Can I Install Timber Flooring in a Wet Area?

April 15, 2019

The short answer, is yes - timber flooring can be installed in a wet area, although if you choose to do this it is at your own risk. There are certain factors you need to be aware of and a certain level of vigilance and care will need to be taken to protect the floor from damage, which we have outlined below.


According to the New Zealand building code (NZBC), wet areas are spaces that contain sanitary fixtures or appliances, including laundries, bathrooms, kitchens and toilets. The code recommends that an impervious (watertight) floor coverings are used in wet areas - however owners are at liberty to install floor coverings of their choice. Timber flooring - whether solid or engineered - is not an impervious (watertight) surface, however, steps can be taken towards making timber flooring impervious and together with the correct procedures being followed, it is entirely possible for Forté timber flooring to adequately perform in a wet area.

The NZ building code includes kitchens in the list of 'wet areas', however we find that kitchens are not typically very wet or humid or areas, and are usually perfectly compatible for installing timber flooring. Timber flooring is less commonly used in wet areas such as bathrooms and laundries due to higher humidity levels and the likelihood of flooding or spills in these rooms.

Factors to Consider

  • Timber flooring in wet areas (particularly bathrooms) will require certain vigilant attention and care.
  • Spills or surface water must be wiped up within one hour and the room must be well ventilated at all times, with humidity levels kept in accordance with the care instructions.
  • If any area is likely to have regular splashes or puddles of water on it for periods of time, we would advise against installing timber flooring in that area. For example, if you have young children or family members who are likely to splash bath water onto the timber flooring it may be wise not to install timber flooring in that area.
  • If you have older appliances such as dishwashers or washing machines that are prone to leaking we would strongly advise against installing timber flooring in those areas.
  • The surface coating of timber flooring in a wet area is likely to need refinishing more often than in other areas as exposure to moisture on a regular basis can cause the surface coating to wear faster.
  • It is wise to check with your insurance company if they will cover timber flooring in the areas you are planning to install, and take this into consideration when making your decision

Should you have any questions or concerns about installing timber flooring in a wet area, we recommend speaking to one of our technical advisors on 0508 35 66 77.

For more information on how to install timber flooring in wet areas, see the article linked below.

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