7 Kitchen Flooring Materials: The Pros, Cons, And More

Beautiful kitchen and dining room in a new luxury home. Elegant pendant lights and wood beams highlight the lovely open floor plan, dining area, and kitchen

Is your old kitchen floor showing its age? Are you ready to replace it but aren’t sure what kitchen flooring materials will work best for your space?

To make it easier, here’s a quick overview of our favorite flooring materials for kitchens and what you need to know before making a decision. After reading this post, you’ll know the pros and cons of 7 different types of kitchen floors so you can decide which one is best for your home. 

Our Favorite Kitchen Flooring Materials

Choosing the right kitchen flooring material can be an overwhelming task. After all, there are so many options available. From hardwood to vinyl, tile to stone, cork to laminate, and concrete–it can be hard to decide which material is best for your kitchen. And if you need help picking out a kitchen countertop material, be sure to check out our guide to the best materials for kitchen countertops.

But before we dive into the advantages and drawbacks of our favorite kitchen flooring materials, let’s take a moment to discuss various factors you should consider when choosing a kitchen flooring material.

What To Consider When Looking For A Kitchen Flooring Material

If you’re in the market for new kitchen flooring, consider these factors:

  • Comfort: If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen preparing meals or entertaining guests, choose a flooring material that is comfortable to stand on for extended periods. Resilient materials like cork and vinyl are more forgiving on your joints and back compared to hard tiles.
  • Lifestyle: Take into account your family’s habits and whether they are prone to making a mess in the kitchen. Choose flooring that can withstand wear and tear from spills and other accidents. If you have kids or pets, consider a flooring material that can handle little more abuse.
  • Personal Style: Your kitchen flooring should reflect your personal taste and fit in with the overall aesthetic of your home. Consider design themes like modern, farmhouse, or eclectic. Look for patterns, textures, and colors that resonate with your personality.
  • Maintenance: Different flooring materials have different levels of maintenance requirements. If you prefer an easy cleaning routine, opt for vinyl or tile floors. These materials are typically easier to maintain than hardwood.
  • Budget: Keep in mind that some flooring materials are more expensive than others. Consider your budget when making your selection. Also, measure the square footage of the area you want to renovate so you can estimate the costs accurately. Many flooring manufacturers charge by square footage.

Pros And Cons Of Our Favorite Kitchen Flooring Materials

Here’s a rundown of the advantages and drawbacks of each type of kitchen flooring material.

1. Hardwood

Dark wood hardwood floors in a newly renovated white cabinet modern kitchen

For homeowners seeking a timeless, warm, and natural feel in their kitchen, hardwood flooring is a popular choice. This option is particularly ideal for homes with open floor plans, as hardwood floors can seamlessly transition from the kitchen to the living space.

While not waterproof, solid wood flooring with the appropriate finish can be water-resistant. To prevent damage, spills should be promptly cleaned up. Many wood flooring manufacturers also use sealers to offer greater protection for these classic floors. Finished hardwood kitchen floors need less maintenance overall.

If you’re worried about the maintenance that hardwood requires, another option to consider is engineered wood flooring, which provides an authentic wood look with a top veneer that enhances durability.

Another major benefit of hardwood floors is their ability to be refinished, making it easier to update their appearance without replacing the entire floor. Lastly, hardwood can also be installed in various patterns for added visual appeal. In recent times, there has been a surge of interest in reclaimed, recycled, and eco-friendly hardwood options.

Pros:

  • A wide variety of colors and patterns to choose from
  • Simple to refresh or change the look
  • Great for a natural look

Cons:

  • Not waterproof (just water resistant)
  • Can be slippery

2. Vinyl

Luxury kitchen with PVC concrete look flooring

Vinyl flooring has experienced a revival in popularity in recent times thanks to its modern enhancements. One of the latest innovations is engineered vinyl flooring, which comes in tiles and planks that emulate the appearance of hardwood and stone. This type of flooring is entirely waterproof, provides a resilient sensation underfoot, and is effortless to maintain.

Although installation requires precise measurements and cutting, engineered vinyl planks make the process smoother and more durable. Vinyl flooring comes in a range of styles and colors, including wood-like options.

One disadvantage of vinyl is its susceptibility to damage from heavy objects. Due to its softer composition, it can dent or scratch when subjected to pressure from large appliances or other equipment in the kitchen. To prevent such damage, it’s advisable to exercise caution when moving or upgrading your kitchen appliances.

Pros:

  • Vinyl flooring has the ability to replicate the appearance of pricier materials
  • It’s resistant to water damage
  • You might be able to install it yourself without needing to hire a professional

Cons:

  • Compared to harder kitchen flooring materials such as tile, vinyl flooring isn’t as durable.
  • It’s susceptible to denting and scratching.

3. Tile

Worker placing dark grey ceramic floor tiles on adhesive surface

For decades, tile flooring has been a go-to option for kitchen flooring. Ceramic, porcelain, and stone tiles are commonly used on kitchen floors, and they come in various sizes, colors, and patterns that can complement any design theme. They can also be laid out in different patterns to add a unique touch of artistry. If you’re interested in using tile for a backsplash, be sure to check out our post on how to install a tile backsplash in your kitchen.

Ceramic or porcelain tile: Ceramic and porcelain tiles share similarities, but ceramic tiles are generally more durable than porcelain ones. Both types of tiles offer excellent resistance to damage, but items dropped on them may break due to their hardness. Porcelain tile is particularly waterproof and easy to clean but can be especially slippery.

Stone: Stone tile is more expensive than ceramic or porcelain, and it requires more upkeep. However, with proper care, it can be just as durable as other types of tile. Additionally, it’s more likely to be slip-resistant because of its porous surface. Examples of stone tile used in flooring include travertine, marble, slate, and granite.

Generally speaking, tile is known for its longevity, but the tile grout is susceptible to staining, so grout may require periodic resealing. It’s also not recommended to DIY a tile flooring installation.

Pros:

  • Tile flooring comes in a wide range of colors and patterns.
  • It’s highly durable and resistant to wear and tear.
  • Tile is waterproof, making it suitable for areas exposed to water.

Cons:

  • Tile flooring can be slippery, making it less than ideal for certain areas.
  • It requires some upkeep, particularly the grout, to prevent staining and discoloration.
  • Professional installation is recommended for tile flooring to ensure proper placement and adhesion.

4. Stone

Stone has long been used in kitchens due to its timeless elegance and durability. It also resists scratches better than wood or tile but costs much more than other materials, such as vinyl or laminate. 

Stone flooring adds an elegant touch to any kitchen space due to its natural beauty. Stone floors come in wide varieties, such as marble, granite, travertine, limestone, slate, etc., all with different properties depending on the type of stone chosen.

Stone floors typically require professional installation unless you have experience installing stone flooring. Stone floors may also require sealing, depending on the type used. 

Pros:

  • Stone flooring is highly durable and can withstand heavy foot traffic.
  • It creates a natural and elegant appearance that is unmatched by other flooring materials.
  • Adding stone tile to your home can increase its value, making it easier to sell in the future.
  • Each stone is unique, so stone flooring can give your home a one-of-a-kind look.

Cons:

  • Different types of stone have varying porosity levels and may require regular treatment with a sealing agent to prevent liquid damage.
  • Stone flooring can be expensive and may exceed your budget.
  • Some types of stone are brittle and prone to chipping.
  • Natural variations in the stone can make it challenging to find matching pieces during installation.
  • Polished stone can be susceptible to scratches.

5. Cork

newly remodeled kitchen interior with cork floors maple cabinets and glass tile backsplash

Cork flooring has recently gained popularity in kitchen flooring due to its comfortable texture compared to other traditional materials. It can be purchased in various forms, including peel-and-stick, glue-down, or snap-together assembly, mimicking the look of tiles or planks. Unlike other types of flooring, cork doesn’t feel cold to the touch and has a soft, springy texture that can absorb sound.

Cork flooring is made by combining ground-up cork with resins and comes in shades of gray and brown. Cork tiles and planks are made from tree bark, which makes them environmentally friendly, sustainable materials.

It resists stains but isn’t waterproof, so spills should be cleaned up promptly to prevent soaking in. In case of staining, cork can be sanded down and retouched with stain and sealer.

Heavy appliances can dent cork, but it can regain its shape over time. Direct sunlight can cause the floor to fade, so it’s recommended to close the curtains during the brightest time of the day. Cork is not as long-lasting as many other flooring options and may need to be replaced every 3-4 years.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Suitable for DIY installation
  • Provides sound insulation
  • Environmentally friendly

Cons:

  • Susceptible to dents caused by heavy appliances
  • Fades over time when exposed to sunlight

6. Laminate

sunlight came through the windows and shone on the laminate floor

For many years, laminate flooring has served as a cost-effective substitute for hardwood flooring. Although vinyl flooring can also replicate the appearance of hardwood, laminate is a more affordable option.

Laminate is a multi-layer product made up of fiberboard, resin, and a special photographic image layer applied on top. This combination creates surface durability and water resistance that is ideal for kitchen conditions. 

Laminate flooring is also an attractive option for those who prefer to install flooring themselves, as the planks can be easily attached to one another and secured in place through either gluing or floating. This feature also allows laminate flooring to be installed on top of a subfloor that is not perfectly even.

Pros:

  • Provides the appearance of higher-priced materials at a lower cost
  • Some types of laminate flooring are waterproof
  • DIY installation is possible, eliminating the need for professional help

Cons:

  • May not be as resilient as alternative flooring options
  • Certain types of laminate may not have waterproof capabilities

7. Concrete

Concrete is an increasingly popular choice in kitchen flooring due to its durability and ease of maintenance. It’s a cost-effective option that offers a wide range of design possibilities since it can be dyed or stained in virtually any color imaginable. Through the use of staining techniques, concrete can be fashioned to closely resemble the look of wood, tile, or even stone.

Moreover, when treated with a sealant, it becomes nearly impervious to water damage, although the placement of mats in moisture-prone areas such as those surrounding the sink or dishwasher is still advised.

One of the most attractive features of concrete flooring is its affordability. It is significantly less expensive than many other flooring options and can be made to look far more expensive than its actual cost, rendering it an excellent value.

Pros:

  • A cost-effective flooring alternative
  • Features waterproof capabilities

Cons:

  • The unusual aesthetic may not appeal to all homeowners
  • Not as comfortable to stand on as some other flooring options

Create The Mercer Island Kitchen You’ve Always Wanted With Wise Choice Construction

Ultimately choosing the right kitchen flooring material will come down to personal preference–what fits best with both your lifestyle needs and design aesthetic. We suggest researching each option carefully before making your final decision so that you know exactly what benefits each type of material brings–both in the short term and long term.

If you need more guidance or have any questions about kitchen remodeling on Mercer Island, our team would be more than happy to help–just fill out our contact form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks, and happy remodeling!

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a large kitchen with a table and chairs in it.