There’s more to consider with a bathroom remodel than with your average renovation. Bathrooms are susceptible to things like water damage, mold, mildew and slick surfaces. Here are the best and worst materials.


Embrace: A few go-to options include slip-resistant tile, rubber and linoleum flooring. If you choose linoleum, use sheet flooring instead of linoleum boards, which have more cracks and are susceptible to moisture seeping through.

Avoid: Wood flooring isn’t a good choice for bathrooms because it warps under wet and steamy conditions. And slick substances like stone or porcelain can be dangerous when damp. But the worst choice is carpet. Carpet will mildew, mold and lead to water damage in the subfloor, and it’s unsanitary in bathrooms.


Embrace: Ceramic, porcelain and stone tile are great waterproof options. Try installing decorative tile around areas that are exposed to a lot of water, like above the shower and behind the sink. For walls that are farther from water sources, paint is a good choice — so long as you avoid flat matte shades, which show every speck of water.

Avoid: The least favorable material for your bathroom walls is wallpaper because it may peel from the steam. A solid vinyl wall covering can add texture without moisture issues. And you also won’t have any issues if you use wallpaper in bathrooms that don’t have a shower.


Embrace: Laminate, solid surface, glass, stone and quartz are all options that should be able to withstand moisture and normal wear and tear.

Avoid: Be wary of tile countertops in the bath. Grout gets dirty much faster in these heavily used areas, and colored soap, makeup and lotion can stain it. If your heart is set on tile, consider going for a dark grout color to disguise grime. Stay away from copper countertops if you’re not up for the regular maintenance they require.


Jenna Schuster is a reporter for HomeAdvisor, an online marketplace connecting homeowners with service professionals.