14 Tips for Successful Bathroom Flooring Installations

by Raymond Alexander Kukkee


In the exciting world of home renovation, sparkling bathroom and kitchen renovations traditionally return the best bang for the homeowner buck. It is not, therefore, any surprise that premium value is attached to the renewal of flooring. Is it necessary to replace yours? Read our checklist to decide when your bathroom flooring should be replaced.

New tile floor updates an old bathroom

Old house gets a new tile floor. Can you find the "before" picture on our site?

When replacement of your bathroom floor is deemed essential, many problems can be avoided by considering these tips for successful bathroom flooring installations.

When preparing for a bathroom flooring installation, do:

  • Plan Carefully: If you are about to replace your bathroom flooring, think outside of the box. Careful thought and planning for the whole bathroom area is critical. Does your existing bathroom suit your lifestyle? Should the bathtub, toilet and vanity be updated while you’re at it? If design changes are needed, now is the time. Plan carefully for accessory changes and necessary plumbing alterations before starting. Draw a plan including measurements and rough-in pipe relocation if required.
  • Obtain necessary permits for renovation and plumbing if required in your jurisdiction.
  • Obtain three quotations and hire a competent contractor with references if you are not a do-it-yourself person.
  • Seek advice freely if you are a neophyte do-it-yourself crafts person. It’s easier to avoid expensive mistakes doing so. Even the most skilled craftsman had to learn at some time.
  • Choose your new flooring materials carefully. Which is better suited for your purpose, ceramic tile, composite tile, cork, seamless vinyl, or wood? There are many choices, each offering specific benefits and characteristics in this application.
  • Choose colors and patterns judiciously. A well-designed floor can make or break the appearance of a tiny bathroom. Talk to the flooring center experts that offer invaluable, time-tested design advice and suggestions freely to the neophyte.
  • Always upgrade and modernize fixtures if the budget allows. Replacing only the flooring this time may be cheaper, but not will cost ultimately if the cracked toilet or a rusting bathtub has to be replaced a year from now, disturbing the new flooring.  The same goes for plumbing and wiring, which also should be brought up to meet building codes if deficient as is.

Leaving out flooring … as a cost-saving measure may be a temptation

  • Inspect the sub-flooring carefully for damage and decay.
  • Replace sub-flooring if there is any sign of water damage, warping, de-lamination of the plywood surface, blistering, decay or mold. Installing new flooring on a poor substrate will contribute to early failure of the new surface.
  • Check the floor for excessive flexing, even if it is in good condition, particularly if your new flooring is to be ceramic tile. Add another layer of sub-flooring if necessary to avoid cracking.
  • Check the supporting joists under the floor for decay and weakness and reinforce them if required. It is easier to do now rather than after the new flooring is installed.
  • Extend the new flooring completely under the sink vanity. Leaving out flooring in that location as a cost-saving measure may be a temptation, but doing so can be problematic if the vanity is to be eventually changed to a different location, a different size or perhaps to a hot new pedestal-style sink. Flooring the area completely allows more design versatility in the future.
  • Consider recycling those tear-down materials and fixtures if possible. Solid, good-quality materials, accessories and plumbing fixtures can be recycled if they are in good condition, particularly in a ‘style upgrade’ for appearance only.
  • Always purchase the highest-quality materials your budget allows. Quality does not cost, it ultimately pays off with a better outcome.

By using these handy tips as a check list, you can make your installation easier and may avoid running into common problems encountered in renovating bathroom flooring projects.