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Recycled Rubber Flooring

Durable, slip resistant, and resilient, rubber floor tiles are green and easy to install

When we decided to remodel our bathroom, we thought it was important to choose materials that had some sustainable qualities and recycled content. We also thought it important that a bathroom floor be durable, slip resistant, long-lived, and resilient. At a local store that sells various "green" products, I found just the flooring I was looking for, and it came with LEED certification as well.

The flooring I chose is the Reztec brand from Expanko (www.expanko.com). A blend of post-consumer tire waste and manufactured rubber, Reztec contains recycled content that varies with the color choice, of which there are many, from muted and earthy hazelnut to fiery tangerine. Our bathroom's color palette is mostly red and black, so we chose tiles that have red chips in a black field.

Reztec comes in various sizes and thicknesses. I bought 24-in. squares of 6-mm thickness, as this seemed thick enough for durability, not too soft, and easy to handle during installation. At $4.50 per sq. ft., I had to purchase a minimum of one carton (80 sq. ft.) for our small project. I needed only 45 sq. ft., but figured the remainder could be used in our soon-to-be remodeled laundry area.

Unfortunately, Expanko offers floor adhesive only in 2-gal.-minimum quantities. For me, this overshadows any LEED rating; I did not want to have 11/2 gal. left over. After calling the local rep, I learned that I could use any polyurethane adhesive suitable for vinyl and rubber, which I could purchase in smaller quantities.

I installed the Reztec tiles over a plywood underlayment and cut the material where I had to scribe it to the tub and sidewalls. The material has some give, and I was able to achieve a seamless-looking installation. After the adhesive is applied and the tiles are placed, a 100-lb. roller is used to set the flooring. Expanko recommends a water-based sealer.

We love the floor's feel and finish, and we could not think of a better choice for our bathroom.

Photo by: Krysta S. Doerfler
From Fine Homebuilding199 (Kitchens & Baths) , pp. 96