Not All Kitchen Floors Are Created Equal

The kitchen floors we walk on, cook over and eat above say more about the mood, brightness and accessibility and functionality of our kitchens than we know. As many a designer would say, “no kitchen floor is just a floor.” We’re talking about the foundation of the most used and important room in your home.

And today’s floors need to be functional, stylish, and most importantly for budget conscious homeowners, affordable. As HGTV’s John Riha notes, today’s cost-conscious consumer is more demanding of value than ever, especially with Home Advisor estimating the national average cost to install flooring at $2,859.

“There’s definitely been a shift from spending to savings,” Chris Davis, president and CEO of the World Floor Covering Association, told HGTV. “But that doesn’t mean consumers aren’t buying flooring: it means they’re looking for value and comfort.”

That’s good news for homeowners looking to re-floor their kitchens but in no mood to drop thousands of dollars on a flamboyant flooring choice that doesn’t meet their checkbook’s needs.

And in 2018, kitchen flooring doesn’t need to cost a small fortune to be stylish, innovative and durable.

The Ceramic Revolution

Hardwood flooring is still America’s kitchen flooring of choice, but many families are turning to ceramic flooring as the best match for their kitchen’s surface. Ceramic flooring also has style in spades. It is available in a wide variety of designs, styles and sizes.

Ceramic’s greatest advantage over hardwood floors: It’s a chameleon in hardwood floor’s clothing. Many ceramic tile choices look exactly like hardwood flooring. This allows homeowners to retain the hardwood look, but with a material that is easier to maintain. But ceramic’s ability to deftly impersonate other flooring surfaces is what makes it a universally smart flooring choice. Ceramic can also be designed to resemble natural stone.

Ceramic tiles can also be custom cut to create a uniquely patterned kitchen. And, as Flooring Inc’s Ari Ziskin notes, “tile will never fully go out of style in the kitchen.”

The Timeless Vinyl Look

Looking for a luxurious looking surface that also is teflon to water? Luxury vinyl provides a durable, water-resistant, stone-look quality and unbeatable comfort.

Ever have barefoot kids complain about cold floors during the winter? They won’t with luxury vinyl flooring, which is able to resist moisture. This makes vinyl a much warmer kitchen surface in the morning than stone tile.

Wood-Look Vinyl-Even Better Than The Real Thing

While not impervious, there’s good reason why hardwood flooring has been a go-to pick for many moms since the early days of kitchens. Its natural beauty makes it the Cadillac of kitchen floors.

“For us, there was no flooring surface that matched the style and beauty of wood,” said Dubuque, Iowa, homeowner Kay Gansemer, who went with natural wood for her recent kitchen renovation.

However, homeowners need to do in-depth research to ensure that natural wood flooring is the best fit for their kitchens. For humidity can make solid wood flooring warp and expand.

The cost-effective solution to solid wood flooring’s many flaws: Wood-look vinyl, which Floormaker Co., calls one of the hottest kitchen flooring trends for 2018.

Boasting all of wood’s style but none of its structural deficiencies, wood-look vinyl boasts both beauty and easy installability.

Courtney Greger, a Flooring Specialist with My Flipping Job, calls vinyl the kitchen flooring trend of 2018 with the best staying power.

“I always pick ‘trends’ that I think will have longevity in the marketplace,” Greger said. “I see vinyl being the new ‘go-to’ flooring. The new vinyl plank floors offer the visual beauty of a hardwood floor with unparalleled durability. These can be up to 100 percent waterproof and will hold up under a lot of conditions.”

Put A Cork In Your Kitchen Floor

For homeowners needing a sustainable kitchen floor surface for years to come, cork flooring is a smart investment. Water resistant, hypoallergenic, durable and eco-friendly, cork flooring is an ideal 21st century surface not just for kitchens, but for most rooms in the house. Cork flooring also does a great impression of wood.

True Bamboo Value

Kitchen floors take a beating, from toddlers racing cars on them, to spilled milk to dents from falling objects. The best kitchen floors are engineered to last through all the daily storms they encounter. No flooring surface is more durable than bamboo.

While highly renewable and the definition of eco-friendly, bamboo does have its weaknesses. It’s the most temperature and moisture sensitive flooring style on the market.

A Collage of Colors

Flooring Inc sees a collage of bright, dark, classic, stunning and head-turning colors being the trendiest flooring shades for 2018. The most popular flooring colors for America’s homeowners include blonde, honey, espresso, whitewash, gray, high variation and white. Siskin says don’t be afraid to choose a floor that is a striking color contrast to your counter and cabinets.

“Contrast is more popular than ever before,” Siskin writes, “white floors with espresso cabinets (are especially popular this year).”

Here are some of the most head-turning wood-look kitchen floor trends for this year according to Flooring Inc.:

  1. Blonde Wood
  2. Honey Wood
  3. Whitewash Wood
  4. Espresso Wood

The Cost Factor

No flooring is a good match for your kitchen if it’s not a good match for your budget. Here is Floor Critics’ average material cost for a 250-square foot kitchen:

  • Cork Flooring: $1,600
  • Engineered Hardwood: $2,600
  • Vinyl Flooring: $500 for sheet vinyl. $1,200 for luxury vinyl.
  • Porcelain Tile Flooring: $1,275
  • Natural Stone Tile Flooring: $2,300

Remember, flooring is not only the foundation of your home’s décor, it’s the foundation of your kitchen’s atmosphere, accessibility and usability. Research several different flooring options to determine which surface is the ideal surface for your home’s hard-working room.

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