Cork, Carpet Tiles and Beyond

Go beyond predictable ceramic tile in the bathroom with materials like cork, carpet tiles or rubber.
By: Kim Hildenbrand

Cork. This earth-friendly floor option is soft and warm underfoot. An unusual choice for baths, it inherently resists mold, mildew, and bacteria. Drips and splashes won't harm it and can be wiped up easily. Hip and modern, cork comes in a wide variety of colors and textures.

Glass Tiles. Glass tiles make a dramatic statement in any bath, with their wide variety of colors, shapes, and textures. The surface is easy to clean and most types are slip resistant. Styles crafted from recycled glass are a great option for eco-friendly homeowners.

Carpet Tiles. Eco-friendly and non-toxic, these squares of carpet quickly and easily create wall-to-wall carpet or rugs, with no padding necessary. The material won't be ruined by moisture, and the backing is designed to inhibit mold and bacteria. If the floor becomes saturated, you can remove the tiles and allow them to dry before replacing them.

Concrete. This up-and-comer is versatile, durable, and water resistant. Reminiscent of stone, it comes in a range of colors and textures. The surface won't harbor mold, mildew, and odors, and it's easy to clean. Good news for icy toes: Concrete absorbs heat and is suitable atop radiant heating.

Rubber. Water splashes and dropped curling irons are no problem for heat- and water-resistant rubber floors. Plus, the surface isn't slippery and it's soft and springy underfoot. Fun and contemporary, this resilient floor is available in a wide range of colors, which run all the way through the material. It's also easy to install and a snap to clean.

Engineered Hardwood. Formed by bonding together layers of hardwood, this engineered alternative dares to go where hardwood cannot. It lends the same warmth and riches as solid hardwood and comes in a wide variety of species, style, and color options. While not ideal for a busy bath where little ones splash, it's a good option for powder rooms and guest baths. Be sure to check with the manufacturer regarding installation and warranty issues.

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