6 of the Best Kitchen Flooring Options for Your Home
Many folks when asked, tend to think the family room is the main point of convergence in most homes. However, in reality, most of the connecting that occurs with families in their home as well as with guests attending tends to be the kitchen, hands-down. It is the focal point of food and drink, easy congregating as well as multiple forms of sitting and engaging. No surprise, the kitchen then tends to be the most visible room in the home to most people visiting or living there any given day. So, the flooring is going to take a beating far more than any other parts of the home aside from the entry points and hallways. Choosing the right flooring makes a huge difference, both for the nature of how the kitchen is used and its durability underfoot.
Kitchen flooring has a couple of additional requirements as well. It absolutely needs to be water-resistant. The amount of moisture and liquid that gets spilled in the kitchen is far greater than other rooms aside from the shower and bathroom, and because of the nature of food preparation there is a greater chance of spills and cleanup. Trying to get pasta sauce out of a carpet is near impossible. So, the flooring choice needs to be easily cleanable, resistant to water and non-absorbable, and durable to high traffic as well.
For many years, hardwood flooring was the go-to flooring choice for kitchens away from carpeting and rugs. It fit the bill for cleaning, and while hardwood would show traffic after time, it could be sanded and refinished regularly for a newer look. However, wood is natural, and moisture is a big problem for hardwood flooring, especially with a lot of exposure. As a result, hardwood was combined with lacquer and water-resistant finish to provide an additional surface layer for the moisture contact problem. Overall, the solution works as long as the moisture is cleaned up quickly, i.e., not sitting water.
Today, hardwood flooring for kitchen probably represents one of the top premium choices to install, especially with natural wood flooring. There are, however, far more choices available than in early years, and many of them perform extremely well, such as bamboo for example. Hardwood is not as durable as tile and stone, however, and it will scratch, chip and crack over time. The wood core can last for many years but eventually sanding and replacement can be needed.
Hardwood with a finish can be easy to clean, however, giving it a great advantage over anything that is absorbent. With a smooth finish it can have an extremely smooth surface that wipes off very easy. The flip side of this benefit, however, is that the hardwood can be very slippery. As a result, many choices have a bit of texture to them for grip.
Lighter hardwood choices tend to be the most common for kitchens, catering to the typical kitchen approach of being lighter in brightness and color than the other aspects of a home. Dark wood is possible, but it is usually combined with a very white wall colonial approach or the entire interior of the kitchen is made of wood, i.e., a log-cabin style home interior. That said, people can mix whatever they want given the choices available today’s flooring market.
While not very much available in previous years, laminate has exploded in popularity as well as selection for kitchen flooring. Laminate is a water-resistant choice, but it is not waterproof per se. Like hardwood, laminate flooring should not have standing water left on it for any length of time, but it does provide a very durable flooring cover that is both warm and detailed. Laminate comes in a number of different colors that can match most interiors, and it also can be produced in replicating textures to look like other materials, including both wood and stone patterns.
Some of the most modern choices in laminate flooring also include flexible installation features allowing for far more modular installation as wells as options between a floating floor style or a far more rigid glued-down option. The former works better on uneven flooring situations in older homes where prior flooring may be covered by the newer layer. Key changes in 2021 include laminate with larger planks as well as a greater variety in coloring and patterns, including light wood replications.
Ceramic or Porcelain Tile
Having long been a traditional kitchen floor approach, ceramic tile is almost completely waterproof once installed. Tile tends to be very durable for traffic as well, easily taking a beating and simply being cleaned with a mop and wipe down. Eventually, tile needs a deep cleaning to get a lot of the grit out of the grout between the tiles and produce a new look again, but the general surface of a glazed tile tends to last for a very long time. Food is easy to clean off of tile after a mess drops, and it stays cool in hot and arid climates, which is why the flooring is oftentimes used throughout desert homes.
Tile is not the best flooring to have in case of impact. Being ceramic in nature, a hard impact will break the tile, requiring a full replacement of the broke section and setting of a new unit. However, because of its modular nature, tile can be reset and replaced very quickly with new pieces, usually in a day at most. Tile can also be used for floor to wall settings as it is literally glued to its base surface.
Natural stone pieces are another common flooring choice. Essentially, these are modular units cut out from solid stone in sheets and sections. Stone has a long-standing ability to take a beating and withstand traffic without issue. Stone flooring is also usually textured unless sanded smooth, which gives it grip, even when wet. Stone is not waterproof per se, but its density resists water penetration and causes moisture to evaporate from stone very quickly. High grade stone can be smoothed to mirror perfection, such as in the case of marble and granite. It comes in a variety of colors and sizes, which of course changes the pricing for stone flooring as well. Stone tends to have better impact resistance than for example, tile, but it too can be cracked with a hard enough hit. Stone also chips, which can be annoying over time. Usually, stone flooring is not installed bare; it is sealed and then regularly re-sealed periodically as traffic wears down the upper surface. In most cases, stone flooring is applied in a tile fashion in kitchens, but it can be cut and obtained in plank form as well.
Probably the most maligned flooring because of generations who grew up with vinyl flooring in the 1970s and 1980s, today’s vinyl flooring is light years from that early version. Modern vinyl is extremely detailed and comes in amazing options and textures, often replicating other flooring types like wood or stone. It is extremely water-resistant and almost waterproof (water can get in between the seams and edges). The cost of vinyl makes it far more affordable than other flooring choices in kitchens, and vinyl is very durable for high traffic. Originally, vinyl would be glued to the floor base, but today’s version can be installed as a floating version with greater cushion underneath.
While more of a flooring treatment than a flooring installation, stained concrete does count as a kitchen flooring choice. Most homes are built on a concrete slab. That can be treated, stained, and finished with a high traffic sealant. The results provide a very durable flooring that is easy to clean and takes advantage of the floor already part of the home. However, most home foundations tend to have cracks in them. So, any kind of stained concrete approach is going to need to seal those cracks and provide a top layer finish for a smooth floor look. Additionally, new cracks may appear over time simply due to settling of the home and pressure. The floor may need regular additional treatment over time to maintain the finished look. Stained concrete can be very slippery to walk on, so grip is a concern as well.
Do You Need the Help of a Professional Flooring Installer for Your Kitchen Renovation? Contact our Team at S & R Carpet & Floors Today
If considering any of the above for a kitchen renovation or flooring replacement, contact S & R Carpet & Floors. Our team can provide you a wide array of options and choices specific to kitchen environments, both in terms of practicality, aesthetics, and beauty. With well over five decades of experience in all flooring types and their installation, S & R Carpet & Floors provides one of the best choices for high quality kitchen projects available. Call or email us today for more information and specific products available!