What Is the Best Kitchen Flooring Material and Style?

August 22, 2020

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Homeowners today have more options for kitchen flooring than ever before! Today’s flooring is also more durable, easier to clean, and more affordable than ever, so you’re sure to find something that fits both your style and budget.

Popular options for kitchen flooring include:

  • Porcelain and ceramic, both made from clay, are very water-resistant and durable, and easy to clean.
  • Stone flooring is durable and offers a high-end look, although typically at the top of the price range.
  • Laminate flooring offers the look of other options and is easy to clean, but might also seem a bit artificial.
  • Vinyl and linoleum tile are affordable and provide an easy DIY installation but also have an artificial look and feel.

This is not an exhaustive list, as there are many other flooring materials on the market today, all with their own pros and cons! Whatever your choice, your kitchen flooring must be durable and easy to clean, as the kitchen is probably the one room in the home that everyone uses, every single day. Those floors also need to withstand food stains and high humidity levels, while offering a hygienic surface safe for the family.

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Along with durability, kitchen flooring should also be stylish and attractive, as that floor might be more visible and noticeable than you realize. To ensure you choose the best kitchen flooring option, note a few details about various materials along with some tips on how to choose a style that works with your home and offers a stunning result you’ll love for years to come.

The Most Popular Kitchen Flooring Materials

The best way for anyone to choose the right kitchen flooring material for their home is to learn a bit of details about their options, so they can choose something both durable and stylish! Consider some vital information about kitchen flooring materials available today and discuss these with a renovation contractor as needed, so your home ends up with a kitchen floor that beautiful and that last.

  • Porcelain and ceramic are both made with clay, making them very dense, durable, and water-resistant. Both porcelain and ceramic tiles provide a natural look and texture that homeowners love, and that work with a wide variety of décor styles.
  • Natural stone such as slate, marble, or granite provides a dense and durable surface that lasts for years if not decades. These materials also provide a natural look that homeowners love! The drawback to stone floors is that they’re typically at the top of the price range, and heavy stone floors might mean added bracing of the subfloor to support that extra weight.
  • Limestone is very dense and durable but also very porous. The material is strong and withstands cracking and chipping but needs sealing right after installation and then typically once or twice per year after it’s installed.
  • Natural cork provides a water-resistant surface that also absorbs noise and vibration, creating a quieter kitchen environment. Cork is also soft underfoot, a consideration for those who cook big meals and might be on their feet in the kitchen all day!
  • Wood floors are not typically recommended for kitchens as wood absorbs moisture and doesn’t offer much stain resistance. However, today’s wood flooring manufacturers have improved wood sealants and coatings so that wood kitchen flooring is more durable than ever and can work well in homes with less wear and tear and risk of damage.
  • Laminate floors contain a high-quality reproduction of virtually any kitchen flooring material, covered in a thin yet durable plastic. This plastic coating makes laminate floors very durable and easy to clean, but also a bit artificial.
  • Vinyl and linoleum tiles are affordable, relatively durable, and available in a wide range of designs and colors. These tiles are also easy to install; some even come with a simple peel-and-stick backing for DIY installation.
  • While vinyl and linoleum are easy for homeowners to install on their own, note that their adhesive might become loose before too long. It’s not unusual to see vinyl or linoleum tiles shifting out of place, so that they start to look uneven and show large gaps between them. Those gaps then trap and lock lots of dirt and grime, creating a dingy, dull look in the kitchen.

How To Choose the Right Kitchen Flooring Material for Your Home

When deciding on a kitchen flooring material, you don’t want to make your selection based on price alone. In many cases, cheap vinyl and other such tiles will wear out far sooner than a high-quality porcelain, ceramic, or stone floor, so that you need to replace those cheaper options far more often. In turn, you’ll spend more on new kitchen flooring over the years if you choose a cheap, low-quality tile!

A homeowner should also consider their home’s average foot traffic and other such wear and tear factors. Large animals with sharp claws can damage linoleum and vinyl quickly, and wood floors also tend to show scratches and food stains more readily than other materials. Limestone also tends to absorb food debris, so consider another material if you do a lot of cooking and especially with sauces, meats, and other items that might leave stains when spilled.

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Note, too, if you might put your home on the real estate market anytime soon or within the next decade. Low-quality vinyl or linoleum might turn off potential buyers who know that those materials have a very short lifespan and tend to show wear and tear easily. On the other hand, you might not want to invest in costly stone floors for a home you might sell in a few years. Consider quality porcelain or ceramic kitchen flooring so those floors still look their best when your home is on the market and so it appeals to a wide range of buyers.

Tips for Choosing a Kitchen Flooring Style

Along with a kitchen flooring material, a homeowner will need to choose a kitchen floor tile color and size, and potentially a design style. Since there is such a wealth of option from which to choose, how do you narrow down those choices and decide on a stylish tile that enhances a kitchen without looking busy and distracting?

While there are no easy answers that fit every home, one consideration is your kitchen’s overall size and how much of the floor is exposed. The less visible floor space in a kitchen, the simpler you’ll want your kitchen floor, without busy decorative designs. A busy design in a small kitchen often looks cramped, crowded, and cluttered before too long!

It’s also helpful to note the color and tone of cabinetry, wall paint, the kitchen’s backsplash, appliances, and so on. If there are lots of dark earth tones in the kitchen, installing a dark wood floor can create a cave-like look and feel! On the other hand, white flooring with white appliances and cabinets might make a kitchen seem cold and impersonal.

A sandy beige stone next to dark cabinetry can allow each of those tones to stand out and get noticed. If you have white cabinets and appliances, consider a slate gray tile or, if you must have a white floor, choose a tile with flecks of color along its surface so the space doesn’t look too bright or seem to lack personality.

Larger tiles also tend to give a kitchen floor an upscale, grander look, whereas smaller tiles might add more personality to the space. Choose a tile size that creates the look and feel you need in your kitchen, and that adds warmth without making the space seem busy.

Cautions Against DIY Kitchen Flooring Installation

If you’re trying to avoid kitchen flooring installation costs by managing this project yourself, you might note some reasons why this work is best left to the pros! One vital consideration is that a kitchen renovation contractor will typically inspect a home’s floors before new flooring installation and might spot rotted subflooring, warped floorboards, and the like. Overlooking needed repairs can mean uneven tiles, sagging floors, squeaking and creaking, and other such damage down the road.

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Kitchen floor installation is also typically far more complicated than homeowners realize. New tile needs a level and even surface for proper adhesion; if your home’s floors are uneven or warped, they might need a layer of plywood installed before tiles, for a proper foundation. A subfloor might also require added bracing to support the weight of heavy stone tiles.

A flooring installation contractor is also skilled at ensuring lines are marked off properly, for even rows and columns of flooring! He or she will also know if stone tiles or other materials need sealing or other special treatment after installation, to keep them in good condition over the years.

Applying grout is also more involved than just spreading it over a tile and putting that tile into place. Too much grout can allow a tile to shift out of position, while not enough grout allows it to pull away from its base. As grout between tiles also tends to show dirt and grime very easily, a flooring contractor will ensure those grout lines are as thin as possible.

To ensure your new kitchen flooring material looks its best, invest in the services of a flooring contractor. Their fees are an investment in your home and worth the cost, as their work ensures you’ll be happy with your new flooring for years to come.


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