When you are considering how much value in terms of real estate your home has, a key factor is the appearance of the kitchen flooring. Sometimes home owners make an effort to change or update cabinets and worktops but leave the old outdated flooring. But having new and modern kitchen flooring has a great impact on how the kitchen looks and should be a big part of the planning when renovating a kitchen. There are a range of options to consider keeping in mind three key aspects; durability, style and usage.
Options for kitchen flooring
There are 4 main types of kitchen flooring used today,
- 1. Wooden
- 2. Laminate
- 3. Tiled
- 4. Cork
Wooden kitchen flooring
Hardwood is not as slippery as tile and is aesthetically very appealing too. Wood makes sense if you have a wooden styled kitchen already, wooden cabinets, wooden shelving and so on. Once the floor has been installed you can choose to have the unfinished look by sanding it down if that is more the style you like. Another benefit if choosing wood is that it will go with any color walls and ceiling, and looks great in good lighting.
However there are some factors to weigh alongside the above benefits. Wood does expand and contract depending on the temperature in the kitchen, and it needs to be looked after. There is some maintenance you need to carry out along with the regular sweeping, mopping and vacuuming to keep it clean.
Laminate kitchen flooring
Because laminate is so easy to clean and is very cost effective, it is one of the more popular types of kitchen floors you will find. If you have a tight budget when renovating your kitchen, a laminate floor makes a lot of sense. You can chose from a huge range of styles depending on the decor you have, and can also get it in a variety of colors. Another option that is similar to laminate is vinyl, also called Linoleum (a trade name). It can be used in bathrooms too, can be designed to look like other more expensive floor types like marble or wood, and is the cheapest option by far. It also stands up well in kitchens that see a lot of traffic such as those homes with large families or commercial kitchens.
Tiled kitchen flooring
here are a variety of materials that come in tile including stone, (granite and marble being the most popular) and ceramic. They come in a range of styles, colors and sizes and can make a kitchen feel very stylish. The most popular size tile used in kitchen flooring is the 12 up to 18 inch squares and these are best used in medium to large sized kitchens. Tiles that are less than 12 inches are good for small kitchens as a way to give an impression of more space than there really is. Stone has a great look for certain kitchens but it is the more expensive material. You also have more irregular shaped tiles which can make it a difficult job to fit.
Ceramic tiles need little maintenance, just mopping and cleaning in normal cleaning duties. They look particularly good in kitchens with granite worktops, and come with the options of glazed or unglazed finishes. You can get various designs but the most common choice people make when they have decided on tile is the mosaic tile. They are easy to find, can take a lot of spills and are very durable. Another option is porcelain tile, which many designers use in their kitchens because of their durability, style and ease of care. Should you want to be more individual you can chose the more costly but more unique option of having tiles custom designed or hand painted.
Cork kitchen flooring
Cork is a modern trend in kitchen flooring and is particularly appealing to people who think about their impact on the environment. This is because it is a renewable source, cork is made from the bark of trees, and can be taken without cutting the tree down. Bark on trees replaces itself in less than 10 years, unlike hardwood flooring where the replacements for trees cut down take at least 30 years to grow. If replacements are even planted in the first place, it is not always the case.
There are other valued reasons for choosing cork to floor your kitchen. It is in fact one of the more durable materials so would suit busy kitchens, it is easy to clean and does not need to be waterproofed as it is already naturally so. When walking around on a cork floor the noise is lower than some other materials, and because it is a good insulator your kitchen will stay warmer in the winter months. As well as being practically a good option it too comes in a variety of colors and styles to suit a wide range of tastes. So much so that kitchen designers are more often choosing cork as their first choice for flooring. As mentioned it is easy to clean, but it can start to look worn so after a while it may need to be re-finished. Manufacturers of cork flooring can give instructions on how to do that without damaging the floor.
What kind of kitchen do you have?
Kitchen flooring needs to be chosen to suit your needs. If you are looking to have the flooring done in your kitchen at home you need to think about how busy it is, how dirty it gets, your style, and importantly your budget. If you are re-flooring a commercial kitchen you should be less concerned with the floor’s appearance and more concerned with it being slip resistant, easy to clean, no gaps where food and dirt can fall in and grow mold and bacteria.
Commercial kitchens do not need to have a fancy floor like the dining area has. The most important thing is safety. Floors with tiling can crack from heavy weights being put on them and become a hazard to employees. Choose a flooring that has less chance of cracking or of having food get trapped in seams causing germs to breed which could lead to staff getting sick, or food contamination. Spills are a common occurrence on commercial kitchen floors, water, grease, food splatters and so on. Ideal floors here would be vinyl, epoxy or Silikal resurfacing concrete floors. In a home kitchen you can afford to be just as concerned with appearance as safety. It is not so in commercial kitchens. That does not mean the floor has to look horrible, it can still look acceptable while being more functional.
Working in a commercial kitchen is hard and the last thing any worker wants is have to stay and scrub the floor for hours because it is difficult to clean. Epoxy floors or ones covered with some other slip resistant surface are easier to look after and manage. Mopping is simple and you do not have to get down to try and pick out food or dirt from cracks. A commercial kitchen floor also needs to last. It will have heavy commercial cooking equipment on it, a lot of traffic and needs to withstand all that. Having to change the kitchen flooring every 2 years in your restaurant is not something any owner wants to have to go through. It would upset the kitchen routine and cost money that could be spent upgrading other essential items.