Hardwood floors in the bathroom – A contradiction?

If it corresponds to personal taste, there is hardly anything to be said against laying hardwood flooring or planks in the bathroom too.

In principle, many types of wood are suitable for damp rooms.

So there is no reason to do without cosiness and naturalness in the bathroom. Wood used outdoors will last forever if treated properly. Why should it be different indoors?

So there is nothing to stop you from laying parquet in the bathroom, if you like it. However, when using the natural material wood, some special features must be taken into account.

Wooden floors in the bathroom – this must be taken into account

When buy parquet for damp rooms, it is important to choose a covering with as few joints as possible.

For this reason, floorboards are preferable, because they have few, but very long joints.

Parquet strips are usually only up to 60 cm long and therefore have a large number of joints.

These can potentially allow moisture to penetrate through them, which is why they must be properly sealed.

On a floor covering made of long and oiled wooden planks, on the other hand, the number of joints is much less.

These can be sealed well with neoprene. The following applies to the wooden floor in the bathroom:

The fewer joints, the better for durability.

In hardwood flooring, joints between individual parquet strips can swell or even peel off individual parts if these areas have not been properly sealed.

It is also important here to repair minor damage to the surface immediately, as moisture can also penetrate the parquet floor through this.

Suitable types of wood for bathroom parquet

When laying parquet or floorboards in damp rooms, the choice of the right wood is particularly important the choice of the right wood.

Basically, a type of wood that does not react strongly to moisture must be used for the bathroom.

Wood species that swell and shrink strongly such as beech are completely unsuitable in this respect.

Very well suited are small-pored hardwoods such as jatoba, doussie, merbau or teak, which are also used in shipbuilding for ship planks.

Because of its durability, the popular teak is also often used to make terrace boards, window frames, doors or garden furniture.

Also suitable for damp rooms are woods that naturally contain a high proportion of resins and oils, such as Douglas fir or pitch pine.

The Douglas fir, which has a higher density than the oak, is also frequently used for terrace decking due to its durability.

Among the native woods, oak – also known as smoked oak – and walnut are particularly suitable for the bathroom.

These woods hardly swell or shrink at all when exposed to moisture.

Which parquet is suitable for the bathroom?

It naturally affects the parquet price if you do not want to do without a wooden floor in the bathroom.

This is because it is imperative to use glued solid parquet. Glued solid parquet has the advantage that it can often be renovated. It is also very dimensionally stable in the edge area. With glued solid parquet in the bathroom, the joints must be sealed with neoprene, as with the floorboards. Neoprene can be sanded down like hardwood flooring if this should ever be necessary.

Finished parquet is not suitable for damp rooms, because it is very thin in the groove area, so that in case of penetrating moisture deformations occur immediately.

Parquet flooring in bathroom with neoprene joint
Parquet flooring in bathroom with neoprene joint

Parquet flooring in the bathroom must be glued

The parquet floor in the bathroom must be absolutely waterproof.

It is therefore imperative that the solid hardwood flooring in a damp room is glued over its entire surface with parquet adhesive and a permanently elastic adhesive must be used for this purpose. A floating installation is out of the question, as there must be no leaky edge joints in the damp room. If a floating installation is used, water could easily get under the parquet, which would have fatal consequences. Only with solid parquet glued over the entire surface can movements of the floor be avoided and joints and edges be reliably sealed.

Before the solid parquet is glued, the screed should best be levelled with a 3 mm cementitious levelling compound and primed with epoxy resin if you want to be absolutely sure.

By the way, you should avoid skirting boards in the bathroom with hardwood flooring, as moisture can accumulate here and cause damage. It is better to seal the joints in the edge area with silicone.

Use parquet oil instead of parquet varnish for parquet in the bathroom

In the bathroom, lacquers are not suitable for sealing the hardwood flooring supplementarily.

If there are puddles of water on the parquet floor, moisture could penetrate the wood within a very short time and cause it to swell.

In addition, when varnish is used, moisture can easily slip under the sealant “slip” and cause unsightly grey haze on the wood.

This can be ruled out for properly oiled surfaces with parquet oil.

However, the effective protection provided by the oil film must be renewed regularly to maintain it.

With oiled parquet in the bathroom, the oil penetrates into the pores, provides an impregnation against moisture and still allows the wood to breathe.

An optimal solution, by the way, are oiled wooden floorboards, which are sealed with neoprene in the joints.

Parquet in the bathroom needs care

The maintenance expenditure for parquet in the bathroom is higher than, for example, with a tiled floor.

In contrast to a tiled floor, a wooden floor does not tolerate standing moisture and an excessively high humidity of more than 70 percent.

Puddles of water must therefore be wiped up immediately and the bathroom must be ventilated after use in order to avoid permanent moistening of the wood surface.

Mats on a parquet or plank floor in the bathroom must also be avoided, as waterlogging can form underneath, which would inevitably lead to wood damage.

To ensure that the hardwood flooring in the bathroom remains beautiful for a long time and retains its resistance, the floor should be oiled at regular intervals.

A cleaning of the parquet should only be carried out by wiping with a slightly damp cloth. You should refrain from using cleaners that could damage the protective oil film.

Bathroom hardwood flooring on underfloor heating

If you do not want to do without underfloor heating in the bathroom, or if there is already underfloor heating in the bathroom, it is essential to ensure that the temperature on the floor is compatible with the parquet adhesive.

This means that the flow temperature of the underfloor heating must be set so that the floor does not become warmer than 28° C. Exceeding this temperature can otherwise lead to major problems with the parquet floor.

More about underfloor heating and hardwood flooring in the bathroom can be found here in another article.

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