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Picking the Best Floor for Your Kitchen

13 April 2015

A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to participate in a Twitter Chat with the staff of Angie’s List, including founder, Angie’s Hicks.  The objective of the chat was to discuss timely home improvement topics and to address homeowner questions about improving their home.  (To view the chat in its entirety, visit https://storify.com/AngiesList/alhomechat.)  One of the questions we received was “What’s the best kitchen floor material?”  Since Twitter has a limit of 140 characters and the answer to this question definitely needs to take into account items such as personal preference, how you use your kitchen, etc., we thought we’d tackle the issue here.  Here’s what you need to know about the most popular kitchen floor materials on the market.

HARDWOOD

What it is: Hardwood flooring refers to a floor made from trees.

Why you should consider it: Properly cared for hardwood floors have a very long lifespan.  Changing out the color can be done multiple times through sanding and refinishing.  They are tough and can handle heavy objects being dropped on them.  They are a sought after option and having them can increase the value of your home.

Drawbacks to going with it: Hardwood floors have a number of enemies that can compromise their integrity.  They include stilettos, pet claws, sunlight and standing water.  Installing hardwood floors is a more complicated process than some other types and oftentimes, it’s best to have a professional put them in for you.  They need to be waxed frequently and can become slippery.

CERAMIC TILE

What it is: Ceramic tiles are constructed from clay, sand and water.  These elements are shaped into either squares or rectangles and then baked in a kiln to remove most of their moisture.

Why you should consider it: Ceramic tiles are durable and can withstand abuse from everyday wear & tear, spills and muddy footprints.  It cleans up easily and comes in lots of affordable options that can easily be installed by the homeowner.

Drawbacks to going with it: As ceramic tile floors settle, they can begin to crack.  Because they are so hard, anything that is dropped on them will shatter.  The material in itself is cold, so you’ll most likely want to place a rug over it.  Additionally, if the floor becomes wet, it can become quite slick and the grout will need to be sealed frequently.

LAMINATE

What it is: Laminate floors are comprised of multiple layers that are merged together to mimic the look of wood or tile.

Why you should consider it: This material is quite durable and can hold up to a pet’s claws, large group gatherings and spills.  Homeowners appreciate that it’s easy to install and cost effective.  Unlike other types of flooring, resealing and waxing are not required.

Drawbacks to going with it: Once laminate starts showing wear and tear, it cannot be refinished.  Instead, it must be replaced completely.

CONCRETE

What it is: Concrete is composed of cement mixed with aggregates, such as limestone, and water.

Why you should consider it: The components that make up cement flooring are some of the most readily available materials on the planet, making it very environmentally friendly.  Concrete’s lifespan is almost infinite.  It will maintain its color once it has been sealed.  It can be embellished to add interest.  If you live in a hot climate, concrete can be a great choice because of its ability to stay cool.  It holds up well against stains.

Drawbacks to going with it: Concrete is expensive to install, especially if you’re adding a design to it.  Additionally, it may be sealed in order to lock out the water.  Installing it in a cold climate can be undesirable because it will be cold underfoot.