The kitchen floor is more than just a fun place to slide on in your stocking feet. A kitchen floor needs to withstand moisture from spills, be stain resistant and complement the kitchen cabinets and countertops. Before you hone in on a color, think about the different types of flooring suitable for kitchen use.
Wood – A softwood like pine is cheaper for wood flooring than a hardwood like oak. Softwoods will show wear more than hardwood because furniture legs can gouge softwood easier than hardwood. Wood kitchen flooring can be laid as narrow slats or wide plants, are stapled or nailed in place, and can be stained or painted to meet decorating preferences. Wood as a kitchen flooring gives a warm, upscale appearance.
Properly sealed with polyurethane, wood floors can be damp mopped with a product specifically designed for wood floors; otherwise sweep with a broom, dust mop or vacuum. Hardwood floors are about 3/4 inch thick and can be sanded to remove stains or gouges. For oak flooring, expect to pay around $4 per square foot of 2 1/2-inch wide strips up to $14 per square foot for 5-inch wide planks.1
Laminate – Get the rich look of wood at a fraction of the price with laminate wood floors in your kitchen design. Laminate flooring contains melamine to give this wood by-product strength and shine. Laminate flooring can be installed over most surfaces and can mimic most wood designs and colors.
A laminate floor can be swept or damp mopped with water and soap. Laminate flooring is about 1/3 inch thick with little option for sanding out stains or gauges. For laminate flooring resembling oak, expect to pay around $1.50 to $4 per square foot for 8-inch wide planks.
Tile – Ceramic tile provides the kitchen designer with limitless combinations of color, style, size and design. Tile 12 to 18 inches square is a good choice for a kitchen to balance the size of cabinetry. Look for a non-slip (low glaze) finish for safety. Sealing the grout can help reduce discoloring from dirt and food stains.
Tile floors can be swept or damp mopped with water and soap. The price of tile flooring can vary dramatically based on the design. Expect to pay $1 to $4 per square foot for ceramic floor tile.
Resilient – Vinyl flooring is perhaps the most cost-effective kitchen flooring. Styles can mimic stone, wood or tile. As flexible flooring, vinyl can come in sheets or squares. Vinyl tile squares may have a peel-off back displaying a sticky surface for adhering the titles. Other resilient tile options include rubber or linoleum.
All these floors types can be swept or damp mopped with water and soap. Vinyl tiles can range from less than $1 for peel and stick tiles to over $3 per square foot for tile providing a realistic impression of natural material like slate or stone.
1 All pricing comes from Lowes website. Not included is installation costs, or a nailer (for wood floors), glue or other adhesive, trowel (tile floors), trim pieces like thresholds if needed, or other supplies required for customer installation.