5 Best Kitchen Floor Materials to Weather All the Spills & Stains

Plus, the pros and cons of each.

10/21/2021 3:32:00 PM

Ditch the peel & stick—here are the 5 best kitchen floor materials.

Plus, the pros and cons of each.

Hardwood floors remain one of the most popular picks for kitchens, thanks in large part to the warmth they bring to an otherwise utilitarian space. Kitchens can have a lot of hard surfaces (think: stone countertops, metal fixtures, and stainless steel appliances), so it’s nice to bring in a bit of natural texture in the way of a hardwood floor underneath. Hardwood floors (either solid hardwood or engineered hardwood, which is top layer veneer of real wood that’s been backed by a layer of plywood) are also a great kitchen flooring option for homeowners who have an open floor plan and would prefer the look of one seamless flooring option throughout the entire level of their home.

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Still, hardwood floors are not without their pitfalls in a kitchen. They tend to be softer, so dropping hard or heavy items (like pots and pans) on them can leave visible marks. Then there’s the potential of water. With so many things that can leak in a kitchen—including a dishwasher, sink, and refrigerator—many experts caution against hardwood floors, which can be more susceptible to moisture and water damage. If you choose to go with hardwood floors in your kitchen, work with a professional to determine the best sealing and finishing technique that will help them stand up a bit more to the risk of moisture.

Ceramic TileA post shared by Fireclay Tile (@fireclaytile)For many, ceramic tile is the ideal kitchen flooring material. Not only is it practically impervious to water, stains, and nicks, but it comes in a variety of shapes, styles, and colors suited to nearly any decor vibe (you can even find ceramic tiles meant to look like planks of hardwood). Made from natural clay and fired under extreme heat, ceramic tile stands up to daily life with very little visible wear or issues. Additionally, they’re easy to clean and resistant to water, which is great if you’re worried about spills or leaks. headtopics.com

While there are few gripes to be had with ceramic tile, it is important to note that aesthetically it can be hard to blend with the rest of the flooring in your home if you live in an open floor plan. Additionally, ceramic tile can be much cooler underfoot than flooring like hardwood—to overcome this issue, consider installing radiant heat beneath the floors or style your space with a few rugs or runners.

Natural StoneA post shared by Liz Caan & Co. (@lizcaan)Natural stone floors—like marble, slate, travertine, granite, and sandstone—have long been in favor as kitchen flooring options and signal a luxury, high-end kitchen like few other things can. When cared for properly, these stones can last decades and are great for homeowners looking to lend a timeless look to their kitchen. In fact, natural stones are often chosen by designers when working in new builds to lend a little effortless “age” to a home.

While specific care and cautions can range depending on the type of natural stone you choose (for instance, marble can be slippery when wet, while travertine has a textured finish that grime can cling to easily), all-natural stone flooring needs to be sealed properly and periodically in order to maintain its appeal in your home. Without proper sealing, natural stone can be susceptible to water and stain penetration over time. Likewise, natural stones can be cool and hard underfoot, so place a washable runner anywhere you spend a lot of time standing, like in front of the kitchen sink.

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