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How to Protect Hardwood Floors in Your Bathroom


Hardwood floors are popular in modern homes because of their beautiful natural look and durability. Although many people eschew wood flooring in the bathroom due to humidity and moisture concerns, with a little care during installation and taking time to maintain the flooring, wooden floors can work in a bathroom for years to come.

Why Choose Hardwood Floors for a Bathroom?   

At first glance, hardwood floors may not seem like the first choice for bathrooms. One big advantage hardwood floors have is warmth. Ceramic tiles are cold, especially on bare feet. Hardwood floors can feel warmer underfoot, which makes it more comfortable in the bathroom after a shower.

Hardwood floors also give more of a warm and inviting look to a room. Hardwood flooring is durable and can last for over 100 years when properly maintained. There’s a durability to hardwood that many other materials simply don’t have. As we’ve mentioned, solid hardwood floors are stunning and make a statement. Of the flooring materials, all the different types of wood flooring are definitely the most beautiful.

Installing Hardwood Floors in Your Bathroom

Professionally installing wood flooring can give you a good head start to ensuring that your floors last for a long time. The floor needs to be level when finished to avoid pooling. Make sure the subfloor is wax-penetrated, which can help seal moisture out. Choose a flooring with a back sealing and one that interlocks instead of using nails.

Use the right adhesive for bathrooms that will stand up to the added moisture. Check with your plumber to get the right height of the toilet flange. Engineered hardwood floors are thicker than ceramic tiles, so your toilet needs to be level with the floors. Choose the right flooring material. Avoid softer woods that won’t hold up in the bathroom as well. Look for harder woods, such as white oak, hickory, or walnut.

Threats to Your Hardwood Floors

When it comes to hardwood floors, preventing water damage is crucial. It’s not just the normal spills and splashes from the sink and bathtub. Even with floors that are properly sealed, wipe up water or any wet areas as soon as possible to prevent damage to floors. That alone is one of the most important ways to protect your wood flooring.

Unlevel floors can have pooling when water puddles on the floor. Water can seep through the seams and damage the wood and the underfloor. Traditionally, hardwood floors are installed with nails, which are an opening that water can seep through. Choosing the right product and ensuring that the floor is installed correctly can mitigate these potential downfalls.

In addition to water damage, hardwood floors are vulnerable to the products used in the bathroom. Soaps, beauty products, and cleansers can be acidic and damage the floor. These products can eat through the seal and damage the floor. Cleaning them up promptly can reduce the problems.

Finally, humidity is another enemy of hardwood floors. The warm air from a shower can hover in the bathroom. The moisture penetrates the floor and can cause mold or mildew damage. Using your exhaust fan after a shower or bath can reduce these problems.

How to Protect the Hardwood Floors in Your Bathroom

Once your floor is installed, here are some tactics that can help you maintain its beauty for years to come.

Regular Maintenance

Choose a finish designed for bathrooms or for outdoor use. Check the finish every few months to make sure it’s still strong. When water is dropped on the floor, it should bead up, not seep into the floor. If the water is absorbed by the flooring, you need to replace the top coat of sealant. Know that you will need to reapply the floor finish more often than you might in other rooms. Watch for cracks in the floor. Clean up spills quickly.

Use Your Exhaust Fan

Make sure your exhaust fan is effective and strong enough to handle the moisture in the air after a shower. Teach your family to use the exhaust fan every time they take a shower or bath. Removing the humidity in the bathroom can really help take care of many problems and will reduce mold and mildew from growing.

Use Bath Mats and Rugs

When getting out of the shower or bath, stand on a bathmat to collect the drips of water from your body. Dry off before stepping off the mat. Make sure your bath mats have a rubber backing that keeps moisture from getting through to the floor. When the bath mats or rugs get wet, hang them up to dry so that the moisture doesn’t seep into the hardwood floor.

Watch for Leaks and Drips

The fixtures in your bathroom can easily leak and cause damage to your floors. Watch for condensation on the lines. Keep pipe openings caulked. Look for leaks and drips at the valve connections. Use shower and tub surrounds to prevent water from getting on the floor.

Hang Up Towels

Install plenty of bars and hooks to keep wet towels off the floor. Teach your family to put dirty clothes in the hamper instead of leaving them on the floor. The clothes may not be wet, but moisture can get trapped under the clothes and seep into the floor.

Talk to the Pros

A hardwood floor may not be the right choice for a bathroom that gets a lot of use from kids, but if you’re determined, talk to the pros with SVB Floors in Kansas City. We can help you choose the right floors that fit your style and needs to make your home beautiful and functional.

Schedule a free estimate and design consultation with us and let our team answer your questions about your bathroom flooring options. We’ll help you choose a product that will last for years and make recommendations to protect your floors. When you take care of your floor, a hardwood floor can last for years, even in the bathroom.