we have just pulled up some awful old carpet in our bathroom and found that, underneath a layer of particle board, there are lovely old (original?) pitch pine floorboards in lovely condition - I'm so tempted to sand and varnish them instead of laying new flooring (I know tiles would be better etc but our house is a 200 year old cottage so a distressed/vintage floorboard look is what we are really keen on). However I'm aware of the potential issues with solid wood flooring in bathrooms. The alternative is to lay new engineered wood over the top instead, but it seems a shame. The question is, is it really such a terrible idea to have original pine floorboards in a bathroom providing they are varnished heavily (yacht varnish or similar)? With care around spills and splashes - could this be made to work?

  • Sure it could work. The only major concern would be if there are gaps in between the boards where water could pool and sit (or steam infiltrate causing expansion issues).
    – DA01
    Nov 10, 2014 at 16:09

3 Answers 3


If the wood is in good condition and you refinish it properly I see no reason not to keep that flooring. Most oil based flooring vanishes will work fine but if you want to get really serious have a professional flooring company come in and finish it with an aluminum oxide based finished or one of the catalyzed varnishes.


I would leave the wood as the gentleman before me commented. Just sand them (if needed) re-stain and wax sealer. Put some rugs down... small rugs with pads. Enjoy the beauty of the old wood!

  • 1
    Wax is not a good option in wet conditions, it turns white.
    – user23534
    Nov 8, 2014 at 19:25

I'm putting down reclaimed pine in my house (1926 bungalow) and will include the wood floor in the kid's 10'x14' bath. I too, am going for a vintage/distressed look and I like the look of a white clawfoot tub and pedestal sink against the warmer wood tones.

Overflowing toilet seems to be the only potential drawback, but what the heck...

  • This should really be a comment, as it does little to answer the question.
    – Doresoom
    Dec 11, 2014 at 17:52

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