Updating your kitchen floor can be an exciting time. However, if you aren’t sure which flooring to go with, the project quickly turns into a chore.
The best kitchen flooring will be durable, resilient and aesthetically pleasing. While there are some flooring options you should avoid (carpet, for example), some can be a more difficult choice.
Best Flooring Options for Your Kitchen
- 1 Best Flooring Options for Your Kitchen
- 2 Buyer’s Guide: Choosing Kitchen Floors
- 3 Best Kitchen Flooring Types Reviewed
- 4 Installing Kitchen Floors
- 5 Kitchen Flooring Costs
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions
- 7 Finding the Right Kitchen Floor – Final Words
There are a lot of contenders for your kitchen floor. Only a select few make the grade in enough aspects to be worthwhile. The following floor types are the best of the best for your kitchen.
- Ceramic tile. Nothing beats ceramic tile for durability, waterproofing and longevity. It is the overall best kitchen floor.
- Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP). Waterproof, simple install and more style options than most others make a great kitchen floor.
- Engineered hardwood. Easier to maintain than hardwood floors and easier to install, too.
- Laminate. New styles and a floating floor option allow laminate to remain in the kitchen as a solid contender.
- Natural stone. As a tile, natural stone is eye pleasing, low maintenance and long lasting.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing Kitchen Floors
Size of Kitchen
The square footage of your kitchen is an important factor. Knowing the size of the project will tell you how much material you need to purchase. It will also give you an idea how much you need to budget.
All flooring is sold by the square foot. While it is important to always purchase more than you need, larger spaces can get expensive quickly. Plan your budget accordingly, but make sure the flooring type you select fits within that budget.
When talking about the grade, this is essentially the distance above (or below) the surface of the ground. Above grade means your floor is at least 18 inches above the ground surface. This is suitable for all flooring types.
At grade is a little different, and is susceptible to absorbing moisture from the ground. Certain flooring types are not rated for at grade applications, such as hardwood and most laminate.
Below grade, then, is a flooring surface below ground level. Usually this is reserved for basements, but can be any floor that is below the ground level. Only certain flooring is suitable for below grade installation.
Another thing you want to consider is how busy your kitchen is. Pets and children will add to the amount of daily foot traffic, and claws can be damaging over time.
Certain flooring options are not well suited for high traffic areas, and a kitchen can become a high traffic area. The more appliances and furniture you have, along with their weight is also another concern you should have.
Knowing how you plan to have the floor installed is another budget concern. DIY friendly flooring, such as laminate and LVP, can save you a lot of money upfront.
Other flooring such as tile, hardwood, carpeting, etc. may require a professional installer to get the job done right. Labor costs for a contractor will need to be planned and budgeted for. We have more details on installation further below.
Yet another budgetary concern is the extra materials you may need to install and upkeep the flooring. This can include tools for cutting the flooring, resizing or shaping and installing. Circular saws, hammers, rubber spacers and the like are all needed for most flooring.
If you are installing tile, for example, you will need a tile cutter to ensure all pieces fit correctly. You also need to think about repairs and maintenance. Cleaning supplies, like the best mops for your new kitchen floor are going to be important.
While individually these costs may be minimal, they can add up fast. Plan accordingly so you are prepared when the time comes.
On the upkeep and maintenance note, you also need to understand what your new floor can and cannot handle. Hardwood, for example, should never be wet mopped. Laminate and LVP can scratch more easily if the right vacuum for the flooring isn’t used.
You also need to account for your time. No one enjoys chore day, but having a flooring that requires even more maintenance may be more work for you than it is worth.
Cost & Warranty
Finally, the cost of the project will be a large factor. You want to ensure you stay within your budget and don’t overspend.
If you have your floor professionally installed, you want to make sure the installer backs up their work with a warranty of some kind.
Best Kitchen Flooring Types Reviewed
1. Ceramic Tile
Ceramic tiles are among the best of the best when it comes to kitchen floors. Not only are they highly durable, but they are also affordable. Even high quality tiles can be found for less than $2 per square foot. However, you do need to be cautious when making a selection, as these tiles can also reach as high as $8 per square foot.
While ceramic tiles are a top option, they aren’t without their downsides. One of the biggest drawbacks is that tiles tend to get and stay cold. Unlike other flooring options that can retain heat, tiles are mostly cold underfoot. This can make that walk to the morning cup of coffee unpleasant.
Once the flooring is installed, though, it is easy to maintain and keep clean. Wet mops and cleaning chemicals are approved and you can use as much water as you need to keep the floors shining.
However, some tiles can lose their initial shine over time and the grout may become discolored. When this happens, there are brighteners you can use, but eventually the grout and some tiles may require replacement.
Tile also generally comes with a great warranty. Some higher end brands will warranty ceramic tile beyond 20 years. However, the average warranty period you should expect is between 10 and 20 years. This is in addition to any warranty the installer offers for their part of the project.
|Easiest flooring to keep clean||Professional installation is recommended|
|Tiles are durable and resilient||Additional material costs can get high|
|Many brands offer inexpensive tiles in a variety of colors and designs||Doesn’t get warm under foot|
|Suitable for wet mopping and wet area installs||Can dull or discolor over time|
|Generally low maintenance|
2. Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP)
Luxury vinyl plank is among the best all-around flooring options on the market. It can be installed in virtually any room, space or area. It also has a large output, resulting in competitive pricing and multiple style options.
In the kitchen, LVP is soft and comfortable underfoot and retains warmth during the day. LVP is also made from recycled and synthetic content which can lower the instance of allergens in the home.
Just about anyone can install LVP on their own with only a few tools and a little time. On average, it should only take 1 day to properly install LVP in a kitchen space. This means you can get back to using your kitchen in little time and with minimal effort.
Though not all brands and styles are 100% waterproof, it is getting harder and harder to find options that are not. This makes the kitchen install of LVP a smart choice. It can handle spills and resists staining.
While it is more susceptible to scratching and damage, replacement of a damaged plank isn’t overly difficult. However, a damaged plank must be replaced since repair is not an option.
You will also find decent warranties from most brands. You should expect a minimal upfront cost and a warranty that will span 5 to 20 years (or more in some cases).
|Simple DIY install||Not as durable as other options|
|Multiple styles and colors to choose||Will not add value to your home|
|100% waterproof applications for all area install||Requires an underlayment|
|Wood, tile or pattern-look styles available||Not repairable|
|Affordable for most budgets|
3. Engineered Hardwood
For those that want the look and feel of real hardwood but don’t want the expense and installation hassle, there is an answer. Engineered hardwood uses real hardwood in their construction, giving you the authentic look and feel you crave.
The planks are also made from fiberboard, wood pulp and other wood-based materials, making them lighter, durable and easier to work with. Most engineered hardwood is a DIY install project that should only take a couple of days.
Like natural hardwood, though, engineered planks are not waterproof and can be difficult to keep clean. They do hold the highest level of maintenance and upkeep from the choices on this list. However, they are also the only option that can be repaired or resurfaced if damage occurs.
While most engineered hardwood will not raise the value of your home (only natural hardwood can do that), you won’t lose, either. Built to stand the test of time, engineered planks will last at least 25 years and look good the entire time.
There are maintenance concerns, though, and many planks need to be treated or coated annually. Failure to do this makes the planks less resistant to water damage and staining.
While the cost is higher than other plank options, you can expect a great warranty and durable, life-long wear from the floor.
|DIY install capable||More expensive than other floating floor options|
|Adds look and feel of real hardwood||Difficult to keep clean|
|Multiple colors and wood types available||Maintenance and upkeep are higher than other options|
|Durable and reliable|
4. Laminate Plank Flooring
Laminate planks and LVP have battled for years as the best option. The war continues when talking about kitchen installs, too. Both options are decent floating floor choices for a kitchen install, but LVP does win out slightly.
Laminate is rarely waterproof, and even the designs marketed as such are misleading. However, when installed correctly laminate planks are highly water resistant. It does mean that you can’t let spills and messes stay on the floor long, but if you are diligent, it won’t be a problem.
Like LVP, laminate is a simple and straightforward DIY install that shouldn’t take you much more than a day to complete. You will need an underlayment and possibly a moisture barrier, though.
Luckily, most mid-range and high-end laminates already come with an underlayment attached. This will save you some money in your materials list, but you need to be aware of the grade level of your kitchen floor.
At grade and below grade installs aren’t recommended, and if there is any doubt, or you are close to the 18-inch threshold, it is best to go with LVP.
Still, as the vast majority of homes won’t have this issue, laminate is a viable, affordable solution for your kitchen. With stone-look and wood-look tiles and planks, laminate has come a long way since the 1970s.
You can also expect lower install costs from professionals and a decent 10 to 20-year warranty on most brands.
|Easy DIY install||Not 100% waterproof|
|Many style and color options||May not be suitable for at or below grade installations|
|Low maintenance||Can be scratched and gouged|
|Easy to clean||Not a repairable material and must be replaced|
|Highly affordable options available|
5. Natural Stone Tile
Stone is one of the most expensive flooring solutions out there, but it is the most durable, resilient and luxurious. Travertine is the most common type of stone tile flooring and in the kitchen it can make your room come to life.
With various colors to choose from, you can create stone patterns, or maintain a single color throughout. While design options are near limitless, you still should have the floors professionally installed.
Slight color variances out of the box need an expert eye to catch. Most stone floor installers will be well trained on proper placement of the various colors and can match patterns with ease. Plus, stone requires expensive tools to cut and form, which may not be readily available for the DIYer.
With stone tiles, you will still need grout and more additional materials than with some other options, but the end result is the most durable floor you can find. The cost is a downside, though and puts many people off from trying it out.
If you do install stone tile in your kitchen, expect moderate maintenance, sealants and annual applications. However, you can also expect long warranties and a floor that will look good for years to come.
|Among the most beautiful floors out there||Most expensive option for kitchens|
|Highly durable||Requires professional install|
|Great warranty periods||Additional materials cost is high|
|Various styles and colors|
Installing Kitchen Floors
Installation of your new kitchen floor will have a varying effect on cost, design, layout and who does the work.
LVP, engineered hardwood and laminate planks are all fairly simple installs. You can generally do your entire kitchen in a single day, if you have prepared well enough. However, a lot depends on how much kitchen renovation you are doing.
For example, LVP and laminate are floating floors, and should not be installed underneath cabinets. If you are redoing your entire kitchen, it may be wise to install a floor that can handle the eight and placement of cabinets without impeding expansion. Tiles and stone, for example work well in these situations.
If you are only replacing the flooring, though, LVP, engineered hardwood and other floating floors are a great option. You will save money on professional installation and can minimize extra material and tool costs.
On the other hand, tile and stone look great when installed properly, but an untrained eye can have patterns and color variances in the tiles that show up and be a distraction. It is worthwhile to hire a professional contractor to install these floor types.
On average, you can expect to pay a flooring professional between $3 and $7 for LVP and laminate installs, per square foot. Engineered hardwood can reach up to $10 per square foot for installation.
Tiles and stone are the most expensive because they take a well trained expert to lay properly. Costs for these can easily reach $13 to $17 per square foot, depending on material, project size and types of tiles being used.
Our professional contractor locator is a free service that will have you connected to local pros in a matter of minutes. You can contact one or all of the results and set up quote and estimate calls for your kitchen flooring project.
Kitchen Flooring Costs
One of the biggest and most common questions about flooring is “how much will a new kitchen floor cost?” However, the answer is not that easy.
There are a lot of factors that go into the actual cost of a new floor, and all of them need to be considered. It is also more than just money. Your time is valuable and for DIY installs as well as long-term maintenance and upkeep, your time may be more important than your bank account.
You also need to factor in the size of the project, tools needed (saws, hammers, etc.) as well as additional materials. Grout, spacers, knocking blocks, thresholds, and more are all going to raise the bottom line a little.
Then you have to think about things like underlayment. Many flooring solutions with high quality brands have an underlayment attached, saving you money. However, a lot of options out there do not, meaning you will need to buy an underlayment.
In the chart below, you will find estimated costs for the flooring, additional items (tools, materials), labor costs for professional install and time costs for a DIY project. Keep in mind that these estimates are for a 250 square foot kitchen floor.
Our estimates are based on current market value (low to high) for 250 square foot worth or material and labor. Your size and costs may vary based on quality and brand of flooring materials, regional and state labor costs and other factors.
For example, Travertine stone floors average about $12.50 per square foot. Lower quality can be found for $5, but high-quality tiles from big name brands can easily reach $30 per square foot. So for our purposes, we price the range between $5 and $30 per square foot.
|Flooring Type||Flooring Cost (for 250 sq ft)||Additional Material Costs||Professional Installation||DIY Time Average|
|LVP||$500 to $800||Up to $150||$750 – $1500||1 Day|
|Laminate Plank||$450 to $900||Up to $150||$700 to $1400||1 Day|
|Engineered Hardwood||$550 to $1200||Up to $250||$800 to $1850||1 – 2 Days|
|Ceramic Tile||$250 to $750||Up to $200||$900 to $1350||2+ Days|
|Natural Stone Tile||$1250 to $7500||Up to $300||$1200 – $2800||2+ Days|
Frequently Asked Questions
Here, we answer the most common questions about kitchen flooring, installation and other aspects. If you have more questions, please use the comment section below.
Q. Should I install kitchen flooring under the cabinets?
- The answer depends on the type of floor you use. Floating floors need to expand and contract and the weight of a cabinet, plus it’s permanent location mean you should only install the floors after the cabinets are in place.
Flooring like tile and stone that adhere to the floor and don’t move, though, are great foundations for cabinets and will provide a decent flooring for the entire space.
Q. Is LVP a good option for kitchen floors?
- LVP is waterproof and designed for most grade applications. Because it is easy to install, low maintenance and highly durable, using LVP in the kitchen is not only a good option, but a preferred one in most cases.
Q. What is the easiest kitchen floor to keep clean?
- Ceramic tiles get the nod as the easiest flooring to keep clean. They can withstand scrubbing, chemicals, cleansers and full wet mops. Laminate and vinyl are also great options, as their smooth surface and water-tight locking planks make it simple to sweep and mop when needed.
Q. What color floors hide dirt the best?
- Light colors hide dirt, debris and pet hair the best. Darker colors will show more dirt and debris will show up sooner, making your floors look dirty only a few days after cleaning.
Finding the Right Kitchen Floor – Final Words
Choosing the right kitchen floor for your needs doesn’t have to be a challenge. There are a lot of options for style and type, and a lot of brands to choose from. However, when you know what you are expecting, the needs of the floor and the best type for you, it becomes a lot easier.
This article showed you what to look for and how to plan for the best kitchen floor. We also covered the best flooring types so you know what to expect. Now, all that is left is to choose the type best suited for you and start the installation process.