Flooring and Carpeting Wood floor in a bathroom, rubber vinyl, waterproof membrane

Flooring and Carpeting Wood floor in a bathroom, rubber vinyl, waterproof membrane

Flooring and Carpeting /Wood floor in a bathroom

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QUESTION: Hi! For decorative purposes, we are putting a wood floor into a guest bathroom that will be used for showers perhaps 20 times a year, tops. We are getting quotes for the job. One person suggested that we must put in a waterproof membrane. Another person responded by saying, «Any moisture the floor’s exposed to will abide longer than a normal wood install and I’d predict quite a bit of movement and cupping of the material as well as shorter life overall. I’ve never heard of waterproofing under wood.» Can you please weigh in on this matter as we want to do the right thing. Many, many thanks! Jill

ANSWER: Jill,

You do not HAVE TO install a membrane or topical roll on product that dries to a rubbery membrane. Although it has the benefit of detering moisture from going beyond the subfloor, which is. concrete or wood. However, as you indicated so few showers I wouldn’t be overly concerned.

Unfortunately the later is true. over the years the wood will be affected by moisture and probably suffer more so than other areas of the house. It has always been advised to avoid wood in a bathroom due to the additional spilling/splashing/ dripping etc.The wood will act as a sponge and absorb moisture and eventually cease to look as new. Additionally a throw rug/ bath mat with a rubber/vinyl back might discolor the wood after time. So that doesn’t solve much.

I agree it will look nice for awhile but I hate to waste money and product.

Have you seen the ceramic tile that simulates wood. that might suffice. looks quite pleasant and last many many more years.

Chris

QUESTION: Chris, thank you so much. I think I might not have been clear in that the membrane is a sub-membrane, below the wood. The person who advised against it thinks it will actually result in the water sticking around longer than it might have without it, causing the cupping, etc. described above.

So my question was about a sub-membrane of sorts below the wood floor. I am grateful for the advice you gave about the vinyl backing on a throw rug. Will watch out for that issue.

I think that, in general, you’re not too concerned about the wood because of the limited amount of use, though, you are not a fan of wood floors in bathrooms.

Answer

Jill,

Yes I am aware that a membrane is below the floor covering. Essentially it does a few things. Protects the subfloor or contains the water, as in a shower, and directs it to a drain. Also in commercial baths moisture is directed to a floor drain via a mild slope. Finally it protects the new floor covering from moisture weeping / wicking upwards from the ground.

Since I do not know your subfloor material it is hard to say exactly what or if you need to protect anything. Home Depot sells a product called RED GUARD. It is a red / pink liquid / paste that can be painted or rolled on the sub floor in multiple coats. It dries to a rubbery membrane that water proofs the area/s you apply it too. It sells for about 25-30.00 per gallon.

The basic question here is how much splashing and moisture can you avoid to the top of the new wood floor surface. Topical spills will not do much damage as long as you can dry / towel off immediately. Allowing water to stand for long periods of time and lengthy exposure to high humidity are another thing. Wood is a naturally porous product and it will absorb humidity and slowly release it over time if it has not been overly saturated. But in a bathroom the question of saturation becomes a greater concern. Overly saturated wood flooring will result in cupping and swelling due to the fact that it is constantly in a state of expanding and contracting. If it expands and contacts the walls or shower stall it will be forced to «TENT» upwards somewhere.

I do love wood it has great character and beauty. Unfortunately it just won’t last as intended in a bathroom where it is exposed to moisture via sink and shower and possibly urine around the toilet.

If you are set on doing this anyway that’s fine. it should look great for a few years, maybe more if you stay on top of it. In the end you can replace it again and re decorate.

Let me know if you need any more info,

Chris

Questioner’s Rating

Flooring and Carpeting /Wood floor in a bathroom

Advertisement

Question

QUESTION: Hi! For decorative purposes, we are putting a wood floor into a guest bathroom that will be used for showers perhaps 20 times a year, tops. We are getting quotes for the job. One person suggested that we must put in a waterproof membrane. Another person responded by saying, «Any moisture the floor’s exposed to will abide longer than a normal wood install and I’d predict quite a bit of movement and cupping of the material as well as shorter life overall. I’ve never heard of waterproofing under wood.» Can you please weigh in on this matter as we want to do the right thing. Many, many thanks! Jill

ANSWER: Jill,

You do not HAVE TO install a membrane or topical roll on product that dries to a rubbery membrane. Although it has the benefit of detering moisture from going beyond the subfloor, which is. concrete or wood. However, as you indicated so few showers I wouldn’t be overly concerned.

Unfortunately the later is true. over the years the wood will be affected by moisture and probably suffer more so than other areas of the house. It has always been advised to avoid wood in a bathroom due to the additional spilling/splashing/ dripping etc.The wood will act as a sponge and absorb moisture and eventually cease to look as new. Additionally a throw rug/ bath mat with a rubber/vinyl back might discolor the wood after time. So that doesn’t solve much.

I agree it will look nice for awhile but I hate to waste money and product.

Flooring and Carpeting Wood floor in a bathroom, rubber vinyl, waterproof membrane

Have you seen the ceramic tile that simulates wood. that might suffice. looks quite pleasant and last many many more years.

Chris

QUESTION: Chris, thank you so much. I think I might not have been clear in that the membrane is a sub-membrane, below the wood. The person who advised against it thinks it will actually result in the water sticking around longer than it might have without it, causing the cupping, etc. described above.

So my question was about a sub-membrane of sorts below the wood floor. I am grateful for the advice you gave about the vinyl backing on a throw rug. Will watch out for that issue.

I think that, in general, you’re not too concerned about the wood because of the limited amount of use, though, you are not a fan of wood floors in bathrooms.

Answer

Jill,

Yes I am aware that a membrane is below the floor covering. Essentially it does a few things. Protects the subfloor or contains the water, as in a shower, and directs it to a drain. Also in commercial baths moisture is directed to a floor drain via a mild slope. Finally it protects the new floor covering from moisture weeping / wicking upwards from the ground.

Since I do not know your subfloor material it is hard to say exactly what or if you need to protect anything. Home Depot sells a product called RED GUARD. It is a red / pink liquid / paste that can be painted or rolled on the sub floor in multiple coats. It dries to a rubbery membrane that water proofs the area/s you apply it too. It sells for about 25-30.00 per gallon.

The basic question here is how much splashing and moisture can you avoid to the top of the new wood floor surface. Topical spills will not do much damage as long as you can dry / towel off immediately. Allowing water to stand for long periods of time and lengthy exposure to high humidity are another thing. Wood is a naturally porous product and it will absorb humidity and slowly release it over time if it has not been overly saturated. But in a bathroom the question of saturation becomes a greater concern. Overly saturated wood flooring will result in cupping and swelling due to the fact that it is constantly in a state of expanding and contracting. If it expands and contacts the walls or shower stall it will be forced to «TENT» upwards somewhere.

I do love wood it has great character and beauty. Unfortunately it just won’t last as intended in a bathroom where it is exposed to moisture via sink and shower and possibly urine around the toilet.

If you are set on doing this anyway that’s fine. it should look great for a few years, maybe more if you stay on top of it. In the end you can replace it again and re decorate.

Let me know if you need any more info,

Chris

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