ambra-rv-1-293x300Here are six tips to help you decide whether to install laminate in your bathroom:

Consider the bathroom’s usage footprint.
Heat and humidity are tough on just about anything, and bathroom spaces seem to specialize in both. We advise that Swiss Krono USA laminate floors not be used in rooms with continuous heat and humidity that resemble “greenhouse” conditions. For example, if a room is consistently about 83˚ to 86˚F with 70% humidity (fluctuating in a range of 10% or so), there are other flooring options that may be more suitable. The occasional long, hot shower is not the issue as much as it is the repeated, cumulative effect of steam and condensation over time. Good ventilation in any bathroom is the key.

Half-baths and laminate floors are no problem.
Most people will simply continue the same laminate floor from the hallway into the powder room, anyway. These half-bathrooms normally don’t get the heavy dose of moisture that a full bathroom, complete with tub and/or shower, will receive.

Be careful with full bathrooms and laminate floors!
On the other hand, laminate floors aren’t the best idea for full bathrooms in homes where there are children or bathrooms that kids use exclusively. Let’s face it, most children and teens aren’t terribly concerned when they get the floor wet (especially if they’re responsible for washing the family dog in the tub). However, there are those situations — like master bathrooms, guest bathrooms or bathrooms in empty-nester homes — where a beautiful laminate floor is definitely an option.

Glue should be used when installing laminate floors in bathrooms.
Because bathrooms are less likely to need plank replacements due to damage caused by dropped objects (as in the kitchen) and because bathrooms are usually wetter environments, we recommend using glue when installing laminate for the bathroom floor.The glue should be a PVA Type II that’s applied to the top of the tongue of each plank. In this way, the glue acts as a barrier to moisture that might seep into the seams if not wiped up quickly enough. A good brand is Precision Components found at Lowe’s, which has a screw top that lets you adjust and control the bead of glue you apply to the tongue. Remember, the Swiss Krono USA rule of thumb is to glue planks that are within 5 feet of a water source — so that’s usually the entire floor for most bathrooms. After gluing your floor, avoid walking on it for 24 hours so it can get completely set.

Removing excess glue.
When using glue, you’re likely to get a bit of excess glue coming to the surface when the planks come together. That’s normal. You’ll want to wipe that up by wiping parallel to the plank seam. One trick is to use a plastic putty knife that will scrape up the dried excess glue nice and clean without scratching the floor’s surface. And if you get a glue haze on the surface of your floor, you can use acetone to remove it. Just make sure the room is well ventilated.

Don’t forget the sealant for laminate bathroom floor installations!
Just as we advise for kitchen installations (see our article “The Kitchen and Laminate Flooring“) we recommend using a 100% mildew-resistant silicone sealer around the expansion gaps (anywhere the floor meets a vertical obstruction and you’ve left the proper expansion gap) to protect the exposed plank edges in your bathroom from topical moisture.

Dealing with vanity cabinets and bathtubs when installing laminate floors

And speaking of vertical obstructions, let’s talk about two common ones you’ll need to consider in the bathroom: vanity cabinets and bathtubs.

Vanity cabinets: Never place your vanity cabinet on top of your laminate floor. The floor must be installed around it.

Bathtubs: Most bathtubs don’t have a straight wall but curve outward slightly in the center. To install your laminate floor around that, you will need to scribe the curvature of the tub wall, making sure you allow for the proper expansion gap (about 3/8th of an inch at most). Using a scroll saw like the one shown here, you’ll need to cut the back of the quarter-round molding so that it fits snug around the tub contour and then use the silicone sealant as an adhesive to hold it in place.

When you’re ready to buy laminate wood flooring, visit our American Concepts flooring line. We have 10 different floors that are moisture resistant; their lifetime warranty protects for spills that can sit for up to 24-hours. Plus we have 13 other flooring options ranging from 12mm thick with a lifetime warranty to 7mm thick and a 15-year warranty.