Yes or No - Timber floors in bathrooms?

There’s nothing we love better than bucking a design trend, so our ears pricked up at recent rumblings of laying timber flooring in bathrooms. Yep – let’s do away with the boring white porcelain tiles and say hello to a wonderfully warm, organic look that you can achieve with the right approach.

Traditionally, the bathroom has long been the sole domain of tiles. And typically, it’s the easy option that’s also highly waterproof. Sure, the grout isn’t waterproof, but with the correct substrate beneath the tiling, you’re assured a pretty tight finish. On the other hand, timber’s inherent qualities don’t change just because it lines a floor. Timber expands and contracts, and also absorbs and releases moisture. The common belief is that timber needs to be waterproofed or highly coated for use in bathrooms. Problems can arise if water gets underneath the coating, which causes all manner of negative issues for the timber.

Unfortunately, this means timber is often relegated to the too-hard basket, where tiles are seen as much easier and less volatile. But tiles are far less interesting, and we think timber in bathrooms can create a stunning look unlike anything else on the market. We’re seeing it in high end, European, architectural bathrooms, and closer to home reflected in floating shelves or light boxes. But most are reluctant to go all out.

The key is to allow the timber to breathe and process moisture, so it can behave just as it would in the wild. The waterproofing and substrate process is the same as for tiles, but the planks shouldn’t be laid hard up against the wall. Expansion joints need to be incorporated as well to reduce overall buckling, warping or cupping.

Finally, you’ll need an all-important finish to feed your timber floors, which is typically a mix of oil and wax. The coating will also waterproof the timber, enabling your raw floors to process moisture naturally and shine for every day use. Good luck!    


# John
Thursday, 26 March 2015 4:36 AM
I love that all-white look as well. My bathroom has white walls, but the floros are a blonde bamboo and the counters are gray. So, I put down 2 fluffy white bath mats, hung up thick white spa towels, white hand towels, and set a stack of white washcloths out. I also set my white q-tips & cotton swabs in clear containers so the white shows through. its really brightened up the room! I'm working on a white robe and slippers.

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