If you’re considering kitchen flooring ideas to upgrade your cooking area, make function and durability a priority. Most flooring today is designed to be low maintenance and durable. The variety of beautiful material options and styles available can make choosing a kitchen floor an overwhelming experience. We’ve written this guide to help you find the perfect flooring for your kitchen.
The most important decision when thinking about kitchen flooring ideas should be the function of the flooring. The kitchen is a high-traffic area, prone to spills ranging from water to oils, dishes and wine. You want to look for kitchen flooring materials that are low maintenance and can withstand use over time.
The top durable flooring options include:
Besides durability, cooking usually requires long periods of standing and walking back and forth. Flooring that has some cushioning is helpful, especially if you suffer from back issues.
The most ergonomic flooring options include:
Let’s look at the materials available for your kitchen flooring ideas (in alphabetical order) and weigh their pros and cons.
Bamboo Kitchen Flooring
Bamboo is a great kitchen flooring material, especially if you like eco-friendly products. Bamboo grows so quickly it’s a good, sustainable source for flooring. Besides the eco-friendly aspect, bamboo’s strength is one of the highest of the natural materials on the market.
Tips: When selecting bamboo flooring, go with a reputable brand with the longest warranty possible. The quality of the bamboo flooring is reflected by the length of the warranty.
Pros: Durable, beautifully grained, eco-friendly, long warranty available.
Cons: Some bamboo flooring can dent easily.
Cost: $5 – $7 per square foot, installation averages at $8 per square foot.
Carpet Kitchen Flooring
Carpet has not historically been a popular kitchen flooring option due to its difficulty in maintenance and cleaning. But the latest carpet tiles are a modern kitchen floor solution. Designed and tested to be industrial grade for high traffic areas, made of durable, easy to clean materials and easy to install, they may be the perfect kitchen flooring idea. The best part is that a carpet tile can be removed for cleaning or replacement.
Tips: Choose a carpet tile from a company like Flor, designed for the modern, DIY consumer. Buy an extra box of tiles and keep for future replacements. For a modern look, use carpet tiles selectively in certain areas of your kitchen like the image above, instead of wall to wall.
Pros: Durable, modern colors and textures, soft and padded, recyclable.
Cons: Needs frequent cleaning and vacuuming.
Cost: $1.85 to $8.00 per square foot, not including installation.
Concrete Kitchen Flooring
Concrete has a contemporary look and tone that is hard to match. Durable, it can withstand activity in the busiest kitchens and look great.
There are various finishes you can give concrete to customize its look. Freshly poured concrete can be stamped, while all concrete can be stained, polished, stenciled and waxed.
Tips: If you like concrete flooring and live in a colder climate, consider adding radiant floor heating beneath the concrete to warm up the material’s cold surface.
Pros: Durable, versatile, moisture resistant, contemporary looking.
Cons: Hard if standing is required for prolonged periods, cold, needs re-sealing, can stain.
Cost: Depending on the level of preparation required to install and finish concrete, cost averages range widely between $2 – $30 per square foot installed.
Cork Kitchen Flooring
Cork is a good kitchen flooring idea for a unique texture and a padded feel underfoot. Cork is a natural insulator against both temperature change and noise, making it a good choice if you’re worried about either issues. It’s naturally anti-microbial, thanks to a waxy substance in the cork, which repels insects and pests. And if you’re on a budget, cork tiles are a great DIY solution that’s easy to install.
Tips: Choose a quality cork that like wood, can be sanded and refinished periodically. Confirm that the cork has a durable finish that will repel water and moisture. If choosing to install cork tiles, buy a few spares that can serve as future replacements should a tile become damaged.
Pros: Earth friendly, anti-microbial, soft, padded feel, attractive texture options.
Cons: Can dent or scratch easily, creating imperfections on the surface that may bother some cork flooring owners.
Cost: $2 to $15 per square foot, not including installation.
Laminate Wood Kitchen Flooring
Laminate wood flooring is an affordable and durable kitchen flooring idea. The top layer can withstand most abuse. If you add padding beneath, it’s a soft, ergonomic flooring solution. Easy to install and available in a wide variety of styles, laminate wood flooring is a simple, modern solution for kitchen floors.
Tips: Select laminate flooring with the longest warranty possible. Many come with a 25 year guarantee. For extra cushioning when standing, install a manufacturer recommended thin foam sheet layer underneath.
Pros: Durable, cost effective, wide variety of options, easy to install and uninstall.
Cons: Is not as valued as real wood flooring, may be slippery, noisy, not refinishable.
Cost: $1.50 – $5.00 per square foot, not including installation.
Rubber Kitchen Flooring
Rubber has similar properties to cork, but comes in a larger variety of colors and textures. It’s easy to install adhesive-free thanks to it’s high-grip properties which make it a good temporary flooring upgrade in a rental apartment. It’s cushy, durable and has a non-slip surface. Available in sheeting or tiles.
Tips: Choose richer, darker colors which hide oil stains better. Rubber tiles are easier to install than sheeting. For an earth-friendly kitchen floor, choose recycled rubber flooring, which is also less expensive.
Pros: Recyclable, naturally water and fire-resistant, durable, easy to clean, soft, padded feel.
Cons: Some people are sensitive to the initial smell, oils may stain the rubber’s surface.
Cost: $3.50 – $9.00 per square foot, not including installation.
Stone Kitchen Flooring
There’s a great variety of stone flooring available including the most popular marble, travertine and slate. Because of the variations in pattern and color, stone gives your kitchen flooring a unique, earthy look.
Stone flooring is naturally cool, which is perfect in hotter zones. If installing stone flooring in a cold climate, consider adding sub-floor radiant heat to warm the floors in the winter.
Tips: Purchase at least 25% more than you need and save your receipt to return the rejected stone. Look through all your stone tiles before having them professionally installed. It’s likely that the grain and coloring of the stone will vary dramatically and you’ll want to hand select the pieces you want installed for a similar texture and tonal match.
Pros: Hard, durable surface, easy to clean.
Cons: Certain stones may stain, requires routine sealing, some fragile stones like slate may chip easily.
Cost: Depending on the material, $2 – $25 per square foot. Installation averages at $8 per square foot.
Tile Kitchen Flooring
Tile is a great, low-maintenance solution for a kitchen. It’s easy to clean, durable and has a reflective quality that expands the appearance of space in a kitchen.
The latest tile designs mimic wood and other textures and patterns. Tile no longer comes exclusively as a 12” square. Some of the latest modern designs are large, rectangular shapes.
Tips: Hire a professional to install tile, especially if the subflooring is not perfectly level. For ease of maintenance, install tiles with grout lines that are as small as possible.
Pros: Durable, moisture resistant, easy to maintain, available in a large assortment of styles, shapes and colors.
Cons: Grout lines may be difficult to keep clean, dropped items like glassware and dishes will likely shatter.
Cost: $1 – $8 per square foot for material, installation averages at $7 per square foot.
Vinyl Kitchen Flooring
Vinyl is affordable, comes in a variety of textures and styles and is one of the most water-resistant kitchen flooring options. While tiles are easy to install, sheet vinyl requires professional installation.
Tips: Check out the latest wood-look vinyl flooring planks. Easy to install, water resistant enough to be used in a shower, kitchen or wet area and textured to mimic wood grain, it takes a careful look to see if the wood plank vinyl flooring is actually wood or not.
Pros: Easy to install, water resistant, certain styles look just like wood.
Cons: Offgasses potentially harmful chemicals in your home, requires a flawless subfloor to install on, can gouge easily.
Cost: $1.50 – $5.00 per square foot, not including installation.
Wood Kitchen Flooring
Wood has traditionally been on the top of buyer’s lists for flooring choices. Wood has a high-end, warm look that’s unique, according to grain and age. But wood in the kitchen requires special protection from excess moisture.
Tips: Add an extra coat of finish in the kitchen to keep the wood sealed. If living in a high humidity or coastal region, avoid wider planks, which will cup and warp over time.
Pros: Adds resale value, attractive, durable, can be refinished.
Cons: Can be noisy, needs periodic refinishing, may dent or scratch easily.
Cost: $4 – $12 per square foot, installation averages at $8 per square foot