In the center of family activity modern kitchen flooring gets a workout. Between heavy foot traffic, spills, scuffs and pets your Madison WI home’s kitchen represents multiple hazards. The key to selecting the right flooring materials for a kitchen remodel is combining style with durability.
Not every flooring material withstands the rigors of kitchen activities. Some last longer than others and some require less maintenance. The trick is balancing the benefits against the disadvantages. You want kitchen floor that looks great but doesn’t need pampering, right?
How does your family life revolve around the kitchen? Do you have an open floor plan or a more traditional kitchen layout – will your remodeling plan change that? Flooring that works elsewhere in the house may not be a wise choice where traffic comes in from the garage or directly outdoors. Summer and winter grime, mud and debris are hard on floors.
While all kitchens should have easy to clean floors, it’s a “must have” for families with kids or pets. When looking for a new flooring material for a kitchen upgrade, take into account your daily activities and match them with what each option delivers. You can use almost any flooring material in your kitchen if you’re willing to commit to taking care of it.
Evaluate Kitchen Flooring Options
There are several basic material options and many choices within each category. The basic choices come from:
- Hardwood floors
- Ceramic and porcelain tiles
- Vinyl flooring
- Natural stone tiles
- Unique materials – bamboo and linoleum
Hardwood Floors — The most popular flooring trend is to replace everything with hardwood floors. That includes putting real wood in the kitchen. Among the top choices in the last year are oak, maple, cherry and mahogany. Most hardwoods are naturally durable but they are susceptible to moisture. Anywhere water on the floor is a possibility is a threat to hardwood flooring. However, modern sealants are available to protect the wood. While not considered a great choice for the kitchen, real wood floors remain an option. Consider the pros and cons:
- Pros – great to look at and comfortable to walk on. Seamlessly transition kitchen to living areas. Considered a good investment in terms of resale value.
- Cons – susceptible to water damaged. Some woods can be sealed but the finish needs regular attention. Many species are easily scratched so not ideal for heavy traffic areas, sliding chairs around or large pets.
Ceramic and Porcelain tile — tiles are a popular “go to” choice for the kitchen. For anywhere there’s a threat of spills. There are so many color, sizes and shapes to choose from chances are good you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for. If you’ve had your heart set on wood flooring, take a close look at the hot new selections of wood-look tiles. They come in planks up to 4 feet long and mimic many wood species. Consider the advantages of tile:
- Attractive and affordable
- Easy to clean
- High-definition printing techniques provide unique, appealing patterns
There are disadvantages, too:
- Very hard so uncomfortable to stand on for a long time
- Slippery when wet
- Grout requires cleaning
Man-made Materials Gain Acceptance
There seems to be a never-ending quest to come up with a flooring material that looks like wood. There’s no doubt that a wood floor is on top of most people’s wish list. For the kitchen there are two designer materials that are gaining recognition. Advances in manufacturing technique have made laminate flooring and luxury vinyl flooring much more popular – especially among those striving for good lucks on a budget.
Laminate flooring — available in styles to mimic a variety of natural woods, laminates are durable and affordable. You can find a premium laminate in dark wood, light wood or to mimic bamboo and even stone. Advantages include:
- Laminates can be installed directly on top of existing flooring
- Less expensive than either real wood or tile
- Less prone to scratches and marring than real wood
On the negative side:
- Exposure to water causes warping
- Laminates cannot be refinished
- Shorter lifespan than real wood
Luxury Vinyl Flooring — vinyl is available in either large tiles or sheets in a wide range of colors, designs and patterns. It is easy to form to fit unconventional shapes. Vinyl resists stains and water. It is easy to clean. Vinyl flooring is another option when you want the look of wood without the cost or upkeep. Additional advantages include:
- Durable and long-lasting
- Installed over existing vinyl, linoleum or subfloor’
- Luxury vinyl features cushioning for a comfortable surface to stand on
- A man-made surface it can emit volatile organic compounds (VOC) when first installed
- It is easily scratched or cut – drop a knife and you may be sorry
Less Common Natural Flooring Choices
If you’re looking for a natural material to accent you kitchen floor there are several unique but less common choices on the market. The most popular among them is natural stone. Bamboo was trendy a decade ago and offers plenty of potential. If you’re looking for something old that’s “new again,” consider linoleum.
Natural Stone Tiles — if you want your kitchen floor to be “hard as a rock” this is your choice. You can choose from marble, granite, slate, travertine and other real stones. Nature stone provides a luxurious look and is a solid investment when it comes to resale value. It is not without its drawbacks, however:
- Porous surface must be repeatedly sealed
- Susceptible to stains and water marks
- Softer stones wear and scratch
- Stone is heavy and requires a solid subflooring – which may need reinforcing
Bamboo Kitchen Floor — bamboo is a sustainable natural material that looks like hardwood. In fact, it is harder than most hardwood species. Developed as flooring it is resists moisture and water damage. Bamboo provides a unique appearance because there is no natural grain as in wood. It’s biggest drawback is its price – one of the more expensive flooring choices.
Linoleum— you might remember your parents or grandparents talking about getting new linoleum. It was the most popular kitchen flooring material about 50 years ago. Today’s linoleum is not your grandparent’s version. Made from linseed oil it’s environmentally friendly, easy to clean and when cared for will last for decades. Its major drawback is susceptibility to water damage – if a pipe breaks or you have a major leak. During day-to-day use it’s fine. If flooded the entire installation is at risk. If you’re renovating an older home and want to stay with historically-correct styling, consider the latest in high-end linoleum products.
Kitchen Flooring Installation Anchors Remodel
Some kitchen remodeling projects are simple while others are complicated and extensive. If yours includes top-to-bottom upgrades if goes well beyond the do-it-yourself level. Your lifestyle and the overall design for your new kitchen – traditional or part of an open floor plan – dictate many of your choices. Not the least of which is what makes up your floor. Your choice of flooring dictates installation. After investing in top-flight flooring you don’t want to skimp on installation and regret it later, right?
When you’re ready to take on changes to your kitchen call Sims Exteriors & Remodeling at 608-825-4500, or email us. We’ll team up to create a comprehensive plan to revitalize your space. For decades we’ve been creating efficient, exciting kitchens in the Madison area. Tap our skilled craftsmen to complete your kitchen remodel. We’re experienced in professional installation of everything from cabinets and countertops to kitchen flooring for your Madison WI home.