We would all like our laundry room to be comfortable to work in, attractive, and functional. The function is a factor of many things—layout, size, choice of washer and dryer, lighting—and your laundry room’s flooring is one of the most critical decisions you will make.
Replacing torn, worn, or outmoded flooring is a surefire way to lend a fresh look to your laundry room. But this particular space has traditionally been challenging to outfit since it’s vulnerable to damage from so many sources: stains from spilled or splattered bleach, warping or mould growth from appliance leaks, and dents from swapping out one or both of the heavy appliances. And, if your laundry room is located in the mudroom, your flooring faces additional threats like sopping umbrellas and mud tracked in from the outdoors. Planning your next laundry renovations? Hitch Property Constructions has you covered!
When it’s time to design or remodel your laundry room, the flooring choice you make matters. Your laundry room flooring has to be able to stand up against the battle of potential scratches, heat and humidity from appliances, denting and the occasional spill or leak. Your flooring should be water-resistant (if not completely waterproof), easy to clean, maintain and, of course, very durable.
So, let’s first take a closer look at the points you should consider than the best and worst flooring options for your laundry room to help you choose.
Laundry Room Flooring Considerations
To withstand all of this wear-and-tear, your new laundry room flooring should tick the following boxes at a minimum:
- Moisture-resistant—to minimize water and humidity absorption and keep floors from swelling, warping, and moulding
- Stain-resistant—to prevent everyday spills and splatters from permanently setting in
- Impact-resistant—to fend off scratches and dents from foot traffic or appliances moves
- Easy to clean—to keep upkeep low
- Long-lasting—to allow your floor to stay put longer without replacement
- Affordable—to keep you within budget
- Aesthetically pleasing—ideally offering a range of styles to fit in with the design scheme
Moisture is a significant concern with laundry room floors. In catastrophic events, water can issue from many different sources: an overflowing washing machine, a clogged drainpipe, or a cracked or severed water supply pipe. Even short of those emergencies, water is always present in laundry rooms; it is unavoidable. For this reason, it helps to install a laundry room floor covering that is as moisture-resistant as possible.
You will also want an attractive floor covering warm and soft enough to stand on for long periods. You will enjoy the floor to be smooth and easy to clean. You will want it to be durable enough to last for years. Finally, its cost should remain within reason, including the option of installing the flooring by yourself.
Best Flooring for Your Laundry Room
The main characteristic that makes the vinyl material the most suitable for the laundry room is its durability. Also, it’s pretty inexpensive. The only thing to keep in mind is that the subfloor needs to be clean and flat to be installed correctly.
Now, let’s get into the three types of vinyl to choose from:
- Pros: Mimics high-end materials for less; installs over existing flooring
- Cons: Costs more than most vinyl; appears flawed when installing over a sub-par substrate
Vinyl tile consists of multiple fused layers of material—most commonly a vinyl backing, a vinyl core, a printed design that can imitate more luxurious fabrics, and a clear top “wear” layer. The outer-facing protective layer gives the flooring the waterproof and scratch-, stain-, and dent-resistance needed to withstand the high volume of moisture, humidity, and foot traffic in the laundry room and mudrooms. With only dry sweeping, wet mopping with soapy water, and the occasional finishing with acrylic sealer, the laundry room flooring will last for 10 to 30 years or longer. (There’s no grout, so there’s no need for grout cleaning.)
Vinyl tiles are affordable, highly durable and easy to clean and maintain. They’re simple to install, and single damaged tiles can be replaced without replacing the entire floor. Vinyl is also highly resistant to chemical stains and water. The choice of tiles allows you to create a unique design element in the laundry room without committing to a great deal of expense.
- Pros: Cheapest vinyl option; affords lots of looks
- Cons: Larger sheets are harder to install and replace; doesn’t offer as much impact resistance
The most budget-friendly vinyl option, sheet vinyl, can appear as a solid colour or a printed design. This flooring type is glued down to the laundry room subfloor in large, 6′- to 13′-wide sections, which makes for fewer seams than VT flooring and a more difficult do-it-yourself installation. Also, when damaged, entire sheets must be replaced at a time.
Like VT, sheet vinyl is waterproof and stain- and scratch-resistant, and, as a grout-free floor type, it needs only dry sweeping or wet mopping. However, it’s thinner than LVT and therefore offers less insulation against the cold and sound and is more prone to denting or tearing from fallen objects or appliance moves. It lasts only five to 20 years or more.
Vinyl sheets are one of the most waterproof materials out of the three, and they’re exactly how they sound. They are sheet rolls that come in; however, in much square footage, you need to adhere to the subfloor with an adhesive that the manufacturer recommends. Sheet vinyl is easy to maintain and comes in various colours, styles and designs to go with your space’s décor. The only significant disadvantage is that since it’s one big sheet, dropping something sharp or dragging something heavy can puncture and scratch the surface and then would have to be replaced entirely.
Luxury Vinyl Planks
- Pros: Inexpensive; 100-per cent waterproof materials; easy to install by yourself
- Cons: Seamed material, so water may still leak through; rigid core LVF requires a relatively stable substrate
This is the higher-end choice when compared to vinyl tiles and sheets. They come in endless amounts of styles and qualities, and the planks themselves are durable and waterproof. However, any sitting water that might seep into the seams may cause some damage.
Luxury vinyl plank, up to 48 inches long, looks remarkably like real wood from a distance. Today’s rigid, solid core LVF is a beefy 7 mm thick and more closely approximates laminate flooring than earlier iterations of LVF. Luxury vinyl is a do-it-yourselfer’s dream, but care must be taken to tightly seam the boards on all four sides for the flooring to remain waterproof.
- Pros: Cheapest entry price; DIY-friendly installation and replacement
- Cons: Grout grunge adds to cleaning effort; slippery
Ceramic tile is one of the best flooring choices for a laundry room from both a design and durability standpoint. They’re water and chemical resistant, and natural finishes are more scratch-resistant than ones with a high polish finish.
Ceramic tile boasts the best starting price for any laundry room flooring. You can find it sold glazed or unglazed, individual blocks of varying shapes and sizes, or pre-laid mosaic tile sheets that forgo the need for personal tile settings. And these clay-based tiles can be further customized through the use of tinted grout between tiles. But you’ll need to scrub that grout clean with an abrasive agent like baking soda, as well as regularly dry sweep and wet mop the tile to keep it clean.
Otherwise, glazed ceramic tile offers healthy moisture, chemical, and stain resistance over its 10- to 20-year lifespan, even when faced with standing water (a real possibility in combo laundry-and-mudrooms). Unglazed tile first needs to be sealed with a penetrating tile sealer to provide these protections. All ceramic tile is slipperier, colder, and noisier than other laundry room flooring options, so know that the whirring of the washer or dryer is more likely to reverberate on this type of flooring. Choosing a specific heated and textured ceramic tile can create more warmth and traction underfoot.
- Pros: Lasts the longest; leads to higher home resale value (which can offset high costs)
- Cons: Costs the most; large and weighty tiles deter DIY installation and replacement
You can’t beat the look and durability of natural stone tiles like slate, travertine, marble, and limestone, to name a few. They add an elegant, natural touch to your laundry room and are easy to take care of with a simple dry sweep or damp mopping. The only downfall is that it can be a bit expensive to install, like most tiles are. Also, it’s essential to make sure they’re well sealed to prevent staining from possible laundry detergent chemicals.
You can’t beat the durability of natural stone tiles made of slate, marble, travertine, limestone, or similar materials—not when they offer between 20 years to a lifetime of protection from moisture, stains, and dents! You’ll pay a high price for the luxurious looks and virtual indestructibility, anywhere from $5 to $10 per square foot, according to ImproveNet. Still, this cost can partially be offset by the higher resale value of homes with stone surfaces.
In addition to dry sweeping and wet mopping the stone tile with a stone-specific or other pH-neutral cleaner or soapy water, you’ll need to de-grunge grout with an abrasive agent like baking soda and water as well as seal the tile with a stone sealer to prevent floor marks. You can find more.
Like ceramic tile, stone laundry room flooring will feel cold and slippery, but you can avert this by installing heated and textured stone. Keep in mind that the heavyweight and large size of the tiles—anywhere from 12×12 to 18×18 inches—coupled with the potential need for two layers of subflooring makes it difficult for most homeowners to install or replace themselves. The price of professional installation and any repairs should be factored into the estimated cost of this flooring.
- Pros: Resists fading; provides better moisture resistance when seams are glued
- Cons: Generally more vulnerable to moisture; sounds hollow
It’s easy to love the idea of using laminate flooring. It’s hard to stop thinking about how gorgeous the wood looks in your home and how it can survive pet claw scratches and crazy kid traffic. But, the other thought that comes to mind is how it’s not waterproof. Well, we have good news. There are waterproof and water-resistant laminate flooring options out there today. This is not a joke—it’s now an irresistible flooring option! Let’s discuss the differences between the two quick so you can understand them better when choosing.
Water-resistant means that a particular element of the flooring is designed to withstand water better than average. This typically means that you can have some water on the surface for a while before it soaks through. So, if you can’t get to the spill right away, water-resistant laminate floors will buy you some time.
Waterproof means that the water will never be able to penetrate the flooring, no matter how much time has passed. While these two types are different, they have one thing in common—they’re great options for the laundry room floor. And we happen to have some for you to choose from!
Laminate flooring consists of easy-to-install interlocking planks made of backer paper, a wood-based core, a printed paper layer, and a wear layer. The printed layer can be made to look like natural materials such as wood or stone, simple solids, or intricate patterns. The wear layer effectively preserves the floor colour when exposed to sunlight and protects the flooring from scratches, dents, and scuffs.
But its core is a wood product; the flooring produces a hollow sound when walked over that can annoy the sound-sensitive. (You may be inclined to layer with rugs.) More importantly, laminate flooring can swell or warp with heavy water exposure, making it a less ideal option when your laundry appliances are located in a mudroom. This also means you shouldn’t wet mop it—the only vacuum, sweep and wipe up spills as they occur, and dry mop it with a light spray of water.
If you want your laminate floor to live up to its potential lifespan of 10 to 30 years, consider applying a bead of water-resistant PVA (polyvinyl acetate) glue to the tongue (i.e. flat edge) of planks before interlocking them; it will act as a barrier to moisture. Similarly, identify and repair laundry room leaks early, and avoid air-drying dripping garments in a laundry room where this flooring type is installed.
Pros: Valued by home buyers; better choice than solid hardwood
Cons: The veneer may delaminate if flooded; expensive; can be damaged by laundry chemicals
Costly but with great looks to spare, engineered wood flooring brings real wood to homes without dependable hardwood flooring difficulties. Engineered wood’s high-quality plywood base is dimensionally stable, which means it is less affected by moisture.
Pros: Attractive; can be sanded many times.
Cons: Not dimensionally stable; challenging to bring back to new if flooded; subject to damage from laundry chemicals
Any solid piece of wood can swell and shrink dramatically when subjected to enough water, and solid hardwood flooring is no exception. If flooded hardwood flooring is not addressed quickly enough, it can dry and cup so much that sanding will not fix it.
Laundry Room Flooring Options to Avoid
While LVT, sheet vinyl, ceramic tile, stone, and laminate all have the makings to be attractive and durable laundry room flooring, there are still some options that fall short. Beware of the pitfalls of the following three picks. Check out a wide range of laundry renovations Melbourne services at Hitch Property Constructions.
While having something soft underfoot while working in the laundry room sounds nice, wall to wall carpeting is not an ideal choice. Imagine for a moment that your washer overflows or begins leaking. Now you have both an appliance repair problem and a room full of carpet to rip out and replace. Also, many laundry products will harm the carpet and cause damage that’s impossible to remove if spills happen (and they do).
Though relatively low in cost and warm and cozy underfoot, it is the worst candidate for laundry rooms. Its nap readily catches laundry lint and dust and absorbs water from appliance leaks, overflows, and detergent or other chemical splashes. The longer the pile, the slower the carpet takes to dry, and the more likely it is that mould, stains, and musty smells will take root in your carpet. You may even find yourself forced to replace it before its 10-year lifespan is up.
Certainly worthwhile in other interiors where it can be expected to last 20 years or longer. But its natural warmth, radiance, and durability are all diminished in the laundry room. Moisture can warp and rot it, while high foot traffic, replacement of appliances, and spills can lead to splinters, gouges, or stains. You can undoubtedly patch gouges with wood filler and seal the hardwood to improve its moisture resistance, but these tasks must be repeated regularly, which may not be worthwhile in a non-public space like the laundry room.
Made from bamboo poles or stems, it can be two to three times harder than certain hardwoods like pine and offer a similar lifespan (20 years and up) for the lower price of $2 to $10 per square foot, according to ImproveNet. Still, the sustainable flooring material can be prone to scratches or dents from pets, foot traffic, or appliances; if your planks have been tinted brown through a carbonization process, they may have been made even softer and more vulnerable to such impacts. Also, high humidity, spills, leaks, or minor flooding can cause the floor to swell, warp, or rot, while overly dry conditions can shrink and crack the foundation.
It’s all about your preferences and priorities when choosing the floor. You can go with durable and less conventionally attractive, a foundation that helps add value to the house that’s a bit more expensive, or inexpensive flooring that could leak. We have a wide range of Melbourne laundry renovations services at Hitch Property Constructions. Once you’ve weighed your pros and cons, you’ll find the perfect laundry room flooring to suit your needs.