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?
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'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...