Bathroom flooring needs attention and detail because you need to nail it right the first time or it is a tedious hassle to get through repairs and renovation that never fixes it right. In all other parts of the home, choosing floor options mainly comes down to appearance than function. You need your living room, dining room, bedroom, or office flooring to look great; functionality does not take precedence. With bathroom flooring, the whole game changes. Functionality takes precedence while it should retain the gleaming clean look, functioning the way it is supposed to.
Bathroom flooring choices depend on how it will perform under stress. The stress occurrence in this case involves water, constant exposure to lots of water. Water will be everywhere in a Bathroom, on the walls, ceiling, and the floor. Even if not exposed to direct onslaught of water, steam and moisture will quickly ruin the wrong type of flooring. To make matters even more difficult, you eventually have to pull those other factors into the dialogue. If moisture were the only factor, sheet vinyl or ceramic tile would likely win every time. But these additional factors, like durability, appearance, cost, and ease of installation, need to be considered, as well.
The endless array of choices
Vinyl, Tile, Laminates, The newer Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) or Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP)? What’s the right choice for your new bathroom? Of today’s popular bathroom flooring materials, the remaining choices basically come down to aesthetics, durability, and budget.
Traditional sheet vinyl
Bathroom flooring is available in a wide range of attractive colours and patterns, including the ones that mimic natural stone and hardwood. Glued-in-place as one continuous piece, sheet vinyl offers excellent resistance to water damage.
Relatively easy-care, sheet vinyl is often the least expensive flooring option, with pricing and durability typically varying depending on the thickness of the material and the thickness of its (top) wear layer. Thicker vinyl flooring, while more expensive, generally offers greater scuff and gouge resistance as well as longer warranties.
Luxury Vinyl Sheet
flooring is at the high-end of vinyl roll flooring. It may be twice the thickness of cheaper vinyl flooring, warmer and softer, and more comfortable underfoot as well as significantly quieter. It’s much more durable than traditional vinyl sheet flooring, but less than LVP.
It has quickly become the choice of builders and home buyers alike. Essentially identical except for appearance (LVT looks like ceramic tile, LVP looks like wood plank), these products offer comfort, excellent performance, and amazing realism.
As with other vinyl flooring, LVP and LVT prices also tend to vary by thickness of the product. The product has caught on with applications throughout the home, not just in bathrooms.
Unlike sheet vinyl’s low-price stigma, for its many practical and aesthetic advantages, LVT and LVP is finding its way into million-dollar homes, often replacing what would have been hardwood and tile floors. Importantly, luxury vinyl planks and tiles, if damaged, can be replaced and sometimes even repaired. In contrast, gouged or otherwise damaged sheet vinyl must be fully replaced.
Ceramic and porcelain tile
They have long been the go-to-choice for custom bathrooms. Both are clay-based, but the clay used in porcelain tile is more dense and more refined. Porcelain tile is also fired at hotter temperatures for a longer period of time, making it harder, more durable, and impervious to water.
Due to the materials used and manufacturing process, Porcelain tiles are generally a little more expensive than ceramic, but basically, colour dictates most people’s tile selection. Ceramic is also water-resistant, but more porous than porcelain. While generally a fine choice for bathroom floors, there is a chance of liquid spills staining a ceramic tile, even with the glaze.
Porcelain or ceramic, most tiles are printed with what is essentially a high-definition ink-jet process; then the glazing, where an enamel or liquid glass top coating is applied. That glaze protects the tile and its printed surface and may be either a gloss (shiny) or matte (dull) finish. Some tiles also have a slip-resistant texture, which can be especially important for the elderly. Often tile-floor bathrooms also feature tile shower surrounds as well as tile wall accents.
Durable and attractive natural stone always exudes an air of luxury, but it’s pricey and not completely waterproof. Softer materials like travertine and limestone need to be resealed every couple of years, while harder stones like marble and granite can last up to five years before having to reseal them. If you can afford natural stone and don’t mind refinishing the floor once in a while.