Choosing the right kitchen floor materials when remodeling is often a challenging task. There are many options from which to select today. Some homeowners stick with classic vinyl and linoleum floor designs, while others return to an earlier tradition of hardwoods. Even with these options, there are still more modern options to select from including green designs, ceramic tile, and laminate wood flooring.
Hardwood Flooring: Solid or Engineered
Hardwood flooring in a kitchen can bring warmth and a lifetime of durability.
Solid Hardwood – this kitchen flooring can be sanded and refinished over several generations of use. One of the characteristics of solid wood flooring is that it expands and contracts with changes in your home’s relative humidity. Solid wood can be installed in any kitchen, except for one in a basement. Maple, beech, birch, and pecan hardwood flooring has three grades:
- First – best appearance, natural colors, and limited marks.
- Second – discreet markings and colors.
- Third – rustic appearance with nail, knot, and markings.
A tip when choosing solid hardwood is to select beveled edge planks, because these edges add a more casual feel.
Engineered Wood – this kitchen flooring is manmade and is manufactured by binding together wood strands, particles, fibers, or veneers of wood together with adhesives to form composite materials.
Tip – when selecting engineered wood, check the thickness of the veneer or wear layer. Thicker veneer or wear layers have the ability to be refinished.
Laminate Flooring: Durability and Designed to Do It Yourself
This kitchen flooring material is exceptionally stain resistant, requiring little routine care and maintenance. The introduction of glueless laminates has opened the door for those who like to do it yourself.
Laminate Flooring – is a representation of real hardwood with excellent durability. This flooring material is easier to install and maintain than hardwoods. The flooring is available in a large selection of styles and designs. Each wood species displays its own unique characteristics, each lending itself to a different design aspect. Laminate flooring can be laid over existing flooring materials that are in good condition.
Tip – laminate flooring is ideal for a homeowner who wants to do it yourself and is a good weekend home remodeling project.
Ceramic Tile: Stain Resistant and Durable
This kitchen flooring material is easily customized by using specific colors and patterns. Although ceramic tile is easy to clean, grout lines are difficult to maintain.
Ceramic Tile Flooring – this flooring material tile does not fade, absorb odors, burn, and is resistant to stain. When selecting a tile, homeowners should always consider slip resistance characteristics, especially in a kitchen where water and spills are common.
Ceramic tile categories for kitchens are:
- P.E.I 3 – medium heavy areas
- P.E.I 4 – heavy traffic areas
Tip – install ceramic tile flooring using large tiles to reduce the number of grout lines that are difficult to keep clean.
Green Kitchen: Flooring that is Environmental Friendly
Green living is sweeping the country as people become more environmentally friendly, which also includes the type of flooring materials they select for their kitchens.
Bamboo Flooring – this kitchen flooring has earth friendly properties and is an acceptable flooring material. Bamboo is an engineered flooring material manufactured by binding together bamboo wood strands, particles, and fibers together with glue.
Tip – remove this material from its boxes and expose the bamboo flooring to kitchen conditions for several days prior to installation to avoid shrinkage.
Cork Flooring – this kitchen flooring originated in Europe over 300 years ago and is known for its durability. This flooring is available in solid tiles or as engineered flooring. The resiliency of cork makes the flooring highly scratch and dent resistant, along with being stain resistant.
Tip – when choosing this material, select cork flooring that has a 100 percent natural wax finish. This wax has not been diluted with oil or water.
Vinyl Flooring: Economical and Budget Minded
Although quite durable and easily maintained, plastic vinyl flooring does not have a good reputation. This poor status is primarily due to its non-quality material appearance. However, vinyl is making a comeback as the flooring industry introduces more modern styles and designs that fit well in contemporary and modern kitchens.
Tip – when installing kitchen vinyl flooring leave an eighth of an inch gap between the vinyl and the wall, so that the plastic flooring has room to expand.
For most homeowners remodeling a kitchen floor the focus is on appearance, durability, comfort, and a good return on investment. This focus is based on the fact that today’s kitchens are typically bigger, more open, and the most heavily trafficked area in a home. Kitchens are also often the center of entertaining and a favorite family gathering spot.
Rating: 4 out of 5