View Full Version : Installing laminate flooring in the bathroom

11-04-2004, 09:57 AM
We are planning on installing some type of laminate (undecided) which will stand up to wear in the bathroom.
Obviously the laminate needs to be installed under the toilet. We do not know what "under the toilet" currently looks like as it has never been taken off. I guess we'll deal with that when the time comes.

Not sure though, how the laminate and the toilet exist together, because there will be a layer of foam under the flooring. If we tighten the toilet down, won't it press permanently on the cushiony flooring causing it to buckle? Perhaps there is some other method of dealing with this problem, so that the flooring will not looked pressed upon under the toilet.

How do you physically install the toilet on top of the laminate flooring?

Also, is there some kind of extremely flexible molding we could use around the base of the tub, as it is an older model tub, and the surface that needs the molding, is not constantly a straight line.

Thanks for any help you can give!

Bob's HandyGuy
11-04-2004, 01:45 PM
I don't want to rain on your parade, but have you really considered the consequences of putting laminate in a bathroom? What if the tub overflows? What if the toilet overflows? The underlayment will get soggy and wet. You would have to seal all along the wall, tub and toilet perfectly to prevent a mess. Newer systems claim to be waterproof, but are they really? That stuff is basically particle board. Have you ever seen wet particle board? It swells and crumbles. If you go ahead with this, buy the most expensive underlayment. It will compress less under the toilet. Make a pattern out of craft paper for around the tub. Cut those pieces precisely, then fill the the gap with 100% silicone. The floor also has to move freely. If you have large area, and the toilet impedes movement, it may buckle. I would not use laminate flooring in a bathroom. A kitchen, maybe.

11-04-2004, 02:51 PM
My experience differs some from Bob's. Laminate is poured plastic. Different manufacturers use a different formula. Initially laminate was not installed in wet areas. Moisture is the main enemy of this flooring and although you must leave 1/4" spaces between it and any object that doesn't move, you have to solidly fill those spaces and the edges of the exposed laminate, with silicone.
I'm also a contractor and do a lot of bathroom remodels. I first started putting in the laminate in bathrooms with the customers knowing the warranty would not cover. I have not had problems and manufacturers are now authorizing some lines for bathrooms. I run the laminate under the toilet and the flange and screw through the laminate. This does not allow it to expand at the flange but there is still the space at the walls. This stuff dramatically expands and will move walls. I worry at the tub connections and have been leaving only a 1/8" gap. I seal the edge of the board with silicone before installing.
I have had toilets overflow and water comes out at the shower corners. However if it is wiped up and not allowed to stand it has not affected my installations. Manufacturer representatives that put on installation demonstrations are not hysterical about the bathroom installations as they were even four years ago. Oddly enough the water damage to laminates I have observed have been in the kitchen in front of the sink or dishwasher.
Tightening the toilet should not noticeably compress the laminate. I have not seen the value of the more expensive foam moisture underlayments except for sound. There may be value but I consider them to be marketing statements resulting from the price of the flooring becoming so competitive that they are trying to boost income with the underlayment. Some glues are $50.00 a bottle but the no glue laminates are becoming so popular that the market is moving away from glue. The laminate customers are preferring their flooring to vinyl or ceramic tile. Easier to maintain and keep looking good. Also it feels much better on your legs to walk on.

11-05-2004, 09:55 AM
What Lonny says is accurrate. I've installed laminate in bathrooms and have had no issues thus far. I have to say though, against manufacturer's recommendations (voiding any hope of warranty), I've glued my own "click-together" laminate for my bathroom to prevent water from easily penetrating below the surface. Some will say there's no value in that b/c today's laminates have wax-coated (water resistant) edges that do not glue well, if at all, etc. Regardless, the foam underlayment will compress and stay that way as long as the closet bolts remain snug, which is all you need. Just be sure to keep proper edge spacing and don't sweat it.

11-05-2004, 09:59 AM
I was afraid I was sticking my neck out pretty far with my qualified pro laminate position in bathrooms. But I have to share what I have experienced.

11-05-2004, 10:45 AM
Your'r good on this one, Lonny. At the time I put the Pergo supreme in my kitchen, it was a glue product. Pergo did warranty for kitchens as long as all the outside edges and the edges around the DW, icemaker line, etc. were sealed with silicone caulk. At that time, I don't think they were warranteeing the bathroom.

Today, most good laminates are made such that the resin in the "particle board" substrate is waterproof, and bathtooms are OK.
Intuitively, the "old fart" in me is resistant to doing bathrooms in "wood", but the reality is that todays products are actually fine. Do a good job; the underlayments in use today are not really very thick or compressible, so I don't think you will have a problem. Above all, read and follow closely all the manufacturers installation requirements.

For the trim around the tub edge: there is the "Magic" brand of flexible vinyl tub and shower trim moldings. Many people like these a lot. They only come in white, so if this works for you, it is an easy alternative to caulk.

11-15-2004, 04:15 PM
Thank you to everyone who posted information for us.
It will definately come in handy, when we decide to start the project....


11-07-2007, 10:08 PM
We bought a condo that had laminate installed in all three bathrooms (this place has too many bathrooms, yes). OK, they did not seal the thing as some of you described.

Two months after we moved in, the tub's drain system had a little leak. Moisture built up under the Pergo and damaged it. The plumber replaced a gasket and the leak was fixed. Lucky enough I was able to replace the two rows of Pergo next to that tub.

Two years later we started using bathroom #2 for a bit. My wife noticed that the Pergo in there is slowly expanding. Turns out that the shower needs a regrouting job. While we are at it, we will put in tile flooring as well.

Before I would put laminate in a bathroom, I would cut off a small sample and put it into a bucket of water for some days.

08-23-2012, 07:02 PM
I know this is slightly off topic, but I have some installed medium oak colored laminate flooring that measures approximately 8.5 mm. It has a green substrate and a smooth brown backing. It was bought probably in 2003 or 4. Is their any chance of a possible match or am I likely out of luck?