March 16, 2023


Mudroom Matters: the best materials to stand up to the messy!

I'm Paula

A former Kindergarten teacher/part-time home flipper turned CEO – having traded my love for the classroom for my love of beautiful spaces!  

Now a surface specialist, design lover, and the founder of Iron River Surfaces – my combined passions for beautiful finishes and education merge together in our little blog as the team and I share helpful tips, design trends, inspirational ideas, and a little bit about ourselves along the way!  

Thank you for joining us, we’re so glad you’re here! 
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Is it just me, or has the mudroom become one of, if not THE, most important room in the house??  

It is the prep area, the landing pad, the storage area, the family closet, the drop zone, the pet food station, and the transition space between the wild weather outdoors and the clean and cozy comfort of your indoor sanctuary.  

And if like so many of us, your laundry room is ALSO housed in this multi-functional space, then your mudroom definitely wins the prize for the hardest working room in your house!

And because this space must perform so many functions, it’s imperative that you select surface and flooring materials that not only look beautiful and spark joy, but ones that can also stand up to all of the wear and tear that daily living will throw at them. 

Sand, snow, dirt, water, and mud – the guilty culprits that can cause so much damage within our homes so quickly, first make their entry into our homes via the mudroom.  So what are some of the design and functionality factors to consider when choosing your flooring for this space?   Well, there are a few key areas to consider: safety, water resistance, scratch resistance, cleanability and maintenance, lifestyle, and of course – the overall aesthetic!

Because how it looks and feels will impact your day just as much as its functionality


Melted snow, wet rain boots,  and dripping umbrellas all create puddles which can be very dangerous  — especially if there are members of your family who are mobility challenged in any way.  Considering a flooring material with slip resistance is key, and although beautiful, you may want to avoid a polished or high gloss tile or high sheen hardwood for this room of your house.  A material that has texture will provide grip and will keep your family upright and on their feet.   If safety is your biggest concern – think a textured porcelain or slate with some grit or a rough brick or cobblestone.  Choosing a smaller tile with more grout lines will also increase the slip resistance of the space.

Surface Water Resistance

All forms of tile properly installed will be impermeable to surface water – but any porous tiles such as cement, clay, and natural stone will require regular sealing to avoid staining and damage over time.  Vinyl plank, vinyl tile, and the new generation of waterproof laminate options are all also water resistant!  So you won’t have to stress about wet towels, muddy boots, or a leaking water bottle in a hockey bag – any of the above options can handle surface moisture!   If going with hardwood in this space, you will definitely want to wipe up any wet messes as soon as possible to avoid swelling and damage to your boards.

Scratch Resistance

The sand and rocks that come into our homes on the bottom of our shoes and boots (especially in cold climates where our icy sidewalks and roads are treated with salt and gravel) can cause A LOT of surface scratching on certain materials.   As much as I personally love natural hardwood in my own entryway and mudroom, it can take a beating in this area if you’re not someone who likes a big mat and vacuuming/mopping often.   If you have a central vacuum system in your home, I always suggest installing a vac pan in your mudroom to make daily clean-up a breeze!  Vinyl and laminate can also experience scratching if not cared for properly, but regular maintenance will keep scratches at bay.   A quality porcelain tile is a true winner in this category though as it is extremely hard and dense – it resists wear, scratching, chipping, and cracking and if you take it one step further, an ultracompact slab surface such as Dekton can also be laid on floors, for superior scratch durability.  

Cleanability and Maintenance

All flooring types are cleanable, but some are definitely easier to maintain than others!  

The most common thing we hear from clients is their disdain for cleaning grout!  A quality grout with a built-in sealer will help (we love Custom’s Prism), but avoiding smaller tiles and opting for a 24×24 or 24×48 (or even a slab) will limit your grout lines altogether!  If choosing to lay a smaller tile in a pattern that results in more grout lines, we recommend choosing a slightly darker shade of grout to help with the appearance of dirt and staining between cleans.

The other factor in cleanability to consider is wet mopping and cleaner types  – water resistant materials can generally handle wet mopping but we ALWAYS  recommend referring to the manufacturer’s cleaning and maintenance instructions to avoid voiding your warranty.  Harsh chemicals and cleaners may cause damage, so it’s important to be familiar with what the manufacturer recommends for cleaning.


This one is a biggie — we are all UNIQUE and our lifestyles, hobbies, families, and pets are all beautifully different!  What is important to one family, may not even be on the radar of another.  When choosing flooring for your mudroom (or anywhere for that matter!), it is so important to discuss your individual needs with a knowledgeable and experienced surfaces specialist to ensure you are selecting the floor that is best for you!

Aesthetic Design and Budget

Last, but certainly not least, is the PRETTY!   This room is one of the most used in the house – one that we all go in and out of countless times a day.  Don’t let your mudroom be an afterthought – it should be a showpiece in your home, and a room that gives you great joy!   There are so many beautiful options available on the market and there are no limits to your imagination!   Patterns, mosaic and brass inlays, tile direction, multiple material types – there are so many possibilities!   And at Iron River Surfaces it is our FAVORITE thing exploring new and beautiful ways to help our homeowners make their spaces truly their own.   

We have a plethora of beautifully curated ideas in our gallery, and sourcing options for you is our specialty!  Reach out to us here if you’re ready to reimagine your mudroom or you’re in the process of selecting finishes for a new home or business, we’d love to hear from you.

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