Some rooms in homes don’t see a lot of foot traffic, but the bathroom is not one of them. These smaller spaces are put to use frequently on a daily basis, which makes the type of flooring you choose important. We have discussed the best flooring options for bathrooms, and if you are considering using laminate, there are a number of things you should be aware of.
The Problem with Bathroom Flooring
Two rooms in homes are known as “damp” areas, laundry rooms aside. That would be the kitchen, which is prone to spills, and the bathroom. Bathrooms are arguably the most important area of your home for flooring as well considering choosing the wrong type can result in a costly repair.
The first and most severe issue with bathrooms is water. Whether it is water that escapes the curtain as you take a shower or a leak under the bathroom sink, water damage can ruin flooring and the subfloor beneath it. In many cases, a small problem can turn into a larger one over time which can result in mold or mildew.
Showers and sinks are two of the most problematic areas, but the surface itself is important as well. That’s because of slippage considering some surfaces are extremely slippery when wet. As carpet isn’t generally found in bathrooms for obvious reasons, you have to take the surface into account along with the coefficient of friction or COF rating of the flooring you have in mind.
The Pros and Cons of Using Laminate Flooring in a Bathroom
Unless you plan on purchasing waterproof laminate, the most glaring con with this type of flooring comes from its construction. Laminate is multi-layered flooring so there are 4-6 layers that are essentially sandwiched together under high pressure. The core is the most critical part for stability, and when it’s made from high or medium density fiberboard.
Materials of this nature are prone to swelling when exposed to water, which can happen if water gets past the wear or backing layers. Installation is key if you intend to use water-resistant or waterproof laminate in a bathroom. While water can wreak havoc on traditional laminate, its construction makes it highly resilient.
By design, laminate flooring is durable and it’s not uncommon to find it between 8mm to 12mm thick. It’s one of the easiest forms of flooring to install, and there are a variety of styles suitable for bathroom décor. Manufactures use techniques like wire-brushing to add texture to the surface, which “may” help to reduce slippage to a degree.
The biggest draw of using laminate is the price, which makes it an attractive option for budget-conscious homeowners. When compared to other kinds of flooring commonly used in bathrooms and kitchens, you will find that laminate can be up to $1.00 to $2.00 cheaper per square foot. Style and quality come into play with the price, but regardless of the design, laminate flooring is extremely easy to clean.
- Affordable and simple to install
- An array of stone and wood-like designs
- Easy to clean & resistant to stains
- Traditional laminate isn’t ideal for damp areas
- Slippage may be a concern
The Best Type of Flooring for Bathrooms
Whether you are not quite sold on using laminate in a bathroom or want to explore other alternatives, there are a handful of options that are suitable for this area. One of the most popular options is also one of the most expensive, however, depending on your tastes and the size of your bathroom.
Ceramic and Porcelain tile is ideal for damp areas for a variety of reasons. It’s easy to clean whether it’s dirt, dust, or mildew, and the selection of styles is overwhelming. Whether you are looking for decorative tiles or something plain and simple, there is an option for you.
The downside to tile is the price and surface, which means you have to pay close attention to the COF rating to ensure the tiles won’t be too slick to use in the bathroom. If you can lay tile yourself, it’s actually cheaper than other styles of bathroom flooring, but can be expensive when installed by a professional.
Stone is a better option when it comes to non-slip surfaces, but is more expensive than tile and hard to match with certain types of décor. High-end linoleum like Forbo Marmoleum is a unique alternative as well, and the best synthetic flooring surface for damp areas outside of LVP and LVT. Luxury vinyl flooring is the top choice for bathrooms, and for a very good reason.
Luxury vinyl tile or luxury vinyl planks have a core made from PVC, which means they are impervious to water. While the floor has to be installed properly to keep the subfloor safe, you don’t have to worry about splashes or spills. It is easy to clean, comes in hundreds of styles, and has a price point that’s comparable or better than laminate.
If you were on the fence about using laminate flooring in the bathroom of your home, our guide should have cleared up any lingering questions. It’s definitely not the best option for damp areas, and if you’re going to use it in a bathroom, make sure it’s waterproof with the proper ratings. If you want to learn more about the differences between water-resistant and waterproof laminate, we have you covered.