The kitchen is the most used room in almost any house. With all the wear and tear in the kitchen, your floor choice is incredibly important. Choosing the best flooring for kitchens starts with knowing your options. In our guide, we show you the best flooring choices, why they could work for you, and why they may not work.
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What to Consider When Deciding on Kitchen Flooring?
Before you choose which flooring option is the best for your home, there are a few things you must consider first. You won’t want to end up with a kitchen floor that is difficult to maintain, unattractive, or going to require a remodel in just a few years.
The kitchen floors get beat up. Whether it’s a spill or dropping a pot on the ground while cleaning it, plenty of mishaps happen in the kitchen. You will want to choose flooring that is tough and will not crack or break if it encounters some type of trouble.
Homeowners typically have a budget for flooring and then are often surprised to see how high the pricing can get when you look at the mix of both product and installation. Pricing must fit within your budget, and that’s where things like natural stone can get quickly crossed off the list.
Water-resistant kitchen floors are a must. If you choose a type of flooring that will not resist water, expect to be chasing after your children and pets with a towel at all times. You need to be able to wash a dish with a few drops of water on the ground, not being your concern. Trust us on this one, keeping a kitchen floor perfectly dry is a burden, and water resistance is a must.
Care and Maintenance
Most busy homeowners don’t have much time to dedicate to kitchen floor cleaning. Instead, choose a floor that is easy to scrub and won’t deteriorate and become damaged from foot traffic, care and maintenance.
Look and Style
Let’s not forget the look and style of the kitchen floor. There are a variety of kitchen flooring options out there, and some are just not going to match your decor or the style of your home. Be smart about what will look good not just now but for the remainder of the time that your flooring is in place.
The installation process for any new floor can be a bit involved. However, if you are thinking of doing something as more of a DIY project, some options are much better than others (like luxury vinyl plank flooring!).
Top 6 Best Flooring Options for Kitchens
Across the flooring industry, opinions can differ regarding which floors are the best for kitchens. Here are our top 6 choices and the reasons behind them.
|Hardwood Flooring||Easy to refinish|
Several options for patterns
|Not always water resistant|
|Vinyl Plank Flooring||Very simple installation|
Fair pricing for longevity
|Can scratch and dent|
Won’t look as natural as hardwood flooring
|Porcelain Tile||Extremely durable|
Wood grain options available
|Heavy to install|
Typically requires a professional
|Laminate Flooring||Fair pricing|
Can be installed on uneven surfaces
|Won’t have the same feel or durability as a wood or tile floor|
|Cork Flooring||Very fair price|
Can come in tiles that stick to the subfloor
Soft under the feet
Not as durable long term
|Stone Tile||Professional and high-end look|
Can choose between several styles
Unique flooring option
|One of the most expensive choices on the market|
Hardwood flooring is a classic choice for a kitchen it has to make the list of the best flooring for kitchens. However, this is not a waterproof option, so if you have a dog with a water bowl on your kitchen floor, move right on down the list.
The hardwood floors are beautiful when done right, and some solid hardwoods with the proper finish can be somewhat water resistant. With these, you will still want to be careful about picking up spills as soon as they happen.
One of our favorite reasons to go with hardwood flooring is that you can refinish them instead of replacing them. If you find you want to change the look of your kitchen at some point, you can have the floors stained to match your needs.
The cost of hardwood flooring tends to range between $3 and $10 per square foot. Labor costs are closer to $6-$12 per square foot. Therefore the total costs are usually more than $10 and can be closer to $20 depending on where you live and what the labor is like in that area.
Hardwood Pros & Cons
- Can be refinished if you get tired of the color, or they need to be rejuvenated
- Some solid hardwoods can have water-resistant features
- Many colors to choose from
- It can be laid in different patterns to create interest
- Not naturally waterproof
- Can be higher installation costs
Vinyl Plank Flooring
Many homeowners assume engineered wood in the vinyl plank flooring will look fake or feel cheap under the feet. However, with the new underlayment options and impressive materials used, the vinyl plank flooring is of much higher quality than you might think.
In addition, these floors are completely waterproof. You will not have to race to get the water off the floors in the same way you do with hardwood. Of course, the downside here is that you can’t have them refinished, so be sure to choose a style and color that you like.
The planks of laminate vinyl flooring are very easy to install, and you don’t have to have it professionally installed unless you want to. Expect the price of vinyl flooring to be between $5 and $7 per square foot and maybe an additional $4 per square foot to have the floor installed by a professional.
Vinyl Plank Pros & Cons
- Can be installed directly over existing floors
- Very easy to install
- More water resistant than wood flooring
- Not as durable as other floor choices
- Can scratch if you are not careful
Porcelain tile makes an excellent choice for water resistance and durability. In fact, when you look at scratch-resistant flooring options, this could also be towards the top of your list. The porcelain tile will look quite like ceramic tile, except that it is more durable and typically lasts longer.
One of our favorite options for kitchens is a wood grain porcelain tile. This tile can be made in planks that will give you a wood look without the hassle of dealing with a solid wood floor.
Cleaning a porcelain tile floor is not a problem, use a high-quality tile cleaner, and you will notice that they stay cleaner longer, and the grout also stays in good shape. When it comes to the negatives of porcelain tile, expect that you can take quite a fall if the floor gets wet and you walk across it unaware.
Porcelain tile installation typically costs around $5 to $10 per square foot. The tile itself can run $3 to $8 per square foot. Expect this to be about the same pricing as the hardwood, but it will likely last much longer than the hardwood and is a really durable kitchen flooring choice.
Porcelain Tile Pros & Cons
- Low maintenance
- Easy to clean
- Stain resistant
- Extremely durable
- Not non-slip
- Grout should be sealed often if the floor is used in high-traffic areas
Chances are your grandparent’s kitchen had laminated flooring at some point. When this flooring came out, it was one of the most popular flooring materials in a kitchen because it was a great DIY option, was less expensive, and could look quite a bit like wood flooring at times.
Laminate flooring, however, is not waterproof naturally. Some companies are treating their products with a sealant that makes them more water resistant, but the vinyl flooring tends to be a bit better when it comes to keeping the water damage away.
The other major benefit is the ability to install laminate flooring on an uneven surface. Laminate flooring is a good choice if you live in an old home where this could come up as a problem.
Depending on where you live and what type of laminate floor you choose, the pricing can start as low as $6 per square foot installed. Remember that this is a home improvement project you can take on yourself if you are looking to save some money.
Laminate Pros & Cons
- It can look more expensive than it is
- Some waterproof options are available
- DIY friendly
- Good for uneven surfaces
- Not always waterproof
- Not as durable as other floor choices
Cork flooring is a unique and new idea for kitchen floors. If you have seen the trend of using different materials for countertops, it is also spreading to kitchen flooring ideas. The cork flooring tends to be budget-friendly and has a very soft feel underfoot. For those that spend a lot of time prepping and cooking in the kitchen, this is a welcome reprieve.
The cork flooring comes in a tile shape; some are even made with peel-and-stick material. One of the things that concerned us about cork tiles was how they can push down and seem to dent.
However, this spongy feeling does not mean that the floors will stay in this permanent position. Give them time, and they return to the original spot.
Most cork floors are between $3 and $7 per square foot before you pay for installation. This is one of the best flooring options for trying to save money on installation. Most installers will charge between $2 and $5 per square foot, so this is a popular choice for first-time homebuyers.
Cork Pros & Cons
- Great DIY project
- Cushioned feel for those that are standing in the kitchen all the time
- Can fade in direct sunlight
- Will stain
- Not the best for quick cleanup
Stone tile is one of the more expensive options for a kitchen floor, but it gives a look like no others. Whether you choose a travertine, marble, slate, or granite tile, expect to have a very high-end look in your kitchen. In addition, you can match backsplashes and countertops in certain areas if you so choose.
However, this stone tile takes a bit more out-of-pocket expense and involves a more involved installation process. You will want to hire a professional to apply an underlayment over the subfloor and a thin-set mortar. The stone tiles can pop up over time if the installation is not done properly.
Make sure to speak with a contractor about the best stone types for your floor plan.
Costs for the tile themselves start at prices higher than the cork kitchen floors installed. The cheapest you can find a stone tile installed is around $13 per square foot; however, most will be over $20 per square foot. If you are going to go the stone route, be sure to get something that is higher in quality, it will be worth it in the long run.
Stone Tile Pros & Cons
- Unique option; no one will have the same floor as you
- High-quality and beautiful design
- Non-slip surface
- It can stain if you do not use a sealer
As we mentioned several times, kitchen flooring costs will vary depending on where you live, the kitchen floor tiles or materials you choose, and even who does the installation. Here are a few things to keep in mind when determining the price for your new kitchen floor.
What Are Some Factors To Consider When Installing Kitchen Floors?
Installation costs tend to start at around $3 per square foot and can go higher than $15 per square foot. Luckily you have the option to install things like sheet vinyl, linoleum, and engineered vinyl plank all on your own.
However, professional installation can be beneficial for some of the most durable and long-lasting floor choices.
Stone tile tends to be some of the most expensive materials you can choose for your kitchen flooring. However, the look of luxury vinyl tile, cork, or concrete flooring may not be a match for your home. You have to find something that works for your budget but also for the look of the home.
Size of Project
You may think that some of the smaller projects have the lowest installation costs, but sometimes large projects where you are doing new flooring across the living room, dining room, and hallway may be lower.
If there are other home improvement projects on your list, make sure to ask about a discount for doing everything at once, it may be well worth it.
Sub Floor Work
Sometimes a subfloor is ready for a new floor to be laid directly on top of it; sometimes, you need to do a tremendous amount of work to get a subfloor ready. These expenses are often unexpected and something that homeowners need to consider in the overall costs.
Certainly, a herringbone tile pattern on the floor will cost you much more than just a solid square or rectangle in a pattern. Ask your installers about different options you have but don’t be afraid to ask how that will impact the project’s price as well.
We probably don’t even need to warn you about this; however, when a home project is going on, it makes sense to be a bit worried about the unplanned expenses; there will always be a few!
DIY or Hiring a Professional Contractor for Floor Installation?
If you are handy and choose a floor like vinyl plank flooring that is easy to install, you can easily complete a DIY kitchen flooring installation. Some of these products even come in a peel-and-stick design to make it easy for you to get your floor in place in a matter of hours.
When choosing an installer, go with a brand name that has been in the business for a long time and knows how to handle anything that comes its way. Two of our favorite options include LL Flooring and Empire Flooring.
Hopefully, you now feel a bit more confident about your options for the best flooring for kitchens. Don’t choose the first thing that comes to mind; compare and contrast your options and be smart about things like durability, waterproof technology as well as overall pricing. The kitchen is a very important part of the home, and making a bad flooring decision will cost you.