The Best Types Of Kitchen Flooring For Your Needs

Kenneth Wilson

Mold is a type of fungus that grows in warm, damp areas. There are more than 100,000 types of mold. Mold can thrive in a variety of environments, but the most common type of mold grows in damp, dark areas. This is why basements are common problem areas because they have the perfect combination of moisture and darkness to allow mold to flourish.

What Makes a Good Kitchen Floor?

When deciding on good flooring for your kitchen, you need to keep a few things in mind. How often do you cook or hang out in there? What is your color theme? How much can a certain flooring handle in terms of wet mess? Here are some important hit points to touch on when shopping around:

  • Is the flooring durable? The kitchen is a communal space. Every person in your house will set foot in there at some point or another. A kitchen floor needs to be able to hold human weight, as well as the weight of your appliances, table, and chairs. 
  • What type of water protection does it come with or need? Because your kitchen is a semi-wet space, your floors will need to be able to withstand a fair amount of moisture and liquid spills. Floors with a water-resistant or waterproof barrier are best for the kitchen.
  • How easy is it to clean? You should also gauge how much effort will need to go into cleaning spills and blemishes. Will you need to scrub or is a quick swipe with a wet cloth sufficient? Nobody wants to spend hours cleaning a small area.
  • Is it a non-slip style floor? Because there’s so much foot traffic and dwellers will likely be barefoot or in socks, a non-slip floor will help prevent accidental trips to the emergency room.
  • Is the option within your budget? Lastly, each floor type will cost a different amount. Of course, you should keep in mind the aesthetic you want along with durability and ease of cleaning, but none of that will matter if you can’t afford the flooring.

Types of Kitchen Flooring

Now that you know what goes into a quality kitchen floor, you need to decide what flooring type to go with. There are several different flooring types to choose from and we’ve narrowed it down to the best of the best for you.

1. Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are common in old homes and those that want to mimic the style of an older, more “homey” look. There’s a reason so many people choose to tear up carpets and use original hardwood flooring in their homes. This style is extremely durable and can last decades. They come in a variety of colors and wood finishes too.

While hardwood floors are water-resistant, they aren’t completely waterproof so you’ll need to use a sealant over top to protect from moisture. Despite this, they’re a popular choice among homeowners who want a style with lots of options to choose from. Another thing homeowners like about hardwood is that the wooden planks can be set in just about any design imaginable. 

This is one of the pricier options of kitchen floors but they are softer on your feet and don’t get as cold as, let’s say, tile or concrete.

  • They’re extremely durable and long-lasting.
  • You have a plethora of wood styles to choose from.
  • You can customize the color with wood stain.
  • The flooring design can be customized in any pattern you please.
  • The floor is softer than other flooring styles.
  • Wood won’t get as cold on your feet when the A/C is blowing.
  • Lumber costs are constantly fluctuating and that can make hardwood expensive.
  • They aren’t completely waterproof.
  • They’ll wear down over time, requiring them to be refinished eventually.

2. Laminate Flooring

For homeowners who love the look of hardwood but aren’t impressed by the price tag, laminate is a good backup to consider. You can purchase laminate in just about any design, including different hardwood finishes. Like hardwood, they’re also a warm floor and they’re water-resistant. It’s worth noting that some manufacturers market a “waterproof laminate,” which is made with a rigid core of waterproof material to avoid warping.

Aside from getting a real hardwood look without the price tag, laminate is also known for its installation flexibility. In most cases, laminate flooring can be clicked together and secured in one of two ways: permanently glued down or floated. Floating is better for surfaces that are uneven.

Despite being flexible, laminate is extremely durable and is a solid choice for anyone on a budget.

  • Laminate is one of the most inexpensive flooring options.
  • It looks and acts just like hardwood floors.
  • There’s a waterproof option available on the market.
  • It can be installed in two different ways depending on your floor.
  • It’s easy to install on your own.
  • The floor isn’t cold when the A/C is on.
  • Not all laminate flooring is waterproof.
  • You can’t sand or refinish laminate.
  • Old laminate won’t degrade in a landfill.

3. Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl is perhaps the most popular kitchen floor option among modern homeowners. It’s significantly less expensive than other floorings, is soft on your feet, and is comically easy to clean too. Vinyl differentiates itself from other options too because it’s a completely waterproof floor and can be installed via “floating” on top of your subfloor.

Because of the way vinyl is made, it dampens sound. This is convenient for when you’re doing a late-night snack time and you don’t want to bother anyone or you accidentally drop a full gallon jug of milk in the morning. Despite being a softer floor, it’s still just as durable as other options on our list.

Vinyl is similar to laminate in that it can also mimic the look of wood. It’s also another warm floor, which means no cold feet in the middle of the night.

  • Vinyl is extremely inexpensive.
  • It’s comfortable to walk on.
  • It significantly lessens the sound impact an item makes when dropped on it.
  • Vinyl is very easy to clean.
  • It can mimic the look and feel of wood.
  • It’s considered a warm floor so you’re feet won’t be cold walking on it.
  • Vinyl can get discolored in direct sunlight.
  • Some styles are treated with fire-retardant chemicals.
  • Sharp objects will puncture the floor and cause damage.

4. Cork Floors

While we may think of cork as simply the object that keeps wine fresh, it’s also a common kitchen floor option too. Cork is made from the bark of the cork oak tree. This makes it a much more sustainable flooring option for those who are passionate about the environment. To turn the bark into cork flooring, it’s grounded up and set in sheets with resin to keep it together.

This flooring is the softest of the floors on our list but it isn’t nearly as durable as the others. Because of this, it’s much more susceptible to damage and regular wear with age. It’s a little less expensive than hardwood flooring and it’s much easier to install yourself rather than hiring a professional.

As long as it’s installed correctly, it should be easy to take care of. When you notice it starting to wear down, it can easily be refinished. Cork is a good insulator and is hypoallergenic and antimicrobial too. (Related: Is Cork Flooring Right For Your Home? (Pros, Cons & Everything You Need To Know))

  • It’s sustainable and eco-friendly.
  • Cork is much softer than other flooring styles.
  • Installing yourself is really easy.
  • It can be refinished when needed.
  • It works well for those looking for a casual look.
  • The floor has antimicrobial properties.
  • Cork flooring can deteriorate easily.
  • It’s not waterproof and needs to be sealed after installing.
  • The sun will discolor cork if it shines directly on it.

5. Ceramic Tiling

If you’re looking for a floor solely for its durability, ceramic tiles are going to be your best bet. They’re made of clay and then baked to get the glossy finish we’re familiar with. Ceramic tiles are also available in a plethora of sizes, shapes, and designs. The tiles themselves are easy to clean but it’s important to note that the grout in between each one can get stained with different spills.

Tiling is a common choice because of its waterproof properties as well. Spills are typically very easy to clean up as you just need a wet cloth and then a weekly mop through to maintain them. However, ceramic tiling can be slippery and there isn’t really a way to prevent it unless you put down runners or rugs.

While the other options on our list are comfortable on feet, ceramic tiles are not. Unless you have floor warmers installed, these tiles will be cold on your feet and that can get uncomfortable really quick.

  • Ceramic tiling is extremely durable and hard to break.
  • They’re available in a variety of shapes, sizes, designs, and colors.
  • This tiling is completely waterproof.
  • It doesn’t contain any allergens.
  • They’re scratch-resistant and anti-skid.
  • They don’t require much maintenance at all.
  • Installation can take a lot of time and patience.
  • The grout in between tiles gets dirty easily.
  • Ceramic tiling is slippery.

6. Linoleum

While the first thing I can think of when I hear “linoleum floors” is my grandparents’ home, it’s still a viable floor choice today. Linoleum is a popular choice among homeowners who like a retro look. It comes in a rainbow of colors and is often compared to vinyl in its durability.

Linoleum can be bought in three different styles: Sheets, tiles, or panels and squares. Whichever option you choose will dictate how your kitchen floor will look when you’re done. Linoleum is both eco-friendly and health-conscious which is why it’s been so popular among environmentalists.

Linoleum is also relatively easy to install as it can just be laid right on top of plywood underlayment.

  • Linoleum is eco-friendly and antimicrobial.
  • It’s easy to install yourself and doesn’t require a lot of time.
  • You can choose from three different styles.
  • It’s as durable as vinyl.
  • These tiles are comfortable to walk on.
  • There are a variety of color options to choose from.
  • Linoleum will discolor in the sun.
  • It’s a very “niche style” floor.
  • It gets dented easily by tables and chairs.

Final Thoughts

Choosing your kitchen floor is a big decision. Finding a floor that fits your style and budget without turning out to be a total waste of money can be hard. However, we believe that as long as you go with one of the six flooring options laid out here, you’ll find the perfect match for your new kitchen area. (Related: Cost Of Kitchen Flooring: What Is The Right Material For Your Budget?)

Kenneth Wilson
August 6, 2021
Ideas & Inspiration, Interior, Remodeling

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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