How to Safely Use Wood in the Bathroom

How to Safely Use Wood in the Bathroom

The use of wood in all shades is trendy throughout the home, even in the bathroom! This material brings warmth, texture, and authenticity to any space’s decor.

Nevertheless, wood is easily damaged by water. So, how can you employ it in the bathroom without ruining it? Here are some practical tips.

1.   Choose Water-Resistant Woods

Woods such as chestnut, larch, teak or iroko are well known for their moisture-resistant qualities. By opting for these varieties, you can avoid a lot of future disappointment. You should still take some measure of care, however. Wood will never be as waterproof as ceramic tile!

2.   Ensure Adequate Ventilation  

No matter what kinds of materials you use in the bathroom, an efficient ventilation system is always essential. This is especially true if you decide to incorporate wood into this room, where its presence combined with damp air can be a recipe for disaster. Don’t forget to turn on the fan each time you take a shower!

3.   Keep It Away from High Humidity Zones

Instead of choosing wood for the vanity top or for the floor, which will inevitably get wet on a regular basis, consider confining your use of this precious material to small accents, such as shelves or a storage container. Place them, of course, far away from the tub, shower, and sink. Depending on your bathroom’s layout, you could also fully cover a single wall in wood panelling (not in the high-splash zones) to create a dynamic focal point. 

4.   Reserve It for Decor Accessories

Here’s an easy workaround to moisture concerns. Limit the presence of wood in the bathroom to the mirror frame, storage cabinets, a decorative pot, a ladder-cum-clean towel rack, etc. In this way, you can warm up this room’s atmosphere without having to all the hassle of having to maintain wood surfaces.

5.   Stay on Top of Treatments and Maintenance

If you have set your heart on having a wood floor or wood vanity top in the bathroom, you’re not alone. Many homeowners opt for this classic and inviting material for these surfaces. But how can you properly protect them for this high humidity environment?

  • Wood Floor:

Start by filling in the floorboards’ cracks with wood putty, then apply several coats of polyurethane-based oil over the entire floor surface to create a watertight seal. To maintain the floor from that point on, ensure that the varnish’s top layer remains intact. To test the finish, place a few drops of water on the surface. If the water beads, the floor is protected; but if it penetrates the wood, it’s time to brush on an extra layer of polyurethane.

  • Wood Vanity Top:

An effective method for shielding a wood vanity top from moisture (and damage from makeup or toothpaste) is to coat it in epoxy. This product is a mixture of flax oil, wax and catalytic siccative (a drying agent). This option, while costly, is the most durable. However, epoxy does give the wood a very glossy finish—an almost “plasticized” look—and its surface no longer has the natural texture of wood to the touch, which is not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s up to you!

  • Wood Furniture:

Furniture can likewise be treated with waterproofing products. On that note, for a distinctive bathroom decor, think about using salvaged wood! It is a popular material choice in both new constructions and in older houses. With a little imagination, and a lot of elbow grease, you can create unique items for your bathroom. For example, once cleaned, treated and varnished, an old, salvaged dresser can be transformed into a splendid vanity.


The moral of this article: if you want to have wood in the bathroom, go ahead! However, if you are still hesitant, employ imitation wood ceramic or porcelain products that convincingly mimic this wonderful natural material. Plus, by installing an underfloor heating system, you can achieve a warm, cozy and ultra-resistant result!

RE/MAX Québec

By RE/MAX Québec

By RE/MAX Québec

A leader in the real estate industry since 1982, the RE/MAX network brings together the most efficient brokers.