The Elementary Guide to the Best Baseboard for Bathroom

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Bathroom baseboard might be the last thing that comes to your mind regarding bathroom remodeling but it is the small details it creates to give it a cohesive look. Your bathroom, a space of daily rituals and tranquil retreats, deserves a baseboard that can withstand the challenges of moisture while still providing an aesthetically pleasing backdrop. However, you will face a dizzying array of options when choosing the best baseboard for a bathroom.

Whether you're dreaming of a high-end luxury feel, seeking a budget-friendly alternative, wanting something contemporary, or aiming to balance cost and quality, we've got you covered. We'll help you navigate the maze of bathroom baseboard choices and help you discover the best bathroom baseboards to inspire you.

What are the Bathroom Baseboard Options?

By understanding the details of each bathroom baseboard material, you can make a knowledgeable decision that meets your needs and enhances your bathroom's overall design. Below are some of the best bathroom baseboard options:

1. Wood Baseboard

Wood baseboard is the most popular in most homes because they are durable and can be stained (natural) and painted. Several types of wood are used to make these baseboards, classified into hardwood and softwood. While hardwood baseboard is a common choice for many home areas, it is generally not the best bathroom baseboard due to its susceptibility to moisture damage.

Image credits: decorpad.com

Types of wood baseboards.

  • Poplar: This is an expensive baseboard option and easy to work with because it lacks density. Poplar is mostly painted instead of stained.
  • Oak: It is a beautiful wood grain providing numerous options for stains. It is very durable and can resist damage from daily use.
  • Maple: It is popular because of its natural light color and many beautiful stain options. However, it can turn blackish when exposed to excessive and prolonged moisture.
  • Pine: It is less expensive and easy to install with essential tools and fits very well with paints. Also, pine is durable, strong, and of great value. However, it absorbs moisture quickly and transfers it to the drywall.
  • Walnut: This type is durable, water resistant, and expensive wood. It has natural dark colors that will limit the staining options. Walnut is mainly known as finger joint because many small boards are joined and connected to make longer pieces.

Pros:

  • Wood is versatile and durable
  • They are lightweight
  • It can be left natural (stained) or painted.
  • Easy to handle

Cons:

  • It might split if nailed on the wall
  • Wood is rigid and may not be flexible

2. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Baseboards

Image Credits: dadsconstruction.com

For those seeking a luxurious and cheap baseboard, a PVC-based baseboard is a better option. This lightweight baseboard can withstand water damage easily and comes in various colors and designs. However, it is less durable than wood, and once damaged, you will have to replace the whole of it. There is no other way to repair it. Additionally, installing the PVC baseboard may be complex because it requires fasteners and staples.

The best thing about PVC baseboards and trim is that they are 100 percent waterproof, making them ideal for bathrooms and high-moisture environments.

Pros:

  • It is less expensive
  • Excellent mold and mildew resistance
  • Easy to clean
  • It does not split or crack when nailed.
  • It is waterproof

Cons:

  • Not very durable.

3. Tile Baseboard

A tile baseboard is your best option if you want an elegant look. It adds elegance and it is more durable than wood baseboards. However, it is the most expensive but has several benefits, from a beautiful design and finish to its top-notch water resistance. The tile baseboard comes in different types. Including:

i) Ceramic or porcelain types

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are widely regarded as the high-end choice for bathroom baseboards. They are manufactured with a protective glaze that makes the floor under them impervious to water and highly suitable for wet areas.

Pros:

  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Highly water resistant
  • Durable
  • Versatile offering different designs, colors, and patterns

Cons:

  • They are expensive

ii) Natural stone types

For those seeking a luxurious and timeless look, natural stone baseboard options such as marble, granite, or limestone can add elegance to any bathroom design.

Pros:

  • Water-resistant
  • They are durable
  • Unique patterns
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Susceptible to damage.
  • Difficult to install and maintain

4. Medium-density Fiberboard (MDF) Baseboards

Image Credits: homedepot.com

Medium-density fiberboards (MDF) are the cheapest option available in the market and are versatile. They are lightweight and water resistant but can still get susceptible to water damage. Still, it does not hold up well to impacts and dents due to its lightweight construction.

Pros:

  • Cheaper than wood baseboards
  • Does not split
  • Flexible baseboards suitable for corners

Cons:

  • Suffers from water damage when used for long
  • Prone to chipping

5. Polyurethane Baseboards

Image Credits: blog.mykukun

Polyurethane is a plastic foam material that is resistant to moisture, insects, splitting and peeling and it is the least expensive option for most people. However, it is not generally the best bathroom baseboard because it doesn’t provide a waterproof barrier between the floor and the wall. But it is resistant to moisture, peeling, insects, and splitting. Also, it comes in elaborate designs offering limitless pattern options.

Pros:

  • Polyurethane baseboard is durable
  • Resistant to moisture and peeling
  • Versatile offering elaborate designs
  • It is more stable

Cons:

  • Dents easily
  • Only used for painted applications

6. Stainless Steel Baseboards

Image Credits: schluter.com

For a modern and sleek look, stainless steel baseboards can be an excellent option. They are resistant to water damage, easy to clean, and can add a touch of sophistication to your bathroom design.

Pros:

  • Modern and sleek appearance that complements contemporary bathroom designs.
  • Highly resistant to moisture, humidity, and corrosion.
  • Easy to clean and maintain; can be wiped down with a damp cloth.
  • Durable and long-lasting.
  • Adds a touch of sophistication and elegance to the bathroom.

Cons:

  • Can be relatively expensive compared to other baseboard options.
  • May show fingerprints, smudges, or water spots more prominently.
  • Limited range of styles and sizes available.
  • Can be prone to scratching if not handled with care.

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing the Best Baseboards for Bathroom

Choosing the best bathroom baseboards involves considering several important factors. Each factor significantly determines your bathroom basement's functionality, durability, safety, and aesthetics. Here, we will delve into each aspect in detail:

1. Baseboard Material

You can consider different materials when installing baseboards and molding for your bathroom; MDF, Tiles, Wood, and PVC are the most popular.

  • MDF: This is cost-effective and available in many styles.
  • Wood: Is mainly referred to as the traditional choice for baseboards and molding. However, it would be best to understand which wood types are most durable and aesthetically pleasing for the bathroom.
  • PVC: This low-maintenance option can be used indoors and outdoors because of its resistance to insects and rot.
  • Tiles: It is the most expensive and is widely regarded as the high-end choice for bathroom baseboards because of their water resistance.

2. Style and Aesthetics

The best bathroom baseboard should complement your overall design and personal style. Consider each baseboard type's color, texture, and pattern options. Ceramic and porcelain tiles offer various design possibilities, including multiple colors, patterns, and sizes. The natural stone tile baseboard provides a timeless, elegant look with unique patterns and color variations.

3. Maintenance and Cleaning

Consider the level of maintenance and ease of cleaning required for each baseboard option. Bathrooms require regular cleaning to maintain hygiene, so choosing a baseboard material that can withstand frequent cleaning without deteriorating is essential. Some materials, like ceramic and porcelain tiles, are relatively easy to clean with regular vacuuming or mopping.

The good thing with traditional baseboards is that they are easy to maintain and less expensive to replace than the whole drywall. When the baseboard is damaged, you only need to refinish the buffer piece rather than fix the entire bathroom walls.

However, grout lines in tile baseboards may require periodic cleaning and sealing. Natural stone requires regular sealing and specific cleaning products to maintain beauty and integrity.

4. Water Resistance

Bathrooms are prone to high moisture levels, water spills, and moisture. Therefore, selecting a bathroom basement material with excellent water resistance is crucial to prevent damage, mold growth, and warping.

Ideally, opt for inherently water-resistant baseboard materials, such as ceramic and porcelain tiles, or certain types of natural stone like granite or marble. It's essential to ensure proper installation and sealing to enhance the water resistance of the baseboards.

5. Durability

Bathrooms experience heavy foot traffic, frequent cleaning, and the potential for dropped items. Thus, durability is a vital consideration for most homeowners. Look for baseboard materials that can withstand the demands of daily use without wearing down or getting damaged easily.

6. Cost

Ceramic and porcelain tiles can vary in price depending on the quality and design. MDF baseboard is generally more budget-friendly, while natural stone tends to be more expensive. While some materials may have a higher cost upfront, they may offer better durability and longevity, reducing long-term maintenance expenses.

Frequently Asked Questions on Best Baseboards for Bathroom

i. Why are baseboards put in the bathroom

Baseboards protect the bathroom walls from stains, mildew, and molds due to the high moisture levels in the bathrooms, especially around the bathtub and shower. Also, remember that the bathroom's temperature, climate, and humidity significantly impact the construction materials used.

ii. How do you waterproof baseboards?

It is important to use waterproof baseboard materials because when water pools on the bathroom floor, it will damage the drywall's appearance and structural integrity. Most drywalls are designed to handle little water on the surface but can't withstand prolonged moisture.

Moreover, use tight-fitting baseboards with caulk at the top and bottom since it will help keep water from seeping into the walls. Also, a tile baseboard is known to be more waterproof, water resistant, and durable than MDF and hardwood. Polyurethane and PVC baseboards are also waterproof. You can consider these waterproof baseboard ideas since they are suitable for moist areas.

iii. What is the height of a bathroom baseboard?

To know how tall your bathroom baseboard should be, consider the rule of thumb; 7 percent rule. This means you should have a baseboard height that is 7 percent of the overall height of the room. For example, you can have a baseboard of 5 to 7 inches high for 10ft of the ceiling height.

Generally, the ceiling height matters when installing baseboards because it will determine how high your baseboards should be.

iv. What paint can I use to cover the wood baseboard?

The best paint for wood baseboards is water-based paint (latex) because it is less toxic, dries up more quickly, and is easier to clean up. Although, you can still use the oil-based paint since it holds up well and requires only one coat

Conclusion on the Best Baseboard for Bathroom

Whether trying to replace the existing bathroom baseboards or install new ones in your home, keeping them on integral components is very important. Instead of hiding the visible seams between the walls and floor, baseboards will help protect the walls from moisture.

With the knowledge and inspiration for a baseboard for the bathroom, it's time to put our newfound wisdom into action. Remember, the key to finding the best baseboard for your bathroom lies in striking the perfect balance between functionality and style.

Your bathroom will become more than a functional space with the right type of baseboard. It will become a sanctuary that caters to your needs and indulges your senses. So transform your bathroom into a haven of style, functionality, and personal expression.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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