Hardwood Floor Protection in Bathrooms

by Jan Korbel
(Minneapolis, MN)

I think I have a wood floor in the bathroom of my 97 year old house. I wonder if it's refinishable. How can I know? What happens if I take up the ancient sticky tiles and it's not going to work?


Jan, I congratulate you on your forethought. I like to see proactive hardwood floor protection. You obviously recognize the value of spending your bathroom flooring dollars once.

First, if a refinishable wood floor is under those tiles there is no more affordable option than to refinish it.

Even if at this point you can't tell the condition of your wood floor, the cost to grind a bit to satisfy your curiousity will be worth a few bucks to find out.

(And it sounds like, no matter what, the tiles need to come up anyway, am I right?)

So, consider renting a floor sanding machine, (an "edger" with a dozen pieces of 16 grit paper, or so.)

Chances are very good that somewhere in those 97 years some plumbing problem occurred and thus the tiles.

But there's only one way to find out.


let's think positive AND proactively...

what does hardwood floor protection look like in a bathroom?

I have already implicated your bathroom wood floor's public enemy number one: PLUMBING.

Spare no expense on the plumber. Water supply fittings, drain connections need scrutiny and replacement, as needed.

The wax ring under the toilet needs to be replaced, no matter what, simply for peace of mind.

Maybe even the flange and bolts that hold the toilet down.

And while we are potty talking, where I come from our toilet tanks sweat in the summer. Condensation forms and drips on the floor.

Find something to catch this moisture before it hits the floor, please.

Is this bathroom used for baths and showers? If so, vigilant bath mat use is required. A moist bath mat must never be left on the floor.

And of all your finish choices, this is one floor that needs to be washable, so go with a poly-type finish. One that hardens to a plastic. It will also offer some moisture resistance, although, water can still get between the cracks. See https://www.woodfloorconservancy.org/refinish-wood-floors.html for my survey of finish choices, if you like.

Please keep in touch. Here's to the longest life of all our wood floors, but especially yours.

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