Bathrooms are among of the most commonly remodeled rooms, partly because they tend to recoup costs in resale more than other areas of the home. Of course, if you intend to undertake such a remodel, you'll have several choices ahead. Chief among them: flooring for your bathroom remodel.
1. Ceramic or Porcelain Tile
Perhaps the most common of all flooring options for bathrooms is the timeless and relatively inexpensive ceramic tile, of which porcelain tiles are a subset. Ceramic tiles can be purchased glazed or non-glazed in a variety of colors and shapes. For a bathroom remodel, you will want to choose a tile with a PEI rating of Class 2 or 3 to ensure the floor does not break down.
Prices for ceramic tiles vary widely. Expect to pay between $1 and $4 per square foot for the least expensive tiles found in home improvement stores and warehouses. If you are looking for higher quality tiles, you might pay upwards of $15 per square foot.
To keep your costs down, you can add a more sophisticated look to your bathroom remodel by creating a design consisting mostly of inexpensive tile, but with higher quality pieces woven in. Diamond patterns are useful for this purpose, and can be repeated in walls, backsplashes, and shower surrounds.
2. Travertine Tile
Also common among bathroom remodels is travertine tile, which is a form of limestone that is softer than ceramic tile but considered more attractive. You can find it for as little as $2.50 per square foot, but note that travertine is sometimes sold in larger squares (e.g. 18" by 18"), and can cost significantly more. You might pay upwards of $30 per square foot, depending on quality.
Travertine tile is known for its rich colors and versatility. In most cases, the grouting will be thinner than it is with ceramic tile, and you may need to pre-seal the stones prior to installation. You will then seal the tile again after the project is finished. And pay attention to veining. More veining generally means weaker tiles.
3. Laminate Wood
It is never a good idea to install hardwood floor in bathrooms because of potential water damage. Laminate wood, however, does not present the same problems and will provide your bathroom with the traditional wood look. Pine and oak stains tend to be popular for bathrooms, though of course you should consider all options.
The cost of laminate wood flooring is much less than that of hardwood. You can expect to pay anywhere from $0.75 to $10 per square foot, depending on the quality of the material. Laminate is fairly easy to install yourself, but consider hiring a professional if your bathroom configuration is complicated.
4. Stained Concrete
Particularly among those who prefer the industrial aesthetic, stained concrete has become an extremely popular option for bathroom remodels. It is extremely easy to care for and offers almost limitless design options. For a stained concrete bathroom, expect to pay from $2 to $4 per square foot. If you want something more intricate, such as saw work or stencils, you might pay upwards of $15.
Concrete is also advantageous over other bathroom flooring options because it can be changed down the road. If you don't like the colors or patterns, you can simply start fresh.
Slate tiles are comparable in price to ceramic, porcelain, and travertine, but are considered more rustic, and are often used in bathrooms that are adjacent to rooms or hallways with wood floors, as the two complement one another. Slate is sometimes uneven and it will flake for a few months after installation, but it is very durable.
The right flooring for your bathroom remodel depends on your preferred aesthetic, your budget, and your home improvement skills. Many homeowners prefer to first make other decisions, such as hardware and paint, so their flooring complements other accents.