best flooring for a kitchen and dining room

Best Flooring for a Kitchen and Dining Room

What’s the Best Flooring for your Kitchen and Dining Area?

Great question.

As we fully launch into spring many people start to consider remodelling or renovating parts of their house.  Typically the kitchen is on the list, and usually the floor is part of the conversation.

Part of the problem with the flooring is that it has to do a number of different things all at the same time.  It has to look good, it has to function properly and it has to last.  This puts pressure on decisions and often creates compromise in one or more of those areas.  Just because it will last doesn’t mean it is aesthetically pleasing.  The reverse is also definitely true, Just because something looks great doesn’t mean you should put it on your floor.

The Answer

This article will layout a number of options and give you some pros and cons for each.  However if you are looking for a quick answer then the answer is tile.  Hardwood and laminate floors, although amazing in design and durability, are not as durable as tile flooring, especially in the kitchen.

If you want a great look and a lifetime durable floor tile is the direction you should go.

The Challenge with Kitchen Floors

The kitchen floor is one of if not the hardest working floor in the whole house.  It gets the most traffic, it has the most accidents and it is seen by most people.  Think about it…when your friends come over they all see your kitchen floor, not all of them see your other floors.

The other main issue with a kitchen and dining area is the chances of fluid hitting the floor.  No matter how careful you are at some point water, wine, juice, milk or pop is going to get spilt or dropped onto the floor.  You can add to this pasta sauce, salad dressing, hot sauce and ketchup.  Your floor has to be durable, and it has to be able to withstand the constant assault.

You also want your flooring to match your cabinets, and have a consistent look.  Sometimes you can also get your cabinets refinished to match your new flooring.

Wood Floors

Over the last 50 years, wood floors have grown significantly in popularity, and in fact, hardwood floors are number one when it comes to kitchen and dining rooms.  Tests show however that wood floors are significantly more prone to denting, scratching and cracking than other materials.  The constant wear and tear are not ideal for wood floors, especially softer materials like maple.

The issue is that the majority of people LIKE  the look of wood regardless of the potential durability issues.  This is the crux of the issue though, look over function or function overlook.  As you are deciding what to do with your own floor this decision will definitely come into place.

My experience is that tile is better if you want something that is easy to fix, looks great and will not scratch like wood.  It is definitely a design choice at the end of the day, but the tile will be more durable.

Porcelain Tile

Tile has an interesting history in that it comes and goes as far as fashion and home decor is concerned.  Subway tiles are in one minute and then out the next.  When it comes to durability however porcelain tile outperforms every other flooring material that is available.  When you test it for scratches, dents and marks it shines through.

The other thing about tile is that it will last forever.  It doesn’t wear down the same way that wood does, and it will also require less cleaning in the long run.

One additional point to make about tile is that if one tile does break you can easily replace a tile.  Hardwood floors are not are easy and laminate is even more difficult to replace single boards.  I was a hardwood floor installer for a number of years and I can promise you wood floor repairs are difficult.

New Design Ideas for Tile Flooring

Also over the past number of years more and more design ideas have landed in the world of tiles.  You used to be limited in the kinds of tiles that you could get.  Now you can even get tiles that look like wood.  You can also get them is all kinds of shapes and sizes so you can design something truly original.

One of the complaints around tile floors is that they are cold.  There are a number of different ways to warm up the floor.  Underfloor heating is available in a number of different technologies and can actually be fairly inexpensive.

Vinyl Floors

In the 1950s sheet vinyl became popular with people looking for something different.  It was easily installed and relatively cheap.  When you didn’t like the colour you could just roll another layer over top and change it.

Over the years vinyl tiles or planks became available and where priced in a way that was very affordable.  It was also easy to install for the do it yourselfer and could be done with little effort.  

The vinyl that you get today has also improved its look and durability.  You can get it to look like real wood or anything else that is up your alley.  It is also really durable and can withstand a pretty good onslaught.

Tips for Keeping the Floor Healthy

No matter what you do your floor will get tested.  It will get tested by your pets, by your kids, by your self and by mother nature.  Even the humidity changing can greatly affect your flooring, especially if it is a wood floor.

Here are a number of different ways that you can help your floor.

  • Scratchpads on the bottom of chairs.  This is a no brainer but putting scratch pads on the bottom of your chairs will significantly reduce scratches across the floor.
  • Cleaning spilt fluids quickly.  If you spill fluids on your floor clean them immediately, especially for wood and laminate.  Once the boards swell and get waterlogged they are ruined.
  • Stain pens.  Stain pens are a great addition for wood floors, as they can make scratches disappear quickly.
  • Plastic dishes and cups.  This is true for kids especially, make use of kitchenware that won’t mark up your floor if it is dropped, and it will get dropped.

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