Kitchen Flooring Options – 9 Flooring Types For Your Kitchen
Are you completely renovating your kitchen, or building that beautiful open plan kitchen/living extension? You’ve got your plans sorted and are now picking out all your fixtures and kitchen flooring options are next on the list. But what type of flooring is right for your budget and household, and what types of kitchen flooring options are there?
In this post, I’ll go over the pros and cons of all the most popular kitchen flooring options so you can make a more informed decision.
Let’s get into it!
Kitchen Flooring Considerations
You may not look at your kitchen floors every day, it’s not really the focus at 7 am when you’re sleepily making the day’s first cup of coffee. However, before you buy flooring that looks awesome or is the latest trend, make sure that it will perform as needed in your home.
Is this your dream kitchen? As a responsible adult, you can make a choice that is less durable and provides a decorative accent to the room such as solid hardwood floors. If you are a busy family with young kids and a few dogs, a tougher product such as ceramic or porcelain tile might be more suitable for your lifestyle and such a high traffic area.
Are you installing underfloor heating? Some tiles are better suited to hold and radiate warmth while solid wood may dry, crack, or warp.
Sometimes, spending a little extra on a tough floor material that is proven to last for decades makes a better return on your investment compared to something pretty that will wear out after five or ten years.
Have a think about how you use the kitchen space and what you want out of your kitchen flooring before you fall in love with something that won’t match your needs.
Best Kitchen Flooring Options
As with everything kitchen related, these flooring options all have their pros and cons. It’s about finding the best match for your needs, style and budget.
1. Stone Tiles
Stone introduces a unique, natural feel to your kitchen renovation. You can find tiles in marble, granite, slate, limestone, travertine and soapstone, almost any type of stone used in other types of construction and art. When laid properly, the floor can last forever. A natural stone tile should be sealed to prevent discolouration and cracks.
It is one of the pricier options, and you will not have a uniform pattern on your floor. Stone floors are very hard and unless they have underfloor heating, will be cool on your toes. But the beauty of a stone floor can be worth the time and money.
Average Pricing: £18 to £100/ sq. m
Installation Considerations: Installation costs, time, and materials are similar to ceramic floor tiles. Make sure to order enough tile for the entire project plus 10%-15% for wastage and any future repairs as matching tile can be much harder compared to other types of tile.
Top Tip: I always recommend installing the floor across the entire room. Wall to wall. Rather than stopping short and not tiling underneath the kitchen cabinets. This way, you future-proof the kitchen. As, if you ever need to replace any cabinets or freestanding appliances and they’re a different size, you won’t have any gaps or holes in your flooring.
Advantages Of Stone Tile Flooring
- Rich, natural appearance
- Every installation is unique–there is no duplication with stone
- Extremely durable
- Works well with underfloor heating
Disadvantages Of Stone Tile Flooring
- Requires regular sealing to protect the appearance
- Very hard–kids can get injured if they slip and fall
- Difficult to repair if a tile is damaged
- Requires lengthy professional installation
2. Porcelain And Ceramic Tiles
Both porcelain and ceramic tiles are made out of clay and then fired in a kiln, producing an incredibly durable flooring option. If installed properly and maintained, they can last 50 years or longer. Ceramic tiles are still being found in Roman villas unearthed after being buried for 2000 years.
You can find them in a huge array of colours, patterns, and textures. Some ceramic tiles are extremely affordable while hand-painted porcelain can be one of the more expensive options. They can be finished in a high gloss, that can be slippery when wet, or installed without glaze for better traction. You can order them from almost any home improvement store or online.
Average Pricing: £20 to £100 per square meter
Installation Considerations: Installation costs average between £200 and £700 depending on the size and intricacy of the job. Laying the floor can take several days. The floor must be levelled, apply a layer of mortar, install the tiles, and allow the mortar to dry. Grout is added to the seams after the mortar is set, and there is dry time for the grout, too.
Advantages Of Porcelain And Ceramic Tile Flooring
- Extremely durable
- Endless design options
- Materials available for budget-friendly renovations
- Good for underfloor heating
Disadvantages Of Porcelain And Ceramic Tile Flooring
- Can be slippery when wet
- The tile can be cracked, or it can break items dropped on it
- Requires professional time-consuming installation
3. Solid Hardwood
Just like the name suggests, hardwood flooring is solid wood, with no other layers to it. Just the natural timber itself. It is usually cut to around 3/4″ in thickness and is available in wide selections of timber varieties. The price of hardwood can vary depending on the type of wood chosen and the area needed to cover.
Real solid hardwood flooring has a lovely warm and rich appeal, which can add to the value of your home. However, it does require some care and may not be the most practical option for a kitchen environment. If exposed to excessive moisture it can cause the timber to warp and pull apart. Leaving an uneven and gappy floor.
Average Pricing: £40-100/sq m
Installation Considerations: In order to lay the floor, your builder may need to install an additional level of material, such as a plywood subfloor. This can add to the time and cost of installation.
Advantages Of Solid Hardwood Flooring
- Hardwood floors add a homey, rustic feel to any kitchen.
- Real hardwood floors can add value to a property.
- Solid hardwood can be sanded down and refinished many times.
DisadvantagesOf Solid Hardwood Flooring
- Solid hardwood will expand and contract, based on humidity (especially in wider widths). This can cause gaps and unevenness across your floor as it ages, affecting its level finish.
- If your kitchen is underground, you should not have hardwood. This is due to rising damp, flooding and other aspects associated with being under the watershed.
- Real hardwood flooring can be an expensive purchase, both in terms of materials and installation.
- Walking across hardwood floors can create a lot of noise, especially for your downstairs neighbour if you’re in a flat.
- Can be susceptible to stains and scratches
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4. Engineered Wood
So, you absolutely love the look and feel of real wood, but as I’ve said, it’s not always recommended for a kitchen. Engineered wood gives you the option of a product that is better able to withstand any splashes or changes in moisture levels and heat associated with kitchens. It’s definitely become one of the most popular kitchen flooring options over recent years.
Engineered wood is built on layers of wood fibres that run in multiple directions, giving it strength and resistance to moisture. The top features an inlay of real wood, so you get the look of oak, bamboo, or mahogany without the cost. Wood is wonderful under the toes in the morning, is less likely to be damaged if you drop something on it, and its finish can be maintained for years.
Average Pricing: £30 to £100/sq m
Installation Considerations: Expect to pay an additional £10 to £30 per square metre for installation services on top of the cost of the materials. It can be nailed down like a traditional wood floor, glued to a concrete subfloor, or snapped together as a floating floor.
Advantages Of Engineered Wood Flooring
- Luxurious appearance and feel
- Long-lasting when installed properly
- Complements vintage or modern decor
Disadvantages Of Engineered Wood Flooring
- Expensive material
- Is not truly waterproof
5. Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl floor tiles or rolls are the 21st-century answer to affordable, functional, and attractive flooring needs. They can look like stone tile, wood grain, or fun designer patterns. It is easy enough to install so that you can dress up your kitchen floor in a single day.
If you spend a little extra and precisely follow the installation instructions, expect your vinyl floor to last up to 25 years. It is water-resistant and even features a slight cushion so that trips and falls result in fewer bruises. If you are looking to freshen up your kitchen on a budget, vinyl floors are a great choice!
Average Pricing: £10 to £60/sq. m
Installation Considerations: Vinyl floors are glued to an underlayment–whether that is wood boards or a concrete subfloor. The subfloor must be completely flat for best adhesion, so you may need to use a self-levelling compound before you begin. Some tiles are peel and stick, while others require you to apply the adhesive. Professional installation will only take a few hours and the floor is ready for immediate use.
Advantages Of Vinyl Flooring
- Easy to install
- Ready to use within hours
- Available in a wide range of designer looks – vinyl planks and tiles
- Soft underfoot and safer for little knees
Disadvantages Of Vinyl Flooring
- The vinyl surface can be scratched or damaged
- Difficult to repair or replace a damaged tile
- Not suitable for high heat output underfloor heating
6. Laminate Flooring
Laminate floors look nearly identical to vinyl floors, but they vary in construction. They feature a base structure that is topped by a tough flooring surface designed to look like stone or tile. Laminates tend not to be as waterproof as vinyl tiles but are available in a waterproof option.
You can get the look of hardwood flooring without worrying about water damage. Laminates are designed to last from 10 to 25 years depending on the brand. Laminates are almost as easy to install as vinyl and can cost even less. Ultimately, you get what you pay for this type of flooring.
Average Pricing: £5 to £25/ sq. m
Installation Considerations: Laminates can be installed as a floating floor or using adhesives. Installation goes fairly quickly with most floors going down in less than a day. The average cost for labour runs between £150 to £600 for the kitchen floor.
Advantages Of Laminate Flooring
- Low Price
- Easy to install
- Mimics the look of wood or stone
Disadvantages Of Laminate Flooring
- Does not last as long as vinyl
- Not the best for use over underfloor heating
- Some laminates are not waterproof – need to careful with spills
7. Polished Concrete
One of the hottest trending looks for home decor with an industrial vibe is polished concrete. It is the ultimate kitchen flooring choice as it’s waterproof and nearly impervious to damage. You can add coloured flecks to the final coat to give it texture and interest while the polishing motion creates a lively appearance.
It is the most pricey flooring option available and the process from pouring to polishing can take weeks. If you are refinishing a ground-floor kitchen with a concrete subfloor, it is possible to refinish the floor to a polished shine.
Average Pricing: £110 to £160/sq m
Installation Considerations: You will need a professional installer to get the polished concrete floor of your dreams. The kitchen will be out of commission for an extended period. While concrete works well with in-floor heating, if you ever have a problem with the heating, you are looking at an expensive repair.
Advantages Polished Concrete Flooring
- Nearly indestructible floor
- Easy to care for
- Modern ‘minimalist’ style
Disadvantages Polished Concrete Flooring
- Pricey flooring option
- Limited colour and decor choices
- Difficult to remove
- Heavy–not suitable for upper-floor kitchens
8. Rubber Flooring
Are you looking for an eco-friendly, affordable, and easy-to-install flooring choice? Rubber flooring goes down much like vinyl using adhesive. It is naturally water-resistant and is a softer surface underfoot.
Rubber flooring is typically designed for gyms, garages, and other workspaces. There are not as many decor choices compared to other floor materials. However, when you look for a green brand, it is made using old tires, reducing the impact on the environment for building materials.
Average Pricing: £40 to £90/sq m
Installation Considerations: Due to the unique nature of rubber, it can take up to a week to have a rubber floor installed as the floor and adhesive require consistent temperature and humidity in order to cure. While tiles are a fairly easy DIY, you may be happier calling in a professional if you opt for a rolled rubber floor. The subfloor must be completely flat and spotless before installation.
Advantages Of Rubber Flooring
- Eco-friendly flooring product
- Soft on the feet
- Works with underfloor heating
- Lasts up to 20 years
Disadvantages Of Rubber Flooring
- Limited colours available
- Lengthy installation may slow down your renovation
- Expensive for a DIY project
9. Cork Flooring
Cork provides an eco-friendly option for your flooring needs. The cork is harvested from living cork oak trees that grow primarily in southwest Europe and northwest Africa. The trees live for up to 200 years, making this a sustainable green material.
The cork is ground up and then formed into tiles or pressed into strips. Ground cork tiles look much like concrete, stone, or even speckled laminates. Colour is added to achieve designer hues that complement current decor trends. Other planks take advantage of the cork grain to deliver an appearance similar to hardwoods or bamboo flooring.
Average Pricing: £40 to £70/sq m
There are two popular installation methods for cork flooring. The first uses adhesive to stick the cork tiles to a level subfloor, much like peel-and-stick vinyl floor tiles. The second is a click-in-place method much like floating laminate floor installation.
Since installation does not demand any special knowledge and minimal tools, it is a project that most DIY homeowners can tackle. If you are hiring an installer, labour rates are comparable to a laminate or vinyl flooring job.
Advantages Of Cork Flooring
- Sustainably harvested cork is one of the greenest options for flooring materials
- Soft underfoot, it helps a room feel warmer while protecting little ones from trip-and-falls.
- Resistant to mould and mildew
- Available in a variety of contemporary colours
- Easy installation makes it a good DIY option for the average homeowner
Disadvantages Of Cork Flooring
- Cork is naturally absorbent, so it can deform and warp when subjected to high humidity or water.
- Requires bi-annual applications of sealant.
- The polished surface will scratch when the dogs or cats run across it.
- Direct sunlight will fade or discolour cork over time.
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What Is The Most Durable Floor For A Kitchen?
Porcelain or ceramic tiles are generally considered the most durable flooring type for a kitchen. They are extremely hard-wearing and have great scratch and stain-resistant properties.
What is the easiest kitchen floor to maintain?
Vinyl or ceramic/porcelain tiles are very popular options for low-maintenance kitchen flooring. Both are water-resistant and can be cleaned easily with no special products required.
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There you have it! The pros, cons, considerations and everything you need to know when looking at kitchen flooring options.
There’s no right or wrong answer, each kitchen flooring option has its advantages and disadvantages and will ultimately come down to what best fits your lifestyle, look and budget.
So, which kitchen flooring option will you go for?
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Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.