There are many things to take into consideration when you are considering installing hardwood floors in a bathroom. Obviously, the finished product would look beautiful, as well as durable, but there are some major issues that could arise over time. But don’t fret, there are other options available to achieve the look that you are desiring. And it should also be pointed out that hardwood floors would probably be fine for a smaller ½ bath or guest lavatory where showers or bathtubs are not being utilized.
The Bottom Line
Solid hardwood flooring is not the best choice for bathrooms for a myriad of reasons. Most importantly, hardwood floors don’t co-exist well with high humidity, moisture, water splashes and drips, which are all present in any typical bathroom setting. Because hardwood flooring absorbs moisture from the humidity and/or water spilled on it, it tends to swell as a result when installed in a full bath. Once the wood dries again, it will shrink in size. It is this process of swelling and shrinking that can cause the wood to crack, warp and curl. Any pieces that are adjoined together will start to pull apart from each other as well. In short, moisture is the enemy of hardwood floors and will eventually destroy them in bathrooms that are used regularly.
A viable option to consider as an alternative, while still achieving the same look, would be to install engineered hardwood flooring pieces. These are durable and lasting since they are engineered with a top layer referred to as the “wear layer”, which is made from the same hardwood species used in regular hardwood floors. Beneath this layer are several additional layers of plywood that is glued so the grains run in opposite directions. This makes the final product much more stable, and won’t swell with moisture as much as solid hardwood materials.
Engineered hardwood flooring is available with a wide variety of options to choose from, including walnut, hickory, white oak, red oak, bamboo, maple, ash, mahogany, teak and more. So there’s plenty of options to select from to achieve the results you want. It’s also a great idea to consult with a professional, who can steer you in the right direction to ensure your bathroom flooring lasts.