Everything You Need to Know Before You Install Wood in Your Bathroom or Kitchen

Wood flooring is classic. Shades and installation techniques vary but wood flooring is never going out of style. It warms up a home and is incredibly durable. (DIY Tip: You can even revive an old wood floor by sanding it down a few times! Good as new.) If you read our blog often, you know we’re huge proponents of ceramic tile! Sometimes we have to remind ourselves there are other materials too, and ceramic isn’t the always the best choice. 😉 So this week, we thought we’d take a break from tile and discuss some creative alternatives for the surfaces in your bathrooms: wooden floors and walls.

But some people shy away from installing wood flooring in bathrooms or kitchens for fear of water damage and warping. There are a number of workarounds, though, so you needn’t be afraid. In this blog, we’re discussing:

  1. Protecting your wood flooring in wet areas
  2. Alternatives to wood (And how to make it look just as good as the real thing!)
  3. Pro designer tips to take your bathroom design to the next level with wood floors

Green Kitchen with Hardwood Floors

Protecting Wood Floors in Wet Areas

Preventing water damage over time is a major concern for homeowners and home builders alike, especially if you live near the coast, in a moist climate, or have plumbing in your home (so, pretty much everywhere). But don’t let it prevent you from installing a gorgeous wood floor in your bathroom or kitchen. Just take a few protective precautions:

  • Wood putty should be applied between cracks during installation to seal out water
  • Multiple coats of oil-based polyurethane and extra coats of varnish (more than you would apply in drier spaces) should do the trick!

Wood Alternatives: Porcelain Wood, Veneer

Still unconvinced to install wood floors in your bathroom or kitchen? We don’t blame you. There are alternatives to fake the look:

  • Engineered hardwood veneer flooring
  • Wood-like porcelain tile

Why You Should Install Porcelain Wood Flooring

There are a number of other reasons to op’t for wood-like porcelain over real wood: If you’re designing an Indoor-Outdoor space, you durable flooring that is completely heat and stain resistant, and, of course, there are the economic benefits. If you want the look of wood but don’t have the budget, the wood-like porcelain is not going to cost as much as the real thing.

Hardwood-like porcelain durability can be attributed to how its produced. It is made from clays and minerals fired in a kiln at extremely high temperatures.

Porcelain Wood Flooring in a Modern Farmhouse Bathroom with Subway Tile

Why You Should Install Hardwood Veneer

Another excellent alternative option to real wood is going to be engineered hardwood veneer. It’s also less expensive and looks great. But it does have a downside…

Hardwood Tile Flooring

The Downside of Engineered Hardwood Veneer

You’re going to need a lot of area rugs: Something to keep in mind is that it engineered hardwood is likely going to be harder a surface than real hardwood floor because of the glue used between plys.


Pro Designer Tips for Wood Flooring

Wood Flooring Trends

Elevate your basic wood flooring by getting creative with the installation: we love the look of herringbone for an updated, modern aesthetic. Inlays and parquet look awesome as well!

Lighter, brighter woods are trending right now. It’s more casual and modern than the heavy darker rich wood floorings of the past, but that’s probably the way you want to go if you’re designing a traditional space.

Light hardwood flooring in a modern farmhouse

From the windows to walls: In this modern beach house, we installed wood tile up the walls, a request we get often now!

Wood Tile on Bathroom Walls in Modern Beach House

Coastal Tile Bathroom with Wooden Tile Walls

Customizing Your Wood Floors

If you’re still concerned veneer won’t look as good as the real thing, here is a pro design tip to get around the issue of veneer looking fake: Match the color of the grout to the color of the tile. This will help it blend and it’ll be less obvious that it’s not wood.

Matching grout and tile color in Modern Beach House Bathroom

Any porcelain tile is going to keep your home cooler, which is another reason it’s such a popular choice for flooring and for adding customization, you can install radiant heat underneath! Best of both worlds.

We hope this guide gave you the kickstart you need to begin thinking about installing hardwood floors, engineered veneer, or porcelain tiles. But this is just the tip of the ice berg, we could talk about hardwood flooring all day! So feel free to give us a call or leave us a comment below with any questions you may have. SoCal Contractor would love to help you out!