The floor is the largest surface in your kitchen, and its color, style, material and texture set the tone for the entire look of the space. In addition to being a design statement, it must work well with the other elements of your kitchen, such as the style of your cabinetry, counter tops and furnishings.
Kitchen flooring has the added requirement of being durable. From meals to craft projects to just hanging out, a lot of activities happen in the kitchen and your floors need to withstand foot traffic as well as an occasional dropped dish or pan. You also want it to be easy to maintain; spills are common here and you don’t want to worry about stains every time someone drops a beverage.
When choosing the right material, there are four basic choices – tile, wood, vinyl and laminate – and each has pros and cons. Which one is right for your family?
Tile. The most durable choice is tile or stone. It stands up to heavy traffic, resists scratches and dents, and is easy to clean. It also comes in a wide variety of colors and finishes, and you can add another design element to your room with decorative borders. Tile does have some disadvantages. First, if your home is older or has structural movement, you risk cracking. It might be wise to install a new subfloor that can eliminate this from happening. Some tile is slippery when wet, so if you have toddlers or family members with limited mobility, this can be a concern; choose a tile with a more textured surface. And since tile is hard, it can be uncomfortable to stand on for long periods of time.
Wood. Wood is a popular choice for today’s kitchens. The material has more give so it feels better underfoot than tile, and wood has a warm design aesthetic that goes with any style home or cabinetry. Wood is also very long lasting; it can be stripped and refinished for years to come, restoring its beauty and changing its look. Wood does have disadvantages. It can be damaged by moisture and it can become scratched. Make sure you apply a protective finish, such as polyurethane, to help guard against these issues.
Laminate. Get the look of wood or stone at a fraction of the price by choosing laminate flooring. Available in planks and strips, laminate is easy to install by gluing it directly over your existing flooring. It’s resistant to dents and scratches, and it offers a layer of cushioning that can be more comfortable than wood or tile. Unlike wood, however, laminate flooring cannot be stripped or refinished. That means it won’t last as long or allow you to change the stain.
Vinyl. Vinyl is a very resilient material and offers a widest variety of styles and colors in either tiles or sheets. It’s one of the most inexpensive flooring options, too, which is great for homeowners on a budget. Easy to maintain, vinyl flooring also has a lot of give, which makes it comfortable underfoot and reduces the chances of plates and glasses breaking when dropped. The disadvantages of vinyl are few; this flooring choice won’t improve your home’s resale value, and dropping a sharp object on the floor could damage the surface.