Forget carpet, laminate or hardwood flooring for a bathroom, especially a master bathroom. While I’ve seen those products in smaller baths before, you really don’t want to put them in an area where plenty of water is used. They warp, buckle and rot over time.
See, any wood product absorbs and releases moisture and this is more the case when humidity fluctuates. As it gets more humid (more moisture in the air), the wood absorbs it and can swell and as it dries out, it releases the moisture and the boards constrict causing gapping which freaks a lot of people out.
This is the nature of the beast so set aside wood products for wet areas. Carpet is just icky with water so don’t do that.
Here are some practical bathroom flooring ideas to consider:
Tile – (Ceramic or Porcelain): By far the most popular. They’re very tough and hold up very well against staining, fading, wear and scratching.
The vast majority of bathroom floors we tear out have old ceramic tile and the only thing wrong with them most of the time is they look dated. The tile hasn’t worn through like carpet nor has it scratched beyond recognition like hardwood can.
It’s also a good bang for your back with ceramics starting at under $1 per square foot and going up to $15 sq/ft and beyond for commercial grade porcelain (you don’t need a tile that withstands airport foot traffic in your bathroom but hey, it’s your call).
A sub-option within this option is the fast emerging trend of putting down tile that looks like wood. We do a lot of it and it looks outstanding. Just quick tip when installing this kind of tile: Many of these kinds of tile are rectified (perfectly square) so make sure the installer has put these tiles down before and knows what they are doing with the famous toilets without tank. Otherwise, if they are not experienced working with this kind of tile, the edges will be markedly off at the joints and will stick out really badly.
Now if you are just anal about every minute detail and think the joints are going to be perfectly lined up on a rectified tile installation; you’re going to be disappointed. No matter how flat a slab is, it’s never perfect and no matter how skilled the installer is, there is going to be varying degrees of minor slippage.
Please keep that in mind!
Stone – (Travertine, slate, marble, granite, limestone, etc): I’d say the stone is the fastest growing segment since 1/3 of the bathrooms we do are travertine or stone based. Customers choose stone for its randomness and natural color variations and patterns.
Please pay very close attention here: If you want stone but don’t like variation, then you want water but don’t like moisture. Purchase ceramic tile instead. Stone is inherently varied, that’s how it was formed in nature.
I have had many clients tell me they want stone but if they buy a premium quality graded product, it won’t have the color variation. This is incorrect! The grading refers to the amount of filler in the stone.
Know that the better is the quality, the less is the filler. It has little to do with coloration as any natural stone floor is going to have variation. If you want your contractor to hand pick each and every stone tile so it looks uniform, then good luck finding a contractor!
Quick Tip – Look into using various sizes, mosaics, decor and installation patterns to really make your bathroom floor stand out. Try inserts every other tile, a pinwheel pattern, Versailles or modular.
If you need an easy way to work out how many tiles of each size you need, see here. There’s a look you’re bound to love.
Huge Floor Tile!
Finally, consider huge sized tiles for the floors – the bigger the better! Keep in mind, when you put down a very large tile, it’s as seamless as you can get. It has very few grout lines, very few visual breakups and a super modern, clean look.