Choosing The Best Flooring For Your Kitchen
We tend to spend a lot of time in our kitchens. Despite only cooking in them for six hours a week on average, our kitchens are also where we eat, socialise and relax. As we spend so much time in our kitchen, often on our feet, it pays to opt for good flooring. We’ve written this article to not only examine the best flooring for your kitchens, but also to offer kitchen flooring advice for those seeking a change.
What makes a style of flooring ideal?
Beyond the aesthetic details added through the installation of beautiful flooring, the best kitchen flooring options will also be comfortable. We walk approximately 61 miles around our kitchens every year. That’s certainly a lot of footfall – the distance from London to Oxford, in fact – so the best flooring must be kind to your feet.
Furthermore, when standing over your hob or relaxing with a glass of wine at your kitchen island, hard, uncomfortable kitchen flooring can take its toll. Of course, traditionalists are likely to seek out materials often considered unkind to the feet, such as stone or hardwood flooring. Even then, opting for the highest quality material can have a very positive effect on the strain put on your feet.
Ultimately, you need to be sure that you are considering the ways that you use your kitchen before moving on to decide flooring specifics. Does your kitchen act as a family hub? Or are you a working couple who simply uses the room for cooking? You should work out how much time you spend in the kitchen – and how you actually spend that time – to decide on the boxes that your ideal flooring must check.
Choose a theme
Once you’ve worked out the ways in which the type of flooring you use will impact your kitchen experience, it’s time to start thinking about what kind of floor you’re actually looking for. Your flooring should match the overall feel of the kitchen itself. It sounds obvious, but many people attempt juxtaposing designs that simply don’t work. Attempting to install luxury marble flooring in a kitchen with cupboards and worktops formed of gnarled, knotted reclaimed hardwood is unlikely to work as well as you may think.
The Extreme Design team will help you through the entire design process, including theming your kitchen in a way that suits your home. Deciding on a theme for your kitchen doesn’t mean you have to decide on a specific flooring just yet, but it does help to narrow it down. Go industrial and you’ll have a wide range of metal and concrete flooring options available, or Scandinavian to narrow it down to a variety of hardwoods.
Once you have settled on a theme that your kitchen flooring should fit into, you can begin to look at the individual options. When it comes to specific floorings, decide whether you would prefer more traditional kitchen flooring or if a more unique, cutting-edge material is more to your taste.
Read on to discover the different types of flooring, traditional or otherwise, that are available to you.
If in doubt, go traditional
Timeless traditional flooring options may be a safe bet for your kitchen, but that doesn’t mean they have to be uninspired. The best flooring for kitchens is always beautiful and interesting, whether it’s a timeless staple or entirely avant-garde.
Here is a selection of Extreme Design’s top picks for traditional kitchen flooring:
Solid hardwood flooring will lend a distinguished, or perhaps rustic, touch of luxury to your kitchen. While there is now a variety of wood-effect flooring, much of which is of excellent quality, nothing compares to the real thing. The traditional, characterful nature of wood helps to imbue your flooring – and kitchen – with a touch of personality rarely found in other materials.
For hardwood that’s brimming with character, reclaimed timber is a must. Reclaimed wooden planks complete with all manner of knots and irregularities are often more difficult to install and more expensive than other woods. Despite this, for the discerning homeowner looking to incorporate aspects of sturdy old world beauty into their home, nothing else will do.
With a bit of care – usually in the form of a re-finish every 8-12 years – hardwood floors will look as good as the day they were installed for more than a lifetime. Plus, thanks to the heat retention and suppleness of the material, your feet will thank you for installing solid wooden floorings.
Don’t be swayed by the misconception that engineered hardwood is simply a form of laminate. Typically formed of two pieces of hardwood sandwiching a single piece of plywood, the best quality engineered wood brings with it many of the benefits of solid hardwood.
While it can sometimes lose some of its wooden character, engineered hardwood is not to be sneered at. In fact, engineered hardwood is the prefered option for many kitchens. Solid hardwood expands and contracts constantly, making it unsuitable for exposure to excess moisture or underfloor heating. Engineered hardwood, on the other hand, does not expand or contract, ideal for modern underfloor heating systems.
Characterful, classic and luxurious – stone has been the flooring of choice for the greatest homes in history. A stone kitchen floor can be punishing on your feet and any dropped plates and bowls won’t stand a chance. Despite these issues, for many the luxury aesthetic of stone makes it all worth it.
True natural stone brings with it a truly unique and luxurious touch, as well as a few rough edges. While certainly adding a level of character to your kitchen floor, entirely natural, irregular stone usually requires more grouting than modern stone tiles. As such, it can get dirty annoyingly quickly.
While it is true that certain types of stone can cause substantial discomfort under foot, it doesn’t have to be that way. Opt for slate kitchen flooring and you can look forward to any discomfort being alleviated to a surprising degree. Despite its classic beauty and great durability, many people avoid stone as they’re worried that it will become cold and unwelcoming. This simply isn’t the case. Stone is actually remarkably capable of retaining heat. Whether installed in the path of direct sunlight or helped along with underfloor heating, stone will have an unexpected warming effect under your feet.
Think outside the box
If a traditional kitchen doesn’t fit in with your personal design story, the flooring options open to you are almost endless. While a traditional kitchen can, at times, push boundaries with the materials used for flooring, the best flooring for kitchens of a more unorthodox design school can vary dramatically.
Cold, bland, commercial. Many people would associate these words with concrete flooring, but done correctly polished concrete flooring can add a seamless touch of industrial edge to your kitchen. The grey colouring of concrete may not be to everyone’s taste, but when polished it can be the perfect way to add an industrial feel to a less intense design.
Much like stone, concrete is able to retain heat much better than you may have previously believed. Once again, with a little underfloor heating you can create one of the most pleasant flooring options available.
If concrete takes your fancy, it is imperative that it is installed correctly. While it is, at face value, very straightforward to install as it requires no subflooring, if poured incorrectly the results can be disastrous. Professional concrete installers will make sure that there are no bubbles in the material so it does not crack or crumble. If your concrete is damaged, while it can be repaired it will never again have that shiny seamless look.
If the seamless flooring design delivered through concrete appeals, but the industrial aesthetic isn’t for you, consider rubber. No longer confined to gyms and hospital wards, rubber flooring has fast become a versatile, unique flooring option for kitchens.
Available rolled or in the form of tiles in a variety of colours, rubber is perfect for adding a splash of bright personality to your kitchen. Beyond that, the material is very durable and almost unrivalled when it comes to under foot comfort. If you’re the type of person likely to be spending a lot of time in your kitchen, rubber may just be right for you.
Durable, warm and stain resistant, it can be hard to think of a more functional flooring for the kitchen. Plain black or grey rubber certainly can lack character and look entirely out of place in all but the most contemporary kitchen. Fortunately, rubber comes in a range of vibrant colours that add a pop of character to kitchens both old and new.
Luxury vinyl tiles (LVT):
Don’t leave just yet, we know what you’re thinking. Vinyl is no longer the cheap, ugly alternative to wooden flooring you may have been led to believe it was. Contemporary, high-quality LVT comes in hardwearing thick sheets or tiles and is often designed to look like wood or stone. While it does, of course, lack the character of natural materials, it can do a stellar job in replicating the look.
Despite, being cheaper than natural flooring options, LVT is by no means a budget option. Fortunately, you pay for the quality. LVT is very durable and water resistant, making any kitchen spillages a breeze to clean. When installing LVT, you should be sure that it is done to the highest standards. A perfectly level subfloor is a necessity and, while vinyl looks great when laid professionally, any bubbles will ruin the look of the flooring entirely.
For expert advice on discovering the best kitchen flooring for your home, visit our studios and speak with our designers. At Extreme Design we pride ourselves on helping you create the kitchen of your dreams.