Kitchen Remodeling – Flooring Choices

There is a wide variety of choices for flooring when remodeling the kitchen.

Carpet: Kitchen carpeting is unpopular but there are carpet tiles that are stain resistant and are not glued down such as Flor. A stain/spill on a tile could be removed, washed easier, dried, and replaced.

Ceramic tiles: These come in machine-made glazed, porcelain, terracotta, or cement. Machine-made glazed are easy to clean and fairly strong. Porcelain is very strong, very liquid resistant, and also easy to care for, only requiring basic cleaning. These come either glazed or unglazed. Terracotta tiles are either hand-made or machine-made. They are not as strong as the above two but have a beautiful appearance. They require sealing about one time per year. Cement tiles are very strong and are made to look like stone or tile. Out of this group porcelain and cement is the best for high moisture or if spills are likely. They are easy to care for and low priced. If this type of flooring seems to be too cold for your feet, there are under the tile heating systems which are growing in popularity.

Concrete (poured): This flooring can be colored in the mix or on the surface with a powdered color hardener while still wet. It will require sealing every few years. After a proper sealing it is very stain resistant and easy to clean.

Cork (tree bark): It is very soft, quiet, comfortable, and easy to clean. Amazingly it is scratch, dent, spill, fire, insect, and temperature resistant, also it is hypoallergenic. It sometimes has a urethane finish that must be sanded down and reapplied every few years.
Interesting note, the same trees are harvested of their bark every nine years.

Hardwood: Besides the usual strips, there is parquet, and engineered. Parquet is where small wood squares are held together in specific patterns with various methods such as staples or webbing to make larger sections giving unique designs. Engineered is where a very expensive wood is laminated on top of a lower priced wood giving a very beautiful floor at a lower price. The different types of wood have different methods of grading and are beyond the scope of this article to list. A top of the line sealer must be used on this flooring. Spills must be cleaned up quickly even if the floor is properly sealed. Can be stained differently to change the look but may need to be sanded and resealed every few years depending on traffic.

Laminate: Sometimes called synthetic hardwood flooring, these are constructed with a paper layer or melamine, resin, and fiberboard. They are very real looking and are more warp, moisture, and stain resistant than real wood. Does not fade and no waxing, sanding. or sealing required. If it is coated with aluminum oxide it is even tougher. The wood pattern is on the surface so it cannot be sanded and stained again if you wish to change the look. Laminates have good warranties. A proper underlayment must be installed or it can sound noisy or hollow when walked across.

Linoleum: This flooring is a mixture of linseed oil, resin, cork, limestone, and wood flour. Hard to scratch or damage, easy to clean. There are types that require regular waxing and there is also no wax required types. Most have the color or pattern running through the thickness so it is no affected by wear as other choices. Special attention may need to be given to keep clean the seams between the pieces. May be noisy to walk on depending on the type. Avoid using ammonia cleaner or high Ph based cleaning products, may damage it. Linoleum can last many years and has long warranties.

Stone: Natural stone and manufactured stone is very strong but must be kept sealed, to prevent stains. Natural stone usually used is marble, granite, or slate. Slate and marble need to be sealed but granite does not. Manufactured stone is made from quartz and is as strong or stronger than natural stone depending on the stone it imitates.

Vinyl (tiles and sheet): There are basically two types of vinyl, rotogravure and inlaid. Inlaid has the pattern or color running to a twice deeper thickness down into the surface than rotogravure does, making inlaid better to take scratches. Vinyl comes in wax or no wax. Sheeting is better if spills are likely.


Leave a Comment