If you’re looking into new flooring options for you’re your bathroom, you’re probably thinking about some kind of ceramic tile or vinyl. However, there are tons of flooring options that will work for the wettest area of the house—including hardwood.
You might be thinking, “Wood floors in a bathroom? Are you insane?” However, hardwood floors in bathrooms are becoming more and more popular for homeowners. They have the following benefits:
- They are better for those who want a smooth, seamless floor that suits the entire house. Homes that accommodate people with wheelchairs or walkers will enjoy the traction that wood floors provide, and will not miss the slight tripping hazard that comes from changes in flooring from room to room.
- They are warmer. Those who don’t want to invest in a floor heating system for their ties might simply choose an option that retains heat more naturally—hardwood.
- They are eco-friendly. If you choose hardwoods that are made from sustainable growing plants, like bamboo, you can know that your home is beautiful and functional, while also being better for the environment.
- They are less likely to crack or break. While a great choice for bathrooms overall, tile floors have a downside– they always have the potential to crack under pressure, or when something heavy is dropped on them. If you can’t find a matching tile to replace the old one, you’ll eventually have to redo the floor. While wood can be damaged, scuffs and gouged can be buffed out and refinished.
- They are safer for kids and the elderly. Tiles and even vinyl can mean a tough fall should someone slip in the bathroom. Wood is less slippery when wet, but it also absorbs shock more easily, especially if you choose a softer wood, like pine or cork, for your floor.
If you choose wood floors for a bathroom, moisture will be your enemy. You will need to take certain precautions:
- You’ll need to dry the floor immediately. Some people step out of the shower and let the tiles catch the moisture, allowing it to evaporate. However, this is not the best practice for any flooring, especially wood.
- You’ll need a few extra layers of finish. The varnish on your floor is what keeps it from getting scratched. Your contractor should add a few more layers, especially around the tub and toilet, just to give an extra moisture barrier. For best water-repelling properties, choose an oil-based finish. It will smellier at first, but it will protect your wood longer than basic acrylic finishes.
- Your bathroom should have a window and a good ventilation fan. Without good ventilation, your bathroom becomes a sauna every time you take a shower. The high humidity can cause wood floors to swell, and will eventually shorten their lifespan. Running the fan and opening the window during bath time will remove this risk.
- Fill cracks with epoxy or plastic-based wood fill. Some types of hardwood, like that reclaimed from barns, have natural gaps and holes. These can be left unfilled when you use hardwood in a bedroom, but they need to be sealed off when you’re installing hardwood in a bathroom setting.
- Look into the right wood. Engineered wood is a type of hardwood has a plywood-like base, and was specifically designed to handle higher-moisture conditions, like those found in basements. Bamboo, even engineered bamboo, holds up really well to moist conditions
With these tips in mind, your bathroom floor should last a long time. Talk to your bathroom renovations contractor or a wood supplier today about the best types of wood for your bathroom and family. You may find that wood is the best choice for your family—not tile.