Before you dive head-first into your kitchen reno, think about what flooring you're going to use. Yes, it's fun to pick out cabinets, hardware, and countertops, but your kitchen flooring is important, too. After all, you'll spend all your time cooking and eating in the kitchen standing atop it.
Though you need a practical option, your flooring doesn't have to be boring. From budget-friendly vinyl to unique natural stone to eco-friendly bamboo, there are plenty of options that will be the perfect fit in your home.
As you decide how to balance comfort, cost, style, and durability take a look at these 10 best kitchen flooring picks.
Ceramic tile is one of the most well-known flooring choices for your kitchen. Once it has been glazed, ceramic tile is non-porous, meaning that it's water and stain-resistant. Additionally, its smooth surface makes it easy to sweep crumbs away and clean up.
Ceramic tile is incredibly customizable too—there are countless tile sizes with hundreds of different patterns.
However, ceramic tile has one big disadvantage—it's uncomfortable to stand on for a long period of time, and it can be especially cold on your feet in the winter. So, if you choose this flooring, use a few well-placed rugs or kitchen mats to keep things comfortable.
Hardwood flooring is the best-in-style flooring material for the home. Classic and timeless, hardwood brings character and elegance wherever it goes.
In the kitchen, hardwood can provide a more comfortable surface to stand on versus tile or concrete, but its susceptibility to water damage makes it less durable than other kitchen flooring materials. Hardwood floors cost about $6–$12 per square foot (for both installation and materials), although high-end floors can cost more.
If your heart is set on hardwood in the kitchen, consider engineered hardwood flooring rather than solid hardwood flooring. Engineered hardwood is more water-resistant, friendlier on your wallet, and better for the planet.
Want your kitchen to have a carefree, midcentury vibe? Check out terrazzo flooring. This retro material is a composite flooring made up of chips of marble, granite, or quartz held together by epoxy or cement. The flooring has centuries-old roots in Italy, and it's still being used in homes today for those who want a fun and eye-catching floor.
Terrazzo can be difficult to install, but once installed, it's a durable and long-lasting flooring that will make heads turn.
However, the flooring is a pricier choice than others: Terrazzo can cost anywhere from $25 to $90 a square foot.
Vinyl rose to popularity midcentury, as it was a low-cost and nearly entirely waterproof flooring option for bathrooms and kitchens. Vinyl is low-maintenance and can last for up to 20 years, and is often a softer material beneath your feet than options like wood or ceramic tile.
Vinyl, like ceramic tile, is incredibly customizable. It can come in long sheets, tiles, and more recently, planks—more on that below. Vinyl costs about $3 a square foot for both installation and materials. However, vinyl isn't the most earth-friendly option: It isn't biodegradable and is very difficult to recycle.
Luxury Vinyl Plank
Luxury Vinyl Plank flooring, or LVP, demonstrates the amazing copycat abilities of vinyl. Five times thicker than traditional vinyl, LVP uses multiple layers to create a vinyl plank that mimics hardwood.
This low-cost option—running $4 to $7 a square foot—is easy to install and maintain. Not only that, but it's virtually waterproof, making it the ideal choice for a budget-conscious homeowner who doesn't want to deal with refinishing or glazing their kitchen floor.
However, like vinyl flooring, it's not the most eco-friendly option, nor does it look 100% like real hardwood floors.
Natural stone flooring is an excellent flooring option if you're looking to bring a unique look to your space. The most popular natural stones for flooring are travertine, slate, and limestone. Each stone tile is one-of-a-kind, and it's an eco-friendly flooring option, especially if the stone is purchased locally. Natural stone flooring can cost anywhere from $9–$32 a square foot for installation.
For an eco-friendly option, consider bamboo flooring. Bamboo, like hardwood, can give your kitchen that classic wood look, but in a much more sustainable way. Bamboo can be repeatedly harvested about every four years, while hardwoods take at least eight times as long to regrow and regenerate.
Bamboo is easy to maintain and doesn't cost too much more than traditional hardwood flooring, costing the average buyer about $5 to $15 per square foot.
However, while bamboo is slightly more water-resistant than hardwood flooring, it still isn't the best choice for an especially moist space, as the wood can warp and crack.
Concrete may not be your go-to kitchen flooring, but it deserves your consideration. The durable and inexpensive flooring can give your space an elegantly minimal vibe, though it does require some maintenance every three to nine months, depending on wear and foot traffic.
However, concrete flooring can last the life of your home, and it doesn't have to look boring, either—this flooring can be dyed, colorized, and treated with acid for a unique look. Concrete flooring runs about $3 to $8 a square foot.
But like ceramic tile flooring, concrete flooring can be cold and uncomfortable over long periods of time, and its incredible durability also means it is not a surface you want to drop anything on, as the item will probably crack, break, or shatter.
Laminate floors get better every year, as its technology and construction make it an increasingly viable and lookalike option to hardwood floors. Laminate floors are easy to install and maintain, and they're stain-resistant—unlike hardwood. Laminate floors cost about $2–$8 a square foot.
Upon closer inspection, laminate floors do look like laminate floors, not hardwood. This flooring is also susceptible to moisture damage.
Like ceramic tile and concrete, brick flooring is durable and long-lasting. It can give your kitchen a dramatic Old World look that's hard to get otherwise, and it comes in a variety of patterns and shades. Aesthetics aside, brick flooring will last for years and is stain-resistant if sealed properly. It will cost you about $3 to $8 a square foot, but installation will cost you extra.
The biggest shortfall of brick is of concrete and ceramic tile too: It's uncomfortable. However, if you want an eye-catching, one-of-a-kind floor, your cold toes may have to take a back seat.