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What Should You Consider – Kitchen Floors?

What Should You Consider when it comes to Kitchen Floors?

Design, color, and the surface of a kitchen floor are important considerations, but your initial concerns when it’s time to purchase a kitchen floor should be what the function of the kitchen is and how it will be utilized?

I know you’re thinking what else can a kitchen be used for besides cooking and doing the dishes. You are correct, but not completely. What you & most others do not realize is the kitchen is where everyone gathers & it is more than likely the busiest room in your home.

Function & Use of Your Kitchen

Some questions to ask yourself about the function of your kitchen are:

  • Will I be doing a lot of cooking? or
  • Will it just be mainly warming & serving?
  • Will I be entertaining? (dinner parties, weekend bbq’s or both)
  • Do I have a lot of foot traffic? (large family, small children or pets)

If you answered yes to any of the above questions your floor will need to be durable, low-maintenance, and stylish. The following types of flooring will be your best choices.

Top Choices of Flooring for the Kitchen

  • LVT

Short for luxury vinyl tile, LVT is designed to replicate hard surface flooring materials such as stone, wood, or ceramic yet provides many more practical benefits. The surface’s elasticity and warmth make it comfortable to stand on, and plates, cups, and glasses often won’t break when dropped. It has a very durable surface that can handle spills, kids, and pets with ease. Available in planks or tiles, LVT uses a real photographic print film and a clear vinyl layer that opens up a wide variety of design concepts. LVT has many features you can choose from like wire brushed, distressed, hand-scraped, and wide & long planks. You also, have an option of having a color combination look with dark and light tiles.

The tile/planks are constructed of the following four layers:

  • Backing layer – Sound absorbing layer with textured grip
  • Fill layer – Stability layer for indentation resistance
  • Print layer – Certain premium types of LVT come manufactured with realistic, 3D visuals that can be installed to resemble ceramic or stone.
  • Wear layer – The wear layer plays a crucial role in the lifespan of your tiles. Clear coatings such as aluminum oxide will keep your flooring from rapidly wearing.

You will want LVT flooring if you are on a budget and low maintenance and durability is a must.

 

  • LAMINATE

Laminate is a multi-layer synthetic flooring product fused together with a lamination process. Laminate flooring simulates wood or some stone with a photographic appliqué layer under a clear protective layer. Laminate is more affordable than other flooring choices and it resists scratches, dents and stains. Differently, it is susceptible to warping or staining from standing water. Laminate will be ideal for you if you are on a budget and want something easy to clean.

 

  • TILE

Ceramic tile combines gorgeous stone and/or wood looks with excellent durability in any room; it is a great choice for high traffic areas in the home. On the other hand, it may not be suited for people who are required to stand for long periods of time. Tile is also very cold under the feet unless a floor heating system is installed beneath it. Ceramic Tile will be great for you if you require low maintenance and like the look of stone.

 

  • CORK

Cork flooring is manufactured from the cork oak tree, then ground up, compressed, and formed into sheets bonded with resins.  The main advantage of cork is the soft, cushioned surface; it is environmentally friendly, and hypoallergenic.  Some of the disadvantages of cork flooring is sunlight will fade it, it is relatively easy to damage and water can cause it to warp & discolor. Cork would be well-suited for you if you’re looking for eco-friendly, slip resistant, and a softer flooring.

 

  • WPC

WPC stands for Wood Plastic Composite; it is an engineered, luxury vinyl plank flooring. It is best known for being 100% waterproof.  The main difference in WPC & LVT is the backing.  WPC is manufactured with a wood-plastic composite backing instead of a solid PVC backing like LVT. When looking for a quality WPC take note of the wear layer, the higher the wear layer the better. Most WPC is offered in a:

  • – perfect for a regular residential space
  • – ideal for a high traffic residential space
  • – made for busy commercial space

 

WPC is ideal for you if you are looking for a waterproof, more resilient, & durable floor.

 

  • ENGINEERED HARDWOOD

Engineered hardwood floors are made up of layers. The top layer is 100% natural wood, which comes in a variety of species. The bottom layer is also wood. In the middle is a core built from 5 to 7 layers of plywood that crisscross in different directions. This construction is less likely to expand, contract or shift when exposed to moisture, humidity and temperature. This makes engineered wood flooring a great option for rooms that are subject to moisture or needs to be installed over a concrete slab. Engineered Hardwood would be a great choice for your kitchen floor if you have an open floor plan or want a durable floor that will remain in style.

 

 

What You Want In & Out of a Kitchen Floor

The next questions to ask yourself should be, what do I want to put into my kitchen floor and what do I expect out of it. What you put in, the cost of a kitchen floor can vary depending on the type of flooring you chose.

The following table shows the approximate minimum & maximum price for each of the above mentioned products based on a 100 sq. ft. kitchen.

Product TypeApprox. Min. PriceApprox. Max. Price
LVT or LVP$170.00$1200.00
Laminate$100.00$500.00
Tile$150.00$2000.00+
Cork$250.00$1000.00
WPC$230.00$1200.00
Engineered$250.00$1200.00

*Keep in mind the above figures are just a rough estimate to give you an idea.*

You should expect your kitchen floor to compliment your style, withstand heavy foot traffic, spills, and stains, to be low-maintenance and with the proper care stay looking like it was just installed. On the other hand your expectations of your kitchen floor should be realistic. For example, do not expect an LVT or WPC floor not show any indentation after setting very heavy items on it for long periods of time.

A Floor Covering Certified Inspection Service states, there is a test designed to evaluate the ability of a flooring product to withstand or recover from indentation. In the test method, a load for example, 175 pounds per square inch (PSI), is applied to the flooring for 24 hours. The load is then removed, and the material is allowed to recover for another 24 hours, after which the amount of residual indentation is measured. The pass/fail criterion is a residual indentation of no greater than 5 mils. The results of this test are called static load limit. Something to keep in mind regarding static load limit testing is the test is performed on products that have not been installed.  The same test conditions utilized on an installed product can give very different results, generally worse.

Another example of keeping your expectations realistic is knowing that a floor can get scratched or scuffed either by accident or carelessness, no matter how new or well it is taken care of.

 

PRODUCT PROS & CONS COMPARISON TABLE

 LVT / LVPLaminateTileCorkWPCEngineered
COSTMed.LowMed. – HighMed. – HighMed.Med.
DURABILITY

1 Least to 5 Most

535453
MAINTENANCE

1 Low to 5 High

122312
SAFETY

1 Less to 5 Most

333333
APPEARANCE

OPTIONS

1 Few to 5 Most

555255
STAIN PROOF

1 Good to 5 Best

544254
MOISTURE

1 Good to 5 Best

515452
COMFORT

1 Less to 5 Most

432544

 

Miscellaneous Consideration 

  • the environment & climate you live in
  • gloss finish = spacious and large, matte or subdued finish = small
  • try a few different types of samples of each product you’re considering
  • your floors should work with the rest of the kitchen, so you’ll be satisfied with the overall finished look
  • keep function and durability a top priority
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