Bathroom Hardwood Flooring Installing a wood Floor how to flooring how to hardwood floor

Bathroom Hardwood Flooring Installing a wood Floor how to flooring how to hardwood floor

Bathroom Hardwood Flooring

Bathroom Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood floors add warmth and value to your home; if you are looking for an effective way to upgrade your home, replacing vinyl or old carpeting with hardwood is a surefire way to do just that. But we tend to think that hardwood is mostly for use in entryways, hallways, and living spaces; bathroom floors are usually earmarked for ceramic tile or some other waterproof surface.

However, home designers are starting to think about wooden floors for bathrooms as well. Nothing beats the high-end, luxurious look of a hardwood floor, and hardwood can be refinished multiple times, at a fraction of the cost of replacing old ceramic tiles. However, the dampness that is associated with bathrooms, and the constant minor spillage as you step out of the shower or splash water onto your face from the sink, indeed can warp and damage wooden floors over time, and even encourage the growth of mold. But new, strong finishes for hardwood can offer extra levels of protection.

To begin with, select a hardwood rather than a softer wood for your floor. Softer woods tend to absorb moisture more readily, even with a strong finish. Hardwoods that are suitable for bathrooms include oak, maple, cherry, ash, hickory, and walnut.

Installing your hardware bathroom floor is similar to installing a wooden floor elsewhere in your house; first, you will need to install a subfloor of 1/4-inch plywood, gluing it to the cement board or whatever’s underneath. Fill in any holes with patching compound. Then install a layer of 15-lb. builder’s felt, with the strips parallel to the longest wall. Staple the felt down every 3 feet, cutting around bathroom fixtures. Make sure all the staples are tacked down in place. Then lay in your floorboards, beginning in one corner along the length of the longest wall. Lay in each piece along this longest wall first, tapping the ends together with a mallet. Then nail each board to the subfloor, every 6 inches or so, with a brad nailer.

Then lay in adjacent strips, staggering the end joints and cutting around fixtures as necessary. Once your floor is completely laid in, vacuum the floor thoroughly and fill the nail holes with putty; if your floorboards are prefinished, make sure the putty matches the color.

It’s best to let the floor settle for a week or so before applying sealant. An oil-based polyurethane finish should be sufficient for most conditions; this finish uses synthetic resin and other film-forming elements to form a watertight seal that should remain intact even as the underlying wood expands and contracts. Discuss the finish with an informed salesperson at your hardware store, to determine how many coats you should apply and how often you may need to apply new coats in the future.

Once your new floor is finished and you begin using your bathroom again, there are a number of precautions you can take to help protect the floor. Wipe up any spills, even small ones, immediately, and pay attention to any leaks from the plumbing behind your toilet or sink. In areas that get wet regularly — just outside the shower, or in front of the sink — place a mat with a non-slip pad, or an attractive throw rug (also with a non-slip pad underneath). Of course, as these mats or rugs will frequently absorb moisture, hang them up over a towel bar or shower curtain rod to dry them.

Or you may consider installing ceramic tile in some areas of your bathroom floor — around the tub or shower, for instance. You will need to devise an attractive pattern, and be sure to select tiles that complement the color of the wood you are using around the rest of the floor.

If you do get water stains in your floor, you may be able to remove them using a light-grade steel wool and either wax or a wood floor cleaner. Once the floor dries, then stain, wax, and hand-buff it. For routine cleaning, do not wet-mop your wooden floor; consult with your floor manufacturer to determine the best way to clean the floor.

If you want the look of hardwood in your bathroom but don’t want to deal with the maintenance involved, a laminate flooring might be a suitable alternative. Laminate consists of a wood-chip base layer with a resin-impregnated layer on top of that; this resinous layer can simulate most hardwoods, including oak and cherry. The very top layer, known as the “wear layer,” is an extremely strong compound, usually melamine, that is clear and shows the simulated wood pattern underneath. Or, if you prefer using natural materials, then go with a traditional ceramic tile floor for your bathroom but add hardwood touches throughout the rest of the bathroom — such as a hardwood vanity cabinet with granite top and undermount sink, or a floor-to-ceiling linen cabinet with hardwood doors.

Work with a designer, or come up with your own ideas — you will soon have a beautiful new bathroom.

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