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Hardwood Floors in the Bathroom – Things to Consider

For centuries, homeowners have been installing hardwood flooring in a variety of interior spaces. Hardwood has a beautiful natural look that never goes out of style and is cherished by many homeowners. Hardwood also adds warmth, charm, and beauty to a space that cannot be achieved with any other flooring choice. The fact that hardwood is also durable, low maintenance, and long lasting make it even more appealing. However, when used in moist or humid environments, such as bathrooms, there can be issues. However, if you consider a few things when planning your installation and follow up with some simple extra precautions once they are installed, your floors should stay looking great.

Type of Wood

The types of wood available for hardwood flooring are numerous, but some are decidedly better than others at handling bathroom conditions. Softwoods such as pine and fir are less dense and more prone to absorb moisture. Good hardwood choices include teak, oak (especially white oak), ash, walnut, hickory, cedar, cherry, and maple.

Engineered or Solid

Of all hardwood flooring options, engineered is a better choice for a bathroom than solid, as plywood or solid wood bottom layers hold up against moisture relatively well and are more stable. An engineered hardwood floor could hold up well in spacious, well-ventilated bathrooms that don’t receive much traffic.


If left unprotected, hardwood flooring will expand, warp, and stain at the touch of any liquids because wood is naturally very absorbent material -- think about all of the different types of cleansers, soaps, and body products that get used in bathrooms. The simple application of a polyurethane-based sealer will create an invisible, protective surface on the wood, making it very difficult, if not impossible, for water to penetrate. The ensure maximum protection, you should apply this finish several times, giving special attention to the seams, since they are most vulnerable to moisture penetration. Be sure you use a quality finish that is designed for water-heavy environments. A marine-grade finish, which is suited even for outdoor all weather applications, is a great choice. Other types of finishes may be acceptable for indoor use in damp spaces, but may not provide you the fully waterproof seal that is preferred in a bathroom.

Taking Care of Your Bathroom Hardwood Floors

The undeniable fact is that moisture is not a friend to hardwood and the bathroom is arguably the most humid area of the home. Whether showers in the morning or bath time for the kids in the evening - bathtub overflows, spills and splashes are going to happen and could severely damage the floor. Nonetheless, if you are determined to have hardwood floors in your bathroom, as long as you maintain the floor finish and promptly clean up splashes, everything should be fine.

Here are a few final tips to keep your bathroom hardwood floors looking beautiful for many years:

  • Minimize humidity in your bathroom by properly ventilating – windows are good (be sure to open them periodically), but a highly efficient vent/fan is even better
  • Promptly clean up all spills
  • Use cleaning products that are recommended for hardwood and never use vinegar or bleach
  • Place rugs or mats in “high-risk” areas - in front of the tub, shower, sink/vanity
  • Condensation on the toilet feed pipes or a clogged toilet could potentially turn into a much bigger issue. Be aware and immediately repair any problems.

Every newly crafted Shannon & Waterman wide plank floor has its beginnings in our family-owned, old growth forests. For generations, we have masterfully managed our forests for true sustainability—ensuring that we always have the mature trees necessary to supply the densely grown, stable, and generously proportioned wood to create the floors of your dreams. Also, many of our products are FSC® certified.

The complete Shannon & Waterman line of products can be viewed on our website here: S&W Floors. Give us a call at (844)-315-2520 for more information.