Choosing the best flooring for your kitchen

For far too long, kitchen flooring was seen as an afterthought by many homeowners. When looking at older homes, it can feel as though it was boring, practical flooring taking centre stage over more interesting, stylish floorings. Fortunately, today many of the best flooring options for kitchens are those which combine function with form. Modern kitchens are often the stylish centre of the home. We spend almost 6 hours a week in the kitchen, and it’s more than simply a place to cook food, today the kitchen is the room where guests are entertained, parties are held and meals are eaten. So it makes sense to ensure that they look great, and serve all their functions.

However, with so many different styles of flooring suited to the kitchen, it can be incredibly hard to settle on one. Having to think about styles that will complement the design of your kitchen, while ensuring that the flooring will be durable enough to survive what is often the busiest room in the house can drive you crazy. Here at Squarepeg, we’ve put together a guide to some of the best kitchen flooring solutions, to help you make up your mind.

Tile


Ceramic and porcelain tiles are undoubtedly the classic flooring choice for a kitchen. Inoffensive and suited to most kitchen styles, tiles have been a kitchen mainstay for decades. However, they can be tricky to keep clean and some see traditional tiles as more boring and less cutting edge than other flooring options. This, however, does not have to be the case.

Modern kitchen tiles can deliver some of the most exciting and dynamic designs available. Many ceramic tiles are full of character and can inject a real edge of uniqueness into your kitchen. Aside from having the potential to be great looking, both ceramics and porcelains are low maintenance flooring options. Although you’ll need to be sure to keep on top of any dirt in the grouting, overall they’re easy to maintain. With porcelain tiles, there’s also a very low likelihood of chipping.

Although it’s true that modern tiles can deliver some of the most interesting, eclectic designs to your kitchen, many of the more cost effective tiling options still lack any real character much of the time. Furthermore, they can be incredibly uncomfortable when you’re standing on them all day, made even worse when you take into account the bad heat retention of tiles. Finally, as we’ve mentioned, although easy to clean, if the grout between the tiles gets dirty and discoloured, it can be almost impossible to restore.

Wood


Nature is often the best interior designer for your home - we’ve already talked about why so many people are opting for more natural stylings - and the kitchen is no exception. Although the classic wooden look is often imitated with laminate or vinyl, it’s hard to come close to beating the real thing. Hardwood flooring looks great and, with the right wood, can fit seamlessly into both ultra-modern and ultra-traditional kitchens.

Wood is versatile. With an incredible variety of natural colours, it works perfectly with almost any kitchen. Furthermore, it’s ideal for open plan homes, as it’s one of the few kitchen flooring options that’s ideal for other rooms too. This allows for a continuous laying of wood into the rooms connected to the kitchen. Unlike other strong, durable surfaces, even the hardest woods have a slight amount of give, making them relatively comfortable to stand on for long periods of time. Ultimately, wood is a timeless flooring option that’s full of character - plus, it’ll always be seen as a desirable, premium flooring option.

Despite the many positives of using wood, it’s not without its drawbacks. With too much moisture or underfloor heating, wooden flooring can warp and ruin what was previously beautifully laid flooring. Furthermore, it can be difficult to maintain as it’s easily scratched and stained - especially with all the goings on of a busy kitchen. However, the most off putting factor when it comes to considering wooden flooring in the kitchen is often the price. Hardwood can be very expensive to lay, lacquer and maintain. Therefore despite its positive factors, real wood is often avoided by those on a budget.

Stone


Wood is undoubtedly a timeless kitchen flooring option, but stone goes even further. Stone-floored kitchens can make a relatively rustic kitchen feel decidedly palatial. Stone flooring is a unique, elegant solution for your kitchen that brings a real premium touch to your home.

The main benefit of installing a stone floor is that it’s incredibly durable. Stone will last a lifetime (and beyond), it’s very easy to clean and maintain, with a great resistance to stains. Many people see stone as an incredibly cold, often uninviting surface. However, when left in direct sunlight or helped along with underfloor heating, it’s remarkably adept at retaining heat. Stone really is a top-quality surface that will draw the eye of both houseguests and future buyers as a beautiful, luxurious addition to your kitchen.

However, stone is expensive and unforgiving. It’s hard on your feet and unsuitable for young children who could easily hurt themselves if they fell over in the kitchen. Furthermore, you can be guaranteed that if you drop anything fragile, it won’t survive the fall; stone offers no protection from breakages in the slightest. Although light coloured stone is great at resisting and hiding scratches and chips, if you choose a darker variety, any scratches will be easily visible and almost impossible to remove.

Laminate


Laminate has a bit of a bad rap when it comes to contemporary kitchen design. There’s no doubt that laminate flooring is the cheap option when compared with, for instance, stone or wood. However, that doesn’t make it any less viable as a flooring option.

As we’ve mentioned, laminate is a reasonably priced alternative, suitable for those on a budget. If you want to get the most value possible out of your flooring, laminate is for you. Aside from being cheap to buy, it’s also incredibly easy to install yourself - saving a fortune on the installation costs that come with other materials. Although it may not be the longest lasting flooring option, due to internal ‘wear layers’, laminate flooring has an element of durability present.

The main concerns with laminate flooring come from the fact that it’s quite weak. Despite durability brought on by the ‘wear layers’ present in the material, it does not have a particularly long lifespan. This is made worse by the fact that, when laminate flooring is badly damaged, it’s almost impossible to repair. Furthermore, when exposed to moisture and heat, laminate is incredibly susceptible to warping. Of course, this makes entirely unsuited to underfloor heating; an element of the kitchen fast becoming a necessity in modern interior design.

Concrete


The less traditional, industrial look is booming in UK kitchens right now, and concrete is the ideal flooring match for the style. While it used to be relegated to grey factories and dark cellars, concrete flooring can give your kitchen a distinctly unique, modern edge. There is a misconception that concrete floors will turn your kitchen into a sea of indistinct grey, however, this is not at all the case. Today, concrete flooring for the home can be stained to a variety of colours, polished, and even acid etched to give it a particularly unique element.

Aside from the industrial aesthetic, one of the reasons that concrete flooring is so appealing is its durability. Unsurprisingly, turning your kitchen floor into a slab of concrete makes it incredibly strong - as long as it’s done professionally and with the utmost care - even better, concrete actually gets tougher with age. Concrete flooring is also fantastic for underfloor heating, making it a perfect surface for those cold winter mornings. Ultimately though, our favourite reason for choosing a concrete floor is that it can serve as a ready-laid, flat subfloor, making it incredibly easy to build any other style of flooring on top of it.

We always recommend that you have all of your flooring installed professionally, however, with concrete it’s absolutely imperative. If poured incorrectly, concrete flooring is not only unattractive and uneven, but liable to be weak and, if not sealed correctly, susceptible to stainage and cracking. With all this installation and sealing, it’s one of the more expensive flooring options out there too.

Rubber


One of the most recent kitchen flooring trends to emerge is the use of rubber. Much like concrete, it’s sleek and modern looking, with a bit of an edge too. However, it’s a lot kinder on your feet and less likely to smash your crockery than the former.

Rubber is a hard wearing material, resistant to both heavy foot traffic and any potential damages. Unlike the other heavy duty materials on this list, it’s incredibly comfy underfoot and ideal good for young children who are liable to fall over onto the slightly springy surface. Furthermore, it’s really easy to clean and requires very little maintenance, making running a rubber-floored kitchen a breeze.

Despite it being a safer material to fall onto, when wet or polished, rubber is incredibly slippy and can pose a safety risk. Also, although easy to maintain, rubber flooring can be dented and cut open if the wrong object is dropped onto the material - leading to an expensive repair bill. Unfortunately, you may find that it’s susceptible to fading when exposed to light, making remodelling or moving furniture a difficult task.

Bamboo


You might think that we should have included bamboo in the ‘wood flooring’ section of this list, but it’s actually a grass! Originating in Asia and currently booming in the USA, bamboo flooring is yet to reach those same levels of popularity in the UK. It’s incredibly durable and would make a perfect, highly unique addition to any kitchen.

The rising popularity of bamboo flooring can be attributed in part to the increase of eco-friendly kitchens around the world. As a fast growing grass, bamboo is an incredibly sustainable building material, plus, it’s a lot cheaper than any hardwood. It’s also remarkably durable, withstanding years of use, just as well as any true wooden flooring.

Bamboo, however, is a lot less diverse in colour and appearance than other woods, which can make it difficult to fit into your current kitchen. Furthermore, it’s not a particularly moisture-resistant material and, in the wrong conditions, is liable to warp and discolour.

Cork


Another less popular, eco-friendly choice when it comes to building materials, cork could be the ideal material for your kitchen flooring. Cork contains suberin, which makes it naturally antibacterial; a great advantage for the flooring in a room reliant on hygiene.

Along with being antibacterial, cork also absorbs sound, making it ideal for kitchens in flats where neighbours could be disturbed by any kitchen-based parties. It’s also non-slip and incredibly comfy, an ideal choice if you’re liable to spend a lot of your time on your feet. Like rubber, due to the springiness of cork, there’s less chance of breakages when objects (or people) fall onto the floor. Although they are aware of the benefits of using cork as flooring, many people fear that cork may not fit the style of their kitchen due to its very natural colouration. However, this doesn’t have to be the case; today, many cork designs are coated with vinyl bringing an array of colours to the material.

As with a lot of particularly soft surfaces, the problems with cork come from the fact that it can be easily damaged. Heavy furniture in particular can ruin the look of cork flooring in the way it can dent and imprint the floor. Furthermore, like rubber, cork will fade when exposed to direct sunlight. Finally, although it’s fairly easy to clean, cork will require a lot of care to reach its full potential as a flooring choice - making it a potentially costly investment in the future.

Vinyl


Much like laminate, vinyl flooring can often be disregarded as a low quality, unfashionable flooring option for the kitchen. But this simply isn’t the case. Today, rather than the cheap, unattractive sheets of days gone by, modern luxury vinyl comes in thick, durable sheets or tiles made to look like other materials such as wood and stone.

Aside from the sheer variety in the look and style of vinyl flooring, some of the main reasons for the material’s popularity lie in the ease of maintaining it. Vinyl flooring is hard wearing, durable and water resistant, making it perfectly suited to a kitchen environment and a breeze to clean. Furthermore, unlike wood or the other materials vinyl flooring aims to replicate, it’s very easy to install - perfect for DIY lovers.

Of course, despite its many positive elements, vinyl is not a perfect material. Although it can be cheap, for high quality, luxury vinyl (LVT) you’ll likely be spending a considerable amount of money. However, it can definitely be worth it. When installing vinyl, you will also have to ensure that the subfloor is flawlessly installed, and you may have to invest in having it levelled off. Otherwise, you may find bubbles and waves forming beneath your flooring, causing major problems later on

Perhaps the biggest reason that so many people avoid vinyl flooring is that it can be toxic. PVC, the material that most vinyl is made from, can cause serious problems for both people and the environment, which is naturally very off-putting to potential buyers.


So there you have it: plenty of options to play around with. Combining aesthetics and functionality does not have to be difficult, and there’s no right or wrong answer. Spend some time considering your kitchen space and your own personal needs. If you need help with your new kitchen or furniture, be sure to contact the Squarepeg team!
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