Exploring Kitchen Floors: The Best Flooring Options for Your Kitchen

Although many homes boast well appointment “family rooms,” everyone knows that the heart and hub of a home is its kitchen. It’s where busy families prepare meals with love, pore over homework, debate current events, and sip that critical cup of morning coffee. It’s the artery through which tired, heavy feet tread, and where happy toes celebrate the victories of life.

It stands to reason, then, that the floors in this important space need to withstand the triumphs and tribulations of a busy life: post-game victory celebrations, dinner parties, shattered dishes, and Julia Child-inspired cooking catastrophes. Your kitchen floor needs to be as tough and resilient as you are, but it also needs to reflect your personal style.

With so many kitchen flooring options, choosing the right one can be overwhelming -- and many homeowners find it difficult to find the perfect fit. Before you even begin considering flooring materials, take a moment to reflect on your lifestyle and to think about the kind of use your kitchen floors need to withstand.  

 

Considerations for Choosing a Kitchen Floor

Lifestyle

If Anthony Bourdain, Rachel Ray, Guy Fieri, or Giada de Laurentiis are your culinary inspirations, and you think of yourself as the star of your very own Nashville cooking show, then it’s pretty likely that not only do you spend hours on your feet, but that your stove is oil-splattered and your floor bears corresponding stains. So if you’re a sauce spiller and a knife dropper, it’s best to own up before you make a flooring decision you’ll regret. And, let’s face it, even if you’re the cleanest of cooks, but kids or pets are in the mix, your floors need to complement your life.

Personal Style

Never fear, it’s possible to choose a flooring option that meets your lifestyle as well as your personal style. Take a moment to look around your home and think about whether your favor rustic wood, traditional tile, or modern simplicity. Then consider the size of your kitchen and the colors, textures, and patterns you favor.

 

The Best Kitchen Flooring Options for Your Home and Life

To help you select the best flooring solution for your kitchen, here are a few pros and cons of some of the most common kitchen flooring options:

Hardwood Floors

Pros: Wood never goes out of style. Whether you’re looking for thin strips of custom stained oak to match the rest of your Craftsman bungalow, or plank pine to keep costs down, wood is a solution that will stand the test of time. According to HouseLogic, if you’re thinking about selling your home, hardwood offers a great return on investment.

Cons: Spills can cause lasting damage if they’re not cleaned immediately. Also, wood chips, dents, and scratches easily; so if perfection is your thing, wood may not be the solution you’re seeking. While it’s not as tough on your legs and back as concrete or tile, it isn’t as forgiving as cork or vinyl.

Reclaimed Wood Flooring

Pros: Reused and recycled wood flooring adds charm and character to a kitchen. It shares many of the benefits of new hardwood, but with added environmental and aesthetic benefits.

Cons: Reclaimed barnwood may require extensive refinishing and may be more expensive than other kitchen flooring options.

Vinyl Flooring

Pros: It’s one of the most inexpensive flooring options out there and today’s options are more sophisticated and realistic than ever before. It’s available in sheets or tiles and can mimic stone, wood, or ceramic. It’s easy on the feet and it’s a breeze to clean. Savvy homeowners may can even install it themselves.

Cons: Improperly installed vinyl can dent, bubble, or peel over time. Sharp objects may permanently alter the finish. Because of the softer finish, heavy traffic, dirt, and even sun exposure may shorten its lifespan.

Tile

Pros: Tile is as tough as it is gorgeous. From muddy feet to cooking catastrophes, tile is easy to clean and and can handle hard use. Tile varieties -- from realistic wood-look to subway tile to natural slate and marble -- are nearly endless and can run the range from affordable to extravagant. For those worried about cold feet, radiant floor heating keeps your tile floor as warm and welcoming as your kitchen. Creative minds enjoy an infinite array of custom patterns and varied color palettes.

Cons: Even the toughest tiles can shatter under intense pressure; and if your fingers are buttery, dropped crockery is pretty much guaranteed to shatter. Tile can be chilly and slippery, so cozy indoor slippers,  washable rugs, or radiant floor heating are advisable. If you’re a devoted cook, unforgiving tile can cause leg and back strain. Some homeowners may find cleaning grout challenging.

Laminate Flooring

Pros: Laminate flooring is an engineered floor designed to mimic wood or tile. It’s super-easy to clean and maintain and it’s perfect for apartments or heavily-used kitchens. It’s resistant to scuffing, punctures, and hard wear and tear.

Cons: Although it’s designed to look like wood or tile, no one’s going to mistake it for the real thing. And once a laminate floor begins to show it’s age, complete replacement is in your future.