Best Kitchen Flooring
What is the Best Kitchen Flooring?
Not all flooring solutions are equal and when it comes to Kitchens, and a number of aspects should be carefully considered when selecting the type of flooring which will work best for you, your kitchen, and your lifestyle. Here we look at the flooring to avoid, flooring which should be considered and the best kitchen flooring all-rounders.
How do I choose the right flooring for my Kitchen?
When we think about what makes a house a home we think about the personal touches, the photos on the walls, the little touches of personality...but most of all we think of the people who gather and bring life to the bricks and mortar. For many, the kitchen is truly the hub of the home, it is where we gather friends and family for meals, it is where parties seem to congregate and it is where so much daily activity takes place!
You put your kitchen floor through a lot. With spillages and drips, dropped utensils and frequent foot traffic, kitchen flooring has to be able to handle all that life can throw at it - and look good in the process! It should be comfortable underfoot, whether you are pattering barefoot into the kitchen in search of a midnight snack or if you are ambling about after a long day at work preparing an evening meal. It should be stain-resistant, easy to clean and low maintenance whilst also being hard wearing and durable.
There are many flooring solutions on the market but not every material is well suited to the kitchen (carpet for example!) and making the right choice can ensure the longevity of your kitchen flooring. There are some key things to consider - do you need to be mindful of compatibility with underfloor heating? Who uses the space most? Do you have children or pets who need to be thought about? How do you figure out the best kitchen flooring for you? Balancing function, comfort, and style can elevate the kitchen space and ensure that it will work well for you for many years to come. Your flooring experts at Hamilton Flooring can help advise on the best kitchen flooring for your home!
What are the best options for Kitchen Floors?
So, what is the best floor for a kitchen? Traditional options like hardwood and tile are beginning to lessen in popularity with options such as luxury vinyl tile/plank, wood effect flooring and eco-friendly options like bamboo and cork leading the way for affordable, stylish and durable kitchen flooring solutions. Here at Hamilton flooring we have broken down Kitchen flooring options with three main descriptors; Avoid, Consider & Go for it!
Kitchen Flooring to Avoid
Carpet and Carpet Tiles in the Kitchen?
First things first, we are very pro the mixing and matching of flooring and textures through residential and commercial properties, but it can’t be stated enough that carpet does not belong in the kitchen! Carpeting a kitchen would lead to sticky messes, significant issues cleaning and the fibres of the carpet grabbing hold of those cooking and cleaning aromas and trapping them, creating a cacophony of scent which would soon become problematic - not the best kitchen flooring solution! Whilst the softness associated with carpet may seem appealing whilst cooking, the tendency to soak up liquids, stains and pretty much anything dropped on the floor means that we would suggest area rugs as a more suitable solution - this has the added bonus that rugs provide the option to swap and change your decor with minor tweaks if you want.
The Luxury of a Marble Kitchen Floor?
Although not necessarily in the budget of most homeowners, marble is a popular material for kitchens. However, we would suggest avoiding marble as a Kitchen flooring option - although marble worktops and cutting blocks can create a stunning impact. Yes, it is luxurious but it is also a porous natural stone - this means it will scratch and stain easily, creating imperfections which are less than ideal - particularly when the material is significantly costly. Marble is particularly popular for Americana styling and for top level luxury but the hard, cold and patina prone surface is not the most suitable surface for an everyday kitchen.
Kitchen Floors to Consider
The flooring options which follow are those which have characteristics which lend themselves to kitchen flooring but have potential downsides which should be considered in terms of your lifestyle and the way you use your space before selecting these as your flooring solution.
Laminate: Affordable Kitchen Flooring
In the not so distant past, laminate was the ‘in thing’ and considered one of the best kitchen flooring options, especially for those on a budget. With laminate flooring it absolutely pays to invest in a high quality product. Whilst there's a multitude of budget options available, for kitchens a hardwearing and water-resistant surface is needed which is not necessarily going to be achieved with a lower end laminate. Higher-quality laminates present a more realistic design (avoid the cheaper - kind of looks like wood ish but not quite - appearances) and planks which would survive minor spills and splashes. Laminate is fairly hardy in terms of scuffs and scratches although when damage does occur it is more troublesome to repair than other flooring types. Laminate is made up of an HDF core, melamine backing and a wear layer encased high-resolution image creating the appearance of wood, stone or tile. Not all Laminate flooring is compatible with underfloor heating systems and some will require underlay or additional preparation. Laminate is a relatively affordable option that doesn't require intensive maintenance or regular resealing.
Ceramic, Porcelain or Terracotta Tiles: A Good Option for Kitchens?
Tile can make for an incredibly striking finish for a kitchen floor and are generally low maintenance, hygienic and easy to clean. Porcelain is a harder version of ceramic tile and it comes with a price tag to match! Although Ceramic and Terracotta tiles are slightly more affordable and have many of those desirable features of porcelain tile, they are prone to chipping and cracking. Tile is generally underfloor heating compatible and available in several design types but without an under floor heating system, tile will be cold and the lack of ‘give’ in the surface means they can make for an uncomfortable surface for long periods of standing. Although ceramic, porcelain and terracotta tiles can look absolutely beautiful we would recommend either using them to make a feature or making use of them in an area which does not receive as much of a battering as the kitchen. The easy clean surface and stunning appearance make them better suited to wall tiles in a kitchen space and the feel of these tiles can be complemented through a synthetic stone or tile appearance floor achieved through vinyl.
Natural Stone - Traditional & heritage styling for your kitchen floor
There is something quite comforting about the appearance of a natural stone floor - whether limestone, granite or slate, the unique colour tones and textures available with natural stone can be very charming in your home’s kitchen. Some stones are more hardwearing than others but its should be considered that the surface of natural stone can be damaged by liquids like fizzy drinks and descaler because of the acidity present. Softer stone is easily scratched and damaged through everyday use so regular surface protectants should be applied and cleaning should be undertaken with specific consideration of the stone type, avoiding overly harsh chemical cleaners. It may be that natural stone is not the best kitchen flooring choice for a home with a hardworking kitchen that serves children and pets and is likely to experience spills and a solid trampling on a regular basis. Natural stone is well suited to underfloor heating systems but in kitchens which don't have underfloor heating it would be quickly noticed that even on the warmest day the stone would maintain a chill, and during the winter natural stone can be very cold underfoot. Although relatively simple to keep clean (once the correct solutions are identified) the textured and uneven surface which is characteristic of stone, traps dirt and dust so as well as day-to-day cleaning a regular deeper clean would likely be necessary. Natural stone has a beautiful finish and a lovely connection with nature but it is a major commitment both in long term maintenance and in the initial cost of installation.
Hardwood - A classic for Kitchen Floors
Hardwood has been a popular choice throughout the home for decades and the kitchen is not exempt from this. Hardwood can be a great way to bring through a scheme in more open plan spaces but the main considerations for kitchens would be the tendency of wood to warp and shift with moisture and significant temperature changes. Engineered boards are more suitable for a kitchen, constructed with an HDF core and topped with real wood these are more structurally stable and are sometimes compatible with underfloor heating (unlike standard hardwood). Hardwood alternatives such as the naturally bacteria resistant bamboo or quirky cork are growing in popularity due to the sustainability and eco-friendly characteristics of the manufacture of these materials. With all instances of natural wood, there is a need to seal and protect the surface and this would need regular attention. Scrapes and dents are also a well known hazard of a wood floor, this risk can be reduced slightly with the use of engineered board which is slightly more durable and also natural wood can be repaired by sanding and refinishing although there is a finite nature to this. There are certainly some very positive aspects of real wood flooring which makes it an option for kitchen flooring but it should be considered that it can become an expensive flooring solution and that Vinyl and Linoleum based flooring solutions can successfully recreate the appearance and texture of wood with fewer of the downsides!
Go for it! The best all-rounders for Kitchen Flooring
Vinyl and Linoleum have had a resurgence in popularity with its advancements in practicality, durability and aesthetic options. Linoleum, in particular, is a world away from the gawdy floors of the 1970’s which are associated with the name. There are many ways to utilise Vinyl and Linoleum flooring in the kitchen.
Vinyl Floor Tile - A Modern Alternative to Traditional materials
One of the ways to achieve the appearance of a natural stone or wooden floor is to use a vinyl floor tile. The best flooring for kitchens is a floor which can stand up to daily use and whilst options such as stone and wood are definitely strong and durable, they have their own challenges. The cost of a wood or stone floor can be prohibitive as can the ability to ensure a correct match should areas need replacing. Vinyl flooring is durable and easier to clean than traditional materials and is less prone to damage (and should damage occur, it's easier to match and replace small sections).
Vinyl flooring is a combination of style and utility, with almost endless options available in terms of design and finish. For graphic designs, vinyl floor tiles such as those on offer from Polyflor and Forbo offer incredible diversity in style and application. Polyflors most recent release, the Expona EnCore Rigid Loc collection, contains an acoustic foam layer which reduces impact sound by 19bB (about the same as an air conditioner) and this foam layer has a secondary benefit of providing warmth. The rigid construction of vinyl tile ensures stability whilst maintaining a cushioned feel underfoot.
Luxury Vinyl Tile/Plank (LVT/LVP) for kitchens
For a touch more opulence, Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) is one of the leading products in residential Vinyl, with Karndean and Amtico being household names. With a huge variety of designs and laying patterns, you can express your unique style or embrace nature and tradition through wood, stone, tile and graphic options. LVT offers superior style, comfort and durability with their design led construction, encompassing the latest processes of manufacture.
LVT can have an average lifespan of 20-30 years, so you can guarantee a stunning finish built to last! For natural wood and stone, specialist treatments and specific maintenance regimes are required to maintain the look of the materials, LVT on the other hand requires only a basic sweep and mop as-and-when needed regime and depending on the thickness of the wear-layer and optional coatings it may be 10 years before surface treatments need to be reapplied. To read more about LVT, we explore its various characteristics and applications in:Luxury Vinyl Flooring: Is it the right choice for me?
Vinyl Sheet for kitchens
One of the points about LVT is that due to the installation process, an entire floor of LVT is water resistant but not fully waterproof. The spaces between the tiles would allow water to permeate between tiles if a large volume of water was present, for example if a pipe bursts or a washing machine has a catastrophic failure. One way to avoid this is through the use of Vinyl sheet. Laid wall to wall, vinyl sheet leaves very few seams which adds to the durability and ease of care for the flooring. You may be thinking...Isn't this just Lino?But there are some distinct differences between linoleum and Vinyl as well as shared characteristics
Linoleum for kitchens
Linoleum is biodegradable and produced from all natural materials (linseed oil, pine rosin, limestone, cork flour & jute backing) so not only is it a budget friendly and stylish flooring solution but it also ticks the environmentally friendly box!
One of the main differences that can be noted about Vinyl and Linoleum is that Vinyl is more flexible and easier to cut and there are more design options available with Vinyl due to its synthetic properties and design layer. Vinyl is made with a variety of synthetic materials, primarily Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin. Linoleum is stain-resistant, anti-microbial, and eco-friendly - all characteristics that make it perfect for a kitchen. However, it fell out of popularity in the early 1950s, usurped by slightly less expensive and more interesting vinyl and rubber tiling products. More recently, Linoleum is maing a come-back as a residential flooring solution thanks to consumers attracted to the fact that linoleum is a natural material without the environmental drawbacks of synthetic vinyl flooring. With Linoleum, care must be taken to mop up liquid spills as the porous nature of the material means that long term damage can be caused by sitting water.
Like Vinyl, Linoleum is available in sheets and tiles and there are several installation techniques and coatings across both materials which add to their longevity and flexible nature.
Final Thoughts - The best flooring for Kitchens
Your kitchen is the beating heart of your home, pulsing with activity throughout the day. Your kitchen floor deserves a floor which can cope with the daily grind. The main thing is to consider when selecting flooring is how you use your kitchen. With the lifespan of many flooring systems being well over a decade you want a floor which can stand the test of time...both in terms of wear but also style. Flooring installation in a space such as a kitchen is key to ensuring the longevity of the materials used so we would always recommend using a professional service.
The flooring experts at Hamilton flooring are on hand to advise on all your kitchen flooring needs and working with a broad range of world class suppliers means that there will always be a floor which ticks all your boxes. So whether you want to recreate a farmhouse style floor without the coldness and echo or whether you want an industrial concrete effect without the issues of poured and polished concrete, Hamilton Flooring has the solution for you! Contact one of our specialists to discuss how we can help create your dream kitchen!
Unless otherwise stated, Images are used for illustrative purposes and do not represent work untaken by Hamilton flooring - examples of work completed can be found in our Gallery