The Best Kitchen Flooring Options for Your Home

Candace Nelson
Written by Candace Nelson
Updated January 11, 2022
Flooring in a modern minimalist kitchen
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The kitchen is the hub of the house. It’s where party guests gather. It’s where the kids dump their stuff after school. It’s where you try out new recipes—or rush to get everyone fed before the next thing.

Kitchen flooring needs to be durable, easily cleaned, stain-resistant, and waterproof. Plus, you want it to be beautiful and comfortable to stand on for long periods while decorating the perfect birthday cake or making Thanksgiving dinner. 

Can you have it all? We like to think so.

The flooring you choose for your house has a big impact on its overall vibe. Plus, flooring is prone to serious wear if it doesn’t suit your lifestyle. And don’t fret if you’re on a budget. You can get creative with kitchen flooring that looks great for little. Let’s take a closer look at the best kitchen flooring choices for your space.

1. Tile

Tile flooring is a popular kitchen choice. But deciding on tile is only the first of many decisions. Tile is available in virtually any color and shape you want, so you’ll have a variety of materials to narrow down. 

Tiles are easy to clean, pest and mildew resistant, and waterproof—all good qualities in a kitchen floor. Just keep your grout in good shape. Worn grout can allow liquids to seep in and damage the flooring underneath. Most tiles will need to be sealed every four years or so to prevent staining.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile, formed from clay, can endure pets or children better than other flooring types like hardwood. It checks the boxes for easily cleaned, stain-resistant, and waterproof. Available in many color choices, you can easily find a ceramic tile to fit your kitchen’s aesthetic. Ceramic tiles are $3 to $7 per square foot.

But, ceramic tiles can break or chip easily. If you're accident-prone or tend to drop objects, consider going with something a little more durable. Tile also needs to be regrouted from time to time. And it’s hard, so it doesn't feel nice to stand on for hours at a time, so you may want to wear slippers when cooking Sunday dinner for the gang.

Porcelain Tile

Because they’re denser, porcelain tiles endure heavy use and resist cracks better than ceramic. 

But, like ceramic tile, porcelain is hard underfoot. That can make standing while cooking holiday meals or decorating cupcakes for the bake sale tiring. 

Porcelain tile is usually between $2 and $4 per square foot.

Travertine Tile

Travertine tile usually comes in earth tones and is a favorite in Tuscan designs. It’s an extremely durable material but porous, so it requires sealing to keep liquids out. 

However, the natural material does come at a cost—about 30% more than ceramic or porcelain tile. Expect to spend about $15 per square foot.

2. Vinyl

Professional installing vinyl flooring
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Vinyl has been a kitchen go-to for decades. It can be laid as one big, waterproof sheet. Because it doesn’t have seams, vinyl is easy to mop, wipe, or sweep. 

You can also install peel-and-stick tiles you can replace one at a time—a perk because vinyl is easily dinged or dented. Vinyl tiles can cost less than $1 per square foot and are simple to install. They come in a variety of patterns.

Vinyl sheets also come with a lower price tag than other flooring options. Expect to pay about $3 per square foot to have it installed. Hire a local flooring pro to install vinyl flooring sheets for you. The job requires precise cuts to make the material lay just right with no air bubbles.

3. Luxury Vinyl Planks

Luxury vinyl planks are a newer product touted for their durability. The product is engineered to look like wood but has the advantage of being completely waterproof. No need to cry about spilled milk—just wipe it up!

Luxury vinyl has a cushioned layer to make it feel nice underfoot. 

It’s also one of the lower-priced flooring options at $3 to $7 per square foot

You can often simply click planks together, making installation a good DIY project.

4. Laminate

Laminate floors look like wood but are less expensive. They’re a common alternative to vinyl. Made of wood byproducts, laminate consists of layers of materials. The design layer is a super high-resolution picture of wood grain that is printed on the flooring. Then it’s covered with a clear protective layer.

Laminate flooring usually clicks together and is easy to install. 

The fiberboard core holds its shape but is also vulnerable to moisture. If it gets soggy, a laminate floor will need to be removed.  

Expect to pay between $3 and $10 per square foot.

5. Cork

Just like cork stops your wine from escaping the bottle, it prevents water from seeping into your underfloor. Cork flooring is soft underfoot, made from natural materials, sound-dampening, and easy to maintain.

However, cork is susceptible to fading, divots, and scratches, particularly from playful cats and dogs. It also requires sealing every couple of years. 

Cork usually costs $3 to $12 per square foot.

6. Hardwood

Hardwood floor in a modern kitchen
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Hardwood flooring to match the rest of the house is a traditional choice in a kitchen, but there’s a problem: it’s susceptible to damage from spills and the occasional ice cube that you know hit the floor but couldn’t find.

Refinish hardwood floors after you’ve lost a few ice cubes or gotten a few good scratches in them to make them look like new again. It's a time-consuming (and smelly!) process, but you can get another decade or more from your floors. 

Hardwood floors cost $6 to $12 per square foot on average.

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