Small Bathroom Flooring Ideas

Bathoom tile floor

 

John Keeble / Getty Images  

Small bathrooms are great in many ways. They're easier to clean, faster to paint, and less expensive to remodel. Benefits extend to small bathrooms' flooring, too: Because there is less space, flooring costs less. This means that you can use that money for other areas of the bathroom or for other remodeling projects around the house.

While you can use many types of floor coverings in bedrooms or living rooms, the reverse is not true for bathrooms. Bath floors need to be durable, easy to clean, and above all, water-resistant. So, there are a few standouts that you'll want to consider for your bathroom remodel.

Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring

Solid hardwood is never one of the most advisable types of flooring to install in your bathroom, water being the main issue. Vinyl can be considered the ultimate waterproof solution. But does it look like wood or like anything but vinyl?

Luxury vinyl plank flooring is the way to go. Vinyl has come of age with this product (often shortened to "LVP") ​since it looks more like real wood than before.

Inexpensive luxury vinyl flooring is 2mm thick or even down to 1.5mm and comes in the peel-and-stick variety. Longer-lasting, better quality LVP runs as thick as 5mm and has click-and-lock joinery.

Be careful using those wider dimension planks in small bathrooms as they tend to overwhelm the room. Oversized wide plank is more appropriate for larger bathrooms.

Because real wood is so rarely found in bathrooms, installing flooring that looks quite realistically like wood is a clash of expectations. You might like the look of wood in a bathroom or not so much.

Waterproof Laminate

Usually, bathrooms and laminate flooring don't mix. But flooring maker Aqua-Step has one of the smartest ideas around because it combines the look of wood, without wood's poor performance in baths or without being LVP.

The key is the product's thermoplastic core, not laminate's traditional water-hungry fiberboard base. Laminate's fiberboard swells up to 8-percent upon contact with water; plastic, none. 

Laminate would be a bad choice for extremely water-prone areas such as basements, near water heaters, under clothes washers, and of course, in bathrooms near the bath or tub.

Vinyl flooring has a dense, integrated layer structure. Waterproof laminate such as that produced by Aqua-Step is up to 8mm thick, with a honeycombed plastic base. This base means the flooring has flexibility more akin to conventional laminate than vinyl flooring.

Natural Stone

Laying natural stone is not cheap. Much of the stone is not domestically quarried. Natural stone often comes from areas such as Indonesia or Turkey and gets shipped via container across oceans to your home. The supply line is long and middle brokers need to be paid before you can get your stone.

Per-square-foot prices skyrocket when multiplied across the large expanses like kitchens or master bathrooms. But the grand total cost becomes much more reasonable in the limited floor spaces of small bathrooms.

Should you install natural stone yourself or hire a professional? Stone can be tricky, so it may be best to hire a professional tile installer.

However, should you decide to try your hand, you'll find no better playing field than a small bathroom. You can take your time with those exacting wet tile saw cuts. You even have the luxury of time to take on fun and challenging tile patterns like diagonals.

Tile That Looks Like Wood or Stone

Ceramic or porcelain tile that looks like ​natural stone is a long-established subset of tile design. Since tile is a mineral product, it lends itself well to duplications of travertine, marble, or slate. Another, more recent tile design subset is tile that looks like wood.

When you first walk into the bathroom, wood-look ceramic tile looks like wood. If you examine it close-up, you'll likely find that the illusion breaks down. That's many because ceramic planks that look like wood usually have a bit of a sheen on the surface.

Wood-look ceramic tile plank is very durable and scratch-resistant. Because it is not an organic product, it will never rot or become moldy or pulpy inside. Ceramic plank can be a bit tricky to install by yourself. But with enough patience and prep, you can do it. Or, since the bathroom flooring is small, hiring tile installers should not be cost-prohibitive.