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What Type of Flooring Is Best for a Kitchen Remodel?

Whether you’re thinking of selling your home or you just want to upgrade your cooking space, a kitchen remodel is a smart move. Research suggests that even a smaller kitchen renovation can earn you an ROI of 81%, making this a great way to increase your home’s value!

However, that’s only true if you make smart choices about what you change, and it starts with your flooring. Your floors are the foundation of your kitchen design, and they need to be attractive while standing up to spills, stains, foot traffic, dents, and much more.

How do you choose the right floor? Here’s a look at the top materials to choose from.

General Kitchen Flooring Criteria

Before we dive in, there are a few factors you’ll want to think about.

Kitchens are often messy areas with high foot traffic and a lot of exposure to water. Because of this, you’ll want to choose flooring that can stand up to whatever you throw at it!

The perfect kitchen flooring should be:

  • Durable enough to stand up to heavy foot traffic
  • Water-resistant for frequent spills
  • Easy to clean to remove messes

This can help you rule out common flooring options that might not make the cut. Laminate, for example, can warp with frequent water exposure, making it a poor choice for kitchen floors despite its durability.

Personal Kitchen Flooring Preferences

There’s no one-size-fits-all “best kitchen flooring” option for every home, and that’s because every household is different. Your ideal installation may look different from someone else’s, and that’s based on some key preferences:

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Lifestyle

Do you have pets or young children? Do you bring in lots of guests for entertaining? Do you need a floor material you can install over radiant floor heating?

Your lifestyle should always dictate the qualities and type of flooring you need.

Maintenance Preferences

If you know you’re not the type to invest much time in high-maintenance floors, you may be able to rule out a few options. For example, while many homeowners love hardwood floors in their kitchens, others might not like the upkeep required to keep them looking their best.

Personality

The right flooring can bring a huge amount of personality to your kitchen. Choosing an attractive style helps you showcase your design aesthetic and add some flair to a space where you’ll likely spend a lot of time.

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Budget

For many homeowners, the price tag is one of the most important factors. There’s nothing wrong with choosing a more affordable flooring option, especially because many of today’s low-budget flooring styles can mimic the look of a higher-expense piece.

DIY Potential

If you’re hoping to install flooring on your own, you’ll have to choose an option that’s easy to place with little to no experience. Be careful here: it’s easy to get in over your head with DIY home projects, and hiring a professional can sometimes help save you from headaches down the road.

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Value

If you’re doing some home remodeling because you’re ready to sell, you may  want flooring that can ramp up your property value. Certain styles have a higher ROI than others, with higher-quality flooring always being in higher demand with buyers.

Now that we’ve covered the factors you need to weigh, let’s dive into the best flooring materials:

Hardwood

It’s hard to deny the lasting appeal of hardwood. In terms of beauty, longevity, and even your ROI, this material is hard to beat!

Pros of Hardwood Kitchen Floors

Hardwood floors are durable, provided you’re choosing a hard option like oak or ash, and they can last decades. This makes them great for kitchens with heavy foot traffic.

Even better, hardwood is one of the most attractive flooring types around. Its explosive popularity seems unlikely to fade anytime soon, which makes it a safe bet if you’re thinking of selling your home.

Cleaning hardwood is a breeze, though you’ll want to use a lot less water than you would with the other materials on this list.

Cons of Hardwood Kitchen Floors

Hardwood can swell with enough water exposure, which can be tricky to manage in the kitchen. Spills and messes aren’t enough to cause problems, as long as you clean them promptly, but there’s always the risk of leaky faucets or appliances.

You’ll also have to invest in a lot of maintenance. Though hardwood floors can last decades, you’ll need to take great care of them and do frequent refinishing if you want to see the full lifespan of your investment.

The cost of hardwood floors can be outside the budget of some buyers. However, if you can spring for this material, it can outlast most other options.

Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood is a modern alternative to hardwood. This material is made of several pieces of real wood that are bonded together with adhesive. The final product looks a lot like normal hardwood and comes in the same colors and stains.

Pros of Engineered Hardwood

Like regular hardwood, engineered hardwood has a long lifespan (20-40 years). It’s even more durable than regular hardwood, thanks to the technology behind its creation, which makes it ideal for the heaviest foot traffic.

Because it mimics the look of regular hardwood, this option is also a warm, beautiful choice for any kitchen.

Even better is the price tag: compared with hardwood, engineered hardwood is often less expensive. If you’re looking for exotic wood floors, this can save you hundreds, depending on the size of your kitchen.

Cons of Engineered Hardwood

As with regular hardwood, you’ll need to take good care of engineered hardwood. It’s still sensitive to water, and you’ll have to be careful when cleaning it.

You’ll also need to refinish engineered hardwood once or twice over its lifespan.

Tile Flooring

The options are endless with tile! This material has become one of the go-to kitchen flooring options nationwide for a good reason: it’s easy to fit into any budget and design style.

Pros of Tile Flooring

If you need durable floors, nothing beats tile. Foot traffic and spills won’t affect it, nor will leaking faucets or appliances.

For the ultimate in durability, choose porcelain, which is thicker and made of a better-refined clay than ceramic. Certain types of stone may give porcelain a run for its money, but stone tiles are also the most expensive option.

Tile comes in a wealth of shapes and colors. This makes it easy to personalize your style, whether you want pops of bright color, repeating patterns, mosaic designs, or a classic monochromatic look.

Cleaning is easy with tile floors, which are water-resistant and can take a scrubbing.

Cons of Tile Flooring

Cracking is an unfortunate possibility with tiles. Drop a heavy enough pot or pan, and you’ll have to figure out how to replace the unsightly damage.

Though the tiles themselves are easy to clean, you may have a harder time with the grout. This substance can become discolored over the years, especially with improper installation. With top-rated installers, you stand a better chance of a smoother finish that can repel dirt with ease.

Spills can be a bit more slippery on tile floors than wood and other options, so you may want to be careful about this choice if you have young children or older adults in your home.

Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Luxury vinyl is a gorgeous option for any kitchen remodel. It’s also grown popular enough that you’ll find a huge range of shades and styles to match your preferred design.

Pros of Vinyl

Vinyl is durable enough for commercial spaces, so you can be sure it will stand up to the high traffic of your kitchen! However, you’ll need to make sure you’re choosing an option with a thicker wear layer. This upper layer is waterproof, making vinyl one of the best flooring options for a messy kitchen: it’s easy to clean and hard to stain.

While it won’t reach the lifespan of hardwood, vinyl can last up to 15-20 years with proper care. No extra upkeep is needed beyond regular cleaning.

Vinyl comes in plenty of styles that can mimic the look of other materials, including wood and marble.

In addition, vinyl’s easy installation makes it one of the best flooring options on this list for a fast design job. Depending on the size of your kitchen, a professional contractor may be able to tackle the project in a day or two.

Cons of Vinyl

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Though vinyl used to be more budget-friendly, its recent popularity has made it less so. Though it’s still a more affordable alternative to wood or stone, you won’t always reap the high savings you used to.

Rethink Your Kitchen Design

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When it’s time to remodel your space, rethink your kitchen design with one of the tried-and-tested flooring options above. The right flooring can be durable, attractive, spill-friendly, long-lasting, and suitable for any lifestyle, but you’ll need to do your homework before you take the plunge.

If you’re gearing up for a kitchen remodel, don’t weigh your options alone! Partnering with a top-rated flooring contractor allows you to benefit from professional expertise and guidance, get your installation done fast, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing the job’s well done. To get quotes from certified flooring pros, enter your zip code here.

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