How to Choose Flooring for a Kitchen

Are you in the midst of planning a kitchen renovation? You have probably spent countless hours looking at cabinetry and countertops. You have considered the options for gourmet or commercial-grade appliances. You probably have selected a stylish, but functional sink. But have you spent time considering what kind of flooring you will put in your kitchen?

Often, kitchen flooring is an afterthought in the kitchen renovation or designing process. Selecting the right floor for your kitchen is important because it is often the flooring that makes or breaks a kitchen style. Certain types of flooring are comfortable to stand on for a long time, and others are easy to clean. Durability and overall cost of kitchen flooring does vary. So, you do not want to make a last minute selection that was not properly considered, leading to busted budgets, clashing of styles, hard to clean flooring, or a kitchen floor that cannot stand up to heavy foot traffic.

A kitchen is often the centerpiece of the home, where family and friends spend most of their time together. So you want it to look fantastic, remain functional and be easy to clean. You need to consider the following factors when selecting a kitchen floor. What flooring makes sense in a busy and messy kitchen? What flooring is comfortable to stand on during long cooking sessions? How much will the flooring materials and installation cost? What floors are durable and easy to clean?

First, a quick overview of kitchen flooring material options:

Engineered Wood - This engineered wood core with a solid hardwood or laminate veneer is a popular option for the busy, but stylish kitchen. Engineered wood is designed to resist moisture and remain durable for decades.

Hardwood - The choice for pure style and ambiance. Hardwood floors are traditional, durable and available in an array of hardwood choices and stains.

Travertine - A beautiful option for a sense of opulence. Polished travertine is easy to care for, extremely durable and stain resistant.

Bamboo - This is a renewable wood that has a beautiful appearance, but durable and comfortable to stand on.

Vinyl - A low cost and durable material that has remained popular for kitchen flooring. The classic checkerboard pattern is undergoing resurgence in many gourmet kitchens.

Cork - This is a sustainable, natural, quiet, durable and comfortable option that looks stunning in the kitchen. Cork flooring costs the same as hardwood, but cork trees grow to maturity in under ten years, while hardwood trees can take decades to over half a century to reach maturity.

Linoleum - A flooring product made from linseed oil, cork, limestone and wood pulp, this is a green option that is anti-bacterial and sustainable. It is available in any color, pattern, or design that can be imagined.

Tile - A classic choice for a kitchen that sees a lot of traffic but is also a showpiece. Durable, stain resistant, and easy to clean, tile floors can also be heated for year-round comfort.

Other Flooring Materials - A homeowner has so many options to choose from that can truly make a statement in a kitchen. From concrete, brick, flagstone, painted floors to reclaimed materials, the possibilities are endless.

Major Considerations in Choosing a Kitchen Floor Material - The 3 "C's:"

Cleaning: Not all flooring materials are easy to clean. While hardwood floors are stained and sealed, they also expand and contract with the weather, which creates cracks in the seals where liquids can penetrate into the grain and cause warping and staining. Floors such as tile, flagstone, brick, travertine, and cork need to be treated and sealed for water resistance. Also consider that food, dirt and other foreign material will pack into porous materials.

Comfort: Different kitchen floors have different levels of comfort. The king of comfort is the supple and pliable cork, but a brick, tile or stone floor might be hard on the feet and joints of many people after prolonged standing.

Cost: This is often the point that makes or breaks a kitchen floor. Flooring is sold by the square foot, which requires accurate measurement plus a waste factor of typically 10%. Most installers will require a waste factor or they will not take the job without additional fees. Removal and disposal of old floors needs to be considered. Installation will require delivery fees, underlayment and other squeak reducing materials, options such as heat elements, and labor. It is wise to contact competent flooring contractors that will give estimates of costs before proceeding with a project.