Kitchen remodel Part II of IV: Choosing the best flooring
OK, so you’ve decided to remodel your kitchen; the reasons can be any of the following:
- Outdated or worn out appliances, countertops, flooring, cabinetry
- The arrangement doesn’t work well
- Need to expand a tiny kitchen
- Kitchen is too dark
The last posting discussed “How to Choose Countertops”. This one will be reviewing flooring options. Kitchens are high traffic areas; are subject to liquid spills and crumbs, everything from popcorn kernels (hard to round-up all the little rolling things) to bits of veggies that escape during prep work. A floor that tends to resist stains and is easy to clean is important. Dishes and glasses get accidentally dropped as well. Some materials are more resilient than others.
So, what are our material choices? Here we go:
One of the most inexpensive flooring options, it comes in a wide range of designs and finishes. It is available in sheets or tiles and is made to look like stone, wood, ceramic tile and more. It is easy to clean and comfortable to stand on. The best choice for kitchens is sheet vinyl, as every seam is a potential failure point and will wear faster. It is recommended to select vinyl with less embossing, as the texture tends to trap and hold dirt, making them hard to clean. Strong sunlight can fade it, and moving heavy objects such as refrigerators can tear the material; protection must be used. Cost for installed vinyl is comparable to longer lasting materials. Uninstalled costs are about $1 to $5 per square foot.
An all natural material made from linseed oil, resins, wood flour and more, it has green credentials and a retro-look. It is affordable, durable, and easy to maintain. It can wear and fade with time and use. It is better to get linoleum that the manufacturer has added a protective coating; without this, the floor will need periodic waxing and polishing. Cost is about $4 to $7 uninstalled.
Made of linseed oil and natural materials, the colors tend to be earthy to retro bright. It is much more resistant to damage than vinyl. It is an extremely long-lasting floor. It does need to be waxed and periodically stripped to maintain a cleanable shine. Two Forbo production facilities in the Netherlands and Scotland produce Marmolem, and Armstrong is making it as well. Cost is about $3 to $8 per square foot, uninstalled.
Select material with no grooves for an easy to clean wood floor. Grooves catch spills and hold things like sugar and are very difficult to maintain. Hardwood flooring can be either pre-finished or finished after installation. Pre-finished flooring wears longer and the installation is quicker, plus the cost of installation is much less. Liquids can cause damage if they’re not wiped up right away. Wood dents and scratches easily, so it will need periodic refinishing. The cost is about $5 to $12 per square foot, uninstalled.
Ceramic tile and stone
Tile and stone floors are beautiful in the right setting and appropriate on the right substrate. Color and texture choices are endless. Most tile floors are installed with a substantial grout line that creates a cleaning problem and an uneven surface. This can be a safety issue. Items dropped on a tile or stone floor will break if they are breakable and the hardness of the materials make them uncomfortable for standing any length of time. If you like to walk about barefoot in the kitchen, they will feel cold. Tile flooring runs between $3 to $8 per square foot, and stone about $15 to $30 per square foot.
Concrete is virtually indestructible and it can be stained, stamped, scored or acid etched for added style. However it must be sealed to prevent stains, and as with tile and stone, it is uncomfortable to stand on for long period of time. It stays cool even in hot climates, so it great for that; not so much here in Bellingham! Costs for uninstalled range from $2 to $15 or more per square foot depending on the finishing you want, and you will need professional installers for this product.