Kitchen floors take a beating from foot traffic, pets and spills so it’s critical to match durability and ease of maintenance with a lifestyle. For example, if you’re planning on cooking or baking for hours at a time you may not want to go with a hard, cold surface.
It is tempting for homeowners to save money by installing their kitchen floor on their own. But people who try to install flooring themselves often cause more problems, so use a professional unless you know what you’re doing and have the right tools.
This guide will help walk you through the pros, cons and costs of each flooring material.
Ceramic: Ceramic tile provides a classic look that will stand the test of time.
- Pros: Protective glazes make the tiles impervious to water and stains. Ceramic is difficult to crack and fairly easy to care for.
- Cons: Installation of ceramic can get pricey. It’s difficult to stand on for long periods of time so maybe choose something else if you’re plan to cook a lot. It doesn’t retain heat very well so it can be cold in the winter.
- Cost: $7.50 to $9.75 per square foot for mid-range tile and installation
Limestone: This rock is formed when marine invertebrates such as clams, mussels and oysters extract calcium carbonate from water to build shells and bones. When these critters die they fall and accumulate on the sea floor, forming limestone over millions of years.
- Pros: An elegant look that will remain attractive for your home’s entire life. It’s much more affordable than granite and marble but is still appealing to those who like natural stone.
- Cons: Limestone must be regularly maintained otherwise you run the risk of damaging it. As a softer stone it can be chipped or damaged in areas with a lot of foot traffic.
- Cost: $5 per square foot
Cork: This material is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree, which primarily grows in the Mediterranean. It comes in planks, tiles or sheets in fashionable colors.
- Pros: Cork is environmentally friendly. It makes standing for long periods easier on your back. If you drop a fragile item it’s likely to bounce off cork. It also muffles sounds and helps reduce energy bills. As a bonus, cork is resistant to mold, insects and allergens.
- Cons: Keep cork floors free of dirt and sand, which can scratch the surface over time.
- Cost: $2 to 10 per square foot
Concrete: While it may initially seem like a purely-industrial material, concrete gives homeowners many color choices when selecting a kitchen floor.
- Pros: Concrete is durable, reduces allergens, cost-effective, and easy to maintain. It withstands foot traffic, food and spills.
- Cons: Since it’s an unforgiving surface, this material not ideal for homes with children. Plus it can be cold to the touch.
- Cost: $2 to $6 per square foot depending on level of complexity.
Wood: This extremely popular flooring gives a warm feel to a kitchen and reduces leg fatigue for cooks who stand for hours. There is solid hardwood that’s milled from a single piece of wood and engineered hardwood that is made from bonding layers of hardwood together
- Pros: Wood can bring a light, quaint feel to a kitchen. It cleans-up easily and scratches can be removed with a sander.
- Cons: It be scratched by pets’ claws and high heels, damaged by standing water and discolored over time by unobstructed sunlight.
- Cost: $8 to $10 per square foot installed
Vinyl: This economical surface can provide the illusion of a wood floor for a fraction of the price. Vinyl is a must if you’re not looking for fussy flooring.
- Pros: It’s affordable, easy to install and comes in many patterns. Vinyl is extremely easy to clean and very little maintenance is required.
- Cons: Vinyl can be difficult to remove if glued down and can be punctured with sharp objects
- Cost: $2.50 to $3.30 per square foot installed
Linoleum: If you don’t want to break the bank but still want a fresh look for your kitchen consider using linoleum.
- Pros: The main selling points are it’s affordable, easy to clean and comes in numerous patterns.
- Cons: Linoleum requires a lot of skill to install so doing it yourself is not advised. If it’s exposed to water for long periods of time it can be irreparably damaged.
- Cost: $3.30 to $4.20 per square foot installed
Laminate: Made of four layers of material fused together. It mimics hardwood or tile but is much cheaper than both. Some underlayments bonded with laminate can make your footsteps sound more like you’re walking on wood.
- Pros: It’s very capable of standing up to cooking spills, heavy traffic and pets’ claws.
- Cons: It doesn’t gain character with age and can’t be sanded
- Cost: $5.50 per square foot installed
Bamboo: This fast growing grass is harvested to produce flooring. Some may be surprised that it’s harder than many types of wood.
- Pros: It’s environmentally friendly and can be stained to look like hardwood. Bamboo floors come in different sizes, colors, patterns and textures.
- Cons: It can be scratched or be dented. Keep pets’ nails short.
- Cost: Average of $7.84 per square foot installed