Laminate Flooring For Bathrooms: 11 Pros and Cons & Alternatives

Empty bathroom interior nobody in new modern luxury apartment home house and white toilet with rug and door cabinets low angle view.

Laminate flooring is a popular, cost-effective option to transform or revamp your bathroom space. In this article, we’ll uncover the secrets of this flooring choice so that you can make an informed decision before you buy!

What Is Laminate Flooring? 

Paint the Bathroom

Laminate flooring is a stylish, durable, and affordable bathroom flooring option. Traditionally used in the living room or bedrooms, laminate flooring has made its way into other rooms, offering a practical solution to budget-friendly and stylish flooring materials.

Quite simply, laminate flooring is a synthetic, composite flooring material or covering constructed of four different layers fused together using a lamination process to look like hardwood floors. (Source)

LayerDescription
Top/Wear LayerA wear-resistant, transparent overlay. Made of a resin-based material, this layer provides excellent resistance against scratches, stains, fading, and dents. This makes laminate flooring suitable for high-traffic areas, busy households, and homes with children or pets.
Second/Design LayerPhotographic layer. A wood grain film with the design or image.
Middle/Inner Core LayerHigh-density fibreboard (HDF) or melamine inner core treated and reinforced with resin to provide moisture resistance and keep the board flat and stable.
Backing LayerA layer specifically designed to resist moisture and prevent the board from warping. This moisture-resistant backing helps guard against water damage, making it suitable for various spaces.

One of the very best features of laminate flooring is its ability to mimic the appearance of natural materials like hardwood, stone, or tile. Laminate flooring can replicate the grains, textures, and colors of these materials. This unique material allows homeowners to achieve their desired aesthetic without the high costs and maintenance needed with natural flooring options.

Is all Laminate Flooring Waterproof?

microfiber mop wiping puddle of water on laminate floor

Not all laminate flooring is entirely waterproof, but it does offer a level of water resistance.

Water-Resistant Laminate Flooring

Water-resistant means that this type of laminate flooring can withstand spills and splashes without any immediate damage. However, prolonged exposure to water can eventually cause damage. The level of water resistance can vary depending on the exact type and quality of laminate flooring you choose.

This option is great for areas like the living, bedrooms, and kitchens where occasional spills may happen.

Waterproof Laminate Flooring

Waterproof means that this type of laminate flooring is engineered to provide extra protection against water damage. Its unique construction includes a waterproof core layer and an additional sealant or coating that prevents water from seeping into the planks. This type of laminate flooring can withstand more significant spills and even minor flooding, making it the best laminate flooring type for high-moisture areas like bathrooms.

Discover Where Laminate Flooring Shines in the Bathroom

How Big Should A Bathroom Be?

When it comes to bathroom flooring options, laminate flooring shines because of its numerous benefits which makes it the ideal flooring option for your bathroom. Try laminate flooring in these areas in the bathroom:

Shower Areas

Laminate flooring is designed to withstand moisture, making it the ideal flooring option for shower areas. With the right installation and proper sealing, laminate flooring can provide a waterproof barrier in high-moisture areas.

Toilet Areas

Laminate flooring is a fantastic choice for the area surrounding your toilet. With its moisture-resistant properties, it provides a practical and hygienic flooring solution. Accidental spills or water drips are no reason for concern, as laminate flooring can withstand these situations without warping or becoming damaged.

Vanity Areas

The space around your bathroom vanity is an ideal spot for laminate flooring. Whether you have a single sink or a double vanity, laminate flooring can enhance the aesthetics of this area. Laminate flooring offers a wide range of finishes and designs, allowing you to select the perfect style to complement your bathroom decor.

Bathroom Entrances

The entrance to your bathroom sets the tone for the entire space. Laminate flooring offers an inviting and aesthetically pleasing entrance, giving a warm welcome to anyone entering your bathroom. Its durability ensures that it can withstand heavy foot traffic, providing a long-lasting flooring solution that keeps its beauty over time.

General Bathroom Flooring

Laminate flooring can be used as the primary flooring material for the entire bathroom, not only for specific areas. Its resistance to moisture and spills makes it a suitable choice for bathrooms of all sizes. Whether you have a small powder room or a luxurious master bathroom, laminate flooring can create a visually appealing space.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Laminate Flooring

white bathroom with skylight and lots of natural light

Laminate flooring is a well-known and often-used bathroom flooring option. It has become a popular choice for homeowners because of its affordability and because it enhances the aesthetics of the space.

Laminate flooring for bathrooms offers several advantages, but it does have a few drawbacks. Before installing laminate flooring in your bathroom, consider the following advantages and disadvantages and make an informed decision.

6 Pros Of Laminate Flooring in the Bathroom

3D rendering of a modern bathroom interior with toilet, washbasin, and shower area. Computer generated image of a modern minimalist bathroom.

These are the reasons why you should use laminate flooring in your bathroom:

Budget-Friendly

Laminate flooring is a cost-effective flooring option, often more budget-friendly compared to hardwood, stone, or tile. This makes it an excellent choice for homeowners looking for a stylish flooring solution without breaking the bank.

Easy to Install

Laminate flooring is known for its ease of installation. It’s available in click-and-lock or glueless options, making it the ideal choice for DIYers. The installation process is straightforward, saving both time and money.

Easy to Clean

Maintenance is a breeze with laminate flooring. Its sealed surface resists stains and can be easily cleaned with regular sweeping and occasional damp mopping. Unlike natural materials, laminate flooring does not need regular refinishing, waxing or polishing, saving both time and money on maintenance.

Laminate flooring is super easy to clean, which is particularly beneficial in areas where water spills or makeup stains happen often.

Water-Resistant/Waterproof

Laminate flooring is designed to handle higher levels of moisture and provide better protection against water damage.

Eye-Catching Designs

As laminate flooring is available in a variety of designs and styles (including options that reflect the look of tile, natural wood, or stone), homeowners can achieve the desired aesthetic appeal in their bathrooms without the higher costs associated with original materials.

Always ensure that the installation is done properly and the pattern is matched correctly – otherwise, you could end up with a mismatched floor design!

Fade-Resistant

Laminate flooring is known for its fade resistance, thanks to the UV protective layer. In areas with prolonged exposure to sunlight, like bathrooms with large windows or sunroofs, laminate flooring maintains its beautiful appearance.

5 Cons of Laminate Flooring in the Bathroom

Rentals: Great Bathroom Tiles

These are the disadvantages of installing laminate flooring in your bathroom:

Susceptible to Water Damage

Laminate flooring can tolerate some water on the top layer, but if it is left too long, it will seep through to the core layer and cause swelling.

Not Easy to Repair

If laminate flooring is deeply scratched, worn, or grooved, it cannot be refinished or sanded and must be replaced.

Slippery Surface

Some laminate floors can be slippery when wet, which is not a safe option for a bathroom. Ensure you look for slip-resistant options to prevent accidents when exiting the shower or bathtub.

Another alternative is to place bath mats or rugs with non-slip backings in high-risk areas, providing warmth and comfort after bathing.

Limited Lifespan

While laminate flooring is durable, it may not have the same lifespan as other flooring options like hardwood or tile. Over time, the protective layer on the laminate can wear down, making it more susceptible to scratches and damage.

Potential Hazardous Gas Emissions

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), some laminate flooring products may contain formaldehyde, a volatile organic compound (VOC) that can emit gases over time. (Source)

Choose low-VOC or formaldehyde-free laminate options to minimize potential health risks to you and your family.

Laminate vs. Vinyl Flooring: Key Differences Unveiled

How Big Should A Bathroom Be?

Laminate and Vinyl are both excellent affordable flooring options for the bathroom. The difference between the two lies in the materials that they are made from. In this table, we look at their  differences:

Laminate FlooringVinyl Flooring
MaterialsFiberboard bonded with resin100% synthetic
CoreConstructed from wood byproductsConstructed from PVC
AppearanceMimics the look of natural wood, stone, or tileAllows for deeper embossing of images
Water-resistanceWater resistant/waterproofWaterproof
Heat resistanceExpands and contracts with temperature changesNot affected by temperature fluctuations
CleaningLight cleaningVigorous scrubbing
MaintenanceLow maintenance. Once damaged, it cannot be repaired and must be replaced.Tough, but it can delaminate over time.
DurabilityGood for high-traffic areasMore resilient than laminate, offering a longer lifespan
PriceSimilar price to VinylSimilar in price to laminate, but luxury vinyl can be more expensive

Laminate Flooring Cost Guide

Laminate flooring prices differ according to the thickness, size, and finish of the material and the quality of the print layer.

Laminate TypePrice Range
Budget plastic$1.00 – $3.00 per sq ft
Affordable$2.00 – $3.00 per sq ft
Designer$10.00 – $20.00 per sq ft

(Source)

Installation Costs

Laminate flooring is easy to install. If you are a handy DIYer, you could install this flooring type easily.

If you do need the service of a professional installer, you could expect to pay about $5.00 per sq ft for materials and labor. 

Factor in the additional costs of the underlayment installation, the subfloor replacement, and the removal and disposal of the old flooring.

Step-By-Step-Guide: How To Install Laminate Flooring With Ease

Man Installing New Laminate Wood Flooring Abstract.

Whether you opt for a home DIY project or hire a professional, the installation process of laminate flooring is relatively straightforward, thanks to its click-and-lock or tongue-and-groove systems. This allows for easy and efficient installation.

Laminate flooring is compatible with various subfloors, including concrete, plywood, and existing flooring.

What Materials and Equipment Do You Need to Install a Laminate Floor?

  • Laminate flooring
  • Ready to use patch product
  • Vacuum cleaner (optional)
  • Underlayment
  • Flooring installation kit
  • Laminate cutter
  • Jigsaw
  • Utility knife
  • Level
  • Mallet
  • Tapping block
  • Spacers
  • Tape measure
  • Clamps
  • Pencil
  • Nail gun
  • Duct tape
  • Silicone caulk
  • Nails
  • Safety equipment – Gloves, goggles, knee pads, ear muffs

Method:

  1. Place your laminate flooring in the bathroom for at least 48 hours. This allows the material to acclimate to the moisture and temperature in the room.
  2. Draw a floor plan of the room and determine where the flooring should be placed.
  3. Prepare the subfloor by removing the existing floor covering, baseboards, and trim. Remove any nails and staples. Patch and fix any chips and cracks in the subfloor. Make sure the subfloor is smooth.
  4. Sand the subfloor and vacuum to remove the dust and debris.
  5. Install the underlayment. Make sure you buy the correct type for your subfloor. Measure correctly around doors and fixtures. Use the utility knife to cut where necessary. The underlayment should not adhere to the floor as it needs to float.
  6. Check that the underlayment is level and adjust where necessary.
  7. Lay the laminate flooring in place. Ensure that the pattern matches. Lock the flooring in place.
  8. Cut around doors and fixtures where necessary. Use spacers to create the necessary space required for the laminate to expand.
  9. Check that the bathroom door closes over the laminate floor. If not, you might need to trim the bottom of the door.
  10. Continue to lay the laminate flooring across the space.
  11. Always use the tapping block to lock the planks together.
  12. Once the floor is laid, remove the spacers.
  13. Fill in all the gaps between the walls and the floorboards with the silicone caulk.
  14. Vacuum the floorboards and wipe down.

Watch this video to see how to install laminate flooring

How to Install Laminate Flooring (for beginners)

Top Alternatives to Laminate For the Bathroom Floor

Bathroom Floor Tile Material

Whether you are remodeling your existing bathroom or designing a new one, you will need the perfect flooring for your space.

Bathroom flooring should be stylish, and meet your needs and your budget! If laminate floors are not an option for you, try these options instead:

Flooring optionReason
Ceramic tilesIdeal for bathrooms as they can withstand high traffic, water, and humidity, but they are hard and cold on warm feet when exiting the shower, and they can be slippery when wet.
Porcelain tilesHighly resistant to water and stains. Offering the beauty of more expensive materials with the durability and easy maintenance of tile. A fantastic choice for any bathroom floor.
Wood look tilesCome in a wide range of colors and styles, mimicking various types of wood. They are cold, hard, and more expensive than standard tiles.
Natural stone tilesBeautiful, durable, and can withstand high traffic and humid conditions. Expensive and requires more maintenance than other flooring options
Vinyl flooringA budget-friendly flooring option available in a wide range of styles, patterns, and colors. Highly resistant to water and humidity, making it an excellent choice for bathrooms. Not very long-lasting and needs to be replaced often.
Concrete flooringWater-resistant, can withstand high traffic and humidity, and easy to clean and maintain. Concrete is, however, cold, hard, and expensive to install.

Interested in learning more about other laminate alternatives? Read our post, 8 Stylish Bathroom Flooring Options You’ll Love.

Tags: bathroom flooring, laminate bathroom, laminate flooring, laminate flooring bathrooms, laminate pros and cons, laminate vs vinyl

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