Domestic kitchens have come a long way from being mere functional areas to becoming the hub of the modern home. Unlike any other room in the house, the kitchen has to deliver on all fronts – practicality, resilience, durability and style. These are also the key factors that will govern your choice of flooring.
Kitchens are continually exposed to moisture, making a waterproof flooring option an excellent idea. From refrigerating to cooking, dishwashing to laundry, your floor must be able to cope effortlessly with splashes and spills. But do make sure you choose a non-slip flooring option to minimise the risk of accidents.
If you have children or pets, a hardwearing floor is a must. Many kitchens lead out into the garden, meaning your floor should be able to withstand dirt and debris brought back in via muddy wellies and paws.
With the above in mind, we’ve put together a roundup of hard flooring options that work best in a home kitchen environment.
Modern vinyl flooring
Today’s vinyl flooring is a far cry from the cheap and nasty sheet vinyl of yesteryear. Contemporary LVT (luxury vinyl tiles) and LVP (luxury vinyl planks) are sexy flooring options that are high on trend! Choose from near-infinite colours, patterns, and designs to fit in with your interiors scheme for a waterproof, slip-resistant, and extremely tough floor that is perfect for high traffic areas such as kitchens.
Modern vinyl flooring uses a core of wood or stone composite for strength and durability backed with cork or foam to soften the floor underfoot and provide sound insulation. Many leading manufacturers including Harvey Maria use eco-friendly formulas that are fully recyclable.
Popular trends for 2021 include the ‘wood look’ which mimics solid hardwoods with near-perfect precision while offering a softer underfoot solution. Floors can be installed in the same on-trend patterns as hardwood flooring, including chevron, herringbone and diagonal, to help create a unique look for your home. Here’s a beautiful example:
Real wood flooring
The traditionalist’s choice for homes, solid hardwood floors is durable, warm and stylish. While many people wouldn’t contemplate anything other than the real thing when it comes to wood flooring, do bear in mind that wooden floors are not waterproof, they are merely water-resistant and only when a suitable finish has been applied. Long-term exposure to moisture will damage wood flooring and spills should be mopped up without delay. Engineered hardwood floors are even more vulnerable to water damage.
Despite this obvious weakness, wood flooring still makes for a great kitchen floor. The most durable solutions are oak, maple and cherry, but a budget friendlier choice would be pine. Reclaimed flooring, recycled, and sustainable choices are available for many types of hardwood flooring.
Have your floor laid in an interesting pattern to add interest such as herringbone, diagonal, wide plank, and mixed plank widths that are everywhere at the moment. Wood floors can be refinished time and again over the years, adding longevity, and design variables including hand-scraped and distressed finishes can add extra surface area for traction and minimise slippiness.
Ceramic and stone floor tiles
Kitchen tiles are a classic and durable look and the traditional go-to option for wet areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. Properly installed, grouted and sealed, tiles can last a lifetime – they’re a worthwhile investment into your home.
Ceramic or porcelain tiles are the most popular choice of kitchen walls and floors. Man-made from natural materials (clay) and baked to a finish, they come in a vast variety of shapes and sizes, colours and patterns to suit every conceivable interior style. Porcelain tiles are harder than standard ceramic tiles on account of the higher temperature used in their baking process which gives these tiles added strength and durability.
Ceramic tiles are waterproof and can easily handle the spills, splatters, and messes that routinely occur in kitchens. Make sure that you clean up any mess from grout though, as this can get stained, and select slip-resistant tiles for your floor (not all of them are!).
Natural stone tiles such as marble, limestone, or slate are another stylish and durable option. Coming in at the higher end of the price scale, you will be spoilt for choice with a vast array of colours and patterns to choose from. Natural stone tiles do require a bit more care than their ceramic cousins. Many stone floors need to be sealed following installation (and resealed periodically) to protect them from dirt and moisture, however with proper care there’s no reason why they shouldn’t provide years of service and enjoyment.
Finally, for a back-to-basics look that is durable and contemporary, have you ever considered stained or polished concrete flooring for your kitchen? The finish can be tailored to industrial, modern or traditional room schemes and, once sealed, it is not only completely waterproof but virtually indestructible.
Concrete floors can be stained to look like wood or stone, or polished to highlight the material’s industrial origins. For modern homes that already have a concrete subfloor, this could be a cost-effective, stylish, and practical solution.