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Choosing the Right Material for Your Bathroom Floor

Choosing materials for your bathroom floor can be a daunting task. You know it’s important, but what criteria do you need to be thinking about? What questions should you ask? Durability, resistance to moisture and mold, and ease of cleaning are just a few that should play a large role in decision-making. So, how do you choose?

  Vinyl Ceramic Tile Cork Porcelain Tile Stone
Available in a wide variety of colors and styles Some Yes Some Yes No
Durability Good Good Good Excellent Excellent
Ease of Maintenance Good Good Good Good Good
Vulnerable to heat and moisture Yes No Yes No No
Ease of Installation Excellent Good Excellent Good Excellent
Cost $ $$ $ $$$ $$$$

Vinyl

Vinyl is among the most affordable options for bathroom flooring. It’s easy to replace and it can be installed on top of other materials, so it requires less pre-job demolition. It’s flexible and can be replaced in segments. It can also be painted or colored to almost any specification and can mimic the look of tile, wood, and many other more expensive materials. Among the only drawbacks are aesthetics — vinyl doesn’t always look as nice as ceramic or stone and doesn’t have the same feel.

Ceramic Tile

More expensive than vinyl, ceramic tile comes in a seemingly infinite array of colors, shapes, and patterns. Homeowners choose it for its aesthetic beauty and resistance to moisture. Also, tile is tough. Not only do they last longer than most other flooring materials, but ceramic tiles are fireproof. They can’t burn, give off smoke, or emit toxic fumes. Ceramic tile however is less dense than porcelain tile allowing it to be cut more easily, but isn’t as durable long term.

Cork

Cork is hypoallergenic and resistant to water, mold, mildew, and termites. It is highly resistant to fire and is comfortable on bare, bathroom feet. An excellent alternative to wood, cork repels dust and doesn’t get cold the way tile or stone flooring does on chilly winter mornings. It is renewable and environmentally sustainable — cork floors are green no matter what color you choose. Malleable cork bounces back, meaning it resists indentations from heavy objects. Properly maintained, cork floors should last 40 years.

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain tiles resist water and are easy to install, clean, and maintain. Since they contain less clay and are pressed harder than ceramic, they’re denser and harder, making them perfect for high-traffic areas like the bathroom. Porcelain is associated with toilets — and that’s because it resists dulling and scratching from frequent scrubbings with tough, abrasive cleaners. Porcelain is also a great chameleon, with the ability to authentically recreate the look of stone, marble, granite, quartz, and many other materials.

Stone

Whether it’s marble, sandstone, flagstone, granite, slate, or limestone, stone flooring is the epitome of luxury and beauty. It also comes in every conceivable color and texture. Stone is among the priciest of all flooring options, but if you have the means, it will pay you back. Stone should last a lifetime and can increase the value of your home as an amenity at resale.

Your bathroom floor carries a large burden. Frequent exposure to water, heavy foot traffic, frequent cleaning, and dramatic changes in temperature put heavy demands on whatever material you choose. Bathroom floors can be both beautiful and durable, just make sure you examine the pros and cons of whichever material you choose.

 

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