Improvements in products and sealers make wood a viable flooring material in kitchens. That’s good news for people with open-floor plans who wish to use the same material in adjoining living areas. Additionally, wood adds a sense of timelessness and warmth that suits any style, from urban loft to cozy cottage to traditional home.
This often-overlooked natural material comes in various colors and patterns and is sustainable, warm, and slightly cushioned. Seal it to prevent water damage and clean the same as you would a hardwood floor.
Choices abound for this category, and most selections are highly durable and fairly inexpensive. Select large pieces if you want a more seamless look with fewer grout lines. The downside? Ceramic can be cold and uncomfortable if you’re standing for long periods of time.
Easy-to-clean linoleum is available in sheets or tiles in a broad range of colors. Many consumers confuse linoleum with vinyl, but vinyl is a synthetic material with a pattern imprinted on the surface, while linoleum is all-natural with color throughout.
This budget-friendly material (about $10-$13 per square yard) keeps upping its image as new technology helps it more closely imitate the look of stone, wood, tile, and leather. Vinyl is available in 6- or 12-foot wide sheets or as 12- to 18-inch tiles that are ideal for DIYers. Easy to clean, vinyl is also soft underfoot.
Durable and easy to clean, stone offers a timeless appearance that is suited to most any kitchen decor. Choose larger pieces to create a more seamless look with fewer grout lines. Cons? There’s no denying the look is impressive, but you’ll likely need a strong subfloor and some big bucks to get the job done.
Bamboo is an attractive alternative for flooring because of its physical similarities to hardwoods. It is extremely strong and durable and offers built-in resistance to moisture and insects. Since it comes from a highly renewable source of material, bamboo is also an eco-friendly flooring choice.
Laminates have become the "great imitators", offering realistic wood and stone looks without the care and maintenance associated with natural floor products. Available in a wide range of wood grains and patterns, many also feature textured surfaces imparting further realism.
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