Kitchen flooring is one of the most important design decisions when remodeling or building a new kitchen. The right kitchen flooring should be durable, easy to clean, and stylish while also fitting within your budget. With so many kitchen flooring options to choose from—like tile, wood, vinyl, and more—it can feel overwhelming to pick the best floor for your needs. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the pros, cons, costs, and considerations for the most popular kitchen flooring options to help you choose the best flooring for your kitchen.
Introduction to Choosing Kitchen Flooring
When starting your kitchen flooring search, it’s helpful to consider how you use your kitchen and your lifestyle. High traffic areas, budget, style preferences, and ease of maintenance and cleaning should all influence your kitchen flooring decision. If you cook frequently, durability and stain resistance are likely top concerns. For families with kids or pets, an easy to clean floor is key. Overall, the flooring must withstand daily use, spills, dripping, foot traffic, and potential falling objects.
Beyond practicality, kitchen flooring makes a strong style statement and impact on the room’s aesthetic. From classic hardwood to retro checkerboard tile and modern polished concrete, the flooring sets the tone for your whole kitchen design. Be sure to choose a style that fits your home and taste.
There are plenty of kitchen flooring options to suit any preference and budget. To choose the best floor for your kitchen, continue reading our detailed overview of popular kitchen floor materials, costs, durability, and style impact.
Tile Kitchen Floors
Tile is one of the most commonly used kitchen flooring ideas, as it offers plenty of variety in colors, textures, shapes, and pricing. Tile rates high for durability and water-resistance as well, which are key features for kitchens.
- Durable and can withstand heavy use
- Easy to clean
- Affordable options like ceramic are budget-friendly
- Available in endless colors, designs, and textures
- Can mimic stone, wood, or other materials for less cost
- Can be installed to create patterns or decorative effects
- Can be cold underfoot
- Grout requires sealing and can stain
- Dropped objects like glassware can crack or chip tiles
- Requires meticulous installation for a smooth surface
Ceramic tile ranges from $2-$15 per square foot. Porcelain tile runs $8-$20 per square foot. Natural stone tile costs $15-$40+ per square foot. Professional installation averages $6 per square foot.
Popular Tile Types
- Ceramic: Classic, budget-friendly option available in tons of colors/designs
- Porcelain: More durable and stain/water resistant than ceramic
- Natural Stone: More expensive but brings an elegant, high-end look with materials like marble, travertine, slate, and granite
- Mosaic: Small tiles pieced together to form a mosaic pattern floor
- Glass: Adds brilliant gleam and modern style
Tile comes in such an array of colors, shapes, patterns and textures that it can fit any kitchen style. Use large format tiles for a seamless, sleek look or intricate patterns for an ornate style. For a modern kitchen, opt for an oversized porcelain tile in a neutral color. Or make a cottage kitchen statement with a vintage mosaic tile floor.
Hardwood Kitchen Floors
Many homeowners love the warmth and natural beauty of wood floors. Hardwood suits both traditional and contemporary kitchen designs. Oak, maple, ash, cherry, and hickory are common woods used.
- Warm, natural aesthetic
- Variety of wood species and colors
- Can be sanded and refinished
- Increases home resale value
- Can be noisy when walked on
- Prone to dents, scratches and moisture damage
- Requires frequent cleaning
- Resealing needed periodically
Hardwood floor cost depends on the wood species. Engineered hardwood runs $3-$12 per square foot installed. Solid hardwood runs $4-$16 per square foot installed.
Popular Hardwood Flooring Types
- Solid Hardwood: Made from a solid piece of wood milled from a single plank. Most expensive option but can be refinished.
- Engineered Hardwood: Made by adhering a thin veneer of wood to a plywood base. More affordable and slightly better with moisture.
- Laminate: Made to emulate the look of real hardwood with a printed image layer. Most budget-friendly option.
Hardwood floors lend a warm, welcoming vibe and timeless appeal. For traditional kitchens, choose classic oak or maple boards. Rich moody woods like walnut suit contemporary kitchens. Distressed and wire-brushed hardwoods have a rustic flair.
Vinyl Kitchen Flooring
Vinyl flooring wins points for affordability, durability, and easy maintenance. Made from resilient vinyl polymers, it comes in planks or sheets. Vinyl stands up to heavy daily use and resists scratches, stains and moisture. New printing technology allows vinyl floors to mimic wood and tile with remarkable realism.
- Extremely affordable option
- Durable and scratch/moisture resistant
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Softer and warmer underfoot than tile
- Large variety of colors and textures
- Mimics look of pricier flooring like hardwood and stone
- Good choice for DIY installation
- Can fade with extended direct sunlight exposure
- Seams on planks can trap dirt and moisture
- Cheap vinyl can ding, dent or peel over time
Sheet vinyl starts at $2 per square foot. Vinyl plank flooring costs $3-$8 per square foot. Installation averages $3 per square foot.
Popular Vinyl Flooring Types
- Sheet Vinyl: Available in solid colors or stone/wood prints. Seamless installation.
- Vinyl Planks: Mimic hardwood or tile. Installs in a floating floor with click-lock pieces.
- Vinyl Tile: Durable, affordable mimic of porcelain or ceramic tile. Easy DIY install.
- Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT): Advanced printing technology for stunningly realistic wood and stone looks.
The wide range of vinyl flooring looks allows it to suit any kitchen style. Use neutral solid sheet vinyl or vinyl planks for a streamlined look. Opt for stone or wood-print vinyls to emulate pricier floors on a budget. Bold printed vinyl can add retro flair.
Laminate Kitchen Floors
Laminate flooring combines affordability and good looks, mimicking materials like hardwood and stone with a printed image layer topped by a clear protective layer. Laminate is made from synthetic materials fused together. Most laminate clicks together in a floating floor system, making DIY installation achievable.
- Extremely affordable
- Many options mimic wood or stone
- Fairly scratch and moisture resistant
- Easy to install and clean
- Durable and long-lasting
- Can swell when excessively wet
- Not as realistic as luxury vinyl flooring
- Eventually shows wear at seams and edges
- Cannot be refinished or repaired
Laminate flooring costs $1.50-$5 per square foot. Professional installation runs $3-$5 per square foot.
Laminates allow you to achieve the aesthetic of natural stone or hardwood for a fraction of the cost. Use it to get the sleek modern look of porcelain plank floors or the rustic charm of a weathered oak floor on a budget.
Stone Kitchen Floors
For a spectacular kitchen floor, natural stone slabs or tiles impart unmatched elegance. Granite, marble, travertine, slate, and limestone are among the stone flooring options, each with their own unique veining, colors and textures. Despite the higher cost, natural stone floors are a worthwhile investment that can last a lifetime.
- Timeless, luxurious appearance
- Retains resale value for home
- Extremely durable and can last 100+ years
- Doesn’t scratch, stain or fade
- Keeps cool in warm weather
- Expensive, especially for larger kitchens
- Some porous stones like marble stain easily
- Can be slippery when wet
- Needs yearly professional sealing
Natural stone tile runs $15-$40 per square foot installed. Stone slab installation averages $40-$100 per square foot.
Popular Stone Flooring Types
- Marble: Elegant classic with striking veining patterns. On the softer side.
- Slate: Multicolored layered stone with a gripping texture. Good durability.
- Travertine: Earthy, rustic look. Holes and pits add texture.
- Limestone: Softer, creamy look in lighter and darker shades.
- Granite: Extremely hard and durable. Speckled colors and veining.
Few materials impart such a spectacular, high-end look as stone. Travertine and limestone complement French country or Tuscan style kitchens. Ubiquitous white marble elevates any traditional or modern kitchen. Slate’s muted tones work well in Victorian kitchens. Granite makes a bold, durable statement for any contemporary kitchen.
Concrete Kitchen Floors
Concrete floors provide modern, industrial appeal and top-notch durability. Stained, stamped or polished concrete can be customized with colors, aggregate and finishes. Minimal maintenance combined with the unique, raw look make concrete floors ideal for contemporary kitchen designs.
- Extremely durable for high-traffic areas
- Stain, scratch and moisture resistant
- Doesn’t require frequent resealing or refinishing
- Cool to the touch year-round
- Customizable colors, textures and finishes
- Expensive professional installation
- Can crack without proper installation
- Takes longer to install correctly than other floors
- Can be noisy and echo
Installed and finished stained concrete costs $4-$8 per square foot. Polished concrete runs $6-$10 per square foot.
The sleek industrial vibe of concrete floors makes them a top choice for modern kitchen designs. Choose a refined ground and polished finish for contemporary lofts or high-end homes. Acid-stained concrete in bold colors embodies retro-modern flair. Exposed aggregate finishes provide texture and interest.
Cork Kitchen Flooring
Cork flooring offers a cozy, comfortable feel underfoot along with durability and acoustic insulation. Cork repels moisture, mold and mildew while providing some cushioning and warmth. Print technology allows cork floors to mimic stone, wood and other looks.
- Softer, warmer feel underfoot
- Moisture resistant and anti-microbial
- Provides acoustic insulation
- Durable and able to withstand heavy use
- Available in many colors and patterns
- Can fade or discolor in sunlight
- Show wear over time at edges and seams
- Not great for open floor plans or large kitchens
- Poor moisture resistance with glue-down installation
Cork tile runs $2-$5 per square foot. Cork plank flooring costs $4-$10 per square foot installed.
With its inherent softness and coziness, cork pairs well with cottage, country or bohemian kitchen designs. Mimics of hardwood and Mediterranean tiles enable cork to fit a variety of aesthetics. Solid color cork tiles also suit contemporary minimalist kitchens.
Rubber Kitchen Flooring
Both practical and contemporary, rubber flooring is growing in popularity for active, modern households. Easy maintenance and cushioning make it ideal for children’s spaces. Sound and moisture absorption also appeal in open floor plan kitchens. Advances in rubber flooring appearance provide choices resembling hardwood, tile and stone.
- Extremely durable, even with heavy use
- Waterproof and easy to clean
- Excellent noise insulation
- Cushioned for standing comfort
- Mimics wood, tile and stone looks
- Good slip resistance
- Can fade or discolor over time
- Rubber smell lingers temporarily after install
- Limited color and style choices
Rubber floor tiles cost $3-$9 per square foot installed. Rubber plank flooring runs $4-$12 per square foot installed.
Thanks to improved aesthetics, rubber floors now mesh well with contemporary and modern farmhouse kitchen designs. Pair solid colored tiles with minimalist decor or choose wood grain patterns for an organic element. Vintage buffed slate and checkerboard looks offer retro appeal.
Choose the Best Kitchen Flooring by Lifestyle Needs
Beyond picking a flooring type you love, it’s crucial to select one that fits your household lifestyle and needs. Use this guide to find your best flooring match by activity level and daily use.
For Families with Pets and Kids: Vinyl
If your kitchen sees high traffic from kids and pets with the stains to prove it, vinyl is your best bet. Scratch-resistant and completely waterproof, vinyl shrugs off rowdy use. Just be sure to add extra underlayment for cushioning. The wide range of wood and stone looks vinyl offers keeps the flooring stylish as well.
For Entertainers: Tile
Party hosts require a kitchen floor that can take spills and dripping during food and drink prep without wreaking havoc. Tile’s legendary durability and moisture resistance handles messy entertaining with aplomb. Use large tiles and minimal grout lines for a seamless look that hides stains. Add a stylish accent rug by the sink for comfort.
For Serious Cooks: Stone
Avid home chefs benefit from sturdy stone’s ability to take high heat and kitchen wear without issue. Unfazed by hot pans, spills or utensils scraping across the surface, stone floors stand up to the busiest kitchens flawlessly. Their refined elegance also matches the high-end appliances and tools serious cooks favor.
For DIYers: Vinyl Plank
For those comfortable tackling their own flooring installation, vinyl plank floors provide the most beginner-friendly option. Many feature click-together floating installation systems with minimal tools or prep needed. Choose vinyl planks with attached underlayment for further ease of install. Just be sure to carefully measure the space and leave proper expansion gaps.
For Contemporary Style: Polished Concrete
The sleek, raw vibe of concrete floors makes them a top choice for contemporary kitchen designs. Staining and polishing technology allows for customizable finishes from matte and satiny to high-gloss. Elevate the industrial chic even further by accenting with vintage finds and brass hardware against the neutral backdrop.
For Rustic Farmhouse Style: Hardwood
Hardwood’s natural warmth and character fits beautifully with comfortable, rustic design. Distressed, wire-brushed and reclaimed wood planks especially accentuate the welcoming farmhouse aesthetic. Opt for wider, longer planks for a more casual effect. Mixing wood tones and grains adds charming variety.
Common Questions about Choosing Kitchen Flooring
Still weighing all the options for your kitchen floor replacement or remodel? See the answers to these frequently asked questions for further tips and insights.
What is the most durable and water-resistant kitchen flooring?
Natural stone tiles and slabs rank as the most durable and water-resistant kitchen flooring. Thanks to their density, hard crystals, and non-porous nature, stone floors stand up to decades of heavy use while repelling moisture, spills and stains. Porcelain and ceramic tile also rate quite durable and water-resistant for kitchens.
What is the most affordable option for kitchen floors?
Vinyl floors provide the best combination of affordability and durability for kitchens. Sheet vinyl starts under $1 per square foot and provides a seamless, low-maintenance floor. Vinyl plank options like luxury vinyl cost a bit more but mimic pricier materials like hardwood or stone with incredible realism.
What flooring is the easiest to clean and maintain?
Easy-wipe materials like vinyl and laminate clean up fast with little fuss. Their protective top layers resist stains, and visible scuffs come up with damp mopping. Glossier finishes hide dirt better. Seamless floors like sheet vinyl further simplify cleaning since grime can’t get trapped between planks. Polished concrete is another low-maintenance option.
What kitchen flooring is the most comfortable to stand on?
Cork, rubber, and soft vinyl floors offer the most kitchen comfort underfoot. Their cushioning provides relief to feet, backs and legs during lengthy food prep sessions. An added benefit is sound insulation, cutting down on echo and ambient noise. Use thicker underlayments with harder floors like wood and tile for a plusher feel.
What kitchen flooring increases resale value the most?
Upgrading to hardwood floors typically increases a home’s value the most significantly. According to realtors, a new hardwood floor can provide a 60-75% ROI. Stone and tile also boost value, while quality vinyl plank flooring recoups 50-100% of its cost. Any flooring in good condition and a neutral style appeals to buyers.
Can you put hardwood flooring in kitchens?
While hardwood looks beautiful, its moisture sensitivity gives homeowners pause in kitchens. Today’s engineered hardwood offers more stability and water protection, enabling use in kitchens (except by sinks). For best results, opt for wide-plank wood floors with multiple coats of water-based polyurethane for protection.
Selecting the ideal kitchen flooring involves weighing factors like moisture resistance, durability, comfort, cost, cleaning, and style impact. For active families, waterproof vinyl provides affordable quality. Serious chefs benefit from indestructible stone. Concrete floors deliver modern industrial flair, while hardwood conveys natural warmth. Setting lifestyle and design priorities first allows you to confidently tackle the