Out of all the rooms in a home, the kitchen tends to be a favorite. The smell of freshly cooked food draws people in, and the kitchen is usually not far from a den or dining room. That means it receives a lot of foot traffic as well, which makes finding the best kitchen flooring options all the more important.
There are dozens of different materials you can consider for your natural materials like stone and wood to synthetic creations. While the options are impressive, there are only three materials you should seriously for your kitchen floor consider with vinyl, laminate, and tile.
Kitschy or Contemporary?
When remodeling any room in your home, one of the biggest problems that can arise involves style. It could be something simple like you and your significant other arguing over Azure or Cornflower. It could also be a more significant issue like your budget if you decide to go contemporary. Your new kitchen flooring may not match your old countertop or cabinets, so consider styles carefully.
Thankfully, the best flooring for kitchens comes in thousands of styles with hundreds of colors to choose from. That means you will not have a problem finding a pattern or hue to match your existing décor. Want wood look tile that matches your oak cabinets? That’s not a problem, and you can find vinyl and other styles of flooring that closely resemble natural materials as well.
Consider the Future…
You may have dreamed of having marble tile flooring or travertine in your kitchen. Before you make that dream a reality, take a minute to think about your future plans. If you’re doing this project as a temporary fix, you’ll want to focus on cheaper materials or the budget tiers from top manufacturers. If you plan to sell your home down the road, you will want to choose your flooring with care.
Certain materials will increase the value of your home, while others can have a direct impact on potential buyers, but not in a good way. It’s important to keep tastes in mind if you plan to sell and choose something neutral over a wild pattern or color. Vinyl isn’t going to blow away potential buyers, no matter how nice it is, but a slick tile job can make someone do a double-take.
Kitchen Flooring Safety
Safety should be at the top of your list with kitchen and bathroom flooring. While you generally need to be wary of anything slick on all types of flooring aside from carpet, slipping isn’t the only thing that comes into play with kitchen safety.
Vinyl is made from plastic and various other chemicals, some of which are harmful to your health. You may think that it may not matter as you’re not going to eat or drink off the floor, but that would be a mistake. Over time, these substances can affect your indoor air quality as they leech into the air, so you’ll want to look for products that have been approved by regulatory agencies like FloorScore.
Glue and adhesives used to install vinyl can also be troublesome due to VOCs. That’s something you won’t have to deal with if you opt for tile considering it’s made from clay, but traction can be an issue with every style. When water and slippery liquids are a concern, look for flooring with a high COF rating unless you want to end up on your backside.
The Best Flooring for Kitchens
There is a wealth of options available in the flooring world, but that doesn’t mean any material will suffice in your kitchen. You can make almost any type of flooring “work” in a room with enough effort and prep work, but the kitchen is a special place. That means you need a special type of flooring, which leads us to vinyl, laminate, and tile flooring. All of these materials are ideal for bathrooms, are excellent options for kitchens as well.
If you want to install vinyl in your kitchen, you have two styles to choose from with vinyl tiles and luxury vinyl planks. Sheet vinyl is also an option depending on your needs, but usually isn’t the best choice for kitchens compared to the other forms.
Vinyl tiles can look like textured stone or feature classic patterns. Solid color vinyl tiles are plentiful as well if you want something simple and colorful. How you need to install these tiles, vary as you can choose from vinyl peel and stick tiles or tiles that require adhesive.
The advantages of vinyl tile include the price point, wide selection, and ease of installation. As for the drawbacks, you’ll want to pay close attention to the VOC’s if you’re concerned about indoor air quality, and even the best vinyl tiles aren’t as realistic as our next option.
Vinyl tiles have been around for decades, but luxury vinyl planks and luxury vinyl tiles are relatively new to the scene. Known as LVP and LVT respectively, this form of flooring lives up to its namesake by being more luxurious than regular vinyl as it’s thicker and far more realistic. Some of these floors are also glued in place while others take the “floating floor” approach. You can even use grout with some styles of luxury vinyl tile!
Luxury vinyl flooring is more expensive than sheet vinyl or vinyl tiles but does just as well with water. You’ll still need to seal seams if you want total protection from liquids however and need to keep slip-resistance in mind as well. If you’d like to learn more about vinyl flooring, be sure to check out our guide.
Laminates are an interesting alternative to vinyl and carry a similar price point. It’s a layered product with a core, backing, and wear layer, but the image comes from a high-definition printer. This allows manufacturers to capture the texture of wood in HD. Kitchen laminate flooring is available in moisture-resistant and waterproof forms.
Most laminate kitchen flooring is extremely easy to install thanks to a click-lock system. That’s another thing it shares in common with engineered flooring although laminates handle moisture better. That said, anything with seams can be trouble with pooled water, and just like vinyl, laminate flooring will not increase the value of your home. They are not considered “premium” materials in any form.
We saved the best for last as the best flooring for kitchens for most consumers is tile. It can be the most expensive alternative depending on your tastes, but your options are unlimited when it comes to style. You can also choose between ceramic and porcelain tile, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
Porcelain is usually the better option if you’re concerned about durability. It’s fired at higher temperatures, so it’s stronger than ceramic tile. Both can mimic many natural materials, and your floors will be waterproof once the tile has been properly grouted and sealed. It’s important to understand the pros and cons of ceramic or porcelain flooring as there are a few drawbacks you’ll need to be aware of.
Tile can be one of the slicker surfaces to stand on when wet, so the COF rating is critical. 0.60 is the number you’ll want to shoot for, and you’ll find plenty of options in that range. You’ll also want to make sure you choose glazed tile which has excellent resistance to stains. Tile is colder underfoot than our other options and more difficult to install.
While we’ve covered the best flooring for kitchens, there are a few kitchen flooring alternatives that should be on your radar as well. All of these materials are usually more expensive than tile, vinyl or laminate flooring but will work if you’re willing to put in the effort.
Kitchen Flooring Cost
For some, choosing a style of kitchen flooring largely depends on its price. That’s where things can become difficult given the number of options available to consumers. While this is only a small sampling of what’s available, our table will give you an idea of what to expect from various flooring materials for your kitchen.
12” x 24”
Groutable Vinyl Tile
6” x 24”
Travertine Stone Tile
16” x 16”
Outlast+ Vienna Oak
7.5” x 47 ¼”
Luxury Vinyl Plank
7” x 48”
Portland Stone Gray
18” x 18”
Pickwick Landing II
Cut to length
Peel and Stick Vinyl
12” x 12”
8.7” x 47.6”
Luxury Vinyl Tile
Aegean Travertine White
12” x 23”
DIY or Hire a Pro
Homeowners looking for a material that’s quick and easy to work with have several options to choose from as we’ve shown with our top picks. While you may be able to lay down vinyl tile or laminate planks in a weekend, that’s only going to be possible if you’re subfloor is sound and free of damage. Unfortunately, unless you installed your current flooring, you won’t have any idea what’s beneath it.
The most expensive tool you’ll need for our top materials would be a porcelain tile cutter. Materials like adhesives, grout, and underlayment can add up, however, and that doesn’t take into account any issues with your subfloor. Your current flooring may need to come up, gaps or cracks will need to be filled, and the prep work alone can take longer than installing your kitchen floor.
If you think a contractor may be a better fit your project, you’ll want to check out our pricing tool. It will give you the lowdown on what to expect from contractors in your areas whether you want to install tile, vinyl, or even hardwood in your kitchen.
Whether you prefer porcelain to vinyl or want a wood-look material to match your cabinets, there is a flooring style out there for you. Just keep our tips in mind when shopping for the best kitchen flooring, and remember to make sure it’s durable and provides enough traffic to suit your needs.