Of the many things to consider when purchasing new flooring for your kitchen, these may be the most important: durability, stain resistance and style. Of course, no floor is perfect, so don’t expect a certain flooring material to be the most durable, the most stain resistant and the most stylish. Figure out what flooring features are best suited for your kitchen and select accordingly.
If you place a priority on the comfort factor, you’ll want to start with the most cushiony options like vinyl and linoleum. Or you might consider using other materials with throw rugs placed in strategic spots, such as in front of the sink.
You know you’re bound to spill something at some point on your new floor anyway. Whatever the culprit, you’ll be able to wipe it up the easiest off of vinyl, laminate, and linoleum. Other materials, such as stone, wood, and concrete, will require special sealants to get that kind of easy cleanup.
Of all the choices, carpet seems to make the least practical sense for a kitchen floor, even if it’s a durable product. Try to keep it out of the main work area and just in the adjoining family room areas.
Be sure that the new flooring isn’t so high that it prevents your appliances from being rolled out for repair or replacement. Or better yet, install the flooring under all the removable appliances.
Flooring options for your kitchen
Hardwood as an alternative
Oak and maple are common choices for kitchen flooring; pine is often used to give a worn effect. The wood is typically installed prior to the cabinets and laid in planks, narrow strips, or patterned parquet squares.
A floor finished on-site with penetrating oil and wax gives you the classic look of hardwood floors and an even surface. However, it will need to be waxed annually.
This type of treatment is more appropriate for the drawing room than a high-traffic, high-spill zone like the kitchen.
A floor treated on-site or at the factory with a penetrating sealer like polyurethane won’t need to be waxed regularly. It can be kept fresh with a vacuum or broom and with a recoating every five or six years.
You can keep a polyurethane-coated wood floor clean with a vacuum or broom.
Wood provides a variety of looks.
Long-lasting and durable.
If water seeps between the boards, it may cause warping and buckling.
Floors with wax finishes require maintenance and may not be practical for the kitchen. They can be slippery too.
You may need to refinish the entire floor to get rid of scratches.
You have to guard against fading and be careful where you place throw rugs and mats—the sun could fade the floor around them, leaving a darker area underneath.