Kitchen Flooring 101: Find Your Material Match

Floors take a beating under the best of circumstances, but nowhere more than in the kitchen — command fundamental for cooking, homework, family gatherings and much more. So it’s essential to find a kitchen floor which can withstand continuous traffic and create the design statement you want. Below we summarize the advantages and disadvantages of flooring materials. Which one’s right for you?

More: Guide into a Kitchen Remodel

Ceramic Tile

The quintessential kitchen flooring coating, ceramic tile is a fail-safe bet for nearly any budget and style. Your options for color, size, shape and pattern are virtually limitless, so you can make the appearance that suits you best, whether that is sleek and modern or lavish Old Earth.

Pros: Ceramic tile stands up to wear and tear, from muddy footprints to spills and splashes, like a champ and is supereasy to clean. The huge variety of low-priced options makes it among the most affordable flooring choices. And thanks to tile modular, DIY-friendly character, you can easily think of a custom pattern even on a tight budget.

Cons: Tile can crack as flooring settle, as well as a dish or glass dropped on it’s virtually guaranteed to shatter. It also can be chilly and hard underfoot, so use a rug or a cushioned mat to cancel the discomfort. Moisture makes tile slick; a honed or textured surface can provide slightly more grip. Grout needs periodic sealing and special cleaning to keep stains.

Price: About $3 to $8 per square foot, uninstalled. How to Shop for Ceramic Tile

Dillard Pierce Design Associates

Natural Stone

Whether they’re manufactured from limestone, slate, granite or travertine, natural stone flooring have one major asset: their variant. No two pieces of rock have precisely the exact same color, pattern or texture, and also the gaps create a visual depth that is hard to replicate. Stone also creates an elegant, gracious appearance that immediately leaves a kitchen feel more relaxing.

Pros: Stone flooring have been around for centuries, so it will not get more classic than this. Like concrete and tile, they’re cool underfoot, a blessing in hot climates. They are durable and need little daily maintenance. And did we mention the natural beauty?

Cons: Stone is pricey and not for the DIY-minded. The tiny crannies in its surface can trap dirt. Scratches and chips can be an issue with softer rock, for example travertine; slate’s layers are proven to peel over time. Porous stone will require protective sealing at fixed intervals.

Price: About $15 to $30 per square foot, uninstalled. How to Find the Right Stone Tile

Martha O’Hara Interiors

Solid Wood

Character is a great artisan — it’s tough to match the warmth and allure of solid wood. Even in a place with a lot of moisture and heavy foot traffic, wood can last indefinitely if it’s properly treated and cared for. It is a perennial classic, and it develops a rich patina with use and time.

Pros: If you need thin strips of walnut or wide planks of pine, there is a wood which will look just right in your kitchen. Wood never goes out of style, which means you won’t need to think about updating it as your house evolves. It can be sanded and refinished to keep it looking its best.

Cons: you’ll have to keep on top of spills; liquids can cause damage if they’re not wiped up straight away. Wood scratches and dents easily, so it is going to require periodic refinishing. Even though it’s not as unyielding as tile or concrete, it also isn’t as comfortable as cork or vinyl.

Price: About $4 to $12 per square foot, uninstalled.

Introduction to Solid Plank Floors

The Sky is the Limit Style


It was that vinyl’s most important benefit was price — it was not just considered chic. But that is changed: Nowadays this material comes in a sophisticated range of finishes and designs. It is available in sheets or tiles which mimic stone, wood, ceramic tile and much more, embossed with textures that look and feel amazingly realistic.

Pros: Among the most affordable flooring options on the market, vinyl can approximate the appearance of pricier substances at a fraction of the cost. It is a snap to clean, easy to spot if a place gets damaged, and comfortable underfoot. Besides, you can usually install it by yourself, which eliminates the cost of hiring an expert.

Cons: Vinyl can dent, bubble or curl over time. Sharp objects can tear it, and grit and dirt can scratch and dull its own end. It also can fade in strong sunlight. Compared with other flooring materials, its life span is shorter (it will begin to show wear after five decades or so).

Price: About $1 to $5 per square foot, uninstalled.

Debra Toney, AIA Assoc.


People tend to confuse linoleum with vinyl, but it’s a completely different substance. A staple through the first half of the 20th century, linoleum — a natural material made from linseed oil, resins, wood flour and much more — fell from favor since synthetic flooring came into vogue. But in the past few decades, its green cred and retro-cool look have caught the interest of ecoconscious consumers and style savants. It is perfect for old-fashioned cottages and midcentury interiors.

Pros: Much of linoleum’s allure lies in its flexibility. Because it comes in only about every color you can imagine, it is possible to go as lively or as daring as you want. It can be readily cut into one-of-a-kind patterns, such as the circular motif pictured here. Additionally, it’s cheap, durable and easy to keep.

Cons: Linoleum can fade and wear with use and time. Many producers include a protective coating before the material is sold; with no coating, the flooring may require periodic polishing and waxing. Linoleum can also be tricky to use, so even hardcore DIY-ers will probably require assistance from an expert.

Price: About $4 to $7 a square foot, uninstalled. Customized colors and patterns increase the price tag.

More about linoleum and vinyl flooring

Archipelago Hawaii Luxury Home Designs


Sustainably harvested and all organic, cork has grown in popularity in the last few decades. While its distinctive appearance isn’t for everybody, people that love it value its strong patterns and feel, its warm appearance and its own ecofriendliness.

Pros: Resilient and flexible, cork offers a great deal of comfort underfoot, and it can absorb the shock from a dropped bowl or cup (translation: less prospect of breakage). It holds warmth and absorbs noise, giving a comfy feel. And it’s rich in suberin, a natural substance that protects against mould, mildew, rot and pests.

Cons: Cork holds up well, but not without a little TLC. Because grit and dirt can scar it, you’ll need to remain on top of vacuuming and sweeping, and you will also need to reseal it regularly with polyurethane or wax. Small dings, such as from a dropped knife, will “heal” on their own, however major scars are harder to repair. Cork can also fade over time.

Price: About $2 to $12 per square foot, uninstalled. Cork Flooring 101

Merzbau Design Collective


Concrete flooring has come a long way in the times when it had been relegated to basements or hidden under carpets. Its star has improved in the plan world due to its edginess and industrial-chic appearance. No more does a concrete flooring mean a dull swath of grey; today, it can be stained, stamped, acid or felt etched for visual panache.

Pros: Concrete remains cool even in the hottest weather, so it’s perfect for warm climates. It is virtually indestructible, regardless of what you spill on it drag across it. And should you get tired of this look, you’ll have a ready-made subfloor for carpeting, tile or a different surface.

Cons: Concrete is difficult to work with, which means you’ll almost certainly require expert installation. As with stone and tile, concrete can be unforgiving on feet. It is porous, so sealing is a must to ward stains off — especially in a high-traffic area such as a kitchen. And some people find it just plain chilly.

Price: Using a basic concrete floor poured from scratch can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on how big their distance and other factors. Concrete finishing remedies, such as staining, stamping or etching, range from approximately $2 per square foot to $15 or more per square foot.

Archipelago Hawaii Luxury Home Designs


Laminate flooring, which consists of many layers of engineered material sandwiched together, was made to imitate the appearance of wood or tile. It resists scratches and scuffs, thanks to an internal “wear layer,” so it’s fantastic for homeowners whose kitchens must contend with little kids, pets or exceptionally heavy usage.

Pros: Laminate requires very little upkeep — only sweep and damp-mop. It’s easy to find in “floating,” or glueless, variations which make DIY installation a breeze. Costs are moderate.

Cons: Although it may look like wood or tile from a space, it will not substitute for its thickness and feel of these substances. Unlike wood, laminate can not be refinished — if it starts showing its age, it is going to need to be replaced completely.

Price: About $2 to $4 per square foot, uninstalled. More about laminate flooring

Robin Rigby Fisher CMKBD/CAPS


Though bamboo looks like wood, it’s actually a grass. That means you might be surprised by how durable bamboo flooring can be. Its density allows it to resist busy spaces and busy lifestyles. It’s been popular in recent decades not only for its sturdiness, but also for its affordability relative to hardwood and for its delicate, variegated look.

Pros: Bamboo develops so quickly that it’s considered a sustainable choice for green construction. It is low maintenance, requiring no special maintenance, and springier underfoot compared to wood. And it lends a touch of worldly design without the cost of a tropical or other exotic hardwood.

Cons: The range of color options is thinner than with traditional woods. It isn’t as moisture resistant as several different substances — in high-humidity climates or spaces, it can warp. A lot of the bamboo on the market is imported from countries that may have less rigorous quality regulations than in the United States, so it’s important to research sources.

Price: About $4 to $9 per square foot, uninstalled.

Ecofriendly Kitchen Flooring
5 Innovative Wood Floors
An Introduction to Solid Plank Wood Floors
When to Use Engineered Wood Floors
Laminate Floors: Get the Appearance of Wood (and much more) for Less

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