What is the best type of kitchen flooring for you?
When it comes to choosing kitchen flooring the most important aspect is the type of material you use. The main choices are carpet, vinyl, ceramic tile, hardwood and laminate flooring. All of them comes in a variety of colors and styles and can be worked into any decor so the final decision usually comes down to durability and maintenance.
What are my choices in carpet?
There are five basic fiber types. The most popular synthetic fiber is well-known for its durability in high traffic areas and resistance towards soil and stains. “Solution-dyed” nylon is best for rooms where sunlight is constant as it is colorfast.
Coming in a close second is a fiber called “ole fin” (many Berber carpets are made of this) which is also a strong stain-resistant, color-fast material. Polyester, even though a slightly less expensive fiber, is harder to clean so it is not recommended for high traffic areas. Acrylic fibers are for those who want the general appearance and touch of wool but with good moisture and mildew resistance. Then finally the most uxorious carpet is made from wool. It is soft, very resilient and its price often reflects that. Many manufacturers blend these fibers together to get a good combination of there different characteristics.
The one main thing to remember if you choose to install carpet is to select the right pad. The cushion of this is what ultimately provides the support for absorbing the level of foot traffic in that area. Selecting the right one will not only create the comfort level you want but also extend the life of your carpet. If there is any doubt it is always advised to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
How do I choose a vinyl floor for my kitchen?
Vinyl (also known as “resilient flooring”) is usually a good choice is you spend a lot of time in the kitchen as it yields, making it comfortable to stand on. It is also a product that is known for the old cliché’ “you get what you pay for”. Usually the more expensive the vinyl floor is, the longer it will last. Its durability is measured by the “wear layer” (The thicker the layer, the more it will cost.). It is manufactured in whole sheets or in tiles. Even though installing sheet vinyl makes for fewer seams to clean dirt out of, it is imperative to take into consideration that if the floor gets cracked or burned, many times the whole floor will need to be replaced. If tiles are used, the day-to-day maintenance is harder as the cracks will collect dirt and/or liquids but only the individual tiles need to be taken up in the case of any damage.
How do I choose what ceramic tiles to use for my kitchen?
Since tile strength is measured by thickness, composition and the duration of firing it is a major mistake to skimp if you choose to use it in your kitchen. With a variety of looks and textures from Porcelain (good durability and color that runs through the entire body of the tile- great for high traffic areas) to stone (granite, marble, slate, limestone etc.) there seems to be unlimited possibilities in décor. Stone tiles, with all the varieties, range from granite which is practically indestructible to marble which dulls under the stress of a lot of foot traffic. Some of the others in the middle are susceptible to scratching or cracking but imperfections may actually make a stone floor more attractively natural looking. There is more upkeep to tile floors but with that maintenance comes the possibility that it will last the entire life of your home. The main thing you have to be cautionary about is the gout, because it shows wear the soonest. A lot of people recommend sealing the grout after the tile is down and cured. The visible wear on grout can be minimized by using a darker color instead of the more popular white or light neutral.
Why are hardwood floors so popular?
Since hardwood can be used in everything from contemporary to country, to traditional settings it remains a staple in kitchen’s décor. It can be stained to produce a variety of wood tones and colors or finished with a clear coat to show off its natural beauty. The two choices here are solid wood flooring (which is known for longevity) and engineered-wood flooring (which is often chosen because it is less affected by moisture, is more dimensionally stable and can be installed faster). A solid wood floor will last forever and can be sanded and refinished if you choose to change the color of your floor but is not necessary with the normal wear and tear it will endure. To buff out the scratches and dullness there is a process called a “pattern recoat” which only takes a day and restore the floor to its original sheen. If chosen as kitchen flooring, a urethane finish will used. The main thing to remember is that spills have to be wiped up immediately.
What are the benefits of using laminate flooring?
Laminate flooring is known for its exceptional quality of being able to imitate the look of natural materials such as stone, tile and wood with less upkeep. It is stain and scratch resistant. It also resists burns, fading from sunlight and the impact of dropped objects. The only upkeep is regular sweeping and occasional damp-mopping. This is another category where it is not recommended to skimp. The thicker the floor, the more durable it is. Warranties can range any where from 10 years to a life-time so make sure to shop around and check what is covered by each.
The type of flooring you choose for your kitchen is one of the most important decisions you will make for “the heart of your home”. As your family grows and changes so will your tastes and décor. Make sure your floor can handle not only the thousands of footsteps, dinner mishaps and coffee pot chats but can also stand on it’s own through the paint, border and redecorating chaos of the years to come.