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Hardwood Flooring & Bathrooms: What You Should Know

Hardwood Floor Refinishing in Nolita, New York.
There are a lot of reasons that Bozeman homeowners might want to use hardwood flooring in their bathroom. Perhaps you want the bathroom to feel like a natural, continuous extension of the other rooms in your house, or maybe you simply like the way it looks. No matter the reason, it’s important to know about how hardwood responds to the unique demands of this high-moisture environment.

The hardwood experts at Floor Coverings International Bozeman are here to set the record straight about using hardwood in the bathroom. Read on to learn about the factors that should inform your decision. By the time you’re finished, you’ll understand the potential risks and what you can do about them.

Is It Okay To Use Hardwood Floors In My Bathroom?

The short answer: yes. As is the case with most matters of home design, anything is possible – but it’s important to consider a few of the variables that affect the performance of hardwood in an environment that’s as moisture-prone as a bathroom. Failure to take these variables into account will likely result in warped floorboards and expensive repairs.

Keeping your wood floors in a state of equilibrium comes down to two key factors:

  1. Type of Wood – Though most hardwoods are porous, non-porous softwoods are typically still less dense and therefore more prone to absorbing moisture. Avoid softwoods in the bathroom, and choose a hardwood with a higher janka hardness rating, such as white oak, Brazilian cherry or hickory.
  2. Finish – Polyurethane is the most common finish for hardwood floors these days, but you should communicate with your installer to make sure that the floors in your bathroom have an extra coating or two. Additionally, it’s important to make sure that there’s some kind of filler between the gaps in each plank, otherwise you may end up with damage to the subfloor, sides of the planks, and/or joists.

Protecting Against H20hardwood floor moisture damage Bozeman

There are a few main threats to hardwood floors in bathrooms. Here they are, listed from least urgent to most severe:

  • Small drips and splashes
  • Pooling water
  • Humidity
  • Chemical stains (soap and cleaners)
  • Flooding

In general, you can keep the hardwood in your bathroom happy if you simply minimize the amount of time that the wood is in contact with water. Wipe moisture up right away, or put down mats in drippy areas, like under the sink.


No matter how careful you are, bathrooms do sometimes flood or get exposed to abrasive chemicals. If you’re worried that hardwood just doesn’t seem practical, but you really love the look of wood grain in a bathroom, consider luxury vinyl tile, engineered hardwood, or wood look tile. All of these alternatives will give you the appearance of hardwood along with enhanced durability and resistance to moisture.

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