This Rental Bathroom Floor Came From a Surprising Source


When bathroom floors are bad, they’re usually really, really bad. As a renter, you can try to cover as much as possible with a rug or bath mat, but textiles usually aren’t enough to get the entire ugly, dingy floor fully out of your mind. Which is why affordable, temporary flooring is so welcome: it’s a pain-free, low risk way to upgrade your bathroom without worry.

For this bathroom, we used rubber floor tiles originally intended for garages, gyms, laundry rooms, and basements. The same features that make it appropriate for utilitarian spaces also make it a good contender for rental bathrooms; it’s highly durable, easy to maintain, and extremely affordable.

We covered this roughly 25-square-foot bathroom using TrafficMaster rubber utility flooring. Tiles are 18″ and are sold by Home Depot in packs designed to cover 13.5 square feet. We used two packs, each for $29.97, for a total cost of $59.94. This is about $2.22 per square foot. (As a side note, this type of floor also comes in huge pieces instead of smaller tiles, so if you have a larger area you might want to go that route.)

Installation is pretty straightforward and just requires a little advance planning, a metal straight edge, and box cutter. To trim, score the tile with the blade, then bend along the line. Make multiple cuts as needed until the material separates.

Each tile has tabs on each side, which interlock with the tabs on the adjoining tile. If tile is going next to the wall, you’ll have to trim off the tabs to create a flat edge on that one side. For a corner, you’ll trim off two sides.

One thing to note: corners are different than the edges, which means tiles have to be lined up in orderly rows for them to fit together, as seen above. You can’t, for instance, stagger the tiles, as demonstrated below:

While this isn’t a big deal if you have plenty of material, it’s helpful to know, especially if you are running low on tile and trying to patch holes instead of buying more. This design makes improvisation a little harder.

When it comes to cutting around elements, such as pipes or the toilet, use flexible paper to create a template, then use to guide your cuts. For more info on this method, refer to this post about installing laminate plank flooring.

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