Sir Alfred Hitchcock once quipped, “Happiness is a small house with a big kitchen.” If homes were bodies, kitchens would be the hearts, the lifeforce of our homes. This is why it’s important for us to take an in-depth look at the best flooring for kitchens before we proceed with our home renovations. We’re going to help you compare kitchen flooring options based on aesthetics, material durability, ease of maintenance, and affordability. Here are our top picks.

Hardwood Floors

hardwood floor kitchen
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Hardwood floors are the primary choice for those who want a warm and classic feel to their kitchens. Popular wood choices include oak, walnut, ash, and mahogany. 

Another popular choice for those who want a wooden kitchen floor with a minimal environmental impact is bamboo flooring. Bamboo is considered a greener choice thanks to the fast rate at which it grows.

Hardwood floors are gentle underfoot in comparison to other floors. They also increase the overall value of your home, especially if you have similar flooring everywhere in your home. 

Cleaning a hardwood floor is also relatively easy. 

Hardwood floors, however, aren’t the best floor choice when it comes to maintenance. They scratch easily, and water tends to affect them negatively, as with any organic material, over a period of time.

And then, you have the cost to consider. Hardwood floors cost anything between $5 to $12 per square foot, which means you’ll have to shell out quite a bundle for your kitchen.

They also need to be periodically refurbished. 

So what’s your next best alternative?

Engineered Hardwood Floors

engineered hardwood flooring
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Engineered hardwood floors give you the look and feel of hardwood floors while being easy to clean and maintain. 

With a top layer of hardwood veneer and multiple layers of high-grade plywood below, engineered hardwood floors can withstand more water contact than regular hardwood floors can, and are just as easy to clean. Engineered hardwood floors cost between $3 to $5 per square foot. Installation will cost you an additional $3 to $10.

Engineered Vinyl Plank

Vinyl plank

Engineered vinyl planks are relatively new to the market, and are steadily rising in popularity as a kitchen flooring option for obvious reasons. 

While they look like hardwood floors, these planks are made of an upper layer of luxury vinyl laminate with a cushioned waterproof core underneath. This not only means they’re water-resistant, EVPs, as they’re popularly known, are also relatively soft underfoot.

Cleaning EVP floors is also extremely easy. Just a wet mop will suffice.

EVPs can be laid over existing flooring. They can be installed easily without having to hire external help since the planks snap together. 

At a price point of between $3 to $6 per square foot including installation instructions, engineered vinyl planks are sure value for money.

The only downside to using EVPs is the fact that they’re easily scratchable.

Read more: Luan underlayment for vinyl flooring

If you are looking to renovate your kitchen, feel free to use our free estimator tool to estimate how much the cost would be

Ceramic and Porcelain Tiles

Ceramic tile
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If you have a large family and your kitchen experiences heavy foot traffic, floor tiles could be the best type of flooring for you.

If laid properly with the right kind of sealing and grouting, ceramic tiles can take on any kind of spillage and other sundry kitchen mishaps without any hassles. They are extremely easy to clean and maintain. 

Fired at higher temperatures than ceramic tiles and therefore, extremely durable, porcelain tiles are another great choice for kitchens. 

Porcelain tiles come in a number of sizes, which include 6-inch floor tiles and planks of up to 18 inches that mimic hardwood floors.

In fact, both ceramic and porcelain tiles come in a variety of colors and designs, making them a popular choice for kitchens.

One of the common downfalls of tiled flooring is that they’re slippery when wet. They’re not very pet friendly, thanks to their smooth and polished texture.

Tiled floors also tend to get extremely cold in the winters, so they might not be the best choice for colder climates.

Porcelain tiles are very heavy, making them unsuitable for second-story constructions.

Tiled floors require period regrouting as maintenance, and with age, may discolor and chip. If that happens, replacing your flooring is the only solution. Ceramic tiles can cost between $0.50 to $3 per square foot, while porcelain tiles can cost between $3 to $8 per square foot. Installation can cost an additional $5 per square foot.

Sheet Vinyl

sheet vinyl flooring

When it comes to affordability and sheer water resistance, sheet vinyl is hard to beat. This material can have water standing on it indefinitely and still not get damaged. It can also handle large volumes of foot traffic.

Sheet vinyl flooring is not always comfortable underfoot, although the market does now have certain cushioned alternatives.

Since sheet vinyl comes in large and unwieldy rolls, it is best to leave installation up to the experts. Costing between $2 to $8 a square foot including installation, sheet vinyl floors are definitely one of the most affordable kitchen flooring choices, and are also amongst the easiest to clean and maintain.

Vinyl Tiles

Vinyl floors
Photo by Josh Hemsley on Unsplash CC0

Vinyl tiles are another great and affordable option that is especially suited for those DIY projects. These tiles come in a variety of colors and textures. They also often come with an adhesive at the bottom of the tiles, making them easy to install.

At a price range of between $2 to $8 a square foot, vinyl tiles are definitely affordable. They’re also easy to maintain.

However, repairs and replacement is difficult thanks to the nature of the adhesive used. 

Vinyl floors are also known to emit volatile organic compounds, and are not particularly eco-friendly. They also aren’t very slip-resistant.

Cork Floors

Cork floor
Photo by Freepik

If you’re looking at flooring that’s soft underfoot and comes in earthy shades at an affordable price, you ought to consider cork floors. 

Cork floors come in easily installable tiles and planks with adhesives, just like vinyl tiles. This takes away the additional expenditure of paying for professional help. While placing heavy objects on cork floors may cause depressions on the surface, they gradually return to their original form.

On the downside, cork floors stain easily and require immediate and repeated cleaning. Cork floors are also amazingly affordable, with an average cost between $3 to $8 per square foot.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring

Laminate flooring isn’t really the best choice for kitchens, considering they aren’t very water-resistant. However, if you want the look of a wooden floor without having to shell out the big bucks, this is your best choice. At $2 to $4 per square foot, laminate flooring is an extremely affordable choice.

Natural Stone Tiles

If budgets are not a constraint and if you crave that natural finish for your kitchen floor, natural stone tiles are for you.

You can choose between different kinds of stones such as marble, travertine, granite, and slate. 

While marble and granite floors tend to become more slippery the more they’re polished, granite, and slate are great non-slip choices for kitchen flooring.

All-natural stone floors are very durable and easy to clean. 

However, with age, staining and discoloration are a possibility on natural stones unless they are cared for periodically. 

Natural stone tiles come at a hefty price. The tiles themselves will cost you between $6 to $16 per square foot depending on the kind of stones you choose. Installation by professionals is a must in this case, which will cost you a further $5 to $10 per square foot.

Read more: Marble flooring costs

In Conclusion

You’re now armed with the knowledge of the choices you have for your home’s kitchen. We’ve tried to define which floors are durable, which materials are easy to clean, which are the most popular choices and which ones are the most waterproof. You also now know how much these options will cost you. This should make renovating your kitchen easier than ever. 
Want an estimate on your next home improvement plan?

Click here for a quote from our free cost estimator.

Best Flooring for Kitchens: An In-depth Look was last modified: May 30th, 2022 by Narayan Shrouthy
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