Kitchen floors are certainly what you can call a heavy-duty floor. They have to be durable, stylish and resistant to stains all at the same time. Oh, and it’s best if they are inexpensive, too…
Because of the high expectations, that an average kitchen designer puts on kitchen floors, choosing one just the perfect kitchen floor can be a difficult decision to make. That’s why, in this article, I’ll try to tell you everything you need to know about the most popular types of kitchen floors, to make this decision just a bit easier.
However, before we can move on and describe all the cons and pros of certain kitchen floors, you have to evaluate what do you really need. While the longevity or resale value of your kitchen floor certainly are something that you should consider before you go and order one particular material, there are other things that are just as important, if not more. I’m talking about your lifestyle – each kitchen floor material has different characteristics, so different kitchen floors will be best for different people.
The bottom line is, it’s not like there is a better floor and a worse floor – all of the most popular types are great, just in their separate league. If you like to throw parties, chances are you might even dance on the kitchen floor – and for that reason, you need something really hard and resistant to all sorts of mechanical damages. However, if you’re a person who lives a peaceful, family life, then maybe it’s something cozier that you need. Before you pick the material floor, you have to understand what are you really looking for, and what purpose do you expect your kitchen floor to serve.
Okay, with that being said, it’s time to move on and show you the most popular kitchen floors, complete with their pros and cons.
When talking about tiles, there is one thing that instantly comes to my mind – their versatility. Tiles can imitate anything you want them to imitate, but they are best at resembling natural stones – no need to say which ones because tiles can imitate all of them.
It’s not only the imitation ability that tiles have but also the fact that with the new technologies of finishing tiles, a number of prints, colors, and patterns you can incorporate into your kitchen through tiles is truly endless. As such, tiles are probably the most versatile material for your kitchen floor, and you don’t have to fear you won’t find at least one set of tiles that matches the rest of your kitchen or house.
Now for the assets, and these are plenty – tiles are very durable and sturdy, and as long as you don’t drop an anvil on them, they can take nearly anything without any problems. They don’t require any special maintenance, and using cleaning agents on them, no matter how aggressive, is fine – however, it’s unlikely you will even need to do that, because a kitchen floor made from tiles is very easy to clean, and all you need is a bucket of water and a mop.
Other than that, you don’t have to fear of them losing color – and especially so if you buy color body porcelain, which means it’s the entire tile that is of a given color, and not only the surface of it. It is also pretty difficult to scratch. Oh, did I also mention it’s quite cheap because it costs only $4 per square foot?
It’s hard to find any cons, but let’s try. I suppose if you hit your kitchen floor with a hammer, they can crack or chip. You won’t do that? Okay then, I suppose that’s all. It’s really pretty hard to find anything that’s bad about kitchen tiles. Well, they can be a bit cold if your try to walk on them with your bare feet, so there is that…
If you want a more expensive and luxurious flooring, some high-end, marble tiles can be a bit more expensive, but usually, you’re really good to go with the ordinary, decent tiles.
The wooden floor is mostly appreciated for its versatility and the diverse amount of wood species, from which such a floor can be crafted. Because of that, hardwood can fit every style and design, as long as you choose the kind of wood appropriately, to keep the overall design of your house cohesive.
It’s not only the kind of wood you can choose, but also the technique in which the floor is crafted – hardwood can be solid, or made from plies, which means it’s crafted from several layers of wood.
The most notable asset of hardwood kitchen floor is its resale value. I’m quite sure that when selling your house, you won’t find even one person who isn’t satisfied by the fact that your kitchen floor is a hardwood one. There are quite a bit of other kitchen flooring materials which imitate hardwood, but the real thing is the real thing.
Other than that, hardwood is very durable and if maintained properly, will last as long as you take proper care of it.
Did I just mention maintenance? Yeah, well, that might also be a con, at least of some. Not everyone likes a high maintenance kitchen floor. Hardwood can be scratched, so if you’re the kind of a person who loves to throw parties around the kitchen, hardwood might not be the best idea. It also doesn’t take moisture very well, and can be harder to clean than some of the other kitchen flooring materials.
And then, there is the price – hardwood is among the most expensive kitchen floors out there, so for the high-end product of good quality, you’ll have to pay around $12 per square foot.
Talking about all the maintenance and price of a hardwood kitchen floor, isn’t it like that with all the expensive things? You have to take care of them, nothing surprising here. However, a properly maintained and high-quality hardwood kitchen floor can surely make all of your guests drop dead from envy.
Laminate is what you can call the hardwood on a budget. While it’s not the real thing, it shares quite a few of the hardwoods characteristics, so if you’re looking for a material for your kitchen floor that should resemble the hardwood as good as possible, yet be cheaper, than laminate is just what you need.
It’s worth mentioning that laminate can be harder to scratch than hardwood. At the same time, it’s even cheaper than tiles, not to mention the actual hardwood. If you like wooden floors, but can’t quite afford the hardwood, then this is the next best thing to the hardwood.
Okay, with that being said, let’s cover the downsides – laminate doesn’t take moisture very well, and when exposed to moisture for extended periods of time, it can warp. However, with the price and how easy it is to be installed, even if you have to replace it you will still save quite a bit of money, compared to the most expensive of kitchen floor types.
If you don’t want to worry about moisture, consider a moisture barrier. Laminate also requires you to clean with a dedicated cleaner – and keep in mind, laminate doesn’t last as long as the tiles or the hardwood, and it will show as the time passes.
Travertine never gets old, both because of the versatility and its luxurious character. You can get travertine tiles in a lot of different types and shapes, such as chiseled, polished or honed… and much more.
I’d say travertine is the way to go when you want your kitchen floor to have that extra luxurious feeling, compared to tiles. As I’ve already said, tiles are very durable and resistant, but if you want to take it one step further, and floor your kitchen with something even more durable, even more resistant, more luxurious and more expensive, then buy travertine.
Travertine also isn’t as slippery when wet, which can sometimes be a problem with tiles – however, I can’t imagine how would that be a big deal, since we’re talking about the kitchen and not the swimming pool. However, since people use travertine for paving around their pools, you can get an idea it’s not very slippery.
Be it as it may, travertine is a lifetime investment because it’s nearly impossible to damage that thing. However, it requires more maintenance than normal, average tiles.
Travertine has to be sealed, and then resealed every two years or so. Other than that, while you won’t have to worry about scratching or mechanically damaging it, travertine can actually stain, so you will have to be careful and sweep any spills right away.
Furthermore, travertine requires you to clean it with special stone cleaners, or soft detergents that aren’t very aggressive – that’s quite a nuisance. And while its resale value is very good, because it doesn’t age and is usually as good as new even after a few years, the initial purchase price can be as high as that of a hardwood.
Another relatively inexpensive kitchen floor material, and again quite versatile. Vinyl comes with plenty of options and types, the most popular ones being planks, tiles, and sheets. Because of that, there is a lot of installation methods, but the good thing about it is, it can resemble anything you want it to imitate, be it wood or stone.
It’s also very resistant to the conditions in your average kitchen, as it doesn’t mind moisture and won’t chip. It also won’t get scratches, so there is not much else that can threaten a good quality vinyl.
If you like walking with your bare feet around the kitchen, an important asset of vinyl is the fact it’s very pleasant and soft on the feet. Additionally, as I’ve mentioned earlier, it’s inexpensive, and costs anywhere around $3 per square foot.
The only problem with vinyl is that kitchen furniture can leave marks on its surface, and as the time goes on, even foot marks can become visible, in places where you walk the most. Be it as it may, with the low price of vinyl, you can as well replace it right after that happens, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it.
Now this one is something pretty new, but the popularity of cork kitchen floors is rapidly rising, as the eco-awareness of societies also grows.
Cork is very eco-friendly, and disposing of it is practically neutral to the environment. Producing cork floors also leave on damage on the planet, and because of these assets cork is the flooring of choice among the people who are concerned with the ecology, and want their houses to be as organic and harmless to the planet as possible.
Cork is relatively inexpensive too, as it costs anywhere around $4 per square foot.
It’s very pleasant to your feet because cork is naturally soft, springy and warm. However, it doesn’t like moisture, so again, consider installing moisture barriers when thinking about a kitchen floor made from cork.
Cork surface can also gather crumbs and dirt, so keep in mind you have to be prepared for some additional maintenance – vacuum it at least once a week. Right after installation it also requires sealing and reseal it after a few years. If you want it to be more resistant to scratches, seal it with wax, but then you will have to reseal it more often, at least once every two years.
Sliding furniture over you cork flooring might also leave marks, so all in all, it’s not a very heavy-duty flooring – but if you’re looking for something eco-friendly, cork flooring is the best, no doubts.
This sums up my guide to the most popular kitchen floors. Let me just say it again – before you buy any of these, think about your lifestyle – whether you need a heavy-duty floor like travertine, or something pleasant to walk on and luxurious, like hardwood, depends on your personal habits.