What is the Best Type of Flooring for a Kitchen?

We ask a lot of our kitchen floors. The kitchen is one of the busiest rooms in the house, if not the busiest. It’s where more spills happen of hot and cold liquids, and it’s where you’ll find the most crumbs. It’s a  place where hungry kids and pets like to hang out because that’s where the treats are. The kitchen floor supports the weight of our heaviest appliances.

We want floors that can handle all of this and look good while they’re at it. And as with any kitchen remodeling work, we want to get the most value for our money.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the most popular flooring options.

Vinyl Kitchen Flooring

Pros

Durability: It’s built to stand up to heavy foot traffic and resist scuffs and scratches.

Comfort: Vinyl flooring has padding underneath that makes it easy on your feet. This can be a lifesaver if you spend a lot of time standing while you cook. Unlike a tile floor, vinyl doesn’t get cold to the touch–a  nice feature when you’re getting a midnight snack or morning coffee in your bare feet.

Price: You’re looking at costs two to three times cheaper per square foot than wood. Though prices vary, the cost of high-end vinyl is still substantially lower than other premium flooring options.

Versatility: Vinyl comes in a huge variety of colors, patterns, and textures. It can be made to imitate tile or wood, right down to an authentic grain.

Easy to clean: Vinyl is water resistant and hard to stain, making it a good choice for a low maintenance kitchen. It resists moisture well.

Cons

Some durability issues. While vinyl boasts great durability against normal wear and tear, it can be damaged by sharp objects or heavy loads. Consider the weight of your kitchen appliances, and maybe don’t throw knives. Repairing vinyl flooring can be costly and complicated.

Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs): That’s a scary way of saying “new car smell.” The chemicals used to make vinyl flooring let off gasses for a little while when the floor is new. It’s the same effect that causes”new car smell.” This can be a problem for people with respiratory issues

Fading: If you happen to live in one of the sunny parts of San Diego, this could be an issue down the road. UV rays cause vinyl floors to fade, causing tan lines around your furniture.

It doesn’t add value: At the end of the day, vinyl is plastic. There’s nothing wrong with plastic, it’s great for all the reasons we discussed. But nobody mentions vinyl as a selling point the way they do with hardwood or tile.

Cork Flooring for Your Kitchen

Pros

Easy to maintain: A cork floor is coated, so dirt and debris stay on the surface and are easily swept up.

Durability: Cork’s strength is in its softness. It absorbs impact and resists abrasion. When you eventually do scratch it, minor scratches become part of the unique texture of the floor.

Sustainability: They harvest cork in a way that doesn’t actually harm the trees that produce it. Humans really just borrow cork from the cork trees. Old cork floors can be recycled.

If sustainability is important to you, be sure to look into the specifics of how your cork is sourced because carbon emissions during its transportation can offset some of the eco-friendly benefits.  

Comfort: Like vinyl, cork is soft on your feet and warm when you’re barefoot.

Quiet: Unlike wood and tile, which carry noise, cork absorbs sounds making the room seem quieter. Just the thing at the end of a long day.

Hypoallergenic: Cork resists mold and mildew like you’re bound to run into at the beach, and it’s naturally hypoallergenic and antimicrobial. Perfect unless you like bacteria and microbes in your kitchen.

Cons

Dents and scratches: You have to sweep regularly to avoid pebbles and other debris creating scratches in the finish. Think about having a no-shoes policy. When you move furniture, make sure to always have something under it.

Cork Dents under heavy weight. When you’re planning your kitchen, be sure to install heavy things like dishwashers and cabinets before putting in your cork floor.

Price: Cork is the most expensive flooring option besides exotic hardwoods. The lifetime cost of a cork floor includes regular upkeep and resealing every five to eight years.

Stains and moisture: Cork is sensitive to moisture, and spills that aren’t cleaned up right away can stain it.

Linoleum Flooring

Pros

Versatility: Linoleum flooring can easily be cut to your exact needs. The color options are endless, and it can be arranged in all sorts of interesting patterns. Go nuts!

Biodegradable and sustainable: Linoleum is made from linseed oil, a plant-based substance. It’s 100% biodegradable, and its durability and long lifespan mean less waste and consumption over time.

Lifespan: The life of a linoleum floor can be measured in decades. Many warranties are good for 25 years. You can even find vintage linoleum if you want your home to have an authentic, mid-century modern look.

Easy to clean:  Linoleum is water resistant and has an almost self-healing quality when it comes to minor scratches.

Cons

Durability: Just like vinyl, linoleum’s flexibility makes it tough. But it can be damaged by sharp objects.

Like vinyl, smells for a month.

Looks:  Linoleum is not the most beautiful option for kitchen flooring, and it’s far from a selling point.

There’s a fine line between vintage and dated. It’s possible that a lot of the vintage linoleum out there belonged to people who updated their flooring in the time between the heyday of linoleum and its vintage revival.

Installation: Linoleum needs to be installed carefully, or it can peel and delaminate which doesn’t help much in the looks department. You don’t want to go the DIY route with this stuff.

Moisture issues: It may be water resistant, but linoleum doesn’t like standing water or prolonged damp. That’s true of any floor, but water damage to a linoleum floor is a nightmare to repair.

Kitchen Floor Tiles

Pros

Durability: Tiles are tough. Not only can they handle liquids, impact, extreme temperatures, and other hazards that aren’t unheard of in a kitchen, they can probably outlast you and your home. Anyone who’s traveled to a place with ancient ruins knows that tile floors can outlast the civilizations that laid them down. Wile the floor might require some T.L.C over the years, the tiles themselves can last centuries!

Easy to clean: Tiles are super hard. This makes them water resistant and difficult to scratch. Cleaning is as simple as mopping the floor. You might find that your cooking actually improves when you’re not afraid to make a mess. Tiles are a natural choice for a professional-grade kitchen.

Design options: Tiles come in almost any cut and color imaginable. I guess you could say they’re very versatile!

Value: A nice tile floor is right up there with hardwood when it comes to adding value to your home.

Cons

Comfort: Tiles are cold on bare feet, and their hardness can make them uncomfortable to stand on for long periods. They have no give, unlike some of your other flooring options.

Not kid-friendly: A hard tile floor isn’t the most forgiving surface for roughhousing or learning to walk. Tiles don’t muffle sound at all; they make your house louder.

Weight: You need the right kind of floor to support the weight of the tiles themselves plus whatever’s on top of them. Tiles won’t dent under heavy loads, but they can crack if not properly backed.

Price: Tiles can get as expensive as you’re willing to pay. As with wood, your options include rare and exotic varieties from around the world.  

Wood Flooring in The Kitchen

Pros

Value: Hardwood has the highest ROI of any kitchen flooring option when you consider its lifetime durability.

Looks: Wood floors are classic, timeless, and neutral in color. Wood will never go out of style or seem dated, unlike your kitchen itself. You’ll save on future kitchen remodeling by having a floor that doesn’t need to be updated with your cabinets and appliances.  

Comfort: Wood is cozy. It retains heat which is good for your feet and your heating bill.

Eco-friendly options: While you can’t get a wood floor without killing trees, there are eco-friendly options out there like bamboo and reclaimed wood.

Maintenance: A wood kitchen floor can be sanded, refinished, and resealed. This increases its lifespan by decades and makes it possible to erase years of wear and tear.

Cons

Vulnerable to moisture: No floor likes moisture, but for a wood floor, leaks can spell disaster.  Water damage stains and warps. There’s not much that can be done once moisture has penetrated the wood.

Not always pet-friendly: You need to make sure that your finish can stand up to claws and paws.  

Noise: Wood, like tile, amplifies sound–As anyone who’s been in an empty house and shouted “echo!” knows.

Upfront cost: The ROI from a wood floor comes from its long life and timeless appeal. The upfront costs of installing wood are the highest of any flooring both in terms of materials and installation.

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Whether you’re interested in the classic comfort of wood or modern practicality of vinyl or you prefer low-maintenance tile, give us a call, and we’ll help you figure out the best flooring for you, your kitchen, and your budget.