Besides the cabinets and countertop, your kitchen floor is the visually most prominent part of the kitchen. Appereances are important, however don’t choose the material just based on looks. Think through what you will most likely need, then drive to a flooring store to see for yourself. There are a host of options, let’s see what’s available….
As you spend most of your time in the kitchen standing, it’s very important to choose something your legs do like. When you test different floors, here’s a tip: don’t just try it with your shoes on, but in stockings as well. If it’s comfortable, that’s a good first step. Be sure you cannnot hear too much when you walk in your shoes: there’s nothing more terrible than a noisy kitchen…
As your kitchen is usually the busiest spot in the house, you will want a floor that wears well. Kids, pets, heavy foot traffic and spills can all take a toll, so think about a floor’s durability and ease of maintenance.
Here are the most common options you can choose:
Wood – besides stone – is the most traditional flooring material. It fits a lot of decor styles, is warm underfoot and easy on your legs.It’s usually quiet, but if it isn’t deployed properly, it can creak. The maintenance and durability of a wood floor depends greatly on what kind of wood you use and on finish. One of the usual worries with wood is that it may scratch, but wood floors can always be sanded and refinished. For the kitchen, hardwood is the best choice but it can be quite expensive
If you like the look of wood, but want a floor that is extremely durable and requires very little maintenance, laminate is an option. Laminate is basically some base material – usually paper – pressed together in heat and pressure, then covered with a decorative paper layer – like a photo of wood – and some finish. Laminate is factory-finished, and it can be put in over an existing floor, making installation very easy. While laminate has its advantages, it’s not as warm as natural wood and some people may find it noisy.
With ceramic tile you have a whole lot of options in terms of colors and patterns. The tile is easy to clean with a damp mop, the surrounding grout can be difficult to maintain. (it might be wise to use larger tiles possible to minimize grout lines, if you like that look). Ceramic tile is harder on the legs and even harder on dropped dishes. It’s also quite noisy and rather cold.
For the budget-minded remodel, vinyl sheeting is a good bet. Vinyl is easy to install and is available in an endless array of colors and patterns. One of the drawbacks to vinyl floors is that the edges can curl. Quite easy on the legs, easy to clean but it’s not really hard-wearing.
Another option that’s quite popular is stone. It can be granite, marble, slate, and soapstone. Stone is tough and durable, but it’s something you already know. You can also use it over a radiant heating system, so it may even be warm. Not really easy on your feet (and dishes..) Although you think nothing can destroy it (which is pretty close) stains might remain there forever is you don’t use sealants periodically. Marble is maybe the most sensitive, and it can be pretty slippery too.
Recently popular, concrete might be ideal for an ultra-modern kitchen. It’s hardwearing (howerver without sealing it becomes porous and keep stains forever) but cold – but the looks are excellent, if you like the style. A great advantage is that you can seamlessly fit it anywhere, even if you have a round kitchen layout. (you can combine it with a concrete countertop as well)
If you wish to go for green with flooring, here’s a few options:
Believe it or not, linoleum, the same stuff you last saw in the 1950s, is making a comeback due to its green appeal. Made from linseed oil, cork dust, wood flour, tree resins, ground limestone and pigments, it is environmentally friendly if not really beautiful. (well, I think, that is)
Bamboo is another green option. It has the look of wood, but is made from bamboo grass, a rapid-renewable resource. If you choose bamboo because it’s eco-friendly, make sure the factory finish is formaldehyde-free.
Cork flooring, which is made from the bark of cork oak trees, is a harvested resource so it’s also eco-friendly. Cork is available in sheets and tiles. Cork is soft and warm underfoot and is extremely quiet. If sealed properly, cork can withstand moisture and can be vacuumed and damp mopped. Minor dents will be noticeable and deep scratches will permanently damage the floor.
You can choose whichever you like the most, but don’t forget, it needs to be practical as well. (I’d probably go for hardwood or concrete…)