I would like a hardwood floor in my bathroom; I’m aware that this may not be the most practical choice for flooring because wood expands and contracts with temperature fluctuations. Nevertheless, I’m determined to make this happen, so I’d like to ask your advice on how to waterproof wooden fl ooring and how to prevent water seeping through gaps in the wood and through the ceiling below?

  • Michael Holmes

    For a wet area like a bathroom I would suggest that you use engineered wooden flooring and not solid, as it is far more dimensionally stable. The base of engineered wooden flooring is made up of small pieces of cross-laminated timber, or plywood, glued tightly together, thus evening out any movement. The surface is a layer of solid timber, typically a veneer just a few millimetres thick, glued over the sub-base, but giving the appearance of solid timber. It is important that the floor has a waterproof finish to seal it.
    The boards will typically be tongued and grooved, so can be laid as a floating floor over a moisture-resistant underlay, with each board firmly glued to those around it. The whole floor will expand and contract as one, so no gaps should open up between the boards; you need only leave a small expansion gap around the edges of the room, covered by the skirting board, or a Scotia moulding. In a small room, the overall expansion and contraction will be
    very minimal, so you can still seal around the edges of the floor with a flexible mastic sealer.
    However, it is important to remember that even with the wooden floor fully sealed, it is important to use bath mats to keep the floor as dry as possible.

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