Bathroom Floor Tile Options
Bathroom floor tile is available in a surprising range of materials, from vinyl and ceramic to wood, stone, and glass. Here is a guide to help you understand the pros and cons of each material and make the best choice for your bath.
Vinyl Floor Tiles
Vinyl is the most popular bathroom flooring material, because of its low cost and practicality. It offers safety, comfort, and ease of maintenance, and is available in a variety of looks. Vinyl tiles are also easy to install; many are self-adhesive and can be cut to size with a utility knife.
Another good choice, especially if remodeling, is plastic laminate tile (commonly available in plank form). While durable and easy to keep clean, laminate falls short when it comes to moisture-resistance. Standing water can infiltrate the fiberboard core, causing the material to expand and buckle.
Made from limestone, marble, granite and slate, stone tiles are available in colors that range from cream and blue to red, green, and gold. Available textures are nearly as numerous and include cleft, tumbled, sandblasted, etched and flamed variations. Stone requires more maintenance than ceramic tile; regular cleaning and sealing is recommended.
Ceramic Floor TIles
Ceramics score high on the ease-of-maintenance, but they are not nearly as comfortable to bare feet as vinyl, or as easy to install. They offer a great look, however, and are available in a variety of beautiful finishes, textures, and patterns. When protected with a high-grade glaze, ceramic tile will resist wear and scratches.
Porcelain Floor TIles
Porcelain tiles are made from clay and minerals, which makes them dense and water-resistant. Many come with through-body color, an advantage if chipping occurs. Porcelain tiles are particularly suited to bathrooms and outdoor installations on account of their resistance to moisture.
Glass Floor Tiles
Installed properly, glass floor tiles hold up well. Textured tile is slip-resistant, as are small tiles with lots of grout joints. The appeal of glass tile is twofold: It gives the illusion of depth and when colored, creates a lovely stained-glass effect.
Wood is only for the fearless. Once water penetrates the finish, it will stain–probably for good. The parquet tiles must be carefully sealed around the room perimeter and at all other joints. Two coats of polyurethane must then be applied as protection. Consider wood for a powder room but avoid it in busy bathrooms.
Linoleum is made of linseed oil, cork powder, wood flour, ground limestone and pigments. It's touted as being naturally anti-bacterial, repellent to dust and dirt, and colorfast. But it can be pricey. Click-in-place plank designs make it easy to install, and there is no doubt the stuff looks great.
Marble Subway Tiles
If you're looking for an alternative to Carrara marble—another white marble that's a little warmer and less grey—consider these Calacatta Gold polished tiles from Mosaic Tile Stone. Available in 3" x 6", the tiles are true to form with their straight edge, subway look.
Checkerboard Floor Tiles
Woodgrain Floor Tiles
Pebble Tile Floor
Mosaic Tile Floors
More Bathroom Design Help?
Get the help you need for the home you want—sign up for the Bob Vila newsletter today!