If you are considering luxury vinyl tile or planks for your bathroom floors, there are a few things you need to be aware of before making your purchase. In this guide, I am covering everything you need to know about selecting and installing LVT specifically for a bathroom application….
Four years ago, during the remodel of my old 1980’s bathroom, I installed click-and-lock luxury vinyl tile directly on top of nasty, ceramic tile.
While at that time, installing such a new technology in such an unorthodox manner (not even demolishing the existing subfloor) felt super risky, looking back years later, I can proudly say it was a risk that paid off.
Not only did the new LVT floors dramatically transform a once outdated space, the technology proved to live up to its claims of being waterproof and durable in high-traffic areas.
Even better, given the click -and- lock installation feature lends this product to beginner/ intermediate level DIY-ers, my husband and I saved a significant portion of our remodel budget by not having to hire a professional flooring installer. Not only that, we also saved time and hassle by not having to demo the nasty a$$, pre-existing stone tiles.
By sharing all of the knowledge I acquired during my initial research, purchasing and installation process, my hope is that this guide will help you to decide for yourself if LVT is the best choice for your unique needs.
Why I Chose Luxury Vinyl Tile for My Bathroom-
One of the main reasons I opted for luxury vinyl over traditional stone or ceramic tile (other than budget as mentioned above) was the fact that most (not all) click- and- lock options are entirely grout-less.
As far as I am concerned, grout (at least lighter-colored grout) is just an eyesore waiting to happen.
Not only doing I think grout lines surrounding 12×24 and 12×12 tiles can get way too busy for my minimalistic-leaning aesthetic, being a mom and pet-owner, grout has only proven to be a pain in the a$$ for me in all of my past experiences (like I need one more freakin’ thing to clean on my to-do list).
Once I determined that I didn’t want to mess with grout, I was then led to a variety of grout-less options including sheet vinyl, hardwood, and laminate flooring. But because hardwood and laminate are not entirely water-proof, vinyl seemed the safest option for my bathroom, which would be exposed to plenty of tub spills, a shower, a toilet and sink.
While most sheet vinyl is marketed as waterproof, given I wanted a more elevated feel in my primary suite, I decided that luxury vinyl tile flooring was the best choice .
What type of LVT is best for a bathroom?
Given vinyl is entirely synthetic and thus waterproof, it is a perfectly suitable option for bathroom floors.
But….while all vinyl is waterproof, for a bathroom application, you want to be sure that if you go with any sort of LVT or LVP that has an attached underlayment, that the underlayment itself is suitable for wet, humid environments.
Given I wanted to install my luxury vinyl tiles directly over existing tile floors, I needed to select a variety of luxury vinyl with a thick enough underlayment to prevent the old grout lines from surfacing thru the new floors
Tip: To avoid the telegraphing effect, I suggest going with a tile thickness of at least 7.5 to 8 millimeters.
**For your shopping convenience, this post contains affiliate links. As a Reward Style and Amazon affiliate, I earn commission on sales at no extra cost to you.**
To be entirely prudent, I decided to go with this tile from Mannington which was designed with Microban technology.
Bottom line: Before purchasing LVT for your bathroom, I suggest selecting one that has “antimicrobial” listed in the product specs. After all, in wet and steamy conditions, you don’t want your bathroom floors acting as a breading ground for mold or fungus!
Helpful Tips for Installing Luxury Vinyl Floors in a Bathroom:
While I have a detailed, step-by-step tutorial in this separate post, How to Install Luxury Vinyl Tile, I wanted to give you some helpful tips to consider specifically for installation in a bathroom.
For making cuts in the LVT for vents and the toilet flange, my husband found a jigsaw with a fine tooth blade to work best for the flexible core product we used.
Given you will have to remove the toilet before installing your new floors, you will need to be somewhat acquainted with basic plumbing. Fear not, this helpful tutorial for how to remove a toilet should be just what you need.
To accurately make cuts for the toilet plumbing, my husband made use of some painter’s tape we had lying around.
As pictured below, simply align the tile or plank next to toilet flange and mark the width with tape. Next, align tile to mark the depth of the toilet flange.
The tape will make a grid pattern and the square that is formed will be the location to cut the hole for the flange.
Good to know: Once you install your toilet back on top of the new flooring, it will now be further from the drain opening. As a result, a wax seal (even an extra thick one) might not be able to make a tight seal. For that situation, I we had to use this toilet flange extender kit.
Where the LVT meets the shower and/or tub base, you want to make your cuts as precise as possible! The more precise cut, the less caulking will be needed to ensure dripping water from the person exiting the shower won’t find its way under the LVT.
If an exposed connecting edge will be meeting the base, remove the exposed edge with a utility knife. This will ensure no excessive caulking.
*For the detailed installation tutorial, read my DIY Luxury Vinyl Tile Install post.
What Are the Negatives of Luxury Vinyl Tile Floors?
While there are so many positive aspects of LVT and LVP ( waterproof, budget-friendly, low-maintenance, durable, more comfortable to stand on and easy to install just to name a few), this flooring option may not be for everyone.
If you are a very tactile person who loves the feel and touch of real stone or ceramic tile, LVT will not fool you. Sure …it looks real, but it is definitely not as hard underfoot.
While the attached underlayment is certainly more comfortable to stand on and warmer to touch, no doubt about it, it feels (and sounds) different when walking on as compared to other solid surfaces like porcelain tile or stone.
Nonetheless, I did want to add that while this flooring material is not as tactile as more traditional options, LVT is becoming more and more popular of a design choice.
When it came time to sell our beloved fixer upper, our renovated bathroom was a praised feature and our re-sale value was highly impressive (despite the fact that our kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms had LVT and LVP flooring).
That being said, I don’t think the “feel” of this flooring held us back with buyers, but if you are a stickler on sensory matters, you may want to go to a showroom and test this material out for yourself.
Now that I have discussed the basics of luxury vinyl flooring in a bathroom setting, I thought I would curate some LVT and LVP shoppable selections for you below.
If you are wanting to replicate the look of my bathroom, the flooring I used is labeled with caption “j” below…
Shop Luxury Vinyl Flooring:
Given my extensive experience using luxury vinyl tile ( I installed it in just about every applicable room in my previous home renovation), its safe to say that this new advancement in technology has truly been a game changer- especially for weekend warriors like my husband and I.
If you would like to read more articles about LVT flooring, be sure to check out the following links to my other blog posts:
Additional LVT Resources:
- My Honest Review of Luxury Vinyl Tile- One Year Later
- What to Consider Before Installing Tile Over Existing Tile
- How To Install Luxury Vinyl Tile Tutorial
- What Types of Flooring Can You Install Over Existing Tile Floors?
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