Smart Tips for Choosing Bathroom Flooring

Real Estate Agent with eXp Realty LLC BK 3126272

Bathroom flooring serves many masters. It should be moisture-proof, stain-resistant, have a non-skid surface that's safe even when wet, and be durable enough to stand up to constant foot traffic. In addition, your bathroom floor should be good-looking and fit within your budget. 

That's a lot to ask from flooring. So when you search for bathroom flooring for your remodeling project, consider your priorities -- cost, kids, safety, and eco-friendliness.

Low Cost But Tough

Vinyl flooring comes in an array of colors and patterns at a relatively modest cost. Although the price can be as little as $1 per square foot, you’ll find fewer style choices among the least expensive varieties.

Highlight: Sheet vinyl and vinyl tiles are considered the lowest-cost option for bathroom flooring. Vinyl is tough flooring, and the best brands offer 20-year warranties.

Drawback: Vinyl tiles aren't best for bathrooms -- too many seams for water to seep through.

Cost: $1 to $5 per square foot; installation adds $1 to $2 per square foot, depending on the complexity of the project.

Tip: In general, the thicker the vinyl, the higher the quality and the cost. Thicker vinyl can feature a textured surface, and some types do an excellent job mimicking the appearance of real stone and wood.

The Designer's Choice

According to a survey by the National Kitchen and Bath Association, ceramic tile bathroom flooring is the preferred choice of 83% of respondents. With good reason: Ceramics come in a huge array of sizes and shapes, and can be mixed to create endless custom patterns -- it’s the ultimate designer’s medium.

Highlight: Ceramic tile is a clay-based tile fired at high temperatures. Ceramics last forever and are resistant to scratches, cracks, and chips.

Drawback: Ceramic tile can feel cold in the morning. If you have sensitive feet, install a radiant heating mat underneath.

Tip: Decorative edgings and inlays can boost cost considerably; you can save and still create great-looking designs simply by using same-sized tiles in different color combinations.

Cost: $1 to $20 per square foot; installation adds $5 to $10 per square foot.

Best for Kids

Water, water everywhere! That pretty much sums up bath time at households with young children. In addition, kids have a knack for dropping the shampoo bottle and conducting bathroom experiments. If protection from water and stains is a high priority, sheet vinyl is the choice for you.

Highlight: Vinyl resists stains, is impervious to moisture, and is tough and durable enough to stand up to heavy use -- and abuse. Smooth-surfaced vinyl can be slippery when wet so select textured varieties that provide traction.

Drawback: Avoid installing vinyl tiles. Although vinyl tile with self-adhesive backing makes a tempting low-cost DIY project, the many seams are opportunities for water to seep between tiles and soak the subfloor, eventually causing the subfloor to rot, leading to an expensive repair.

Tip: Sheet vinyl comes in 12-foot-wide rolls that make a bathroom installation virtually seamless. By properly sealing the edges with waterproof caulk, water and spills can’t penetrate to the subfloor.

Cost: $2 to $5 per square foot; installation adds roughly $1 per square foot.

Best for Safety

Glass and glazed ceramic floor tiles with an anti-slip finish are designed to provide superior traction. Look for tiles certified to meet slip-resistance standards specified by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Highlight: Grout lines between glass and ceramic tiles provide texture that increases traction. Mosaic tiles -- 1-inch-by-1-inch or smaller -- produce lots of grout lines.

Drawback: Don't use glass on shower floors, because glass scratches and can become dull from cleaning.

Tip: Use a light-colored thin set behind glass tiles to enhance sparkle.

Cost: $4 to $14 per square foot; installation adds $5 to $10 per square foot.

Best for Durability

Quarry tiles are stronger and more wear-resistant than glazed tile and are made with a slightly rough surface texture that makes them slip-resistant.

Highlight: Quarry tiles give you a natural look, last a long time, and gain character with age -- just like stone in the wild does.

Drawback: Quarry tiles with natural ridges can feel rough on sensitive feet. And, unlike glazed ceramic tiles, quarry tile must be treated at least every two years with a clear tile sealer to prevent staining.

Tip: Don't use quarry tiles if you want a uniform look, because nature's not into matchy-matchy. The stone has a wide range of color.

Cost: $4 to $10 per square foot; installation adds $7 per square foot.

Best Green Option

All but forgotten only years ago due to the popularity of vinyl, linoleum is staging a comeback as a green flooring option.

Highlight: It’s made with renewable, biodegradable materials including linseed oil and cork, and produces no harmful vapors. It comes in many colors and patterns.

Drawback: Linoleum can be used in bathrooms because it stands up well to traffic and is resistant to moisture, but it’s susceptible to staining. For this reason, some manufacturers add a protective coating that helps guard against stains and scratching.

Tip: If you buy linoleum without a protective coating, polish it every two years to keep it looking good.

Cost: $2 to $4 per square foot; installation adds $5 to $7 per square foot.

When Money is No Object

Looking for a little pampering in your master bath? Stone floor tile -- granite, marble, limestone, slate, and travertine -- gives a bathroom a luxurious feel.

Highlight: They're beautiful, durable, and water- and stain-resistant.

Drawback: Honed and polished stone tile can be slippery when wet, so choose stone that has a textured, skid-resistant surface. Tumbled varieties of stone -- stone that has been mechanically mixed to knock off rough edges and soft spots -- have rustic textures that provide good slip resistance.

Tip: Marble is stunning in bathrooms, but don't choose marble with thick veins that could contain iron and age unappealingly. To test how much iron a tile contains, soak it for two days, let it sit for two days, and then see if/how the color changes.

Cost: $2 to $100 per square foot; installation adds $5 to $10 per square foot.

Posted by

Maggie Dokic - Broker/Owner - Special Miami Homes

What's My Home Worth? Instant Response!       Search All Miami Homes - Updated from MLS Daily!

For more information on our local real estate market, or to see or sell a home in Miami, Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, Coral Gables or the Redland, visit our Miami Real Estate site or contact us at Team (at) SpecialMiamiHomes (dot) com.

The opinions expressed herein, are those of the author, and not necessarily of  Special Miami Homes.

None of this information is to be deemed legal or financial advice.  Please contact your attorney or accountant for same.

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