Is it okay to install hardwood flooring in bathroom? Hardwood floor is one of the most popular flooring liked by many homeowners.
It isn’t hard to see why the floor gains such a positive popularity, considering that it delivers more benefits and perks compared to other flooring types.
However, the hardwood floor isn’t suitable for all spaces in the house. The floor is prone to humid and moist environment, such as the basement, the bathroom, and the kitchen.
The hardwood floor itself is known for the long-lasting strength, beautiful and gorgeous natural appearance, low maintenance, and solid durability. But such positive features may not mean a lot in humid situation.
Sure, it is possible to have hardwood flooring in bathroom, but you will go the extra efforts to make sure of it.
Not to mention that you need a higher maintenance level to make sure that the floor is able to hold on.
Bathroom Hardwood Flooring Perks
Using hardwood flooring in bathroom isn’t all bad. In fact, you can actually expect positive outcomes and benefits from the installation.
When compared to ceramic tiles, hardwood flooring is warmer. In winter, the tiles can be quite chilly, making the bathroom experience not pleasant at all.
The hardwood floor, on the other hand, is warm and you will be more comfortable when going barefoot.
The natural earthy shades will be welcoming and inviting too, completing the overall warm sensation.
When it comes to beauty, hardwood has its own natural artistic look. Each plank has its own individual and unique grain patterns, creating a unique appearance.
When you install the hardwood floor, it will create a homey, warm, and elegant atmosphere. Let’s not forget about the artistic appeal too!
Hardwood flooring is one of the strongest and toughest materials for home decor. With proper care and maintenance, the hardwood floor can last at least 25 years.
Another cool thing is the easy refinishing action. When the floor is scratched, you can easily sand and refinish the surface so it will look new.
Bathroom Hardwood Flooring Downsides
Of course, you should also be prepared for the hardwood flooring in bathroom downsides, especially when related to use and damage.
- Splash and Spill
Hardwood flooring is prone to spill, drop, and splash and bathroom is the room where all those things likely happen.
Even with the finish layer, you still need to wipe any spill right away. this can make maintenance difficult and complicated.
- Floor Slope
Hardwood floor requires level floor, especially in humid areas such as the bathroom or basement. If the floor isn’t level, there will be water puddle issue.
Water can slid down and create puddle on the low areas. When there is water puddle, it will damage the floor and weaken the structural integrity.
That’s why you need to have a thoroughly subfloor preparation process for hardwood flooring in bathroom installation.
With proper subfloor preparation, you can expect level and level base so water damage can be prevented.
- High Humidity
The problem with the bathroom is the high humidity level. When you take a shower, the steam will rise, creating moist and warm air.
This air will hover around the room, fill in the cracks, and penetrate the tiny space.
Sure, only very small amount can get in, but it will accummulate over time. If you see the hardwood floor plump, crack, warp, and twist, then the humidity has shown its effect.
The way to solve it is to install exhaust fans make sure that they are the good ones. Turn on the fans during the bath and afterwards to eliminate the steam.
It is also advisable to open the windows to promote better air flow. It would be even better if you can have skylights or you manage opening for the bathroom.
- Mildew and Mold
Mold is one of the most common issues in moist and humid environment. You should expect its growth, even with proper care and maintenance.
In fact, they love hardwood because they feed on the organic and natural material. Mildew and mold are problems, especially for people with sensitivities and allergies.
Although the finishing coat can protect the floor, don’t forget about the gap or space between the boards. Checking the floor regularly can be a way to prevent the issue.
Re-applying the finishing coat is also encouraged. But don’t forget to check the gaps or between the space too because they are the ideal spot for mold growth.
Damage Prevention Strategies
As it was mentioned before, you need to go the extra miles if you want to have hardwood flooring in bathroom.
These takes extra efforts on your part and you need to make sure to do it regularly.
- Regular Routine and Maintenance
The most important thing in maintaining the hardwood floor is to make sure that the finish layer remains intact and strong.
You can do a small test by having a small water drop on the surface. If the water sinks, then the wood has absorbed it. You will have to re-apply a top coat right away.
But if it beads up, then the finish is still okay. Make sure to re-apply the floor once every several months to maintain its condition.
If you have cracks between the boards, you want to keep an eye on them.
- Bath Mats
They are super handy to catch water droplets, drips, or splash. The mats will be the barrier against moisture so the floor will stay dry and intact.
You don’t have to cover the entire floor with mats just place them on strategic spots, like the sink area or outside the tub or shower area.
Choose mats with vinyl backing or made from rubber so moisture won’t pass through. When the mat is wet, just air dry it.
- Shower and Tub Surrounds
You should install surrounds or enclosure in your bathtub or shower area.
Not only it will make the room look stylish, but it will also prevent water from splashing the hardwood flooring in bathroom.
With the enclosure, the water won’t go further to the floor it stays within the area.
You may also want to check the joints surrounding the shower area. They should be sealed properly so water won’t escape easily to the floor.
- Plumbing Fixture Check
The plumbing pipes can be the source of major issue, especially when there is leak. Water damage may happen to concealed areas that aren’t easy to see.
Toilet tank or the cold water lines may collect condensation which may drip to the hardwood floor.
To prevent such thing from happening, make sure to caulk pipe openings. You also want to perform regular and thorough inspection so you can find early signs of drips or leaks.
Also check for valve connections generally located under the pedestal sink or toilet. If there is sign of drips, you need to find the right solution.
There are several handy tips when you shop for hardwood flooring for the bathroom.
The natural state of hardwood flooring will warp, stain, expand, and plump when it comes into contact with liquid or moisture.
After all, wood is a natural absorbent. That’s why a finishing agent is applied on the surface.
The agent is generally the polyurethane-based type which can create an invisible look over the surface.
Thanks to the agent, it would be difficult for water to enter the wood. It’s important to choose special grade of hardwood floor that is designed for water-heavy setting.
Some of them may have marine-grade finish that is perfect even for all-weather and outdoor use.
- Wood types
There are different types of wood flooring some are more suitable for humid and wet environment. If you choose a hardwood type, avoid fir or fine as they are soft.
You may want to choose the solid ones, such as ash, hickory, cedar, white oak, cherry, walnut, maple, and teak.
Some manufacturers design special floor for water-heavy surrounding, and they are confident enough to provide warranties over their quality products.
Checking for products with solid warranties is worth trying. However, you should also read the warranties.
Some manufacturers may offer long years of warranties, but the warranties would void if you don’t wipe the stains, spills, or drops right away.
That’s why it isn’t advisable to do flooring shopping hastily. Make enough time and don’t rush things.
You should also consider the proper installation of the floor. It would be a bad idea to install the hardwood floorin the kids’ bathroom.
Kids are reckless creatures they will make great splash and spills. You can’t expect the hardwood floor to last long in their bathrooms.
However, if you install the hardwood floor in adults’ bathrooms, you can expect it to last even longer.
You can also consider installing the hardwood floor in powder room or guest bath.
Basically, you need to be logical and wise when it comes to installing the hardwood floor for the bathroom.
Whatever you do, consider what to expect from the floor.
Once you understand the basic facts of hardwood flooring in bathroom, you can expect the benefits as well as the possible downsides.