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May 6, 2022
It’s a serious question: can vinyl plank flooring go in a bathroom?
We hear you, we have your back, and we’re not wasting any time! Below we’re explaining all the pros and cons of using LVP in a bathroom, going over a few of the best vinyl plank flooring brands, and to wrap things up, answering any and all lingering questions!
Let’s start by answering that question: can vinyl plank flooring go in a bathroom? Absolutely.
But there are a lot of factors to consider—so let’s start by going over the basics of vinyl plank, bathroom flooring, and so forth.
Vinyl plank, or LVP (the L stands for luxury), is a type of synthetic flooring that can mimic the look and feel of just about any other hard-surface floor. In fact, the best LVP brands make products that are nearly indistinguishable from real hardwood and tile.
The same is true for just about any type of tile—LVT can mimic them all!
What’s the Difference Between Vinyl Plank Flooring and Sheet Vinyl?
If you’ve only had meh experiences with PVC flooring before, there’s a good chance that you might be thinking of your parents’ or grandparents’ sheet vinyl flooring.
Sheet vinyl is made from a single, thin layer of PVC that’s rolled out and glued to a subfloor, while LVP is made from several layers and comes in planks. On the one hand, sheet vinyl tends to be super affordable. But what it makes up for in savings, it loses in durability and quality.
LVP, on the other hand, is still relatively affordable but it’s also far superior in terms of hardiness, style options, and longevity. Of the two, LVP is definitely the best vinyl flooring.
What Qualities Should You Look for in Bathroom Flooring In General?
Many types of flooring can be installed in a bathroom, but only a few check all the boxes. Since bathrooms are arguably the wettest rooms in the home, buying floors with excellent water resistance is a given. Waterproof flooring options are even better.
While wood floors are gorgeous, even the best hardwood floors tend to offer only mild water resistance. This might be acceptable in a living room, or maybe even a not-very-busy kitchen, but bathrooms tend to be pretty unforgiving when it comes to moisture (think: shower steam, wet feet, etc.).
What Are the Pros and Cons of Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring in a Bathroom?
We don’t expect you to take us at face value, so here are all the reasons vinyl plank (and tile) can go in a bathroom! Better yet, we’re also going to explain a few of the key problems with LVT/P to help you decide if this is the right flooring for you.
Pro: Vinyl Plank Flooring Is Waterproof
If you’ve always wanted a wood floor bathroom, vinyl plank flooring is probably the best overall way to achieve it.
Pro: Great Vinyl Plank Flooring Is Relatively Inexpensive
Of course, not all LVP products are budget-friendly, and COREtec flooring is a good example. While COREtec is certainly a premium option (see our COREtec flooring reviews), its price ranges from $5 to $10 per square foot, or what you might expect to pay for good hardwood.
Pro: It’s Easy to Clean and Maintain
In terms of maintenance and cleaning, LVP might be the best flooringperiod. Aside from a few lower-budget options, vinyl plank flooring is super easy to clean and doesn’t require any special maintenance. For bathrooms, that’s nice.
Bathrooms are often an area of focus when people clean their homes, so having floors that make the job easier is very welcome. Have you ever had to clean grout between tiles? It’s a nightmare.
Pro: Vinyl Plank Is Warmer Underfoot Than Tile
And speaking of tile, it gets cold.
Walking barefoot over ceramic tile during colder months is like walking over ice—which really ruins a relaxing, hot shower. Some types of tile are immune to this, but with vinyl plank flooring, it’s not really a concern.
Bonus: for extra comfort, WPC flooring (a type of LVP) has an almost springy feel to it.
Pro: Vinyl Plank Doesn’t Get as Slippery as Tile
Another thing LVP does better than tile: slip resistance.
Now, some tiles are textured in a way that makes slipping a non-issue. But ordinary ceramic tiles can get pretty slippery when wet, which isn’t ideal in a room where being wet is kind of the whole point (well, when bathing, anyway).
Vinyl plank flooring doesn’t get as slippery as ceramic tile, so it makes sense to put it in a bathroom.
Pro: Vinyl Plank Is Also a Little Quieter Than Tile
Let’s add just one more knock against tile (we swear we do like tile!): vinyl plank is quieter.
Super-hard surfaces like tile bounce sounds rather than absorb them. If you have a small bathroom, every little noise is going to sound like an air raid siren (which a sleeping partner won’t enjoy). Vinyl plank is slightly softer in composition, so it absorbs sounds better than tile does.
The keyword here is “better”, though. Nothing absorbs sounds as well as carpet or cork, but neither of these is fit for bathroom flooring. So, LVP is kind of the best option in this regard.
Pro: It’s a Great Alternative to Other Materials That Can’t Get Wet (Like Hardwood or Carpet)
We’ve mentioned this before, but we feel this is an important point to bring home: many types of floors can’t get wet.
LVP’s biggest advantage is that it can get wet. But, LVP can also mimic the look of other floors, so it’s sort of a best-of-both-worlds scenario.
Con: Glue-Down Vinyl Plank Flooring Is Very Hard to Remove
Not everything about LVP is ideal. For one, glue-down vinyl plank flooring is absolutely horrendous to remove. To be fair, this type of LVP is perfectly fine in the meantime, but the installation and removal process is a pain.
The good news is that even mediocre glue-down vinyl plank flooring should last at least a decade.
However, it’s worth noting that cheap LVP can be really, really bad. We’ve heard so many horror stories of homeowners buying low-end LVP for a seemingly great deal, only for their floors to start popping up months after installation. Not decades. Not years. Months.
Con: Some Vinyl Plank Flooring Has Poor Fade Resistance
This has almost everything to do with low-quality wear layers. To cut costs, some brands don’t include UV protection in their products’ wear layers, so even a limited amount of sun exposure will start to discolor their floors.
High-end vinyl brands account for this (or at least offer some protection), but it’s safe to say cheap vinyl isn’t a good choice for sunroom flooring, outdoor vinyl flooring, or bathrooms with a lot of windows (which seems kind of weird anyway).
Con: It Doesn’t Usually Increase Home Resale Value
Vinyl plank flooring is lovely, but a lot of homebuyers don’t see it in the same way as they see hardwood floors—even if hardwood doesn’t make sense for a bathroom.
To be fair, LVP shouldn’t harm your home’s value, but it probably won’t help it either (unless you buy low-quality LVP).
Con: Vinyl Plank Isn’t Very Eco-Friendly (but It May Be Recyclable)
That said, many LVP brands are incorporating more and more sustainable practices into their manufacturing processes (including material sourcing). Better yet, most modern LVP products are partially or fully recyclable. We’ll talk about the best recyclable brands in a minute.
Con: Ordinary Vinyl Plank Flooring Can Contain VOCs
Nearly all types of flooring contain VOCs, even hardwood (naturally-occurring formaldehyde is considered a VOC)—but LVP can have a higher concentration than most other floors.
The good news is that low-VOC vinyl flooring is essentially the norm nowadays, and there are even zero-VOC products hitting the market.
As a general note: if you believe you or your family are sensitive to such things, we strongly recommend buying no- or low-VOC flooring.
The Best Vinyl Plank Flooring Brands for Bathrooms
We know that vinyl plank flooring can go in a bathroom—but which brands are the best? Here’s a brief list of great vinyl plank brands that make equally-great bathroom flooring.
Proximity Mills makes 11 collections of mostly wood-look LVP, all of which are perfectly content as bathroom flooring. The brand is known for making extremely high-performance floors at surprisingly affordable rates (check out our Proximity Mills review here!). Plus, they’re all recyclable, low-VOC, and some are even zero-VOC.
You might know Pergo (which is owned by Mohawk) as the laminate flooring brand; however, their Pergo Extreme line of LVP is pretty solid too. In our Pergo Extreme reviews, we called the floor a good investment with plenty of great customer reviews, too.
Newton is a brand that specializes in making high-quality flooring at lower price points in line with what you’d expect to find from a big box store brand, like LifeProof flooring, SmartCore flooring, or NuCore flooring. The best thing about Newton flooring is that it really punches above its weight class; there are better floors on the market, but you’ll have to pay a lot more for them.
Shaw is an esteemed flooring company (one of the largest, in fact) that’s been around for the better part of 100 years. Shaw vinyl plank flooring like Floorté, their flagship line, is a little on the pricey side but offers high-quality LVP nonetheless.
Doma is a flooring company that’s well-known for making some of the most stylish and fashion-forward LVP floors around. As you’ll see in our Doma flooring review, we’ve found their vinyl plank products to be particularly impressive (though they offer some great hardwoods and carpets as well).
Vinyl Bathroom Flooring FAQs
Before we wrap up, let’s go over a few vinyl plank bathroom flooring FAQs. We know vinyl flooring can go in a bathroom, but we’re sure you have other questions, too!
What’s the Best Vinyl Flooring for Bathrooms?
Without a doubt, vinyl plank or tile is the superior choice. Sheet vinyl is the only major choice for residences, and it simply doesn’t offer the same level of quality or style options that LVP/T offers.
Is All Vinyl Plank Flooring Waterproof?
Nearly all vinyl flooring is waterproof. However, low-end brands sometimes make products that fair poorly in excessively wet or humid conditions. Even mid-quality products tend to avert this issue, though.
What’s the Difference Between Water-Resistant and Waterproof Flooring?
Since most LVP is fully waterproof, let’s look at hardwood instead.
Waterproof hardwood flooring can handle more water for a significantly longer period of time, and air-drying small amounts of water is probably okay. Now, we should say that no flooring on the planet (maybe except for tile) can survive water indefinitely, but for all practical reasons, these floors are essentially waterproof.
In other words, the difference basically comes down to how long the floor can withstand exposure to liquids.
What’s the Worst Flooring for Bathrooms?
Ordinary laminate, most types of wood flooring (including cork), and most types of carpet are really bad choices for bathroom flooring. Laminate and hardwood will warp after being exposed to water while carpet traps moisture within its fibers, possibly creating health hazards (like mold).
Classic linoleum is a similarly bad choice.
Is There a Way To Waterproof Vinyl Plank Flooring?
There’s no reason you can’t install vinyl plank under a toilet. The only thing to keep in mind is that if a toilet isn’t perfectly flush (see what we did there?) with the surrounding floor, it could wobble. And a wobbling toilet is not something you want.
Can You Install Vinyl Plank Under a Bathroom Vanity?
You can install vinyl plank flooring underneath a bathroom vanity (unless the manufacturer advises against this, for warranty reasons).
But, generally speaking, bathroom vanities can be installed directly over the subfloor, so covering the area with flooring first seems like unnecessary work.
Does Vinyl Plank Flooring Need a Moisture Barrier?
With few exceptions, vinyl flooring underlayments (aka moisture barriers) are required. Before you groan at the extra expense, know that many brands include an underlayment with their floors. And for the brands that don’t, most underlayments cost less than a dollar per square foot.
Can Mold Grow Under Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Yes. While it’s generally unlikely, liquids can find their way through the seams between vinyl planks. If you have a wood subfloor (what is subflooring, anyway?), you now have the two key ingredients to support mold: moisture and cellulose (which is in wood). And if water can get through, so can air (the last ingredient).
Treatment for mold isn’t cheap and it’s definitely not fun. And leaving mold to grow can severely impact your health.
What Else Happens if Water Gets Under Vinyl Plank Flooring?
It’s not likely for water to seep its way under properly-installed vinyl flooring, but as we hinted at above, it can find its way through a floating vinyl plank floor if the seams have been compromised.
Why? Because even if the floor is waterproof, your subflooring probably isn’t. And aside from mold, water can absolutely ruin the “bones of your home”. Over time, it can warp subflooring, dissolve insulation, and more. So, again, be sure to clean up spills and standing water even if the floor is designed to handle it!
Bonus: this is why even the best carpet brands should be avoided for bathroom flooring. While many modern carpets are waterproof or water-resistant, water can penetrate through the fibers and saturate the subflooring.
Which Direction Should You Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring in a Small Bathroom?
Well, considering LVP is most often used as a substitute for hardwood, we’ll look at this in terms of replicating wood floor patterns.
Direction-wise, it really depends on your preference; many schools of thought surround this. That said, LVP that mimics wide-plank wood flooring can make a small bathroom appear bigger.
Of course, like any type of flooring, it pays to buy products from the most reputable vinyl plank brands—and 9 times out of 10, those brands are not found at your nearby Home Depot or Lowes. No, the best vinyl flooring is going to come from your local flooring stores who actually employ real flooring experts and installers.
If you go through a big box store, you’re going to have a mediocre experience at best. These places want to get you in and out as quickly as possible, and their product selection tends to be much more general.
Local stores, on the other hand, are solid. Here you can expect the help of someone who knows what their talking about and has the product selection to fit your bathroom flooring needs perfectly!
And with say that’s the end of it! We hope this guide helps you find the best vinyl plank flooring to go in your bathroom, and if not, maybe some of the flooring ideas below will serve you better? Cheers!
Christian is a freelance everything-writer, editor, & SEO guy. When he’s not writing about flooring and remodeling, he’s either writing news for the California American Legion or writing fresh content for his camping & EDC blog (or, you know, actually camping).
This post may contain references or links to products from one or more partners of our parent company and/or subsidiaries of our parent company. For more information, visit this page. May 5, 2022 Want to give your laundry room an upgrade and looking for the best laundry room flooring? You’re in the right place! Laundry rooms […]
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