Everything you need to know about kitchen flooring

From engineered wood to polished concrete, kitchen flooring options never looked so good...

It’s easy to overlook the kitchen floor when you’re thinking about what units, appliances and added extras you’re going to have, but your choice of flooring can make or break your kitchen look.

From limestone to linoleum, concrete to cork, there are a host of flooring materials on offer that can be used to enhance your cooking zone.

But before you set your heart on solid wood or splash out on ceramic, here are some important points to consider.

Ultimately, as with any interior project, your kitchen flooring is very much down to your tastes. So, you may like to have a scheme where worktops and flooring match, or one where they simply complement each other. In some cases, contrast might be more up your design street…

Here’s how to achieve the perfect result for you:

To coordinate, go for materials in the same finish (matt or gloss) and match the colours as closely as possible. Either choose a material that can be used for both worktops and floors, or match, say, a walnut floor to a rich brown stone or composite worktop.

Alternatively, contrast the finishes in the same colour, or contrast the colour in the same finish, such as a dark matt flooring with a pale matt composite worktop. You could even contrast both, such as a matt slate floor with a polished white granite worktop.

Whatever you choose, do bear in mind that kitchens are a long-term installation and investment – make sure you won’t tire of the finishes or colours you choose!

Before you make a final decision on your preferred type of flooring, here are some things to consider:

  • If you intend to lay underfloor heating in your kitchen, be careful what you choose to lay over the top of it. While underfloor heating can be used with most modern flooring – stone and concrete warm up and retain heat well – some wooden floors, particularly extra-wide boards, certain veneers and some types of adhesive, can be heat sensitive.
  • Most flooring is best fitted by a professional. Some needs to be factored in at the start of the kitchen design process, whereas others can be installed afterwards. Ask the manufacturer in advance to avoid any nasty, costly surprises!
  • Even if your floor is sealed, you should still wipe up spills as soon as possible. And remember to use products recommended by the manufacturer to ensure you don’t strip oils, lacquers or sealants from underfoot!

Rubber flooring is silky, warm and tactile, and comes in a huge range of colours and textures. Architects say they use rubber as it’s so resilient, yet it feels soft underfoot. And think of it this way, if it doesn’t wear out in an airport, then it won’t in your kitchen! Choose a smooth surface or low-profile studs in a kitchen as they are easier to clean, and be careful what products and polishes you use to maintain rubber flooring, especially initially, as it’s softer when it’s new.

Linoleum flooring is similar in feel to rubber, but linoleum is made up of totally natural and sustainable ingredients. Lino is really tough, but at the same time tactile and warm to the touch, making it comfy underfoot. It’s also hygienic: bacteria can’t live on it and it doesn’t harbour dust mites, making it ideal for people with allergies.

Vinyl flooring has come a long way from old-fashioned vinyl sheeting. Modern designs are exceptionally hard wearing, and can replicate the look and feel of anything from wood and stone to zinc and glass. It can also be warmer and quieter underfoot than the real McCoy. Vinyl flooring such as Amtico is a good option if you have no time to maintain a delicate surface, but still want the look of a natural material.

Effective flooring and worktop combinations

Ultimately, as with any interior project, your kitchen flooring is very much down to your tastes. So, you may like to have a scheme where worktops and flooring match, or one where they simply complement each other. In some cases, contrast might be more up your design street…

Here’s how to achieve the perfect result for you:

To coordinate, go for materials in the same finish (matt or gloss) and match the colours as closely as possible. Either choose a material that can be used for both worktops and floors, or match, say, a walnut floor to a rich brown stone or composite worktop.

Alternatively, contrast the finishes in the same colour, or contrast the colour in the same finish, such as a dark matt flooring with a pale matt composite worktop. You could even contrast both, suchas a matt slate floor with a polished white granite worktop.

Whatever you choose, do bear in mind that kitchens are along-term installation and investment – make sure you won’t tire of the finishes or colours you choose!

Kitchen flooring facts

Before you make a final decision on your preferred type of flooring, here are some things to consider:

If you intend to lay underfloor heating in your kitchen, be careful what you choose to lay over the top of it. While underfloor heating can be used with most modern flooring – stone
and concrete warm up and retain heat well – some wooden floors, particularly extra-wide boards, certain veneers and some types of adhesive, can be heat sensitive.

Most flooring is best fitted by a professional. Some needs to be factored in at the start of the kitchen design process, whereas others can be installed afterwards. Ask themanufacturer in advance to avoid any nasty, costly surprises!

Even if your floor is sealed, you should still wipe up spills as soon as possible. And remember to use products recommended by the manufacturer to ensure you don’t strip oils, lacquers or sealants from underfoot.
Kitchen floor tiles

Stone floor tiles come in such a wide range of sizes, colours and textures that they can
complement any style of kitchen – from country to contemporary.

Maintenance wise, even the best-quality limestone is porous, so it will suffer some wear and tear. Having said that, the latest sealants are very effective and, once applied, the floor should be easy to maintain.

Porcelain tiles are possibly one of the most versatile types of floor tiles, as they can can be made to look exactly like anything from limestone to concrete, modern metallics to weaves. The newest ranges include a wood effect, which is virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. The bonus is that, as porcelain is maintenance-free and very durable, very often these tiles are more resilient than the materials they mimic!

Quartz composite tiles are part stone and part tile – containing around 38% quartz – and don’t require sealing. One of the huge advantages is that you can have a matching work surface in the same material.

To add glamour, choose a composite with metallic flecks – this looks fabulous, especially when teamed with stainless steel.

Ceramic tiles are primarily made from clay and other natural materials, and come in many different shapes, colours and textures. They’re less expensive than porcelain, but tend to be manufactured with fewer straight edges and square corners, which means that grout lines need to be thicker, resulting in a more grid-like finish.

If you go for glazed Moroccan or Syrian tiles, though, the appearance of these tiles can still be beautiful.

Industrial-style flooring

Concrete flooring could be your surprise flooring of choice if you want to add a contemporary edge to a kitchen. Concrete is more versatile than you might imagine: not only is it available in all sorts of colours (from charcoal to antique white), but it’s can also be laid
inside and out, making it ideal for open-plan extensions.

One of this material’s advantages is that it can be poured directly onto the existing floor without any levelling and, once sealed, it’s fairly low-maintenance. Lightweight versions, whcih can be used on upper floors, are also available, but if you intend to do this, it’s best to
ask a structural engineer for advice.

Resin flooring has a soft, flexible finish that’s seamless, comfortable to walk on, hygienic and deadens sound, too, so it’s a great option for residential kitchen projects.

Gain a real wow factor by opting for a gloss finish, but beware – resin doesn’t have the hardness of polished marble or concrete, so the shine will eventually become matt and will need maintenance to bring it back to its former glory.

It’s also good to remember that as resin is ahand-applied system, there can be minor flaws in the finish – maybe not one for perfectionists!

Wood and other natural flooring

Solid wood, renewable and recyclable boards can be a real plus when it comes to selling a house. However, solid wood may move and curl if used in a kitchen, as it’s both moisture- and heat-sensitive – if you want your floor to stay the same, choose other materials. It can, however, be finished in polyurethane lacquer, or natural linseed oil, which sets hard, seals and protects the wood for many years, making it more durable.

Engineered wood comes in a variety of widths and finishes and is perfect for achieving a natural wood look, at a lower price. The boards are created by layering a softwood or plywood base with a wood or wood-effect top layer. The central core stops the top and bottom layers moving, meaning that, unlike solid wood, engineered boards are less likely to gape or warp when they come into contact with water.

Laminate flooring is ideal for kitchens. Super durable, available in all manner of finishes (from wood- to stone-effect), and often with antimicrobial and antistatic properties, it’s a strong contender for use in a high-traffic area. Prices do vary hugely, and you will get what you pay for – be aware that choosing cheap laminate may result in ill-fitting, bouncy boards so it’s always a false economy.

Cork flooring has come a long way from the curly orange tiles of the Seventies. Modern cork flooring is available in a wide range of colours, designs and finishes. Tough and naturally antibacterial, it’s great for people with allergies, too. As well as being very comfortable underfoot (due to it’s airy properties) it also has exceptional acoustic benefits, and is an eco-friendly option, too.

Bamboo flooring has a higher fibre rating than any hardwood, incredibly durable and is less likely to gape than other solid woods. Usually pretreated by the manufacturer, it can be stained or left its natural colour, then sealed with a gloss or matt lacquer. It’s also an incredibly eco-friendly product, as it releases 35 per cent more oxygen into the atmosphere than trees, and is a fast-growing grass, so it can be harvested every 3-5 years.
Flexible kitchen flooring

Rubber flooring is silky, warm and tactile, and comes in a huge range of colours and textures. Architects say they use rubber as it’s so resilient, yet it feels soft underfoot. And think of it this way, if it doesn’t wear out in an airport, then it won’t in your kitchen! Choose a smooth surface or low-profile studs in a kitchen as they are easier to clean, and be careful what products and polishes you use to maintain rubber flooring, especially initially, as it’s softer when it’s new.

Linoleum flooring is similar in feel to rubber, but linoleum is made up of totally natural and sustainable ingredients. Lino is really tough, but at the same time tactile and warm to the touch, making it comfy underfoot. It’s also hygienic: bacteria can’t live on it and it doesn’t harbour dust mites, making it ideal for people with allergies.

Vinyl flooring has come a long way from old-fashioned vinyl sheeting. Modern designs are exceptionally hard wearing, and can replicate the look and feel of anything from wood and stone to zinc and glass. It can also be warmer and quieter underfoot than the real McCoy. Vinyl flooring such as Amtico is a good option if you have no time to maintain a delicate surface, but still want the look of a natural material.

Flooring shopper’s checklist

Before you make any final decisions or purchases for your kitchen floor, be sure to follow this shopping checklist:

Consider the overall look you want for your kitchen – the flooring you choose should complement your kitchen units and worktop, so either go for a coordinating look with a material that matches your worktops, or create a contrast – by teaming a pale worktop
with a dark floor, for example.

Think about maintenance as some flooring needs regular resealing and treating with specialist products. It’s a good idea to consider whether you’ll have time to maintain it or whether you’d prefer an easy-care material that you can sweep, mop, and then
forget about.

Take a sample home so you can be sure you’ll still like the flooring you loved in the showroom when it’s in situ in your home. The colour may not look the same under different light, or the material may clash with your units or worktops. Also remember that sealing can change the colour, so be sure to look at a sealed sample before you buy.

Useful flooring contacts

Want to know where to find the floor of your dreams? These flooring specialists are a great place to start.

Amtico

Bamboo Flooring Company

Broadleaf

Dalsouple

Dinesen

Element 7

Fired Earth

Forbo

Harveys Natural Flooring

Jaymart

Junckers

Karndean

Listone Giordano

Mandarin Stone

Marmi & Granito

Parador

Paris Ceramics

Pergo

Polymax

Porcelanosa

Quick Step

Solid Floor

Stone Age

Stone & Ceramic Warehouse

Stratum UK

Surface

White & Reid

Wicanders

World’s End Tiles

 

Ideal Home loves...