How do you figure out what the best flooring for kitchens is? Is there a magic formula?
The kitchen is the hardest-working room in the house. It’s where your friends and family gather for meals.
And anytime you entertain, everyone seems to congregate in this room.
Pets love the kitchen too. For good reason.
Children and teens trample through the kitchen in search of snacks, or to sit down and do homework.
And in most homes, the kitchen is near an exterior door. So, there is always traffic coming and going from this room.
You need a flooring that looks good but can handle cooking mishaps, spills, people, and even pets. Only the most durable flooring will do.
So, which type is the best? Wood, tile, something else?
- Engineered Hardwood
- Luxury & Resilient Vinyl
- Porcelain Tile
- Natural Stone Tile
- Cost Comparison
- Installing a Kitchen Floor
- Best Places to Buy
Let’s take a look at some of the best flooring options for a kitchen and see how they measure up.
- It is highly sustainable and eco-friendly.
- Cork has a very moisture-resistant cellular structure.
- It is soft to walk on.
- It is a safe choice because it is slip resistant.
- It must be sealed every three to four years.
- Too much sun can discolor it.
- Heavy furniture can cause indentions.
It is probably the most sustainable flooring product you will find. Did you know that it is harvested from tree bark?
Since the tree bark grows back, cork can be harvested again every eight to ten years without depleting valuable tree resources.
It also has a cellular structure that is very unique. This structure is very resistant to water and moisture.
However, you must reseal it every three to four years after installation to protect it.
Cork is both soft and safe to walk on. It is soft to touch and has a textured surface that helps prevent you from slipping on it.
But if you choose to go with cork flooring for your kitchen, make sure to close your blinds or curtains regularly. Because it will fade from sun.
And if your table, hutch, or any other kitchen furnishings are heavy, they could leave a dent in your cork floor.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
- Durable enough to withstand a high amount of traffic.
- Moisture-resistant enough to handle kitchen spills.
- Hardwood flooring increases your home value.
- It transitions well in open-concept homes.
- It’s one of the more expensive options.
- Can be difficult to replace a damaged plank.
- Manufactured with resins and adhesives.
Hardwood flooring looks good in any room and it increases its value. And a kitchen is no exception.
In the past, many people avoided using it because of the moisture and heat that is often created in the kitchen. Solid hardwood can expand and warp in humid and moist environments.
Fortunately, we now have engineered hardwood.
Engineered hardwood is extremely durable. Which is a good thing because the kitchen is the busiest room in the house.
It can withstand high amounts of traffic and the messes that come along with them. Regular sweeping and mopping are all you need to keep these floors in good shape.
And since they are moisture resistant, if anything spills on them while you are cooking, simply wipe it up. It won’t damage engineered hardwood.
Another reason why this is such a great choice for kitchen flooring is how well it transitions to other rooms. If you have an open concept floorplan, you can use the same flooring from room to room.
Luxury & Resilient Vinyl Flooring
- Budget-friendly flooring.
- Highly water resistant and some options are even waterproof.
- You can find a wide assortment of colors and styles.
- It is easy to clean and maintain.
- It does little to nothing for the value of your home.
- It is not eco-friendly.
- Susceptible to scratches or gouges.
When it comes to vinyl flooring, the options are virtually endless.
Luxury vinyl planks and tiles can mimic the look of real wood and natural stone. Resilient sheet vinyl can also be found in stones and woods, plus even more styles.
So, why is it one of the best kitchen floorings? Primarily because it is extremely durable.
In fact, sheet vinyl can last up to 20 years if it is taken care of. And the taking-care-of-it part is really pretty easy.
That is another perk to vinyl. It is extremely durable.
And with all the traffic that a kitchen must handle, you need a durable flooring. Not only is it durable, all vinyl is water-resistant, and you can even find choices that are waterproof.
It is one of the most budget-friendly options available for kitchens. Yet, despite all these benefits, installing vinyl does not add to the resale value of your home.
And it is not the eco-friendliest choice. Many vinyl manufacturers are working to make green changes, but the fact still remains that it is made of PVC and omits volatile organic compounds.
If you happen to catch your kitchen on fire, it will release toxic chemicals into the air.
Porcelain Tile Flooring
- It is hard and durable.
- Porcelain is extremely stain resistant.
- It is a truly waterproof option.
- Can look like natural stone, yet it is much less expensive.
- It is difficult to stand on for long periods of time.
- It’s easy to slip and fall on.
- Can be a challenge to install.
Porcelain tile is extremely durable. You can’t find a tougher material to put in your kitchen.
It can handle any spill, splatter, or mess that your kitchen dishes out with a simple tile mop. How so?
When it is made, it is fired at really high temperatures. These high temperatures create a tile that is extremely hard, very durable, and one that water cannot penetrate.
So, if you have a hard-working kitchen, this could be the best flooring option for you.
However, there are a few downsides to porcelain tiles.
First, because these tiles are so hard, you might get tired standing on them for long periods of time. So, wear cushioned shoes, or place a soft mat in the area you plan to do most of your work in the kitchen.
They can also lead to more slips and falls. Look for an option that is slip-resistant if this is a concern for you.
Also, even though they are a relatively budget-friendly option, these tiles aren’t really a good DIY project. To get the installation job done right, you really should hire a professional to install your porcelain tile flooring.
Natural Stone Tile Flooring
- Gives your kitchen a natural, designer look.
- Comes in many different options and colors.
- Adds resale value to your home.
- Natural stone is very durable.
- It’s expensive.
- It is heavy and difficult to install.
- Cheaper natural stone tiles are susceptible to damage.
Natural stone is the best alternative to hardwood flooring for your kitchen if you want to add resale value to your home. It comes in many beautiful, natural options such as travertine, slate, and marble.
And since no two pieces of stone are exactly the same, your kitchen will truly have a one-of-a-kind look.
Similar to porcelain tiles, natural stone tile flooring is waterproof and extremely durable. But you do need to make sure to seal it periodically to protect it.
If you are going to budget for natural stone, be prepared to spend a small fortune. Depending on the type of stone you choose, this kitchen flooring option can get pretty expensive.
However, it is worth the money to go with good quality natural stone. Some of the cheaper options tend to flake or chip.
Also, plan to have this flooring professionally installed.
The stone tiles are heavy and the process is complicated. It is not a good idea to try this one yourself.
Now that you know what your best kitchen flooring options are, how do you decide on one? There are many factors to consider.
A big one, of course, is what you can afford. You may love the look of travertine floors, but if natural stone is not in your budget, you’ll need to find an alternative.
We will calculate what you can expect to spend on average for each of these options. But keep in mind, these are only estimates.
Your actual cost will depend on factors such as where you live, how big your kitchen is, the specific flooring you choose, additional materials you will need, whether it is a DIY project or you hire someone, and how complicated the installation job may be. But here’s a general idea of the average cost of materials.
Floor Cost for a 250-Square Foot Kitchen
- Cork Flooring: $1,600
- Engineered Hardwood: $2,600
- Vinyl Flooring: $500 for sheet vinyl, $1,200 for luxury vinyl
- Porcelain Tile Flooring: $1,275
- Natural Stone Tile Flooring: $2,300
Installing a Kitchen Floor
Installation is another factor when choosing the best kitchen flooring for your home. Some of these flooring options make good DIY projects, and others don’t.
Cork, engineered hardwood, and vinyl flooring are all relatively easy to install yourself. So, if you are looking to save a few dollars on installation, these three are all good choices.
If you decide to hire a professional installer to do the job, expect to pay installation fees around $6 a square foot for cork, $8 a square foot for engineered hardwood, $3 a square foot for sheet vinyl, and $7 a square foot for vinyl tile and plank .
Porcelain tile and natural stone tile flooring are more complicated. If it is not in your budget to hire an installer for these, you may want to look at some other flooring options.
Installation of porcelain tiles will cost you an extra $13 a square foot.
installation prices can average around $15 a square foot for natural stone. However, prices may be more or less depending on the kind of natural stone you choose.
Best Places to Find Kitchen Flooring
Today, there are so many places to buy flooring. You shop online, visit a showroom, or take a trip down to your local home improvement store.
So where should you look?
Some stores specialize in certain products. Take Lumber Liquidators, for example.
They got their start buying and selling overstocked wood from other companies. So, wood and products that resemble wood are what they mostly sell.
And they are a great place to go for discount pricing.
Floor & Décor specializes in hard surface flooring. You can find both wood and tile options here, but you won’t find carpet.
(Not that you’d even want to put carpet in your kitchen – yuck!)
This store offers a price match guarantee. So, if you find your flooring cheaper somewhere else, let them know and they will honor that price.
And they employ knowledgeable salespeople to help you with these choices.
You can purchase your flooring from each of these stores online as well. So, if you live somewhere remote, or would just rather do your shopping online, you have this option too.
Some stores, such as Empire Today offer an in-home service. You simply contact them by phone or online and schedule a home visit.
So, there are plenty of ways to shop for your floors. And the best place to find them is the one that offers the kind of flooring you want in the manner you want it.
What is the best kitchen flooring for your home? It is the one that best fits your priorities and budget.
Are you going for a designer look that will increase your home’s resale value? Choose engineered hardwoods or natural stone tile.
Do you want to tackle the installation yourself? Luxury vinyl is one of the simplest ones to do on your own.
Is the environment a top concern for you? Cork is a renewable, all-natural resource that you can feel good about putting in your home.
Or do you need something moderately priced, yet highly durable? If so, go with porcelain tiles.
Also of note: Waterproof laminate flooring options are being manufactured by a handful of companies internationally.
What is most important to you in kitchen flooring?