How to install laminate flooring in bathrooms

Updated February 21, 2017

Laminate flooring can add warmth to your bathroom that tiles just can't provide. However, because bathrooms are environments filled with humidity and water, regular laminate flooring can buckle or warp. Manufacturers have stepped in to fill the gap by offering waterproof laminate flooring for bathrooms and wet environments. This type of flooring can also be installed over existing vinyl and tile, allowing you to easily bring your bathroom up to date.

Purchase waterproof laminate flooring. These speciality laminates might not be carried at all hardware stores, so you might have to purchase it at a speciality flooring warehouse or shop.

Remove all the baseboard moulding around the walls.

Ensure that you have a nice, level surface to work with that's free of dust and debris. If installing over a subfloor, make sure that there are no nails or screws sticking up. Laminate flooring can be installed over existing flooring, such as tile.

Turn off the water supply and remove the toilet. This will enable you to run the laminate under the toilet all the way to the flange, giving a much better look to the floor.

Lay the moisture barrier plastic on the subfloor or over any existing floor installation. You can tape the edges to keep it in place. Roll out the foam padding on top of the moisture barrier. You will have to cut holes for the toilet flange, cabinets or any existing plumbing.

Begin in a corner of the bathroom. Position the first laminate tile about 1/8 of an inch from each wall. You can use tile spacers to make sure that you have the right amount of space.

Position a second floorboard against the first, so that the shorter ends are touching. Take the wood block and set it against the opposite end of the second board. With the hammer, gently tap on the block so that the two boards lock together.

Repeat this process until you reach the opposite wall. In all likelihood, you will have to cut the last board in order to fit it up against the wall. Don't worry, this is fine. Measure the space and cut the board to fit. Use the crowbar and wood block to ease this last board into place.

Take the cut board and start a new row next to the first row of flooring. You want to stagger the boards in order to give a more natural wood look. Repeat this until you finish the second row.

When you reach the toilet flange, you will have to use the jigsaw to cut the flooring to fit. Do this also if you have any plumbing that runs up through the floor.

Measure and cut the moulding to fit along the walls.

Apply a thin strip of silicone sealant to the edges where two floorboards meet. Wipe away any excess. This will help keep any moisture from seeping between the boards. Also caulk any gaps between the floorboards and plumbing.


Foam padding comes in various depths and qualities. Make sure you pick the right one for your needs. Some padding also comes with built-in moisture barriers. You can leave the toilet in place and cut the laminate to fit, if needed.

Things You'll Need

  • Water-resistant laminate flooring
  • Hammer
  • Block of wood
  • Crowbar
  • Silicone sealant
  • Measuring tape
  • Table saw
  • Moulding
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About the Author

Nathan McGinty started writing in 1995. He has a Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in international journalism from City University, London. He has worked in the technology industry for more than 20 years, in positions ranging from tech support to marketing.