Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Kitchen Flooring: Classic and Innovative Options

When homeowners are building their dream kitchen, most look for the best flooring material they can afford. Money is an important consideration when shopping for flooring, but durability, maintenance and sustainability also matter. Because there are multiple factors to consider and increasingly more kitchen flooring options, your contractor will use information about your family makeup and lifestyle to help you make the right choice for your taste and décor.

At one time, tile and linoleum were the only two options in kitchen flooring, but nowadays, contractors offer a wide variety of alternatives for one of the busiest rooms in the house.  

Here’s a look at both traditional and innovative flooring choices that will make the heart of your home a welcome, yet functional masterpiece.

The Classics

Ceramic Tile

Perhaps the quintessential option for kitchen flooring, ceramic tile is durable, cost-effective and versatile. With a wide variety of colors, sizes, shapes and patterns, it’s easy to find a ceramic tile that fits your décor.
Pros: Durable, Resistant to dents, water and stains. Easy to clean. Affordable. DIY-friendly.
Cons: Tile may crack as floor settles, and low quality tiles may chip. Dropped dishes will almost certainly break. Can be cold and hard on the feet. Grout needs to be sealed periodically.
Cost:  $3 to $8 per square foot.


Wildly popular in kitchen flooring during the first half of the 20th century, linoleum seemed to peak in the 1950s. Thanks to environmentally conscious homeowners, however, it’s making a comeback. Great for old-fashioned cottages and midcentury interiors, this all-natural material will give your kitchen that retro-chic look.

Pros: Style and color versatility. Affordable. Durable. Easy to clean.  Comfortable to stand on. Can last 40 years or more.
Cons: Can wear and fade with time and use. Requires professional installation. Requires periodic waxing and polishing. Not appropriate for luxury décor.
Cost: $2 to $7 per square foot.

The Avant Garde


Since modern floor plans are more open, wood floors are becoming more popular in kitchens. Wood is naturally warm and inviting, so it fits with almost any décor and makes a great flooring choice if you want to complement both a living and cooking space.
Pros: Never goes out of style. Can be sanded and refinished to maintain a fresh look. Renewable and recyclable. Is warm underfoot and easy on the legs.

Cons: Liquid can damage wood if not cleaned up immediately. Dents and scratches easily. 

Cost: $4 to $12 per square foot.


One of the hottest trends in kitchen flooring, bamboo has the look of wood, but is even more eco-friendly. Bamboo is perfect for a warm, tropical or Asian vibe, but be sure to look for bamboo that has been treated with natural-based adhesives, rather than the toxic substance, formaldehyde.  
Pros: Low maintenance. Highly sustainable. Naturally anti-bacterial. DIY-friendly.

Cons: Narrower range of color choices. Can warp in high-humidity climates. Can be more expensive than laminate.

Cost: $4 to $9 per square foot.


Once found only in basements and under carpets, concrete has come a long way in recent years as an out and proud flooring option. No longer limited to the dullest shade of gray, concrete can now be stained, stamped, scored and acid-etched to create visual interest  in your industrial-chic, edgy kitchen.
Pros: Slow to heat up, helps kitchen stay at a comfortable temperature. Easy clean up. Resistant to chipping and fading. Acid-staining can mimic tile, marble, slate and hardwood.
Cons: Requires professional installation. Cold and hard on the feet.

Cost: $2 to $15 per square foot.

Sources: “Top Five Flooring Types” by Juan Rodriguez, “Solid and Engineered Wood Flooring” by Bob Formisano, “Kitchen Flooring 101: Find Your Material Match” by Lisa Frederick, “Kitchen Flooring Essentials” by Alicia Garceau, “Fresh Flooring Options for Kitchens” by Katie Allison Granju,, “Kitchen Flooring Buying Guide”  by Allegra Muzzillo, DIY Life


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