A new flooring goes a long way when it comes to giving your bathroom a fresh, clean feel. It’s especially important for the private bathroom, which is often our sanctuary for rejuvenation and self-care, to undergo an occasional renovation.
Due to the particularly wet conditions common in a bathroom, installing a new floor may sound like an expensive task that is best left to a professional. However, there are a variety of budget-friendly flooring options that will make your bathroom feel like new.
What to Consider When Buying Bathroom Flooring?
Is it Waterproof?
Bathrooms (especially the ones with frequent shower use) are obviously exposed to more moisture than any other room in the house. The last thing you want is to go through the all the work laying a new floor in the bathroom only for it to succumb to water damage in a year or so. Finding cheap flooring that is also waterproof is a MUST.
Overall Durability – Will It Last?
In such a small, well-lit room, even the smallest amount of damage becomes an eyesore. And since your bathroom is one of the most heavily used rooms in the house, the flooring takes an inevitable beating. Aside from the threat of constant moisture, bathroom floors are also frequently damaged by various stains, cracks, and dents.
For this reason, you want to be sure that the flooring you choose is known for its durability against most types of wear and tear.
When you’re on a budget, you’ll likely want to install the flooring yourself. Since we can’t all be professionals at such a task, it’s important to keep in mind the level of difficulty you’re able to handle. Some flooring options are obviously easier to install than others. The good thing is that most economical choices are also the cheapest.
Also, since the bathroom is the most essential room in the house, you want to be sure that installation can be done quickly. The last thing you want is to compromise your sanctuary for any longer than a day.
The Total Cost
Fortunately, bathrooms are smaller than most other spaces in your house, so choosing a flooring material on a tight budget shouldn’t slow you down. The good news is that most cheap bathroom flooring materials are also DIY-friendly, eliminating the need to hire a professional. The total cost will depend on materials alone.
It’s important to remember that while some flooring materials are cheap, the installation may require specific cleaning and floor preparation which will increase your total cost.
7 Cheap Bathroom Flooring Ideas When on A Budget
1. Vinyl Sheet
The beauty of using vinyl sheeting is that it’s utterly seamless, leaving the floor free of any cracks or crevices where water can enter and damage the subfloor. The sheet comes in a single roll that blankets the floor and is sealed at the edges with silicone caulk.
Also, vinyl sheeting comes in a large variety of colors and designs, making it easy to achieve your desired style.
DIY installation can be tricky, as the process must be done correctly to ensure a smooth, water-proof result, but the extra effort will save tons of money and last a long time! You can find reliable vinyl flooring for as little as $0.50 per square foot!!
2. Porcelain Floor Tile
If you desire an elegant look for your bathroom, porcelain tiles might appeal to you. Porcelain can be made to mimic other materials, including marble, stone, and even wood!
Porcelain is made of a specific type of clay that’s fired at a high temperature. The result is a material with excellent water resistance, which is perfect for the bathroom. It’s easy to clean, requiring only a little extra attention to the grout between tiles. And since the color of porcelain is consistent all the way through, if a chip or crack occurs, it won’t be as noticeable as with other materials.
The cost of porcelain can run a little high for some budgets, usually around $3 per square foot on the low end, but on a good day you can find tiles for as little as $1.50 per square foot. Search for on sale products to save money and get higher quality materials!!
Installation is often done by a professional. But if you’re skilled a DIY homeowner with some time on your hands, then you can save a lot by tackling the work yourself.
3. Epoxy over Concrete
With a concrete subfloor, you have perhaps the cheapest option, which is to remove the old surface flooring and treat the concrete with an epoxy finish.
A bare concrete floor may seem too hard and cold to achieve the desired warmth and comfort for your bathroom. But with a good cleaning and protective coating of epoxy, your bathroom floor will have a sleek modern look to it that’s easy to clean and maintain.
While applying the epoxy, you can sprinkle sand or shredded plastic to the surface. This will add slip resistance to your wet bathroom floor, as well as a little extra style. If you want to see how you can epoxy a floor watch the awesome video I found below, full disclosure it’s not me in the video!
For other ideas on what to do with a concrete floor, check out our list of 9 Cheap Flooring Options Over Concrete article.
4. Ceramic Flooring Tile
Ceramic tile is similar to porcelain tile. So similar that it can be hard to determine which one is best for your particular needs. Ceramic tiles are made in the same way as porcelain except ceramic lacks the same type of clay and heating process that enables porcelain to become as water-resistant as it is.
Another drawback is that ceramic tiles usually are not made to mimic other types of materials, so that faux-marble will have to pass. Also, a cracked ceramic tile will expose the color variation throughout the material.
However, while ceramic seems inferior to porcelain, it is still a fine choice for a bathroom floor. With proper maintenance, your ceramic tiles can last up to 100 years. What makes ceramic more appealing than porcelain is that it’s usually a cheaper buy.
5. Luxury Vinyl Plank
Luxury vinyl flooring (LVF) is the high-end alternative to vinyl sheeting. It provides a noticeable thickness and quality, and the interlocking planks are easy to install for any DIY homeowner.
The major advantage that LVF has is the variety of styles it comes it, including fairly convincing imitations of natural wood and stone. While the vinyl material itself is highly resistant to moisture, water can seep between the planks, potentially requiring an occasional re-tiling.
This option may be a bit more money than vinyl sheeting, but the difference may be worth it to some. You can find vinyl plank flooring at less than $2 per square foot.
6. Paint It!
If your bathroom floor is currently an old looking square tile you can actually use stencils to paint them to look like the current modern tiles and save thousands of dollars.
The most popular stencils for square tile are the floral designs that are super popular in today’s home decor. Take a look at the image above of FOUR-C Floral Painting Stencils made for the floor and more! There are about 15 shapes and patterns you can choose when you check them out on Amazon. It’s pretty awesome what you can do to your floor!
Also, if you have old hardwood you can paint that too! There are varieties of paint that are specific for bathroom hardwood, giving you the option for the desired color scheme. Or, for a natural look, you can apply a white enamel that will protect the wood and add a nice shine.
Painting is one of the easiest options, and the possibilities are endless when it comes to customizing the style and pattern. Add a nice rug on top of a newly painted floor, and you’ve given your bathroom a brand-new look and saved yourself thousands of dollars.
7. Interlocking Foam Tiles
This is also one of the cheaper options on the list, but it may only be a temporary option or best recommended in a half-bath that doesn’t have sloshing showers or bathtubs. The New Forest Floor Printed Tiles are super stylish and will be an easy option (in the photo above).
One of the nicer qualities of foam flooring is the extra cushioning they provide. Hard tile floors can be hard on the joints when stepping out of the shower. With foam, you can take your time in front of the mirror without coming out with aching feet.
The only drawback is that water can easily pass through the cracks between tiles, making maintenance and tile replacement a regular occurrence. However, with a little diligence in keeping the floor dry, you can easily prolong the quality of tiles.
Also, if you go with foam tile, be sure to find a variety with high slip resistance, as some foam tiles can be dangerously slick when wet.
There is no definite best option when it comes to bathroom flooring (or any flooring). What best works for one homeowner might not be the best option for another. Narrowing in on your specific preferences and needs will determine your final choice. Knowing your options will enable you to find the perfect material.
Bathroom floors are often underestimated when it comes to home renovations. They’re small, relatively out of sight, and thought to be out of budget. The truth is, giving your bathroom floor a nice remodeling can be one of the cheapest home projects you can do, and achieving a dreamy, luxurious look is well within your reach.
Jamie is the Founder of My Home Dwelling. He is a homeowner and enjoys sharing his homeowner tips with others. He has real estate experience working as a new home construction Realtor. Jamie has worked on numerous residential construction sites helping with interior and exterior renovations. He loves refinishing furniture, DIY home projects, and sharing his knowledge online.