How to Make Hardwood Flooring Work in Your Bathroom

Hardwood floors in the bathroom add a distinctive, warm aesthetic but can become warped or damaged from high humidity and water on the floor. To protect against rot, mold, and warping, you must seal your hardwoods with a waterproof coat on a regular basis.

Bathroom hardwood floor

Is Hardwood Flooring Ideal for Bathrooms?

Concerns about moisture and humidity make hardwood the least desirable bathroom flooring option.

Hardwoods fare well in powder rooms and bathrooms that lack a shower or tub, but hardwoods in full bathrooms require much more upkeep.

Pros and Cons of Bathroom Hardwood Flooring


  • Hardwood gives your bathroom an aesthetic appeal. It adds natural beauty to the bathroom while providing a warm and cozy ambiance.
  • Hardwood is durable and can last for years with proper maintenance. It has a longer lifespan than tiles.
  • Wood is warmer underfoot than tiles, making it more comfortable to walk on bare feet.
  • It withstands spills or splashes without warping or buckling.


  • Limited options: Not all hardwood species are ideal for bathrooms. Only a few wood species can withstand the bathroom’s moisture and humidity.
  • High maintenance: Bathroom hardwood flooring requires regular sealing with a water-resistant finish to protect it from moisture damage.
  • Bathrooms are humid, making them a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

How to Choose the Right Type of Bathroom Hardwood Floor

  • Finish – Proper finish protects bathroom hardwood floors from water damage. Choose hardwood flooring with a water-resistant finish or sealant. Unsealed hardwood floors often warp, stain, and expand when exposed to excess moisture. 
  • Type – There are various types of hardwood, but not all are suitable for bathroom flooring. Oak is one of the best choices for bathrooms since it’s less likely to be negatively affected by humidity. Engineered wood floor is also a good choice. Since it’s not solid wood, it’s less likely to warp.

Maintenance Requirements for Bathroom Hardwood Floors

Maintaining hardwood floors in bathrooms is crucial due to the high moisture and the potential for water exposure.

  1. Regular cleaning: Use a damp mop or cloth, and avoid using excess water while cleaning. Most manufacturers recommend using a mild, non-abrasive hardwood floor cleaner.
  2. Periodic sealing or refinishing: Ensure your hardwood floors are sealed with a water-resistant finish. This creates a protective barrier that helps prevent moisture from seeping into the wood.
  3. Proper ventilation: Poor ventilation leads to moisture buildup. Ensure your bathroom is well-ventilated to reduce humidity levels. Use a vent fan to remove excess humidity if there’s no bathroom window.
  4. Use bath mats and rugs: Place absorbent rugs or mats where water is likely to splash, such as in front of the sink, shower, or bathtub. Mats can help trap excess moisture and act as a buffer between the water and the hardwood. Use mats with a vinyl or rubber backing since they don’t slip on the hardwood floor.
  5. Wipe off spills and water puddles promptly: Water spills lead to warping, staining, and damage. Wipe off water or liquid spills to prevent moisture from penetrating the wood.
  6. Install tub and shower surrounds: They help deflect water into the shower cubicle. Seal any joints around shower doors to prevent water from leaking onto the hardwood flooring.

Alternatives for Hardwood Flooring in a Bathroom

The material you choose for bathroom flooring must handle a damp atmosphere, be water-resistant, and be durable. The alternatives for bathroom hardwood flooring are engineered wood, luxury vinyl, and tiles.

Engineered Wood

Engineered wood flooring is constructed with layers that provide greater stability and resistance to moisture. Engineered wood is less sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. It’s also less expensive than real hardwood.


Luxury vinyl is an affordable alternative flooring for bathroom use. It’s waterproof, reducing the risk of floor damage. It’s durable, easy to clean, and available in various wood-look styles.


Porcelain and ceramic tiles are excellent choices for bathroom flooring due to their exceptional water resistance and durability. They come in a wide variety of styles, including options that mimic the appearance of wood. Tiles are easy to clean and maintain and are available in different sizes and shapes.