Luxury Vinyl Tile vs. Ceramic Tile For Bathrooms: Which Should You Choose?

Did you know that minor cosmetic updates to your bathroom can increase your home’s value by $1.71 per $1 spent? Imagine how much more your home could sell for after making a bigger change, like installing new flooring! Whether you’re looking to sell soon, or you just bought your home, installing new floors can enhance your bathroom and your home’s aesthetic.

What flooring should you go with, though? Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and ceramic tile are two of today’s most popular choices. So, which one wins the luxury vinyl flooring vs. tile debate? Before we find out let’s briefly cover what LVT and ceramic tiles are.

What are LVT and ceramic tile?

Vinyl is a synthetic material made of fiberglass and PVC, both of which are forms of reinforced plastic. Standard vinyl tiles, which are scratch, stain and water-resistant, are applied using a sealant called mastic. But what about luxury vinyl tiles? What makes them different? They’re thicker and more durable. Plus, instead of requiring glue, many now have click-lock edges for easier, faster installation. 

Ceramic tile is made mainly from natural earth clays that have been glazed and hardened at high temperatures, ceramic tiles (including porcelain) are also incredibly durable. 

Their natural resistance to staining, scratches, water, and other damage make both LVT and ceramic tiles great choices for bathroom flooring. Let’s talk about the strengths of each to help you pick the right one for your bathroom.

Ceramic tiles or vinyl flooring: Which is best?

With both flooring materials being good options for bathrooms, it’s important to consider some pros and cons of each type. We’ll explore how these materials differ in cost, installation, maintenance, and value. 

Cost

As with most things, pricing can vary based on quality. But vinyl flooring is generally less expensive across-the-board than ceramic tile. Luxury vinyl tiles cost somewhere in the ballpark of $4 and $7 per square foot, while ceramic tile can range from $5 to $20 per square foot. With the average bathroom being about 36-40 square feet, this could result in a price difference of $40-$500 for the flooring material.

If you’re looking for something that’s durable and affordable, LVT may be the best route for you. 

Resale Value

When it comes to resale value, real estate pros and prospective homebuyers alike agree that ceramic tiles are the more high-end option. Specifically for luxury homes, if you want your home to sell for top dollar, ceramic tile is the way to go.

But don’t count luxury vinyl tiles out entirely! Unlike cheaper standard vinyl tile, modern LVT can mimic the look of ceramic tile incredibly well. In many cases, by using LVT,  you can invest less for a similar aesthetic and boost in home value. 

Shapes and Sizes

Both ceramic and vinyl tile have some flexibility as far as looks go. Both are available in many different colors, for example. But vinyl tile is limited when it comes to shape and size. How so? 

In contrast to mainly square vinyl tiles, ceramic tiles are available in square, rectangular, and geometric shapes. Not to mention that tile sizes range from 3 inches across to 18 inches. This wider range can make it easier to achieve exactly the look you want for your bathroom floor.

Durability

Whatever flooring you spend your hard-earned money on, you want to be sure that it’ll last, right? Here’s how LVT and ceramic tile stack up in terms of durability. 

  • Water resistance: While both are water-resistant, neither ceramic or luxury vinyl tiles are 100% waterproof. If it’s left sitting, water could seep through the cracks or, in the case of LVT, cause the vinyl to bubble up. While problems are rare if spills are quickly cleaned up, ceramic tile is slightly more water-resistant. 
  • Scratch resistance: While LVT is fairly resistant to scratches and gouges due to its thickness and coating, ceramic tile also wins out for scratch-resistance. It’s a harder material after all. But beware that ceramic can chip or crack if, for example, you drop something heavy on it. 
  • Overall Lifespan: While both are durable when properly cared for, ceramic tile has a longer lifespan overall. You can get 40 years out of a ceramic tile floor compared to an average of 10 with luxury vinyl bathroom tiles.All things considered, ceramic edges out LVT for the win as far as durability goes. Now onto proper care and maintenance to extend their lifespans as long as possible. 

All things considered, ceramic edges out LVT for the win as far as durability goes. Now onto proper care and maintenance to extend their lifespans as long as possible. 

Day-to-Day and Long-Term Maintenance

To keep your bathroom floors clean and in good condition, sweep often and periodically mop them with a mild cleaning solution. That’ll do the job for both vinyl and ceramic tiles. 

With ceramic, though, the grout in between the tiles may become stained or even begin to mildew over time. In that case, it’d need to be scrubbed clean, which means a bit more work than caring for vinyl bathroom flooring.

Ease of Installation

Installing ceramic flooring in your bathroom is a sizable project. It requires ripping up the existing floor to make sure that the cement floor below is level. The tiles are then set over a glue-like adhesive and, if necessary, cut with special tools to fit your space. After waiting for the adhesive to dry, grout is used to fill in the joints. Then you also have to wait for the grout to dry.

The process for installing LVT is much easier. While some styles require glue, many options are easy to install because they’re either self-adhesive or come with click-lock joints. 

LVT definitely wins for ease of installation. 

How to choose the right bathroom tile

Whether you’re looking to increase your home’s value in preparation for a sale or just because it’s time for an upgrade, ceramic tile and LVT both deserve your consideration. 

If you’re selling soon, work with your Realtor® and Curbio, the pre-listing home improvement experts, to determine which material works best for achieving your home sale goals. Curbio makes everything quick and easy for you and your agent so you can go about your daily life.