A kitchen remodel is one of the most common home renovation projects. And for good reason—the kitchen is the heart of the home, where family and friends gather to cook, eat, and spend quality time together. Choosing the right kitchen flooring can make a huge impact on the look, feel, and functionality of your kitchen space.
The flooring you select needs to be durable, easy to clean, and comfortable underfoot. With so many kitchen flooring options to choose from—tile, wood, vinyl, laminate, and more—it can be overwhelming to decide what’s best for your home and lifestyle. This extensive guide covers all the most popular kitchen flooring options to help you discover the perfect floor for your space. We’ll go over the pros and cons of each flooring type so you can make an informed decision when it comes time to install new floors.
Kitchen Flooring Material Guide
Kitchen flooring comes in a diverse range of materials, styles, colors, and textures. Consider factors like your budget, kitchen traffic, and lifestyle needs when deciding among kitchen flooring ideas. Here’s an overview of the most common flooring materials to install in a kitchen:
Tile is one of the most popular choices for kitchen floors. Made from ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone, tile comes in a huge variety of sizes, shapes, textures, patterns, and colors. Pros:
- Extremely durable and can last decades with proper care
- Water resistant and easy to clean
- Allows you to create custom designs on the floor
- Hard underfoot
- Grout lines can stain and trap dirt
- Dropped items like glassware or ceramics may break or crack tile
Nothing beats the warmth and timeless look of real wood kitchen flooring. Hardwood options like oak, maple, and hickory add natural beauty.
- Natural material with unbeatable look
- Can be sanded and refinished over time
- Insulates against noise and cold from concrete
- Prone to scratches and dents
- Not as moisture resistant as other options
- Refinishing required over time
Laminate flooring provides the appearance of wood, tile, or stone floors with added durability and affordability. Laminate is made by fusing synthetic layers together.
- Very affordable option
- Easy “floating floor” installation
- Extremely durable surface resists scratches
- Not as luxurious looking as real wood or stone
- Not moisture resistant
- Cannot be refinished over time
Luxury vinyl flooring (LVF) replicates the look of pricier materials like wood or stone with extra durability and moisture resistance.
- Waterproof and extremely durable
- Comfortable and warmer underfoot than tile
- Simple DIY installation
- Still does not match natural materials in appearance
- Seams are visible on some products
- Can scuff, fade, and lose shine over time
For an industrial warehouse-chic style, exposed concrete floors can be a stylish choice.
- Extremely durable for high traffic
- Seamless look
- Easy to clean
- Hard and cold underfoot without radiant heat
- Can crack or stain over time
- No insulation from noise or cold
What is the Best Flooring for Kitchens?
So what is the best flooring for kitchens when all is said and done? The “best” flooring depends largely on your own needs and preferences. Those with busy family kitchens may lean towards ultra-durable tile or vinyl floors. Home chefs and bakers often prefer the classic warmth of wood. Concrete creates a sleek, modern statement.
Consider factors like these when deciding on kitchen flooring:
- Budget – Tile and vinyl cost less than natural wood or stone floors.
- Style – Choose a material and color that fits your overall kitchen aesthetic.
- Durability – Look for floors rated to withstand moisture, stains, scratches, and daily wear-and-tear. Tile, vinyl, and laminate are most durable.
- Ease of cleaning – Floors like tile and vinyl wipe clean easily. Wood requires more maintenance.
- Comfort underfoot – Concrete and tile feel hard and cold. Opt for wood, vinyl, or linoleum for a warmer, cushier feel.
- DIY vs. Professional Installation – Some floors like luxury vinyl and laminate can be DIY-friendly. Others like wood require expertise.
Take time to consider your unique needs in the kitchen before committing to a flooring type. Visit home improvement stores to view material samples in person. This can give you a better idea of factors like texture, quality, and appearance.
Vinyl Flooring: A Durable, Waterproof Option
Vinyl plank flooring has soared in popularity in recent years due to its affordable price point and family-friendly durability. Made from PVC resin, a vinyl wear layer is fused with a rigid core layer to create an exceptionally strong, scratch-resistant floor that can withstand years of heavy use.
Luxury vinyl mimics the look of premium surfaces like hardwood, tile, and stone with realistic textures and colors. But it comes at a fraction of the price. Waterproof, kid-proof, and pet-proof, vinyl floors are a smart choice for busy kitchens prone to spills, messes, and high traffic.
Benefits of Vinyl Flooring
Here are the main benefits that make vinyl plank flooring a top contender for kitchen installations:
Waterproof – Vinyl won’t swell or warp when exposed to water like real wood. Spills and accidents are no match for durable vinyl.
Comfortable – Vinyl feels softer, warmer, and more comfortable underfoot than tile or concrete. Cushioned vinyl is available for maximum comfort.
Affordable – Vinyl plank flooring costs a third of the price of materials like hardwood or natural stone. Budget-savvy homeowners can enjoy the look of luxury floors without the hefty price tag.
** DIY-Friendly** – Interlocking vinyl planks feature a “floating floor” click-together design for easy do-it-yourself installation without glue. This makes renovations more affordable since professional labor costs are avoided.
Stylish designs – From rustic wood looks to modern stone and slate patterns, luxury vinyl realistically mimics upscale floors. Popular colors and finishes make it easy to match your style.
Sound insulation – Unlike noisy tile and concrete, vinyl helps muffle sound in multi-level homes.
Durable and stain-resistant – The fused layers of vinyl flooring make it able to withstand dropped cookware, active kids and pets, chair scooting, and other daily wear-and-tear. The surface resists stains from food, mud, grease, and more.
Considerations When Choosing Vinyl Floors
Vinyl is one of the best kitchen flooring options for active families, but there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Lower-priced vinyl may not hold up as well long-term compared to stoneware or porcelain tile
- Some vinyl floors can fade, stain, or scuff over time with heavy use
- The “hollow” sound of vinyl floors stepping on them may take some getting used to
- Seams are visible on certain vinyl floorboards and patterns
Overall, luxury vinyl flooring offers an extremely durable and cost-effective solution for kitchen upgrades. Just be sure to buy from quality brands and inspect materials closely before installing.
Tile Flooring Options
If you’re searching for a flooring option that offers style, durability, and easy cleaning, tile is sure to top your list. Available in a spectrum of materials, colors, shapes, and patterns, tile is a popular kitchen flooring choice.
Used in kitchens for centuries, the timeless beauty of tile will add instant character to your space. Tiles come in options to match any design aesthetic, from old-world charm to sleek modern minimalism.
Beyond the style factor, tile is valued for its strength and ruggedness. Properly installed tile can outlast almost any other kitchen flooring.
Tile Flooring Materials
Tile flooring comes in a range of materials, each with their own characteristics:
Ceramic tile – Made from clay that is baked at high temperatures, ceramic tile is very affordable and provides good durability. It comes in a wide array of colors and styles. Porous unglazed ceramic must be sealed.
Porcelain tile – Denser and more durable than ceramic, porcelain tile is virtually non-porous and scratch-resistant. It maintains its color and sheen even in high traffic areas. Porcelain is more expensive than ceramic.
Stone tile – Milled from natural quarries, stone tiles like marble, travertine, slate, and granite make a luxurious statement. But they require sealing and can stain.
Glass tile – Offering brilliant color and shine, glass tile is very durable and water resistant. Smooth glass feels great underfoot.
Mosaic tile – Composed of tiny tiles mounted to mesh or paper sheets, mosaic tile allows you to create custom patterns and designs.
Metal tile – Usually made from stainless steel or copper, metal tiles have an industrial, modern look. Not very cushioned underfoot.
Advantages of Tile Kitchen Floors
Here are some of the notable advantages tile offers as a kitchen flooring material:
- Extremely durable and resistant to moisture, stains, and high traffic
- Easy to sanitize and keep clean
- Can mimic stone looks for less cost
- Suitable for radiant floor heating systems
- Allows for creative custom designs
- Matches any style from farmhouse to contemporary
Considerations for Tile Floors
On the downside, tile has some disadvantages to factor into your decision:
- Hard and cold underfoot without using radiant heating
- Grout lines can get dirty and stained over time
- Dropping glassware or ceramics may cause breaks or chips
- Professional installation is recommended, adding to costs
- Tile can crack or lift if the subfloor is not properly prepared
If choosing tile, select floor-grade tiles rated for durability and slip-resistance. A quality installation job is also essential for a long-lasting floor. With proper care and maintenance, tile floors can provide decades of beauty and performance.
Hardwood Flooring for Kitchens
Hardwood floors lend timeless warmth and beauty to any room of the house—even kitchen spaces. While hardwood may not seem like an obvious match for the high-traffic, high-moisture environment of a kitchen, advances in finish technology allow certain wood species to stand up quite well.
When properly sealed and maintained, a hardwood kitchen floor can last for many years of family meal prep, hosting, and fun. Consider both the pros and cons when deciding if real wood floors are right for your kitchen.
Benefits of Hardwood Kitchen Floors
Here are some of the reasons homeowners install wood flooring in their kitchens:
Natural beauty – Few materials can match the richness and visual interest of natural wood. Hardwood colors and grains range from rustic to refined.
Investment – Quality hardwood increases a home’s value for higher resale. This offsets the higher initial cost.
Ease of repair – Hardwood can be sanded and refinished instead of requiring full replacement. This allows a kitchen floor to look fresh every 5-10 years.
Insulation – Wood provides better noise insulation and feels warmer underfoot than tile or concrete.
Style flexibility – Stains and finishes allow wood floors to match any design scheme from farmhouse to modern.
Sustainability – Viable hardwood species like oak and maple are renewable resources. With proper care, wood floors last for generations.
Things to Consider With Wood Floors
On the downside, wood flooring does have some drawbacks in kitchen settings:
- More prone to moisture damage from leaky pipes or appliance failures
- Can warp or buckle if subjected to flooding or excessive standing water
- Not as scratch and stain-resistant as tile or vinyl
- Requires more frequent cleaning and maintenance
- Added cost for professional installation
The right protective finish allows many wood species to perform well in kitchens. Opt for extra durable finishes rated for heavy traffic and moisture resistance. Also be diligent with immediate cleanup of spills to prevent stains and warping.
With the proper hardwood species and finish, a wood floor can be an elegant addition to an upscale, gourmet kitchen design. For busy family kitchens, vinyl or tile may be a more sensible choice. Consider your needs and lifestyle when deciding if wood floors are suitable for your home.
Concrete Flooring for Modern Kitchens
Concrete flooring creates a chic, industrial-inspired look in modern kitchen designs. Often stained, polished, or decorated for interest, concrete offers a sleek and seamless appearance.
Exposed concrete floors were originally popular in warehouses, factories, and commercial spaces. But the utilitarian material has become increasingly on-trend in residential kitchens and bathrooms for its understated urban style.
Beyond the aesthetic appeal, concrete brings some performance advantages as a kitchen flooring option. But the hard, cold surface also has some downsides to weigh.
Benefits of Concrete Flooring
Here are some of the positive characteristics of installed bare concrete floors:
- Strong and durable – Able to withstand decades of heavy foot traffic and dropped kitchenware.
- Seamless look – No grout lines, planks, or tile edges provide a continuous appearance.
- Mold/mildew resistant – Concrete does not support mold growth due to its alkaline pH.
- Easy cleaning – Concrete wipes up easily with just water and detergent.
- Affordable – Concrete is cheaper than natural stone or wood flooring.
- Design versatility – Concrete can be stained, polished, etched, or decorated.
- Sustainable – Made from natural components of stone, sand, clay and gravel.
Drawbacks of Concrete Floors
Some downsides associated with concrete kitchen floors include:
- Hard and cold – Concrete feels hard and icy under bare feet without radiant floor heating.
- Prone to cracking – Tiny cracks and fissures develop over time from settlement. These must be patched.
- Can stain – Spills can quickly soak in and permanently stain bare concrete. Applying densifiers and sealers helps reduce this.
- No insulation – Provides minimal insulation against noise or cold from the ground below.
- Difficult DIY installation – Professional pouring and finishing is typically required to avoid an uneven, shoddy surface.
If opting for concrete flooring in the kitchen or elsewhere, apply penetrating sealers to help minimize stains, cracks, and damages over time. Also discuss options like adding radiant floor heating, an underlayment, or area rugs to improve comfort.
Choosing Kitchen Flooring on a Budget
Giving your kitchen a fresh new look doesn’t have to cost a fortune. There are plenty of budget-friendly flooring options that offer attractiveness, durability, and easy maintenance without breaking the bank. Here are some of the most cost-effective types of kitchen flooring to consider:
Luxury Vinyl Plank – One of the most affordable kitchen flooring solutions, vinyl plank offers realistic visuals of wood or stone. Interlocking planks allow DIY installation. Vinyl is durable, comfortable, and waterproof.
Laminate Flooring – Made with a photographic image layer fused to a composite base, laminate floors mimic wood or tile looks convincingly at a fraction of the cost. Easy to install and clean.
Sheet vinyl – Sold in wide rolls, sheet vinyl floors provide a seamless surface that’s tough and waterproof. Can mimic patterns and designs. Easy DIY installation.
Ceramic tile – Low-cost unglazed ceramic tiles hold up well in kitchens and come in myriad styles. Use higher-rated floor tiles and a proper installation method for best results.
Concrete – Simple, durable concrete makes a bold modern statement. Can be tinted and stamped or use stencils and paints to create designs.
Vinyl tile – Self-stick vinyl tile squares allow you to install resilient floors tile-by-tile with just peel-and-stick ease. Easy to swap out damaged tiles.
When sticking to a budget, inspect materials closely before purchasing. Be sure any vinyl or laminate is thick enough to resist abrasions and dents. Get tile rated for floor application. A quality installation job is also key for affordable floors to last.
Kitchen Flooring Ideas by Style
Beyond just practical factors, your kitchen’s interior design style should also guide your flooring selection. Choose materials and colors that complement your decor scheme for a cohesive look. Here are kitchen flooring ideas suited to popular design aesthetics:
Farmhouse Kitchen Flooring
Wood planks – Wide-plank oak or hickory floors look authentically rustic. Opt for a natural finish.
Black & white tile – A classic checkerboard tile pattern screams farmhouse chic. Use porcelain for durability.
Natural stone – Honed limestone, travertine, or slate bring organic texture.
Brick flooring – Red quarry tiles or faux brick vinyl recreate a traditional country kitchen look.
Traditional Kitchen Flooring
Wood strip flooring – Narrow strips of oak floors with a clear, glossy finish are traditional.
Ceramic tiles – Classic patterns like subway tile or colorful Spanish tiles complement traditional decor.
Marble or granite – Elegant natural stone adds old-world luxury. Hone or polish for a glossy sheen.
Mosaic tiles – Intricate mosaic tile designs are a lovely traditional feature.
Contemporary Kitchen Flooring
Polished concrete – Seamless, glossy concrete floors look modern and industrial.