Budget Bathroom Flooring: Your COMPLETE All-in-one Guide

There are several ways to re-vamp your existing bathroom flooring without actually ripping up your tiles. The following budget bathroom flooring solutions offer cost effective alternatives to achieving a stylish, durable new floor in your makeover project.

Budget Bathroom Flooring - vinyl
There are many cost effective alternatives to ripping up your existing floor tiles; this example shows vinyl flooring used in the bathroom to create a luxurious vintage vibe! Image source

Start off with a thorough clean of your tiles…

You will be surprised at the dramatic effect a bit of good old fashioned elbow grease can have on your bathroom. Dirt, moisture and even mold can accumulate in all the edges of the space; spend some time really scrubbing out any stains and marks as best you can throughout the bathroom to prepare for your new floor finish.

How to Clean Bathroom Tiles

With a homemade mixture of vinegar and water you can get rid of mold and mildew in your bathroom, getting one step closer to a super clean space. Vinegar has long been a favourite household cleaner of mine – I find that it really helps remove any yucky stuff from the bathroom as well as leaving your tiles positively sparkling!

Vinegar must always be diluted with water; it is acidic and if not diluted may actually eat away at your tile grout.

You will need:

  • White Vinegar
  • Water
  • Empty Spray Bottle
  • OPTIONAL: Your choice of Essential Oil (I like to use Lemon!)


  1. Combine equal parts vinegar and water in your spray bottle together with a few drops of your chosen essential oil and give it all a good shake to combine
  2. Spray your homemade bathroom cleaner over your tiles, paying close attention to any areas with visible mold or mildew. Allow to sit for a couple of minutes then give it a REALLY good scrub! You will find that any marks on your tiles will easily come away, leaving you with a squeaky clean bathroom!

How to Clean Tile Grout

You will need:

  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Baking Soda
  • A small bowl
  • Grout Brush – Or Toothbrush
  • Empty Spray Bottle


  1. Combine a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water in a spray bottle
  2. Spray over your grout (be generous!) and allow to sit for about 5 minutes
  3. Use a grout brush (an old toothbrush will work just fine) to scrub your grout and rinse off with warm water
  4. In a small bowl, combine equal parts water and baking soda to create a smooth paste
  5. Rub into your grout and spray over with your vinegar solution; The vinegar will cause the baking soda to bubble up, helping to remove grime in your grout
  6. Scrub the grout again with your brush and rinse off with warm water
  7. Your grout should be good as new!

Once your grout and tiles are squeaky clean you will already have noticed a huge improvement in the overall look of your bathroom – It may even encourage you to actually keep your existing flooring rather than covering it up with an all new finish because it suddenly looks so damn good!

If not though, you may consider the following solutions…

Tile Grout Pens

Take your super clean grout and tiles a step further: Consider re-colouring your existing grout to something a little more manageable and trendy! The below example shows a bland looking tiled floor with a lighter coloured grout (renowned for being an absolute nuisance to keep clean!) that has been painted using a grout pen. The newly coloured grout creates a stunning contrast with the light tiles, offering a whole new look, while also being significantly easier to maintain.

Grout pens are available from most local hardware stores and some specialty tile stores.

Budget Bathroom Flooring - tile grout pens
Grout pens can effectively transform the look of your existing bathroom tiles – Available at all good hardware stores! Image source

Budget Bathroom Flooring Solutions

Vinyl Tiles

Vinyl flooring has certainly come a hell of a long way over the years! Gone are the flimsy, easy to tear vinyls of the past – You will find that vinyl flooring is now a very durable, economical and low maintenance floor finish that is available in a myriad of different finishes, colours and textures, from stone-looks to textured timbers.

Budget Bathroom Flooring - vinyl
Yes, this is indeed a vinyl bathroom floor! And how incredible does it look? Vinyl flooring provides a warm and soft surface underfoot, perfect for the bathroom! See more examples at Harvey Maria.

Installing a new vinyl floor is a great DIY budget bathroom flooring solution – it is relatively simple to achieve a great finish without needing to hire a professional, saving you a bit of cash in your bathroom makeover.

You may need to prepare your existing tiled floor to ensure an even and smooth surface – This would involve gluing down plywood to your existing floor, making this an irreversible floor finish.

You will find vinyl flooring options available from all great flooring or hardware stores. Checkout these simple, step by step tutorials available from everyone’s favourite Aussie hardware store: Bunnings!

Floating Laminate Floor

Although hardwood flooring in the bathroom is not very common, you could consider going over your existing floor tiles with a floating laminate floor instead. You will need to include a foam underlay beneath your new floor finish to help cushion the floor as well as to block any moisture from getting through. You will also want to have thoroughly cleaned your existing tiles as well as removed any existing mold or mildew to avoid having it spreading beneath your newly installed laminate floor; Use our tile and grout cleaning tips above for a brilliant finish!

Ensure to check that the added thickness of your new underlay and floor finish does not interfere with the functionality of any doors or cabinetry. You will also want to pay attention to how your new flooring affects the junction between your bathroom and the adjoining space – There may be a bit of a lip in your doorway in your new floor finish is too thick!

Budget Bathroom Flooring - laminate
A floating laminate floor is a stylish solution for the bathroom that easily blends in with just about any decorating or design scheme. Image: Hardwood Flooring USA

Tiling Over Existing Tiles

Requiring a bit more preparation (and cash!) tiling over your existing bathroom tiles is another great budget bathroom flooring solution. As mentioned in relation to using laminate flooring, you will have to pay close attention to the thickness of your new tiles; make sure that the added thickness on top of your floor won’t interfere with any doors or cabinetry. There may also be a bit of a lip at the doorway of your bathroom so again, this is an area that will require attention.

That being said, tiling over an existing floor is a very cost effective alternative to ripping up your floors, allowing you to save on the labour and rubbish disposal expenses of tile removal.

Tiling over an existing floor is a much more permanent and long lasting solution than other budget flooring options – Just make sure to take your new tile’s thickness into account! Click here for a step by step guide to tiling over your existing bathroom floor.

For more information on the pros and cons of tiling over existing tiles, checkout this blog post from the Tile Wizards – An excellent in-depth analysis.

Painting Bathroom Tiles

Yes you CAN simply paint over your existing bathroom floor tiles! It should be noted however, that this budget bathroom flooring solution is a temporary fix; painted floor tiles are not a great long term plan as the paint will wear and rub off over time. You will notice wear much quicker than you would with any other budget flooring makeover project. That being said though, painting over your existing floor tiles is a very cost effective option, allows an incredible amount of flexibility and allows you the opportunity to get as creative as you like!

Just checkout this amazing tutorial using chalk paint and stencilling on a bathroom floor.

This bathroom floor has been revamped using chalk paint! View the complete project (including incredible before, during and after pics!) over at Lolly Jane’s blog.

The fact that this is a temporary solution can however, be seen as a positive point – You have the freedom and flexibility to easily change up the look of your bathroom every couple of years with a fresh coat of paint and a new design.

It’s all about the way you choose to look at things, isn’t it?!


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