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Kitchen Floor Options

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 6 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Kitchen Flooring Wood Linoleum Vinyl

Many choices for kitchen flooring contain the same materials as kitchen counter tops. This is because of they can provide durability, stain resistance, and style. Here's a run down on the most popular options.

Vinyl

Vinyl is the most common kitchen flooring material. It is very resilient because it is cushioned and able to bounce back into shape. Vinyl comes in sheet or tile form. The later is easier to install but does make it more susceptible to water damage because of the seams. It also comes in a wide range of colours and patterns. There are two basic types of vinyl. Standard vinyl uses a rotogravure process in which the colour and pattern are printed on one sheet layered between a thick, clear upper surface (the wear layer) and a foamy vinyl core. Inlaid vinyl is considered the more dense and durable of the two. Both types of vinyl have a protective no-wax coating or a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) surface. The cushioning will vary depending on the thickness of the core material in inlaid vinyl and of the wear layer in standard vinyl.

Laminate

Laminate flooring resembles hardwood or stone while offering the easy maintenance of vinyl. This product has been popular in Europe for decades. It will give you the look of hardwood without the expense. It is also more hardwearing; spills won't cause the damage they would to hardwood and it also requires less maintenance. However when it wears out, the whole floor has to be replaced rather than refinished.

Stone

The most common stones for the kitchen floor are granite, marble, and slate. Stone might not offer the comfort you're looking for. It can feel cold, so if it is your choice you may want to use rugs. Marble can be slippery and dangerous to fall on. The elderly and families with young children may want to consider another type of flooring. Consider using a dark coloured grout as lighter tones can show dirt and stains more easily.

Tile

There are several types of tile. Ceramic tiles are made from pressed clays covered with a glaze of metallic oxides and ceramic stains or finished with a matte surface. Porcelain mosaic tiles are baked at a higher temperature, which makes them thicker. Their colour also goes through the tile, rather than only covering the surface. Quarry tile is an unglazed mix of shale and clays that also has colour throughout. The spaces between the tiles are filled in by grout. An epoxy grout is recommended to help resist stains. It's usually best to choose a grout that closely matches the colour of the tiles.

Linoleum

Linoleum is often confused with plastic vinyl because they both come in sheet form. But vinyl is made from synthetics and linoleum from natural materials-it's a felt or canvas coated with linseed oil, cork, and resins. It comes in plain or decorative patterns, including ones that resemble marble. It is very durable and environmentally friendly.

Wood

Oak and maple are common choices for kitchen flooring; pine is often used to give a worn effect. The wood is typically installed prior to the cabinets and laid in planks, narrow strips, or patterned parquet squares. A floor finished on-site with penetrating oil and wax gives you the classic look of hardwood floors and an even surface. However, it will need to be waxed annually.

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