Beyond Tile: Fresh Ideas for Bathroom Flooring

Ceramic tile has been the go-to choice for bathroom flooring almost since the advent of indoor plumbing. But today there are many alternative—and stylish—choices for homeowners to consider when putting in a new bathroom or remodeling an existing one. Attractive flooring options run the gamut from high-end marble to eco-friendly fibers to new twists on traditional materials such as hardwood and vinyl. Not every flooring choice is suitable for bathroom use, however. Some key factors to keep in mind when evaluating your options include overall resistance to moisture; whether or not a given flooring material is too slippery, especially when wet; and durability. Here are just a few of the most interesting and innovative ideas for bathroom floors.

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  1. Beautiful Bamboo


    Chic, contemporary, and environmentally friendly, bamboo flooring combines easy care with elegance. Available in both narrow- and wide-plank styles, strand-woven bamboo flooring is durable and water resistant. It comes in a range of patterns and natural color variations, from variegated tiger stripes to mottled burl looks. 

    Related: 10 Reasons to Love Bamboo Floors

  2. Impressive Indentations


    If you’re seeking durability, you can’t get much stronger than concrete. But for a decorative edge, try stamped concrete. Virtually any design can be imprinted, and the pattern will last as long as the floor itself. Special dyes can be mixed into the concrete to create customized colors that further enhance the patterns.

    Related: How To Stain Concrete

  3. Pebble Beach


    With natural stone pebble flooring, you can bring the outdoors inside and imagine yourself bathing al fresco. Pebble flooring is affixed to the subfloor or foundation through the use of special epoxy coatings that are durable, water resistant, and beautiful. Plus, the natural texture of the stone pebbles provides great traction for your tootsies!

    Related: Bathroom Floor Tiles: 14 Top Options

  4. A Real Corker


    Cork is naturally water resistant and antibacterial, and it creates a striking and unique look in the bath. Natural cork flooring comes in sheet form, tiles, pieced mosaics, or natural round disks. Cork can be stained any color, if desired, and is installed using mastic and grout; sealing is recommended.

    Related: 5 Things to Do with... Wine Corks

  5. What’s Old Is New Again


    Vinyl and linoleum flooring, popular choices in the 1950s, were for a long time staples of bathrooms, kitchens, and rec rooms all across America. Vinyl is enjoying renewed popularity, fueled in part by the enormous diversity of designs available today. Vinyl flooring is easy to install and maintain, and best of all, won’t break the budget.

    Related: How To: Clean Vinyl Flooring

  6. Wonders of Wood


    Hardwood flooring is offered in a huge range of materials, styles, and finishes, making it a natural in the bath. Available in solid wood and less expensive laminate, wood flooring is versatile and fairly durable, although it should be sealed for use in bathrooms and other areas where moisture is present. Consider wide planks, narrower strips, and engineered parquet designs. 

    Related: How To: Refinish Hardwood Floors

  7. Glass Houses


    Glass block and glass mosaic are upscale and unique bathroom flooring options. Glass is resistant to moisture, stains, mold, and mildew, and it's extremely easy to clean—simply wipe with warm water or clean with a vinegar-and-water solution. Glass is available in clear, solid, or multicolored hues, and can be textured for added traction.

    Related: 10 Trendy Ways to Use Glass Block in Your Home Design

  8. Mesmerizing Marble


    This traditional stone flooring material can be expensive, but nothing quite matches marble for durability, texture, or luxury. Marble adds a level of sophistication and style to any home and is widely used for bathrooms, kitchens, and foyers. Marble is naturally water resistant and extremely easy to maintain, and is available in a wide range of natural colorations.

    Related: 10 Reasons to Embrace the Elegance of Black and White

  9. Sustainable Sea Grass


    Sea grass flooring is a natural fiber constructed from flowering plants found in marshes. It is naturally nonporous and water resistant, repels mold and mildew, and is extremely easy to clean, making it ideal for the bath. Sea grass has the added benefit of being naturally hypoallergenic—and the soft fibers feel great underfoot!

    Related: How To: Choose Carpeting

  10. A Touch of the Orient


    Oriental rugs are yet another "nontraditional" traditional bathroom floor covering. Today's Oriental rugs are constructed of water- and stain-resistant fibers in a rainbow of colors, styles, and sizes to fit virtually any decorating scheme. Some homeowners actually use antique Orientals in the bathroom, because the dyes intensify and deepen when exposed to water.

    Related: How To: Clean a Rug

  11. Mix and Match


    Carpet tiles allow you to personalize any floor by arranging colors, patterns, and textures in numerous combinations. They are durable, easily replaceable, slip resistant, and generally constructed of water-resistant synthetic fibers, making them a good choice for bathrooms. Carpet tile squares come either dry-backed or self-sticking.

    Related: 20 Ways to Make a Small Bathroom Big

  12. Lovely and Luminous


    Emulate a high-end designer look with surprisingly affordable quartz crystal flooring. Clear or colored quartz aggregate is applied using a special epoxy coating that adheres to the subfloor or foundation. The quartz is then sealed with a clear coat, creating extremely durable, water-resistant, and long-lasting flooring that is virtually maintenance-free.

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