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Is laminate flooring in bathrooms a terrible idea? 8 things to consider

What you need to know about laminate flooring in bathrooms

man laying flooring

If you’re thinking of the bathroom as a fall remodel project and are looking to replace your old flooring, there are tons of options on the market. From water-resistant wood to tile to concrete, flooring has come a long way in a room that needs special consideration for materials due to the moisture and humidity in a bathroom. Once you choose the right material, your choices come down to style and budget.

If you’ve been looking for something relatively inexpensive and easy to install, you’ve likely come across laminate flooring as an option. Before you make a final decision, there are a few things to know about laminate flooring in a bathroom.

Person installing vinyl flooring planks

How to install laminate flooring in the bathroom

Before you begin the work, here are a few things to keep in mind.

How to lay laminate flooring in the bathroom

Laminate flooring is essentially a multilayer synthetic flooring fused together with a lamination process. Laminate flooring has an outer layer under a clear protective layer, and the inside is made of a melamine resin or fiberboard. In a bathroom where there is a lot of water, laminate flooring should have glued-in seams to prevent water from seeping into the floorboards. Laminate floors that lock into place are not ideal for a bathroom because water is able to seep through.

What to put underneath laminate flooring

Use a waterproof silicone caulk when installing laminate to add another layer of protection against water and humidity. If you don’t, the floor can buckle and tear, meaning you’ll have to rip up and replace the flooring down the road.

Try it in a small bathroom

Laminate floors are ideal for half-bathrooms that don’t have a tub or shower. Because these bathrooms tend to be used more often, you will be more apt to care for and maintain your floor. The lack of water spillage from a shower or tub will also make maintaining the floor much easier.

modern bathroom floor tiles and cabinet
New Africa/Shutterstock

What are the pros of laminate flooring for bathrooms?

Here are a few things we love about laminate flooring for bathrooms.

Easy to install

Laminate is one of the easiest flooring types to install, making it a great DIY project for the weekend. The top layer protects against wear and tear. If you drop your hair dryer, no problem—the floor won’t scratch!

Looks like real wood

Laminate flooring has had many improvements since the old days and now comes in many realistic styles and textures, including real hardwood. You can get a look similar to real wood, but in a water-resistant laminate form.

More affordable than most flooring

Laminate is an affordable choice for flooring, especially if you’re remodeling an entire bathroom and need to budget for other items. Because it’s easy to install, you’ll also save on labor costs.

person staining hardwood floors

What other design options work with laminate?

Here’s how to get creative with laminate for your bathroom.

Line the edges with tile

Laminate is easy to cut around a shower or tub and at the edges of the room. This gives depth and character to the floor to use two different materials, and it helps limit water exposure directly to the laminate itself. If you have more space to work with, you could opt for penny tiles in rows or create hexagon patterns throughout the floor. This will give the room added texture and contrast, creating a one-of-a-kind design for your bathroom.

Add a large bathroom rug

If you went a bit cheaper on the laminate flooring in your bathroom, you can cover a lot of it up with a nice bathroom rug. Instead of doing the traditional mat in front of the sink, try changing it up a bit to add more design with a circular 3-by-3 rug or a runner that goes the length of the vanity. If your flooring is fairly plain, add a rug with patterns or texture. If you opened for a patterned laminate, choose a solid print.

As with any new floor, you’ll want to take care of it. Luckily, laminate is easy to clean and doesn’t require resealing grout or special cleaners. Simply sweep up any dirt or hair and use a gentle cleanser and mop once a week. Make sure the floor dries thoroughly to prevent water damage. With any bathroom flooring, we recommend bathroom rugs. They help keep you comfortable and warm while you’re getting ready, and they also prevent falls on slippery floors if you’re coming out of the shower. Plus, rugs can bring color and texture into your bathroom, which will help with the overall design you’re trying to achieve.

There are so many colors and styles of laminate to choose from that the possibilities for your new bathroom really are endless. If you’re new to laminate, we recommend going into a flooring store or your local Home Depot and seeing and touching the samples first. There are a lot of variations in colors and textures; you want to know exactly what you’re getting before you buy it, which can be harder to do if you’re just looking online. Don’t forget to shop around; you’ll be surprised at the savings some stores offer over others. Do your homework and make sure you’re getting the most value for your money.

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Julie Scagell
I am a freelance writer based in Minneapolis, MN. My passions include my dogs, talking about my dogs, and taking pictures of…
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