Kitchen Flooring Options

Kaley Belakovich
Written by Kaley Belakovich
Updated August 12, 2016
cherry hardwood floors and cabinets in kitchen
Choosing hardwood floors for your kitchen allows you to match the flooring and cabinets. (Photo courtesy of Nancy Hugo /

Learn the benefits of different types of kitchen flooring.

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When it comes to kitchen flooring, plentiful options exist. Should you go with a traditional hardwood, or try a modern look like gray tile? Each type of flooring material comes with its own benefits. 

Ceramic tile floor

Ceramic tile, formed from clay, can endure pets or children better than some other flooring types like hardwood. However, ceramic can break or chip easily. If you're accident-prone or tend to drop objects a lot, consider going with something a little more durable.

Porcelain tile floor

Porcelain tiles endure hardship better than ceramic tiles, says Michael Harrison, sales representative with Tim Hogan's Carpet & Floors in Arlington, Tennessee. Porcelain tile features a more dense design, making it better at resisting cracks.

However, since porcelain is harder, it may not fit well for everyone.

"Older people may not like it because it's harder, like concrete," says Donna Reeves, designer with Brian's Flooring & Design in Birmingham, Alabama.

Travertine tile floor

Travertine tile comes from stone, making it extremely durable. The natural material, however, comes at a cost — a cost that comes in about 30 percent more than ceramic or porcelain tile, according to Harrison.

Vinyl floor

Vinyl tile, formed synthetically, represents the most easily replaced kitchen tile option.

If a vinyl tile breaks or chips, you can hire a professional floor installer to easily pull up and replace a few pieces, says Karen Wlodarczyk, co-owner of Five Star Flooring in Grand Prairie, Texas. You cannot replace other tile types, such as ceramic, as easily because it's hard to find matching tile unless you kept leftover tiles from the original installation.

Hardwood floor

Hardwood flooring showcases a traditional, elegant kitchen design. Anton Korotchuk, owner of Anton's Floorcovering in Chaska, Minnesota, says he often sees customers choose hardwood over tile because tile feels cold and hard.

However, hardwood poses a risk in kitchens.

"The only thing that can hurt real hardwood is excessive water," Harrison says. He adds that many kitchens include icemakers and dishwashers, which can develop leaks and in turn damage the wood.

Wood grain tile floor

Harrison says wood grain tile works well as an alternative to hardwood. It provides the hardwood look without the risk of water damage.

Other kitchen flooring considerations

• Design. While you typically can't come up with creative designs for square tile, plank tiles allow for unique designs. Harrison says he often installs tile in a subway design. Other popular options include herringbone pattern and pinwheel designs.

• Color. Harrison suggests staying neutral in color, sticking with tans, browns and grays.

"Flooring can be expensive," he says. "Stay neutral in [floor] color, that way if they want to redo the kitchen, they can buy a can of paint and paint the walls, the floor will be coordinated. That way, 10 years down the road if they want to change the kitchen colors then they don't have to spend a great deal of money."

• Cost. Kitchen flooring costs change considerably depending on what type of material you use and the easiness level of the design.

Vinyl and ceramic tile cost as low as 99 cents per square foot, while travertine tile can reach $8 or $9 per square foot. Porcelain costs range between the two, from $3 to $7 per square foot. Hardwood costs $6 to $10 per square foot. These costs don't include labor, which typically ranges $4 to $6 per square foot.

Keep in mind that each installation job differs, so prices may go up or down depending on factors such as design, quality of materials, existing subfloor and more.

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