Baseboards are essential to home finishes that will connect and protect the edges of your wall and floor, as well as the trim around the doors and windows. Not only do baseboards provide extra functionality, but they also enhance the overall décor of your home. However, there is a debate about which baseboard type is the best when it comes to bathrooms. While you can pretty much install whatever baseboard you desire in the bathroom, it is essential to understand the pros and cons of each in this setting.
Baseboards are primarily made of tile, wood, PVC, or engineered wood such as MDF. We will be discussing the various baseboard material options for bathrooms and some of the pros and cons of each. As with most remodeling decisions, your budget will be the main factor as the baseboard price can vary greatly. However, there are some other things to consider, which we cover below.
Different Baseboard Material Options
There are four baseboard material types available in the market, and each has its strengths and weaknesses. This section will give you a rundown of each baseboard type and its known pros and cons.
Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) Baseboard
The MDF baseboard is the cheapest option available and is a pretty versatile choice. MDF baseboards are lightweight and are usually pre-primed. As such, MDF baseboards can be water-resistant but is still susceptible to water damage and warping over time. Alas, the lightweight construction of the MDF baseboard also means that it does not hold up well to impacts and dents.
- MDF baseboard is slightly cheaper than wood baseboards.
- MDF material does not split.
- This material is also quite flexible and is a good option for connecting intricate edges.
- While somewhat water-resistant, it will still suffer from water damage when constantly exposed.
- The MDF baseboard surface is susceptible to chipping and breaking.
- MDF cannot be stained (a type of finish) and must be painted.
Wood baseboard is the most common material used in most homes. Several wood types are used in creating baseboards, such as poplar, pine, oak, and maple. Wood baseboards can be stained and painted and are pretty durable as well.
The most expensive wood baseboards are made from maple, teak, and ipe, offering top-tier color and appearance. Unfortunately, these high-end wood baseboards can be hard to find, and ordering them will add to the already expensive cost.
As for the best-sellers, we have the pine and oak baseboards. Pine and polar are the most affordable type of wood utilized in creating baseboards. Both are durable enough for indoor and outdoor installation and have a smooth aesthetic that will certainly enhance the interior décor of any home. Additionally, the pine baseboard is water-resistant, making it another good option for the bathroom.
On the other side of the coin, we have the oak wood baseboard, which is slightly more expensive but is considerably more durable. Like pine, you can use oak wood baseboards for indoor and outdoor installation. It is also water-resistant and is classified as hardwood (pine is considered softwood).
- Wood comes in a variety of types and is considered to be a durable and versatile material overall.
- Despite its impressive sturdiness, wood baseboards are still pretty lightweight.
- Wood baseboards can be left natural (stained) or painted.
- Wooden baseboards might split if you nail them to the wall.
- The rigidity of the wood baseboard, mainly hardwood, might be an issue as it will lack flexibility.
Another cheap baseboard is the PVC-based variation. This is a lightweight material and can easily withstand water damage. PVC has variety going for it as it comes in dozens of colors and styles. However, it is far less durable than wood, and once damaged, must be replaced as a whole as there is no way to repair it. The fitting of PVC baseboards will also require fasteners and staples. Hence, it is a bit more complex to install.
- PVC baseboards are another budget-friendly alternative to wood baseboards.
- PVC has excellent mold and mildew resistance.
- This material is relatively easy to clean.
- Plastic materials are brittle and not very durable.
- PVC also lacks in the flexibility department, which makes it not ideal for areas with crooked edges.
- PVC is not exactly environment-friendly, and some plastics even hold toxic chemicals that may be hazardous to humans.
The most expensive option available is the tile baseboard. However, with the added cost comes several advantages. The tile baseboard is a pretty solid choice for the bathroom, from a stunning finish and design to its top-notch water resistance.
Similar to its wooden counterpart, the tile baseboard also come in several types: ceramic, porcelain, granite, and natural stone, such as marble. As you would expect, natural stone baseboards are pretty expensive, and therefore, we recommend ceramic tile if you are on a tight budget.
- Due to its durable and water-resistant structure, tile baseboards are best suited for bathroom settings.
- Tiles are relatively easy to clean.
- Tiles are also scratch-resistant.
- While prices vary, tile baseboards are considered the most expensive option in the market.
What is the Best Baseboard for the Bathroom?
Overall, the tile baseboard holds the lead as the best choice for the bathroom. This is because it features all the qualities you will want in the bathroom; it is durable, easy-to-clean, scratch-resistant, and water-resistant.
Alternatively, you can also use wood baseboards in the bathroom. Specifically, the hardwood variant. This type of wood is not only durable, but it also withstands moisture and water damage quite well. Poplar is a good option for those looking for something budget-friendly, as pine tends to warp and bulge when exposed to water.
Are Baseboards Mandatory?
Well, you can go about without installing a baseboard, but it does have its advantages in both functionality and aesthetics. Here are the benefits of having a baseboard installed:
- Enhances the aesthetics of the room.
- Adds to the resale value.
- Baseboards can complement other home features and create a seamless visual throughout the house.
- The baseboard seals the joints in between the wall and floor.
- It helps defend the bathroom structure (wall and floor) from water damage.
All in all, baseboards can be beneficial to the bathroom as it adds another layer of protection from water damage. However, choosing the right baseboard type will also be crucial to ensure that it can perform its duties. Hopefully, this article has helped you figure out the best baseboard for your bathroom.