Your kitchen is an important, much used room. You want it to be easy to use and easy to clean. By virtue of a kitchen’s function, the floor will get wet, greasy and dirty from time to time. It makes sense to choose a color and texture that doesn’t draw attention to spots and spills. Choose larger, multicolored tiles without design intricacy. Kitchen tile can be attractive without being the center of attention.
Vinyl Floor Tile
Vinyl floor tile is economical, easy to install in its peel-and-stick form, and easy to clean. Tiles are available in 12 and 18-inch squares; there are also 3-by-37-inch vinyl tiles that simulate hardwood. They can be installed over pre-existing flooring surfaces as long as the original surface is solid and level. There is a range in the quality of vinyl tile. The least expensive will need replacing within 10 years, but higher quality products will last much longer. The downside to vinyl tile is that moisture and dirt may work its way between the tiles and eventually undermine the integrity of the surface.
Carpet tile comes in a large range of colors and patterns. Unlike wall-to-wall carpeting, it needs no underlay and is easy to install. It is tough and stain resistant and can be spot-cleaned when spills occur. In the case of a stubborn stain, the stained tile can simply be replaced. Carpet tile tends to be fairly economical.
Linoleum has been improved over what it was in the past. There are many colors to choose from, and it is long lasting and easy to clean. Though linoleum costs more than vinyl and requires special glue to install, it is environmentally friendly, does not scratch or scuff, has natural bacterial resistance and hardens over time to become ever more durable.
Cork has several unique advantages as a kitchen flooring material. It is hypoallergenic, which means it doesn’t absorb dust or mites. It is resilient and has some give, which makes it less tiring to stand on for long periods. It is durable, water resistant and easy to clean. It is a natural insulator, which means that it absorbs noise and is not cold underfoot. Cork is also “self-healing” so you needn’t worry about dropping something sharp-edged or heavy; any nicks or dents will fill in over time. Heavy appliances and furniture, however, will leave permanent indentations if they are left in place for long periods. Placing padding under pressure points will avoid this problem. Cork is also naturally fire-resistant. Regular sweeping and dry mopping will reduce wear on the cork surface.
Ceramic tile is a popular option in the kitchen. It is easy to install, available in a wide variety of colors and styles, durable, easy to maintain and it adds value to a home. However, it is more expensive than other options. Ceramic tile is available either glazed or unglazed. Glazed tile is easier to keep clean and resists moisture better than unglazed, though these qualities can be much improved in unglazed tile by sealing it. Ceramic tile is available in a range of hardness, rated on a scale from zero to five (five being the hardest). Plan to use tile that is at least a three for your kitchen floor. Even the hardest tile is subject to cracks if heavy enough objects are dropped on it, so be sure to purchase extra tiles for repairs.
Porcelain tile is one of the hardest, most durable kitchen flooring options. It tends to be more expensive than ceramic tile, but less expensive than various types of stone floors. Because it is so hard, it requires special tools to cut and size and so is not easily installed by the do-it-yourselfer. This hardness makes it extremely resistant to scratching, abrasions and stains. It will also be unaffected by UV rays and most chemical agents. It is much more water resistant than ceramic tile. Maintenance is easy, though a natural or polished porcelain should be sealed for easier cleaning.