Should I Install Hardwood Flooring In My Bathroom?

Posted on: 30 July 2015

Wood and water don't mix well, so it's no surprise that many homeowners bypass wood flooring in favor of moisture-resistant materials like porcelain or ceramic tile in the bathroom, where moisture is a frequent concern. Of course, just because wood is less common in the bathroom, that doesn't mean you shouldn't use this material for your floors. Wood flooring is a great way to soften up a cold, sterile bathroom, and it can help pull together your home decor when every room is finished with the same flooring. With the right materials, proper planning and regular care and maintenance, wood flooring can be an attractive and durable addition to any bathroom.     


Engineered wood flooring represents the best wood flooring option for bathrooms. This material consists of a thin layer of real wood veneer bonded to a plywood base. The plywood gives the flooring excellent dimensional stability, which means less risk of warping, cupping, twisting or other signs of damage. Because it has a hardwood veneer, engineered wood looks exactly like solid hardwood and can often be refinished, making it a good long-term choice.

Flanges and Fittings

While it's fairly easy to clean up spills when you step out of the shower, one of the most vulnerable areas on a bathroom floor is the space around the toilet. If you plan to install hardwood, it's critical to make sure that your toilet flange sits exactly level or just above the floor in order to ensure a tight seal. That means using a flange extension kit to accommodate the new flooring, or hiring a plumber to install a new toilet drain. If you go with a new drain, install your hardwood floor first and mark the spot where you plan to install the toilet so the plumber can make the necessary cuts.

Moisture Control

To keep your hardwood floor in the best possible condition, it's important to pay attention to moisture and humidity. That means using rugs with waterproof backing to keep water away from the wood in areas around the shower, sink and tub. It also means cleaning up drips and spills immediately, fixing any leaks or plumbing problems as soon as you spot them and using an exhaust fan to keep humidity at bay. 

Hardwood Alternatives

If you love the look of hardwood, but worry that you won't be able to keep it dry, give your bathroom the look of wood without the worry using materials designed to mimic the look of hardwood. Try laminate, which costs just a fraction as much as real wood but looks similar. If you choose this material, make sure to caulk around the perimeter of the floor, as well as around all floor penetrations. Another option is to choose vinyl plank or ceramic tile floors embossed with the texture of wood.