For many families the most used room in the house is the kitchen. It is the focus of many activities. More than any other room, it reflects your lifestyle and values. Inevitably flooring in kitchens takes a beating and has to look good doing it. Whether you go with inexpensive vinyl flooring, or the best marble if it doesn’t stand up to the beating and fit in with your lifestyle you will want to change it faster than anything else in your home.
The most popular and common kitchen flooring is vinyl. It isn’t the best at anything but it really doesn’t have many glaring weaknesses either. It is durable, resilient and inexpensive; and you can get it in an almost infinite variety of patterns and colors. It has a nice cushy feel that you don’t always find in some of the other hard flooring choices. You can get it in tiles or sheets. Vinyl tile flooring tends to be more attractive because of the variety of patterns and colors available. But be careful, the self-adhesive variety doesn’t always stay down for long. Spilled water is more likely to get underneath the tiles and potentially cause a variety of problems. Because of the resilience of vinyl flooring, it requires a totally flat surface. Use a good underlayment before you put the vinyl down. If you put new vinyl over old vinyl tile, the pattern underneath will eventually show through in the new vinyl. If you go with vinyl flooring for your kitchen, make sure it is done right or you might regret it later.
Linoleum and vinyl are often confused with each other. They both look about the same once installed. But vinyl is made from all synthetic materials, whereas linoleum is made from all natural materials. Usually linoleum has a felt, canvas or burlap base with a combination of linseed oil, cork and wood powder mixed in natural resins on top of the base. The popularity of vinyl flooring has overshadowed linoleum. But the truth of the matter is linoleum is much more durable compared to vinyl. It is not uncommon for a linoleum floor with a good underlayment to last 35 to 40 years; even in heavy traffic areas. If durability and practicality are high priorities, don’t dismiss sheet linoleum as too old fashioned or out of date.
Laminate flooring is a relatively new option that may be the perfect compromise for your kitchen. It is intended to give the low cost, resilience and low maintenance durability advantages of vinyl and linoleum flooring. At the same time it can give the look of more expensive flooring such as hardwood, ceramic and marble. It is a compromise and won’t look as beautiful as a real hardwood or marble floor. But for many people, it is an excellent all around choice.
For many, the ultimate floor for a kitchen is a hardwood floor. Hardwood flooring is usually high maintenance, expensive, slippery and not as durable or scratch resistant as other flooring options. But despite these drawbacks, you cannot argue with the timeless warmth and beauty of a real hardwood floor.
If cost is not an obstacle there are many marble, travertine, granite and other stone flooring options available for kitchen use. They are all expensive, but no other kitchen flooring option will last as long or look as refined and beautiful.