares home decor tips and inspiration on her Instagram page, as well as her latest home updates. When she’s not obsessing over interiors, you can find her cooking vegetarian food or enjoying a glass of prosecco.

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