Choosing the Best Kitchen Flooring
With so many beautiful, easy-care options, new flooring is a fast and easy way to change the look and feel of your kitchen.
Why is Kitchen Flooring Important?
New kitchen flooring doesn’t just change the way your kitchen looks, it can make a big difference in how it operates. In most homes, family and visitors tend to gather in and gravitate toward the kitchen, so a stylish, updated kitchen is often a major factor when determining a home’s value. Counters and appliances get most of the attention when people think about upgrading the kitchen, but new flooring can have an arguably greater impact.
Kitchen Flooring Guide
Looking for some ideas to help you determine which kitchen flooring is right for you? Check out the various materials, their advantages and disadvantages, then decide.
Wood Kitchen Floors
The current favorite for kitchen flooring is wood. This may seem counter-intuitive -- after all, water leaks and spills can damage wood. However, in many cases designers choose products that can mimic the look of wood while providing easier cleanup. Whether natural or manufactured, there’s no denying the beauty of a kitchen with wood flooring.
One reason wood is so popular is that it allows the seamless look so popular in today’s open-concept floorplans. Having the wood floor from the foyer flow throughout the living spaces makes the entire home look larger and more cohesive.
Wood kitchen floors offer a variety of gorgeous looks, from rustic, distressed wood flooring to highly refined and sophisticated colors and styles. Reclaimed wood can be a gorgeous and fun option, whether you’re repurposing antique barnwood or even an old basketball court.
Cork Kitchen Floors
When you think of cork flooring, you may be thinking that it’s too porous and soft to stand up to the wear and tear of an active kitchen. However, with the right polyurethane or similar sealant, you can have a beautiful kitchen floor that’s also more functional than many other materials.
Why are cork floors gaining in popularity? From a daily use standpoint, the springiness of cork offers added comfort for the family cook during those long hours of dinner preparation, cookie baking, or holiday feast making. In addition, dropped glasses and dishes are less likely to break when they hit a cork floor. Cork floors also offer comfortable warmth underfoot -- wonderful for those cold mornings or winter evenings.
Cork floors need to be vacuumed or swept daily, as dirt can damage or scratch the sealant. If you love deep cleaning and intense scrubbing, cork floors are probably not for you, as they do not stand up to commercial cleaning products or wet mopping. Finally, exceptionally heavy furniture, high heels, and the claws of pets can damage the floors or their sealant.
Bamboo Kitchen Floors
One of the reasons bamboo flooring has become so popular in the last few years is the fact that it’s a rapidly renewable resource and part of an eco-friendly, energy efficient home. As a fast-growing and spreading plant, bamboo can be manufactured into a flooring that is almost as durable as hardwood.
In terms of drawbacks, all bamboo is not created equal. Look for bamboo certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) in order to ensure that your bamboo flooring was manufactured with best practices for harvesting and manufacturing. This can help protect you from poorly performing products which can include treatments and adhesives that emit toxic chemical by-products.
The contemporary look of bamboo flooring, while part of its appeal in contemporary homes, may make it less suited to formal or traditional homes. You generally won’t find a wide variety of colors, though carbonized bamboo can have a darker tone. However, the carbonization process can cause the material to soften, making it less durable.
Kitchen Floor Tiles
When it comes to kitchen tile you have a wide variety to choose from. Virtually any look, color, or texture can be created with tile flooring. Read on for our favorite kitchen tile ideas.
This highly durable tile is suitable for use in a variety of applications, both indoors and out. With an array of possible colors and looks, porcelain tile can help you create the kitchen of your dreams, often at a lower price than other materials. However, porcelain tile requires professional installation, so it is not suitable for a weekend warrior project.
Beautiful, classic marble brings elegant and luxury to the kitchen, and is a popular material for everything from counters to backsplashes to flooring. It comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns and instantly upgrades your space. However, it can be quite difficult to care for and is prone to staining and other damage. In addition, marble is quite expensive and difficult to repair or replace in the event of damage.
Virtually indestructible, slate is incredibly popular because it offers a luxe look and outstanding durability. When considering a slate floor, one of the things you’ll have to decide is whether to have all of the slate slabs come from the same quarry and color family or whether to choose a variety of tones. Slate’s desirability is reflected in its expensive price, but because of its durability and beauty it may be the only floor you ever need to buy.
Offering a beautiful, classic look, travertine creates a luxe look in your kitchen and throughout your living space. It is generally quite durable and long-lasting, but requires dual sealing treatments upon installation. Because the tiles are heavy and difficult to install, professional installation is strongly suggested for this type of flooring.
Vinyl and Linoleum
With a variety of styles, colors, and patterns, vinyl and linoleum tile offers a flexible and low-cost option for kitchen flooring. The primary difference between the two floor types is that vinyl is manufactured using a variety of toxic chemicals while linoleum is natural and biodegradable, making it an excellent option in green building projects.
Whatever your priority -- style, convenience, or price -- you’ll find that there’s a flooring option suited to your needs. It’s a wonderful way to change up your kitchen space and even make it more comfortable and convenient.
Contributed to Your Home blog by Carol Youmans
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