7 Alternatives to Bathroom Tile

A bathroom with wood cabinets and floors.

If you are renovating your bathroom and are looking for a break from traditional tiling, you can try a number of alternatives.

Figure out how much you want to maintain your floors and go with the alternative that will best fit the time and expense you're willing to invest. Bathroom tiles require maintenance as well, so keep that in mind as you're picking the best alternative for your home.

1. Hardwood Floors

This may appear to be a risky alternative, as you may be wondering about water damage over time. This is a valid concern, but the problem can be avoided by taking some simple precautions to protect the flooring.

Put wood putty in between the cracks in the boards during installation. This stops water from seeping in between the boards. Apply at least three coats of oil-based polyurethane to the floors, much more than you would in other rooms of the house. You can also add extra coats of varnish to make the floor even more durable.

Of course, you should still be sure to wipe the floors after you shower so that the water doesn't just sit there. This is wise advice not only to protect your floors but also to prevent slipping.

2. Bathroom Carpet

Basic wall-to-wall carpets won't work well in bathrooms because of the moisture that builds up. However, there are carpets designed especially for your bathroom. Bathroom carpets are actually made like tiles; you can remove and wash as needed. They have antimicrobial backing to prevent the growth and spread of molds and bacteria. Plus, you can choose a variety of colors, textures, and patterns to suit whatever your bathroom décor style may be.

3. Concrete

If your bathroom flooring is already made of concrete, you can always restore it to give a more classic stone look. Apply an acid stain to spruce up the surface and maintain it with polishing every once in a while. You'll need a textured finish so that you won't easily slip and fall when it gets wet.

You can also paint concrete to match the design of your bathroom before you finish it if you want something a little fancier than the classic stone look.

4. Rubber Leather

Combine the look of leather with the ease of washing rubber in this alternative to bathroom tiles. You can purchase these in rolls to fit your bathroom floor.

Roll it out, cut it to fit your space, and install it. In no time at all you'll be ready to use your new floor. Waxing it every now and then will give it a shiny look. Otherwise, you simply need to maintain it with soap and water.

5. Stainless Steel Sheets

Use 4x8 foot stainless steel sheets in place of bathroom tiles. When you make a cut, overlap them with a machine so that you remove sharp edges.

You can install these over concrete the same way you would tiles. It's important to use stainless screws so that you prevent rust, as they will come in contact with water frequently in the bathroom.

6. Ceramilite

This product works well for showers. Ceramilite is coated with polymer and is made to look like traditional tiling. You can use liquid nails to put it up instead of a saw, which will cause splinters to fly around. It is durable, long-lasting, and easy to clean with just a basic water-soaked cloth.

7. Waterproof Wall Panels

Best known for being grout-free, this is an easy to install, easy to clean alternative to tile in your bathroom shower. The surface is waterproof, even though it's made of laminated plywood. Buy the ones that come with water-resistant material on the back of the plywood to stop moisture from building up.