Kitchen flooring is one of the most important design decisions when remodeling or building a new home. The right kitchen flooring type can complete the look of your dream kitchen, while also standing up to heavy traffic, spills, and wear and tear. When selecting new floors for your kitchen, there are several essential factors you need to consider to make the best choice. We’ll walk through the pros and cons of the most popular kitchen flooring options to help you find the perfect fit.

Durability Considerations

The durability of your new kitchen floors should be a top priority. Kitchen floors take a beating with dropped dishes, spills, scrapes from moving appliances, chair legs, and heavy foot traffic. You’ll want a flooring material that can stand up to daily use without showing scratches, dents, or stains.

Hardwood floors can dent and scratch fairly easily, especially lighter softwoods like pine. Small scratches and dents can often be sanded and refinished, but deeper damage may require replacing planks. Spills must also be cleaned up quickly to prevent staining and warping.

Tile and stone floors are very durable options that resist scratches, stains, and moisture. Their hard surfaces hold up well to dropped kitchen items without showing damage. Porcelain and ceramic tile are the toughest tile options. Natural stone floors like granite, slate, and marble are also extremely durable, but can chip if heavy objects are dropped on them.

Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) floors are one of the most durable options. The thick wear layer protects the vinyl from scratches, dents, and moisture. Most LVP floors have a stone-plastic composite core layer for added structural integrity. LVP won’t warp or stain, making it a great choice for kitchens.

Choosing a highly durable flooring material is key for a kitchen that gets heavy daily use and will continue looking great for years. Hardwood floors should be considered carefully, while tile, natural stone, and LVP offer the most rugged options.

Easy Maintenance is Essential

In addition to durability, easy maintenance is a must for kitchen floors. Look for materials that won’t require extensive upkeep routines to keep them looking their best.

Hardwood floors will need frequent sweeping or vacuuming to remove grit that can scratch the wood. Mopping is also required on a regular basis with specific wood floor cleaning products. Refinishing hardwoods is recommended every 5-10 years to repair scratches and restore the finish.

Tile and stone floors are very low maintenance options. Their hard, non-porous surfaces just need occasional mopping to keep them clean. Grout will need sealing over time to prevent staining. Professional deep cleaning is recommended every few years to keep grout looking fresh.

LVP floors are also easy to clean. Their durable surfaces just need sweeping and occasional damp mopping. They won’t require waxing or refinishing over time like hardwood. LVP is resistant to moisture and won’t support mold growth.

Choosing a floor that requires little upkeep will make your life easier. Tile, stone, and LVP are great low maintenance options, while hardwood requires much more routine care.

Moisture Resistance

Since kitchens involve liquids like water, grease, sauce, and oil spills on a regular basis, your new floor must be able to withstand moisture. Prolonged moisture exposure can damage flooring that isn’t designed for wet environments.

Hardwood is very prone to water damage. Spills need to be wiped up quickly to prevent warping, staining, and mold growth in the wood. Even with prompt cleanup of liquid spills, moisture can seep between planks over time and cause cupping and damage.

Tile and stone have highly moisture-resistant surfaces that aren’t harmed by spills or cleaning. Water sits on top of the surface rather than penetrating it. However, the grout between tiles is somewhat porous and sealing is needed periodically.

Waterproof vinyl floors are excellent at resisting moisture. The layered construction prevents spills from seeping through the plank to the subfloor below. Many LVP floors have waterproof warranties of 15-25 years.

For kitchens, a water-resistant material like tile, stone, or vinyl is best. While prompt cleanup of spills is always needed, these floors offer peace of mind in wet environments. Hardwood can easily be damaged by moisture over time.

Slip Resistance for Safety

Safety should also be a top consideration when choosing kitchen floors. Look for options with good traction and slip resistance to prevent falls, especially when floors are wet.

Hardwood’s smooth surface can become quite slippery when wet. Rugs, runners or slip-resistant finishes may be needed in high traffic areas. Refinishing hardwoods can reduce traction over time.

Natural stone offers great slip resistance, especially textured finishes like honed, flamed, or cleft surfaces. Polished granite can be on the slicker side. Porcelain and ceramic tile also provide nice traction, but very smooth tiles can be slippery when wet.

Luxury vinyl tiles typically have textured surfaces or embossed patterns to provide good grip underfoot. There are also slip-resistant vinyl options with aggregates added for additional traction. Sheet vinyl can be too smooth when wet.

Opting for materials with natural texture or grip patterns is the best bet for kitchen safety. Textured stone and tile along with embossed LVP offer good wet/dry traction. Smooth floors will require extra slip-resistant rugs or finishes.

Comfort and Noise Reduction

Since you’ll be standing and moving around frequently in the kitchen, comfort and noise reduction should also influence your flooring decision. Cushioned floors that muffle noise from footsteps and falling items will create a more enjoyable kitchen environment.

Hardwood offers some foot comfort thanks to its slight natural flex, but does little to absorb noise. Footsteps, chair scraping, and clattering dishes loudly echo in kitchens with hardwood floors. Area rugs can help reduce some noise.

Tile and stone floors are quite hard and provide no cushioning or noise reduction. Dropped items reverberate loudly, as do footfalls. This can make cooking in the kitchen a noisy experience. Installing a sound-reducing underlayment below the tile can help dampen noise.

Vinyl plank flooring often has an attached cork or foam underlayment layer to provide a cushioned, quieter walking surface. Quality LVP also does an excellent job of absorbing noise from footsteps, falling utensils, appliances, etc. This makes for a more peaceful kitchen environment.

For comfortable floors that minimize kitchen noise, LVP is the top choice. Hardwood offers slight flex but no noise absorption. Tile and stone are very hard and amplify kitchen noises significantly without underlayment.

Affordability and Budget

Installing new kitchen floors can be a significant investment. The material you choose will directly impact how much you’ll spend on your kitchen flooring project. Be sure to factor affordability and your overall budget into the decision-making process.

Hardwood flooring has a wide range of pricing options. Domestic woods like oak and maple offer an attractive balance of durability and affordability. Exotic hardwoods cost more, along with hand-scraped and wider plank floors. The total expense is heavily influenced by the wood species and grade you choose.

Porcelain and ceramic tile offer an affordable flooring option starting around $2-3 per square foot installed. Higher end imported porcelain tiles can run $4-8 per square foot. Natural stone tiles like granite, slate, and marble start around $7-10 per square foot.

Luxury vinyl plank is one of the most budget-friendly choices. It starts around $2-4 per square foot installed. The most realistic wood-look LVP floors with layered construction fall in the $3-5 per square foot range. LVP provides the look of pricier materials for less.

Kitchen flooring costs can add up quickly for large spaces. Having a flooring budget will allow you to select options realistically and avoid overspending. Materials like LVP provide great durability and looks while fitting many homeowners’ budgets better than pricier choices.

Easy Installation

Installing new kitchen floors can mean a tear-out process of removing your old flooring if you currently have tile, laminate, or linoleum floors. This demo work, subfloor preparation, and installation of your new flooring can take several days to complete. Finding a flooring material with easy installation will make the process smoother.

Hardwood flooring should be left to flooring professionals as installation is challenging. The planks need perfectly flat subfloors to prevent gaps, bouncing, and noises. Nailing hardwood requires special tools and experience. Site-finished hardwoods are stained on site and require sanding between coats.

Porcelain and ceramic tile installation is also best left to experienced installers. The subfloor must be perfectly flat and layers of thinset mortar applied evenly. Tile cutting around kitchen sinks and appliances takes skill. Grouting also requires some technique to avoid cracking and staining the grout.

Luxury vinyl plank floors are designed for easy do-it-yourself installation in most cases. Their tongue-and-groove design clicks together without nails, glue, or special tools. LVP can be installed over existing flooring, saving you from demolishing your current floors. No messy grouting or refinishing is needed either.

For DIY-friendly flooring, LVP is typically the easiest material to install in your kitchen. Hardwood and tile installations are best performed by flooring professionals unless you have experience with those materials.

Appearance Options

Kitchen floors receive a lot of visual attention, so appearance is certainly important when choosing new floors. From sleek contemporary styles to homey vintage looks, there are kitchen flooring options to match any aesthetic.

Hardwood comes in various colors like traditional oak, warm Brazilian cherry, crisp white maple, and rich walnut. The grain patterns and tones create visual interest. Wider planks have become popular for a more dramatic, expansive look. Distressed hardwoods with indentations add antique character.

Tile has an extremely diverse range of colors, patterns, and finishes. Subway tile, Moroccan patterns, handpainted designs, metallic finishes, and faux wood looks provide endless decoration options. Mosaics, borders, and accents tiles can be incorporated as well.

Luxury vinyl plank replicates materials like hardwood, tile, and stone with remarkably realistic visuals. Gray washed oak, weathered barnwood, classic variegated travertine, and painted cement tiles are just a few examples of LVP aesthetics. Many planks have texture to emulate the look of real wood or stone.

With endless options from sleek and modern to traditional, your preferred kitchen design aesthetic can be achieved with any of these popular flooring materials. Allow your personal style to drive the appearance decision.

Kitchen Flooring Pros and Cons

To summarize the key benefits and downsides of each material, here is an overview of the pros and cons for the main kitchen flooring contenders:

Hardwood Flooring


  • Natural beauty with variation in wood grain
  • Variety of wood species/colors for custom looks
  • Can be sanded and refinished over time
  • Provides some foot comfort


  • Prone to scratches, dents
  • Can stain and warp from moisture
  • Requires frequent sweeping and mopping
  • Hard surface amplifies noises
  • Professional installation recommended

Tile Flooring


  • Extremely durable and moisture-resistant
  • Huge variety of colors, patterns, textures
  • Works well radiant floor heating
  • Easy to clean with mopping


  • Hard, non-cushioned surface
  • Can crack or chip if heavy objects dropped
  • Grout requires periodic sealing
  • Noisy, amplifies sounds
  • Professional installation recommended

Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP)


  • Durable, scratch-resistant wear layer
  • Waterproof and moisture resistant
  • Attached underlayment for comfort, noise absorption
  • Realistic looks replicating various materials
  • DIY-friendly click-lock installation
  • Most affordable option


  • Can show indentations from heavy point loads
  • Limited 50-year lifespan
  • Still man-made vinyl material

Carefully weighing the pros and cons will help you determine which flooring type best fits your kitchen needs and preferences. All three options have their advantages, so focus on the features most important for your home.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kitchen Flooring

Below are answers to some of the most common questions homeowners have when choosing new kitchen floors:

Which flooring is best for the kitchen?

There is no single “best” option, as personal style and needs differ. But tile, natural stone, and luxury vinyl plank are often top choices for kitchens due to their durability, water resistance, and easy maintenance.

What is the most popular kitchen flooring?

Currently, luxury vinyl plank is the fastest growing kitchen flooring choice. LVP provides the look of materials like hardwood or tile for less cost. It resists moisture and is more DIY-friendly to install than tile or hardwood.

Is vinyl or tile better for kitchen flooring?

Both offer benefits. Vinyl is typically more affordable, comfortable underfoot, and simpler to install. Tile comes in far more design options and can better withstand hot items from the oven or stove placed directly on it. As long as cleaned regularly, tile and vinyl are both good kitchen options.

Can you put vinyl plank flooring in a kitchen?

Yes, luxury vinyl plank flooring is well-suited for kitchen installation. It stands up well to spills, moisture, scratches and heavy traffic and comes in many colors and patterns. An attached cork underlayment provides comfort and noise reduction. Just avoid installation near a heat source like an oven.

What is the most waterproof flooring?

When it comes to waterproof capabilities, porcelain tile and luxury vinyl plank flooring are both excellent choices. Porcelain tile resists water sitting on its surface, while LVP is engineered as a waterproof floating floor with layers that prevent moisture penetration.

Is vinyl plank flooring high maintenance?

No, LVP requires very little maintenance, which is a major benefit. Easy cleaning with an occasional damp mopping is all that is typically needed. Unlike hardwoods, LVP won’t show scratches or need sanding/refinishing over time. The attached underlayment means waxing is not required either.

Is stone or quartz better for kitchen countertops?

Quartz countertops are preferable for most kitchens because they are less prone to staining and etching from acids or spills. Quartz is non-porous and doesn’t require periodic sealing. Granite needs sealing to prevent staining and is more likely to chip with heavy objects. Ultimately, quartz typically provides an easier-to-maintain surface.

In Conclusion

Installing new kitchen floors is a major project, so take the time to consider your needs and options thoroughly. Durability, maintenance requirements, moisture resistance, comfort, noise factors, cost and appearance should all weigh into your decision.
Hardwood, tile, and luxury vinyl plank floors each offer their own pros and cons for kitchen installation. For many homeowners, LVP provides the ideal combination of moisture resistance, durability, comfort, easy maintenance, and affordability.
Focus on identifying the features most important for your kitchen. With some thoughtful planning, you’re sure to find the perfect kitchen floors to suit your home and lifestyle for years to come.