Hardwood Flooring in a Bathroom?

Cortney Lindquist

Hardwood flooring is a great choice for most spaces, but it does have its issues when used in humid or moist environments like bathrooms. Here are some things you need to know before choosing hardwood flooring.

Advantages of Hardwood In a Bathroom


One of the biggest disadvantages of ceramic tile is that it is quite cold, especially in the winter. On the other hand, hardwood floors give the bathroom a more comforting, warmer feel underfoot. 


When properly maintained, a solid hardwood floor is very durable. With lifespans of over 25 years, it is second only to stone or ceramic tile when it comes to longevity.


Hardwood is a classic choice that has been a favorite for thousands of years, so it isn't subject to interior design trends. Your bathroom will always look elegant, thanks to a hardwood floor.

Dangers to Hardwood Flooring In a Bathroom

The issues with hardwood flooring in a bathroom all include the way that moisture can affect this material.

Floor Slope

If your floor is not completely level, the water will slide down and make puddles. This is why the preparation of the subfloor in order to create a perfectly flat base is vital to preventing water damage on your floor.

Splashes and Spills 

Baths and showers naturally cause splashes. Although the finish can protect the material to some extent, you still have to wipe up any spills right away so that the moisture doesn’t damage the material's protective layer or get between seams.

Chemical Staining

Cleansers and body products will have to be cleaned up quickly if they get on hardwood flooring.

Preventing Damage to Hardwood

Bath Mats

Place them at strategic locations, such as around the sink or just outside of the bathtub.

Tub and Shower Surrounds

Another way to prevent water damage is to put surrounds along the bathtub perimeter to keep water in its place.

Maintain Plumbing Fixtures

The pipes running out of and into the major fixtures in a bathroom can sometimes leak and cause water damage in areas that are hard-to-see. The best way to resolve this is to make sure all pipe openings are properly caulked.

Refinishing Hardwood Floors 

One of the best things about hardwood is that even if you damage the floor, it can usually be fixed by sanding down the surface over the defects and applying a new finishing coat.

Shopping Considerations

When shopping for hardwood flooring for your bathroom, you need to consider these factors:


Applying a finishing agent, which is usually a polyurethane-based sealer, can form an invisible surface over the wood, which makes it nearly impossible for water to penetrate. It is essential that you choose a quality finish created for water-heavy environments. 

Type of Wood

Good choices include teak, cedar, oak, maple, cherry, walnut, ash, and hickory.

Frequency of Usage

Hardwood may not be the best flooring type for a heavily used bathroom, but it can be perfect in a powder room or a guest bath that only has a vanity, and where there's little chance of water spilling. 

Would you like to talk with us about hardwood flooring? We’re here to help. Contact us at 920-984-3383, 800-354-9902, or info@ralphshardwood.com. Showroom appointments are available.

Image: Shutterstock

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