If your home is anything like mine, your kitchen is the place everyone seems to gather throughout the day. This includes family, friends and pets! With all the daily foot (and paw!) traffic you need a durable kitchen floor. Add to that all the spills and splashes from cooking and dishwashing and you know your floor needs to be waterproof too. Plus, you want it to look nice!
Luckily, if you’re building or planning a kitchen remodel, you’ve got some great kitchen flooring options. So, read on, consider the pros and cons of the materials, your preferences and your lifestyle – you’re sure to find the perfect flooring for your kitchen.
What’s Cookin’ Underfoot?
Hardwood: I currently have hardwood in my kitchen and I love it. It’s easy to sweep, vacuum, or mop (mine has a urethane coating to protect against moisture). The beauty of a wood floor never goes out of style – but the colors might. We once bought a house with light ”pickled” oak flooring that dated the space. Luckily, solid hardwood is made from a single piece of wood so it can be sanded and restained. We had the refinishing professionally done before we moved in – instant update!
Engineered wood: This option looks like hardwood but it is less expensive because it is not solid hardwood. Engineered wood is created by placing a solid veneer over a less expensive wood core. It has the beauty of hardwood with additional strength and stability. Due to the veneer, however, it cannot be sanded over and over like solid hardwood.
Laminate: Laminate is a fiber core board with a photo on top. This construction allows a wide range of styles including traditional wood looks (even handscraped!), slate, stone or ceramic. Hardwearing and scratch-resistant, it holds up well in high traffic areas. Laminate comes in planks, squares or rectangles, each with tongue and groove edges that can be glued or snapped in place – making DIY laminate flooring projects a possibility for most homeowners.
Vinyl: Available in tiles or sheets, vinyl flooring is inexpensive, hardwearing, and easy to clean. Since it is waterproof, vinyl is also a bathroom flooring favorite. Like laminate, vinyl can be designed to resemble other materials including wood, marble, stone and metal and it also comes in a variety of colors and decorating patterns. Tiles are perfect for DIY because you just peel off the backing and stick the tile in place. If you opt for sheet vinyl, consider one in which the color goes all the way through the material.
Linoleum: Many people often confuse linoleum with vinyl but linoleum is preferred environmentally because its main ingredient is linseed oil. Highly durable, easy to install, easy to clean, and comfortable to stand on (available in varying thicknesses), linoleum also comes in many rich, beautiful colors due to its mineral pigments.
Ceramic tile: Ceramic tile is good in moist areas like the kitchen, bath and laundry as well as for bridging indoor and outdoor spaces. If your kitchen opens onto a patio or has large windows looking onto a patio, using the same ceramic tile inside and outside visually expands the size of your space. Ceramic tile offers extensive color and design options and you can even impact the design with the color of your grout (be sure to seal the grout!). Watch out for spills and be careful when mopping because ceramic tile can be slippery.
Natural stone: Stone offers perceived luxury and quality and it generally has a price tag to match. Since it is a natural product, the colors and textures vary from stone to stone, as seen in the slate in the photo above. Durable and easy to clean, some people may find it hard on their feet and legs.
Cork: Due to its popularity in recent years some people think cork is new – but it’s actually been used for hundreds of years. Harvested from mature trees it is environmentally friendly and it’s naturally resilient to rot, mold and mildew. For use in moist rooms like the kitchen, cork should be coated with urethane and then sanded and recoated every few years. Cork cushions the feet and legs.
Concrete: No other flooring provides the opportunity for so many creative looks. Concrete can be colored with paints and dyes, decorative pebbles, tile, shells and tumbled glass or inlays can be added. Shapes can be cut into the concrete or rubber stamps can be used to create patterns. Upkeep is easy but it can be hard on your legs if you spend a lot of time standing in the kitchen at the stove or the sink.
What Floors You?
What type of flooring is in your kitchen? Let’s do a very unscientific survey – simply hit the “Comment” button at the end of this article and tell us what’s on your kitchen floor? What do you like about it? What don’t you like? If you were getting a new kitchen floor, what would it be? It should be fun to hear what’s out there – and your input might help someone who’s building or remodeling choose the perfect kitchen floor!