As I mentioned in Part 1 of the Kitchen Flooring series, there are so many different floor coverings available in the marketplace. As it can be a bit overwhelming just trying to choose the best option for your kitchen, I’m continuing to review some of the most popular options available. In my review, I note each flooring type’s advantages and disadvantages to help you make the best decision for your kitchen. In Part 1, I reviewed cork, bamboo and hardwood. In Part 2, I’ll talk about tile, stone and linoleum/marmoleum.
Tile is an exceptionally popular flooring type for a kitchen because of its functionality and aesthetics. It’s not surprising given that the nature of a kitchen, and the opportunity for spills. Tile is virtually spill proof. You may break a glass if you drop it on tile, but liquids and other spills wipe up easily. It is also quite easy to get a custom look with tile as it comes in many different styles and designs which allow for lots of creative freedom. The sky really is the limit!
Pros - There is a large selection of tile shapes, sizes and colors! It’s fairly easy to maintain and is pretty durable. Tile is also one of the more affordable options to choose from and is one of the easier materials to work with if you plan to install the flooring yourself.
Cons - Tile is very cold and hard on the feet, legs and back. You can, however, take the chill off of tile with a radiant floor warming system. Tile can break, but if you keep a few extra tiles on hand, they can be replaced. The only downfall with tile is that the grout can be difficult to keep up. If you use a light color grout, dirt will show. If you use anything but white grout, it can be hard to match later if it chips.
Marble, slate, travertine and granite are some of the leading stone flooring covering options. Stone flooring has been around forever and never seems to go out of style. When selected from well-managed quarries, stone is a great alternative to ceramic or vinyl tile and its natural beauty will last for the life of your home and beyond.
Pros - Stone makes for a gorgeous floor! It’s extremely durable, often outlasting the life of the house. There are a lot of colors and patterns available.
Cons - Just like tile, stone is cold and hard. Again, like tile, adding radiant heating to the stone flooring will warm it up to a very comfortable temperature. Stone, however, is a much more expensive flooring option. Additionally, a high gloss polish will cause the floor to be slippery when wet and some stone types do need to be sealed regularly. Although stone is very durable, some cleaning products can damage stone flooring. Be sure to read labels carefully and DO NOT use a product that is not made for your type of stone.
Marmoleum (a brand name of Linoleum) is made from all natural ingredients: linseed/flax oil, wood resins, cork, limestone, and jute. Vibrant, marbled colors from organic dyes are a hallmark of linoleum. Also, because the color permeates the material, it can actually be sanded down to prolong the life of the flooring. Linoleum flooring is resilient which makes it perfect for heavy traffic and prolonged standing. It is a great option for those affected by respiratory issues because it discourages dust mites and is allergen-free. The flooring’s consistent temperature works well in all homes, even those situated in extreme climate zones. Linoleum is available in sheets and tiles, which should always be installed with low-VOC adhesives, as well as hard tongue and groove planks for do-it-yourself glueless installation.
Pros - Linoleum comes in a huge selection of colors and patterns. It is soft underfoot and very durable. It is environmentally friendly because it is made of natural ingredients. It is one of the more affordable flooring options. For people with allergies, it can be a good choice.
Cons - Linoleum is porous. It can require waxing and may also require some repair over time. Even though it’s durable, it is not easy to repair scratches, nicks or holes, but it can be done..