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Bathroom Floor Tile-Everything you Need to Know

Are you considering tiling your bathroom floor? Do you have absolutely no idea where to start? Or, perhaps you are just looking for a few answers to missing questions. Either way this blog should fill all the gaps. Read on to learn everything there is to know about bathroom floor tile.

What is bathroom floor tile-

Bathroom floor tile is any type of resilient flooring cut into tiles. These tiles will be installed and bonded together with the use of grout. This grout not only fills the gaps between the tiles but helps to create a stronger floor. Bathroom floor tiles come in a wide range of styles, colors, shapes, finishes and materials.

Read on to learn more.

Benefits of bathroom floor tile-

So, what are the benefits of bathroom floor tile? Why are they so common? Let’s jump into that here.

  • Hard surface: Tile creates a very stable and hard surface when installed in bathrooms. This means that dust, debris and allergens will not be absorbed into the material the way it does with other materials such as carpet. When these unwanted invaders do land on a tile surface they can be easily spotted and wiped away with a mop or cloth.

  • Water resistant (this means no mildew/mold)- Bathroom flooring tile is resistant to water which means flooring and building materials will survive the test of time and not fall prey to the damaging effects of moisture intrusion. When water is allowed to infiltrate building materials, they begin to rot, break down, weaken and grow mold which is a serious health hazard. Keep in mind, not all bathroom flooring tile options are created equal. There are many designs, finishes and materials that can be used. Some are more water resistant than others. For instance, ceramic tile is great for repelling water while something like, terracotta, is best used for decorative purposes and dryer areas.

  • Low maintenance-When properly installed, bathroom flooring tile will last a very long time. As we talked about above, water is not an issue. These floors are also scratch, stain and fade resistant. Yes, I said resistant. Since tile color is literally baked into the tile body, its color will remain original even when exposed to the sun’s UV rays.

  • Unique design options- When it comes to bathroom tile flooring design, the options are endless. Tiles come in many materials such as: ceramic, porcelain, lime, granite, stone, concrete and the list goes on. On top of this, you can customize the tiles to be any shape or color you like. This is great especially when you know what you want. It can definitely be overwhelming if you are not sure where to start.

  • Health Benefits- Tile is actually much healthier than other flooring options. As we discussed above, tile protects against mold and does not harbor dust & debris. But, even more than that, tile does not off-gas chemicals the way carpet and other synthetic floors do. Some of the chemicals you may be exposed to are: Polyvinyl chloride resins, VOC’s (which may contribute to sick building syndrome), formaldehyde, plasticizers (phthalates aka endocrine disruptors), pigments, stabilizers (many derived from heavy metals like cadmium, calcium zinc, barium zinc & tin), pigments, adhesives, polyurethane coatings and fillers. If utilizing non toxic flooring is important to you, be sure to research the grout and mortar used for installation.

  • Can be installed over heated floors- Warm feet on bathroom flooring tile is quite the luxury. And, yes, it’s completely doable and fairly easy to install.

  • Relatively easy install- Installing bathroom flooring tile is not hard. It does have several steps that need to be adhered to though. Simple floors can be done DIY, but more complicated projects may require a flooring expert to install.

Disadvantages to bathroom floor tile-

Any product on the market has its pros and cons. We walked you through the large list of advantages that come with bathroom floor tile. So what is the downside?

Well, we can think of two disadvantages which we will discuss here.

  • Slippery when wet- Bathroom floor tile can be slippery when it gets wet. Of course, there are various tile finishes that help to combat this. Plus, most people choose to lay down a bathroom shower mat for comfort and stability while moving in and out of the showering area.

  • Subfloor must be stable- Bathroom flooring tile must be installed on a stable subfloor. If there is movement in the subfloor, the tile could be vulnerable to cracking. If you are unsure about your subfloor’s condition, reach out to an expert today.

Types of bathroom floor tile-


Ceramic tiles are made from ingredients extracted from the earth (clay is the primary ingredient) that are formed into tiles and fired in kilns at extremely hot temperatures. Ceramic tile can come glazed or unglazed. Glazed tiles have 2 layers; the tile body is called the bisque and the top layer is recognized as the glaze. Unglazed ceramic tiles provide a solid color throughout the tile body. Glazed tiles tend to show scratches more than unglazed. However, glazed ceramic tiles are waterproof unlike unglazed.

In general, ceramic tiles are a very popular choice for bathroom flooring. It’s naturally cool which is desirable in warmer climates. It’s basic, but comes in virtually any style or color and is easier on the pocket book than other more exotic options.


Porcelain flooring tile is similar to ceramic, but has some distinct features which make it a higher-end product. For example, porcelain is made from a more refined clay than ceramic. It is also fired at a much higher temperature. These properties make it less porous than ceramic, so it does not scratch quite as easily. It’s also much stronger. Like glazed ceramic, it is very resistant to water and has a very long lifespan when installed properly. It will be more expensive than ceramic tiles.


Glass tiles are made by a process called fusing. Basically, thin sheets of glass are layered into a kiln and heated to about 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. These individual layers melt into one layer to form the tile.

Typically, glass tiles are used as an accent or backsplash. However, this is not to say they cannot be used on the floor because they can be. If you desire a glass tile floor, it’s essential that you hire a reputable flooring expert. The floor will need to be engineered properly in order to be safe. Oftentimes these floors will be 1 to 1 ½ inches thick and quite durable, washable and stain resistant. They are a pricier option which can turn some people away.


Stone is another very popular tile choice for bathroom flooring. It is comparable to ceramic tile, perhaps a bit more durable and definitely more expensive. Homeowners choose it for the natural beauty it can provide a space, setting it apart from other tile options.

Here is a list of common natural stone tile options-

  • Marble- Marble screams classic elegance. You simply cannot go wrong with this iconic stone. It comes in many colors and patterns so the options are vast. It is definitely one of the more expensive natural stone options.

  • Travertine- If you’re wondering what in the world travertine is, think of the historical colosseum in Rome. Yes, some of the most ancient and famous structures in the world are made from Travertine. It actually has been traced back to 3200 BC in Egypt. Price wise, it’s more expensive than marble but cheaper than other stone tile such as limestone or granite.

  • Slate- Slate is one of the strongest natural stone flooring options available. It is a bit pricey, but will provide your bathroom with a unique look. It’s not often you get to walk into a bathroom with slate tile installed.

  • Granite- Granite is a common flooring option for bathroom floors. It is extremely strong and scratch resistant making it perfect for heavy traffic areas. If you love the look of granite, it may be a good fit for your bathroom floor.

  • Limestone- Unlike luxurious marble, limestone has more of an earthy rustic feel with its matte finish. However, like marble, it does require maintenance due to its porous nature; it absorbs everything making it prone to staining. If sealed regularly, it’s a great flooring option.

  • Sandstone- There are many people out there who simply love the look of sandstone. They love it so much that they even want it in their bathrooms. However, sandstone is a porous sedimentary rock that will soak up moisture. To prevent this from happening, high quality stones must be selected and the floor must be sealed at least once a year. It tends to run cheaper than limestone cost wise.

  • Quartzite- Are you wondering if quartzite is actually the same thing as quartz? Because it’s not. You see quartzite is an actual stone that is formed organically deep in the earth. Quartz, on the other hand, is actually manufactured in a lab. Mind blown, right? Quartzite is actually an incredibly hard stone (way stronger and more durable than granite for instance) with a smooth & polished surface. It is expensive.

  • Basalt- Basalt aka lava rock…Now this is truly a one of a kind tile to have in your bathroom. It is a non porous stone, making it great for bathrooms. It’s dark color provides a stunning modern look in many homes. It is a very hard and durable rock which is beneficial in many ways, but can make it harder to cut and handle. This makes basalt a bit more on the pricey end.

  • Onyx- Onyx stone is characterized by its banded variety of chalcedony, a silicate mineral. It’s similar to an agate except agate’s chalcedony bands are curved while onyx are parallel. Typically, onyx tiles come in pastel colors such as light blue, green or red. Neutral colors are available too. Because of its rarity, these floors can get expensive.

  • Quartz- Quartz is one of the most popular flooring options because of its strength, durability, non slip factor and low to no maintenance requirements. These floors are way stronger than ceramic tile. Therefore, they will be more costly.

  • Soapstone- When one thinks of soapstone they may envision light shades of gray with white marbling inside. Not only is it beautiful, but it possesses many of the same benefits quartz has: strong, durable, water resistant and non slippery.

  • Pebble- Another name for pebble stone is river rock. It appears as a collage of many different small stones arranged in a unique pattern. There are several different kinds of pebble stone tiles depending upon how the homeowner likes the stones cut and polished. It’s even possible to select the shape and color of the stones. Many people like the look of pebble stone, it’s grippiness and strength. However, because of the raised nature of the stones, water has a tendency to sit on the surface instead of draining.

Alternatives to tile in bathroom flooring -

Bathroom floor tile or vinyl-

When deciding whether to choose bathroom floor tile or luxury vinyl flooring there are a few factors to consider.

  1. Floor temperature- Tile floors will be colder than luxury vinyl flooring. This is the deal breaker for many. However, installing heat underneath the tile flooring is absolutely a possibility.

  2. Health- As we discussed above, the synthetic chemicals within the vinyl flooring can be hazardous to our health.

  3. Style- Do you like the look of tile or vinyl flooring? Both options come in a plethora of styles and colors.

Bathroom floor tile or hardwood-

Ok, so if we are strictly talking bathrooms here, tile would be the better option. Why? It will repel water instead of absorbing it. Water, humidity and moisture are huge threats to your home…period.

Here are a few ways that water can damage your hardwood floors in a bathroom.

  1. Water spills- Any sort of water spill whether it be from the playful toddler in the bathtub, shower drips, or a flood will set the course for building material degradation to begin. Water can move underneath the wood floors where it will begin to seep into the subfloor. This moisture can eat away at your subfloor and possibly result in the subfloor needing to be replaced.

  2. Floor slope- An uneven floor can drive water spills to one particular section of the floor. Ongoing exposure to moisture in one area of the floor could lead to a reduction in structural integrity. Building materials may even need to be replaced or reinforced.

  3. Possible chemical staining- Bathroom products may put your hardwood floors at risk for staining or even degradation due to the acidic nature of many of these products. Tile can withstand these products better.

  4. Mold and/or Mildew- Mold thrives in moist hot places which makes wet hardwood flooring a perfect hiding place (in between boards or even underneath them). The finish on hardwood may offer some protection or a period of time, but eventually the protective effects will wear off.

If you absolutely have your heart set on wood floors in your bathroom then do your research. Some hardwood floors can hold up better than others. There is also specific maintenance you can keep up on to prevent moisture damage from occurring.

Bathroom ceramic tile or stone tile-

We could honestly write an entire article on this question alone. Without knowing the specifics of your project, we will do our best to keep this short and sweet.

Here are a few factors to consider when making your decision.

  1. Price- Natural stone (especially materials like marble) are more expensive. You can expect to pay $100-$300 per square foot in many instances. It’s a laborious process to make stone tile so you can expect to pay for it. Natural stone has a limited supply giving it a serious heir of exclusivity. Compare marble’s porcelain look alike and you could be paying closer to $2 per square foot.

  2. Elegance- There was a time in history when natural stone was chosen for its superior strength and stability. However, in modern times, there are plenty of stronger materials. So, that alone begs the question, “why choose stone?”. For most it’s the elegance and classic look a natural stone bathroom tile can provide.

  3. Home value increases- Natural stone will increase the value of your home. It’s expensive and exclusive, making it a great selling point.

  4. One of a kind- There is not a single quarry in the world possessing the exact form of stone. Each slab of stone out there will vary to some degree in color and veining. If you are wanting your bathroom to be unique, natural stone may be a good fit for you.

  5. Must be sealed- Most natural stone tiles must be sealed in order to remain moisture repellent due to their porous nature. This means there will be some upkeep.

Ok, so what does this all boil down to? Are you looking for straight forward, simple and low maintenance? In that case, natural stone may not be for you. Perhaps you may want to consider a ceramic tile option. On the other hand, if you are wanting a bold unique style to your bathroom and don’t mind some maintenance, natural stone may be perfect.

Bathroom floor tile caulk-

“Where in the bathroom should we caulk” is a question we get asked frequently. It’s important to use a good bathroom specific caulk around the area where the shower and tub meet the surrounding floor and wall. Also, interior joints in the shower need caulking. Click here to read a good article on this.

Bathroom floor tile cleaning-

If you are noticing a film building up on your floor tiles, it’s time for a thorough cleaning. Remember, not all floors are created equal. For example, ceramic and porcelain tiles can hold up to almost anything including some harsh chemical cleaners. Natural stone tile absolutely cannot tolerate harsh cleaners. You will be much better off utilizing some home ingredients to tackle the project. For an amazing guide on how to clean tile surfaces without damaging them, click here.

Bathroom floor tile cracking-

Why does bathroom floor tile crack? When tile is put under too much pressure, it will crack. It’s as simple as that.

Common reasons for bathroom floor tile cracking-

  1. Improper installation- If your tile is installed improperly cracking can absolutely occur. Two common installation errors are a) failing to apply adhesive correctly and b) using an unsuitable adhesion when installing tiles. These basic but extremely important steps are crucial for the longevity of your tile.

  2. Impact- When a heavy object is dropped on tile, there is a chance that cracking can occur. The floor may be even more susceptible to this when underlying installation errors exist.

  3. Loads- Structural integrity must always be considered. Each tile is designed to carry a specific amount of weight. If the loads placed upon the tile exceed what it was designed for, cracking can occur. One example of this could be using wall tile on the bathroom floor.

  4. Expansion and contraction of substrate- If tile is placed upon a substrate that falls prey to expansion and contraction, the tiles above could crack. High humidity can contribute to wood expansion. If the tile installation was done without a flexible membrane, cracking could also occur.

  5. Tiling over control joints- Tiling over control joints in concrete requires special installation procedures in order to prevent tile cracking.

Note- bathroom floor tiles that are moving can be due to similar reasons mentioned here. Usually, the tile was not installed with the right amount of adhesive or the adhesive was applied wrong.

Bathroom floor tile costs-

An average 5x8 bathroom may cost around $1,000-$1,400 to install new bathroom flooring tile. This is assuming the tile material is approximately $2.00 per square foot, setting materials are around $1.40 per square foot and standard installation at about $8.00 per square foot.

Now, if you want a shower tiled as well, this could increase your costs by $2,000-$3,000.

Other factors that may increase your costs could be: a. Removal of old flooring b. An uneven subfloor that needs to be corrected c) large bathrooms or d) expensive rare stone tile or other

Well, that’s it. We really hope all of your questions have been answered. For more information please contact us at 715-619-1870.

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