The kitchen is where folks cook, work, eat, and gather together. Picture all the drips and crumbs, pointy heels rushing out the house, and bar stools scraping away from islands. Your choice of flooring has to withstand all these daily pressures while looking stylish and meeting your budget and long-term plans.
Take these factors into consideration, and then, if you have doubts about your DIY capabilities, hire a professional installation company to complete the job and protect your investment.
Kitchens generally see a lot of wear and tear; if you entertain frequently or expect heavy foot traffic with running kids and their friends, you'll need durable flooring. You don't want your floor to get dinged every time a pot or knife falls.
Strong, low-maintenance materials include bamboo, ceramic tiles, concrete, hardwood, linoleum, natural stone tiles, and vinyl.
When you're planning to remodel the kitchen of your forever home, make practical choices that keep safety in mind. Concrete, stone, and tile flooring can be slippery and hurt more if you or a loved one falls. They're also tougher on your joints if you often stand to prepare meals.
Cork provides cushioning, so you're less likely to feel knee or back pain, and if you slip, it's a softer landing. The same goes for rubber, which isn't conventional in residential settings but is becoming more popular. If your heart is set on a contemporary hard floor, lay down foam or washable rugs to lessen the risk and increase comfort.
Stone and tile floors won't trap dust, dander, and other allergens, but if you’re not keen on these materials, consider sourcing hickory or walnut with a non-toxic stain and adhesive. Otherwise, wood flooring comes with the off-gassing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from varnishes and glues, which can trigger reactions like a running nose and wheezing.
Even though off-gassing eventually fades, depending on the products, chemicals can leach out within two weeks or be a problem for many years.
Kitchens are often the heart of a home, so if you have pets, you need a floor that can withstand nails that scratch, drool that stains, and other furbaby accidents. Combat these concerns with durable natural stone, ceramic tiles, vinyl, or eco-friendly linoleum flooring.
Cleft granite has a rough look that masks claw marks, and when sealed, it's pretty water-repellent. You can put a layer under vinyl to make it easier on the body.
Do you know your way around a set of tools? DIY-friendly options for kitchen flooring last a long time and will save you a lot of dough on installation, as long as you can walk the talk. Cork, vinyl, laminate, and ceramic tiles are the top contenders for self-starter projects.
Install vinyl right over your subfloor to save money—it's a pretty straightforward process. The luxury plank clicks together, but you can get more affordable peel-and-stick planks too. Opt for water-resistant laminate or ceramic tile for longevity, but note that the latter can cost more than expected with the additional materials you'll need.
If you have kids or you're prone to dropping dishes, cork is a shock-absorbing, bouncy material that lessens the likelihood of your crockery breaking—which has financial and injury implications.
Bamboo floors are stain-resistant, and hardwood floors are less porous, so they limit bacteria growth, but they might not manage with trikes and scooters that scratch. Harder floors are also riskier for toddlers prone to falls. Laminate flooring is a great option for spills and dropped objects, but look for products with low VOC emissions.
Tenants come and go. Some will treat your place with the care they'd show their own hard-earned property, and others will be less conscientious. Even someone with the best of intentions can accidentally cause damage.
As a landlord, you need to strike a balance between durability and cost. Solid choices include vinyl sheets, LVF, engineered and waterproof hardwoods, and laminate flooring. Laminate flooring looks expensive but costs a fraction of the other options.
Small kitchens benefit from larger tiles in a single color and fewer grout lines—they make the room feel airier and more spacious. Small tiles can make a tight kitchen feel even more cramped. Create the illusion of a bigger kitchen with herringbone or large checkerboard patterns.
The modern farmhouse aesthetic and open floor plans have increased the number of kitchens with hardwood floors instead of tiles. Natural wood floors warm up spaces and tend to be durable.
Some trees produce softer wood than others, and scratches and dents are possible. Water can also warp wood. Swelling is less likely with engineered wood or water-resistant woodgrain vinyl, which makes these materials good choices for an on-trend but potentially damp basement kitchen.
Cork is the coziest flooring, and the thicker, the better. Luxury vinyl flooring planks (LVF) are warmer than other vinyl choices, but you can improve insulation under laminate and vinyl with foam padding.
Rubber flooring is another good route for cold climates. If you're determined to use ceramic tiles or stone, save up for under-floor heating, which will make these typically cold but highly conductive materials feel positively toasty. Check whether a particular material has radiant heat approval, or consider a good scattering of washable area rugs.