Best Flooring for Kitchens
There's more variety in kitchen flooring than you might think, making it easy to find a durable, water-resistant, attractive option for any home.
Porcelain tile is made of refined, high-density clay, created by firing at extremely high temperatures in a kiln. Porcelain is the top kitchen flooring choice of Ezra Laniado, founder and president of Landmark Construction in Los Angeles. He praises its durability and versatility. “[There is] literally limitless selection to choose from to match any kitchen style,” he says.
When glazed, porcelain tile is waterproof, making it convenient to clean as well. The high cost and extreme density of porcelain tile make it unsuitable for an inexperienced DIYer to install.
According to Laniado, porcelain tile is relatively expensive at $4 to $20 per square foot. A professional will charge roughly $10 per square foot for installation, he says.
Ceramic tiles are typically made with a combination of clay and sand. When glazed with a liquid glass or enamel finish, it creates a hard, waterproof surface. This means ceramic tile won’t be damaged by moisture or water exposure, and spills and splashes can be easily wiped or mopped up.
According to Laniado, although it comes in more colors than porcelain, “ceramic is much more limited in terms of its selection.” But because ceramic tile is softer than porcelain, it’s easier to cut and better suited for an experienced DIYer to install.
Ceramic tile costs from $3 to $10 per square foot, with professional installation typically adding an additional $10 per square foot.
Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) Flooring
Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring is made of compressed layers of vinyl. It typically features a wood-grain pattern on the top layer to mimic the appearance of natural wood. The vinyl makes LVP waterproof, making it well-suited for kitchen use.
Its rigid structure lets you connect the planks easily with click-lock edges, similar to engineered hardwood or laminate. The faux wood-grain surface makes it a great choice for those who prefer the natural wood look, but want more durability and protection against moisture.
However, Laniado says, replacing a scratched or gouged plank will require removing every plank between it and the nearest wall.
Laniado touts LVP as significantly more affordable than tile, averaging $2 to $3 per square foot. If you decide to hire a professional, installation can run an additional $2 to $3 per square foot.
Engineered wood planks are plywood or composite wood with a thin veneer of natural wood on top. This makes them look similar to natural hardwood planks at a much lower cost. Engineered wood is also available in a wide range of widths and colors, making it easy to match your home’s decor.
It’s more vulnerable to water damage than the previous options, though, and standing water must be cleaned up immediately. If you already have engineered wood flooring in your home and want to extend it to the kitchen, Laniado recommends you choose a manufacturer with a sealant for moisture protection.
Engineered wood costs approximately $4 to $8 per square foot. Professional installation will cost approximately $5 per square foot. But if you’re comfortable with installing tongue and groove flooring, you could do it yourself.
Ralph Severson, president of Flooring Masters, recommends bamboo flooring for those desiring the look and feel of natural wood but fearful of moisture damage. You’ll still need to immediately clean up liquid spills, but the high density of bamboo offers more water resistance than hardwoods.
If you’re certain you want a natural material, bamboo is a great choice. Plus, due to the extremely fast growth of bamboo trees, it’s one of the most sustainable wood options out there.
According to Severson, bamboo flooring material costs about $2 to $3 per square foot. Professional installation adds $5 to $10 per square foot.
Concrete is an extremely durable material. When polished and sealed, it makes a great flooring option for your kitchen.
Polished concrete flooring has become popular in modern homes in the kitchen and elsewhere, and Laniado praises its water resistance. Unless you’re extremely comfortable working with concrete, installing polished concrete is not for DIYers.
“Cost may vary depending on if the home is built on a slab or raised foundation,” Laniado says. You’ll need to call around to local contractors for an accurate estimate.