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Flooring options for a kitchen



A kitchen floor has to be practical and hard-wearing to be able to withstand heavy foot traffic and regular cleaning, and it also has to look good. You can to choose the right flooring option that complements the style of the space and suits your personal needs. Taking all that into consideration, let’s take a look at the various flooring options:




Natural stone
Pros: Natural stone has always been a popular choice for kitchens. Not only is natural stone available in tiles of varying sizes, you can select natural stone tiles in different shades, textures and type. The great thing about stone finishes is that not only are they beautiful, but stone is a very durable floor covering, making it ideal for areas with a large amount of traffic flow, such as a kitchen.
Cons: Natural stone tiles require stripping and sealing to keep them looking good. If not sealed, natural stone absorbs stains. Many natural stone tile options are easy to chip; slate tiles need to be sealed to reduce porosity and prevent the tiles from flaking.




Ceramic or porcelain tiles
Pros: Ceramic or porcelain tiles are hard-wearing and durable. Glazed tiles withstand regular foot. From a hygienic point of view, ceramic and porcelain tiles are easy to keep clean and can withstand heavy cleaning as and when required. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are also not susceptible to water damage should spillage occur. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are an easy DIY option for any homeowner looking to revamp a kitchen.
Cons: Chipping of tiles can occur should a heavy object be dropped onto the surface, and tiles are prone to cracking if the sub-flooring is not completely even, or there is ground movement or settling (as in a new home). When installing or having a tiled floor installed always keep a few extra tiles on hand should you need to replace damaged tiles.




Laminate flooring
Pros: Laminate floors just look so darn good. With a selection of light-, medium- or dark finishes, you can select a laminate floor option that creates an instant feature in any kitchen. Laminate floors are also reasonably easy to install as a DIY option.
Cons: Although there are water resistant laminate floor options available, most laminate floor planks are susceptible to damage by moisture. This means you need to clean up spills as and when they occur. Laminate floors are also easily scratched and tend to fade with constant foot traffic.




Hardwood floors
Pros: If you love the look of a genuine wood floor, there is no substitute for a hardwood floor. The beauty of these floors is that they increase in good looks with age. You will find a variety of timber species are used in the construction of hardwood floors; from Oregon pine to Stinkwood. Despite being wood, a hardwood floor is easy to keep clean, since the molecular structure of wood prevents the build-up of toxins and are naturally antibiotic.
Cons: Hardwood floors don’t come cheap – but they do last a lifetime (or two), making them cost effective in the long term. Hardwood floors need to be oiled, sealed or varnished as and when required to ensure maximum protection from moisture and scratches.




Bamboo floors
Pros: Bamboo floors are considered one of the most eco-friendly flooring options available today. Although sold as laminated planks, bamboo is not to be confused with laminate flooring, as the planks themselves are manufactured entirely from bamboo. Engineered bamboo is water-resistant when properly sealed and maintained.
Cons: As with any wood floor, bamboo scratches easily. Another notable fault is the tendency for bamboo to fade when exposed to long periods of UV light. While being touted as an eco-friendly flooring option, a large majority of imported bamboo is treated with formaldehyde, which is considered a harmful toxin that can cause allergies in certain people [wikipedia]. Another factor to consider is that, while touted as eco-friendly, most bamboo floors are shipped from China.




Concrete floors
Pros: Hardwearing and durable, as well as easy to maintain, concrete floors – and especially polished concrete – are gaining worldwide acceptance as the most eco-friendly and affordable flooring option. A concrete floor that has been hardened and polished will have an extremely long life expectancy compared to other flooring. For example, ceramic tile that may only last 10 to 20 years, but a polished concrete floor that has been properly maintained may give 100+ years of service [wikipedia].
Cons: Until polished concrete gains more popularity, the cost of polishing and sourcing a contractor are making the choice for this type of flooring difficult. If the existing concrete slab is not within certain parameters a new slab will need to be laid and this greatly increases the cost.




Brick floors
Pros: Natural clay brick floors are becoming increasingly popular as a flooring option for a kitchen. An eco-friendly option that is manufactured locally, bricks are sealed with urethane coating to protect and provide a durable floor that is easy to keep clean and provide a certain amount of insulation. Clay bricks will stand up to everyday living for a lifetime when periodically sealed.
Cons: Their rustic nature does lend itself to certain kitchen style but not for every home. While they will generally start to show wear and tear over time, when sealed with a slip-resistant sealer they are perfect for a rustic or cottage kitchen.


Vinyl flooring
Pros: Luxury vinyl flooring or vinyl planks are manufactured to withstand the wear and tear of daily living. Modern vinyl flooring is thicker and comes in a variety of finishes and is an easy option to lay for the DIY-er. When properly laid, a vinyl floor is almost impervious to water penetration, making this the perfect flooring for use in a kitchen.
Cons: Manufactured using PVC vinyl flooring is not considered an eco-friendly product as VOCs [volatile organic compounds] are released into the air. The subfloor needs to be level and free from particles or they may show through the tiles in bumps and lumps.


Armed with this information you are now in a position to make a choice on the best flooring for your kitchen. Consider your personal needs, how a flooring option needs to perform and the look that you want for your home.


Janice Anderssen

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