When it is time to upgrade your kitchen, the floors are usually the most daunting, yet ignored aspect.
Unless there is major damage to the flooring that is currently there, many homeowners overlook this troublesome aspect.
However, tiling a kitchen floor can be a simple process.
Choosing the right types of tiles, getting the materials and spending a day tiling your floor brings a sense of satisfaction and a new aesthetic you will be proud to show off.
This article will cover the most popular kitchen floor tiling options.
Most Popular Kitchen Floor Tile Types
- 1 Most Popular Kitchen Floor Tile Types
- 2 Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Right Tile for Your Kitchen Floor
- 3 The Best Tile for Kitchen Floors Reviewed
- 4 Kitchen Tile Options at a Glance
- 5 Installing Kitchen Floor Tile: DIY Capable?
- 6 Cleaning and Maintenance Techniques
- 7 Kitchen Floor Tile FAQ
- 8 Conclusion
You can cover your floor in just about anything, however there are special tiles that work best in a kitchen, as you will see.
- Ceramic tiles. Ceramic has the distinction of being the reigning most popular tile type found in kitchens for centuries.
- Porcelain tiles. Porcelain is also quite popular and is often mixed with or used instead of ceramic.
- Vinyl tiles. Vinyl is more than planks and boards and the tiles made of vinyl are a DIY dream.
- Stone tiles. Natural beauty, long lasting and virtually maintenance free, stone tiles are worth consideration.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Right Tile for Your Kitchen Floor
Obviously you will want to know what type of tile you need to purchase. However, different tiles have different advantages and disadvantages.
While you can’t really go wrong with any type from this list, when in doubt, it is generally easier to go with affordability and ease of install.
One factor some homeowner’s like to consider is the hardness rating. Also known as the Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) rating, the scale lists the various hardness for different tile types. This will tell you how dent, scratch and crack resistant a tile is.
Tile Slip Resistance
Tiles can become slippery. With moisture, humidity and even spills or messes, you want a tile that is slip resistant in your kitchen. Textured tiles have a clear advantage here, as do vinyl and even laminate tiles.
If you plan to install the new kitchen floor yourself, you may need to buy or rent expensive equipment. Tile cutters, special adhesives and of course floor scrapers and tile removers are all needed.
Professional installation costs more, but you don’t have to do the work. We will look at installation options in more detail later in the article.
Area Coverage Size
One important factor is area size. How much space do you plan to cover in tile? Knowing the square footage of your kitchen will help you plan, budget and even select a specific tile type.
Simply measure the length and width of your kitchen to get the square foot measurement.
Very rarely will you come across a tile kit that includes everything you need for the project. In almost all cases you will buy everything separately and the list can get long.
Adhesives, glues, mortar, cement, grout, epoxy, moisture barriers, sub floor repair materials, cleaning products and more. As you can see, there are a lot of things that will eat away at your budget. Plan for them all.
Cost and Warranty
The overall cost of the project will be the biggest deciding factor for many. This will include the materials, extras and even installation or labor fees. When planning your budget, don’t forget to include tool rental or purchase as well as old flooring removal and disposal fees.
The Best Tile for Kitchen Floors Reviewed
1. Ceramic Tiles
Without a doubt, ceramic tile is one of, if not the, most popular tile types around. It is highly affordable in any size, with many options starting at less than a quarter per tile. For far less than $1 per square foot, you can have a stylish, colorful glazed tile covering your kitchen.
Installation is also fairly easy and a professional contractor won’t generally charge more than $2 or $3 per square foot for the job. However, if you want to install ceramic tile yourself, you can.
Grouting is the most difficult aspect, after finding center, but with a little patience and a few cleaning rags, it becomes fun,
More intricate designs and patterns will cost more, of course, but with the proper tools and a DIY project, a standard 120 square foot kitchen can be tiled in ceramic for about $350 to $500.
Best For: All around tile good for virtually any situation, home or foot traffic level.
2. Porcelain Tiles
Next to ceramic, porcelain tiles are up there in popularity. They also have a glazed finish that is nonporous, so water and moisture aren’t much of a concern. The biggest draw for porcelain over ceramic is it’s durability.
Because it is made with sand it is harder and tougher than ceramic and ideal for homes with a lot of foot traffic, pets or heavy appliances.
Porcelain, though, is a little more expensive. They also have a larger selection of sizes, colors and styles over ceramic because the manufacturing process allows for a lot more leeway.
However, cleaning unglazed porcelain is more difficult and time consuming, so there is a trade off. However, if you want highly affordable and durability, porcelain may be your best option.
Best For: Homes with a lot of foot traffic and small children who spill or make larger messes.
3. Vinyl Tiles
Vinyl is not only affordable but soft underfoot, comfortable to walk on and waterproof. Vinyl tiles are different from luxury vinyl planks (LVP) but only slightly. You can get planks and boards, tiles or squares to match your needs.
Vinyl is also easy to care for and a simple weekend DIY project. While the vinyl itself may be more expensive than ceramic or porcelain, you can save hundreds on installation alone. Wet mops, hard floor vacuums and a broom are all you need to keep the vinyl clean, too.
Best For: The DIYer that wants a functional floor at an affordable price.
4. Stone tiles
Stone tiles are popular because they look incredible. They are quite expensive, though, and larger kitchens tend to look best with stone compared to smaller ones. Because of these aspects, you should have a higher budget for your kitchen floor.
Not only does the stone cost more, but it must be installed by a trained professional. Cutting stone and slate is difficult and if you aren’t properly trained, it can lead to disaster and an expensive second trip to the store for more stone.
The main issue with stone (aside from the initial cost) is the constant maintenance. You need to keep the floors clean at all times or stains can set in. Stone also needs to be sealed, and the sealant needs to be reapplied (some every year, others can go as long as 10 years).
However, as long as you know what you are getting into, a stone floor will really set your kitchen off in a modern and timeless appeal.
Best For: Homeowners with a higher budget and larger kitchen area to cover.
Kitchen Tile Options at a Glance
How does your favorite tile stack up? We compare the four top kitchen tiles on hardness, porous maintenance levels and price. Note, that for the price it is based on the national average per square foot.
Brands, styles, purchase location and other factors can alter this amount, so your actual costs will vary.
|Ceramic||PEI 3/4||No||Light||$0.25 – $3|
|Porcelain||PEI 4||No||Moderate||$0.50 – $5|
|Vinyl||PEI 4||No||Moderate||$1 – $6|
|Stone||PEI 5||Some||High||$3 – $15|
Installing Kitchen Floor Tile: DIY Capable?
- Current flooring removal. Some floors are difficult and expensive to remove, such as glazed tiles with grout. Floor scrapers are expensive to rent and can be difficult to use.
- Sub floor repairs. If you are not installing a floating floor, you will need to ensure your subfloor is near perfect before installing the new tiles. This can also be an undertaking beyond your abilities.
- Installation method. Peel and stick tiles are much easier to install than stone tiles that require shaping, cutting and grouting with mortar.
- Time and effort. Your time is valuable and if you can’t easily complete the task on your deadline, it may be time to call a professional.
If any of the factors listed above give you pause, you may want to find a local contractor to perform the installation. Not only will the job get completed in a timely manner, but you will usually also receive a labor warranty should anything go wrong.
Cleaning and Maintenance Techniques
Cleaning kitchen tile will be a lot different depending on the type of tile you install. However, there are a few tried and true methods of general cleaning and maintenance that work with all tiles.
The following is just a guide and should not replace the cleaning and maintenance suggested by your tile brand or manufacturer. However, if you are looking for an idea of what you are getting into with a new tile floor, we have the answers.
Almost all tiles can be vacuumed, though it is recommended you use a vacuum with a suction only cleaning head. Brush rollers and bristles can scratch tiles and even break up or remove grout. If you do decide to vacuum, limit it to once or twice per month to avoid causing undue damage.
Sweeping is a non-invasive and easy method of keeping all floor types clean. Brooms can get into the grooves or grout and clean out dirt, dust and debris, though it does take longer than vacuuming.
Almost all tiles can also be fully wet mopped. Glazed tiles, vinyl and most stone tiles will handle a dry, damp or even wet mop. You still want to avoid soaking the floor with water or cleaning solution. You should also only use warm water when possible.
Kitchen Floor Tile FAQ
In this section we will answer the more commonly asked questions about kitchen tiles. If you have more questions, feel free to use the comment section below the article.
Q. What is the best color for kitchen tiles?
- Light tiles with a medium to dark grout are the most common and near future-proof for kitchens. White tiles with a slight bevel are timeless classics that never go out of style and a gray or dark gray grouting will help keep your floors looking modern.
Q. What is the most durable kitchen tile?
- Porcelain is labeled as the most durable. It has a high crack threshold and doesn’t scratch, dent or ding. However with repeated abuse the tiles will come loose and can shatter over time.
Q. Where is the best place to buy kitchen tiles?
- Any home improvement store such as Home Depot, Lowe’s or Mernard’s will have a large selection of tiles for you to choose from. If you prefer to shop online Amazon will have great deals on bulk orders, but you need to know exactly what you want before you order.
Q. Where do most tiles come from?
- China produces the most tiles, by far. On average the country manufactures over 5 billion (yes, with a “b”) square yards of tile each year. India has the second largest tile production with about 1 billion square yards, annually.
Choosing the best kitchen floor tile can be a daunting task. There are a lot of options, styles, colors and installation methods to wade through. However, with the right guidance, knowing your kitchen size and having an idea of what you are after, the choices become easier.
With any luck, you have a better idea of the best kitchen tile options and a clearer idea of what will be best in your home. We hope you enjoy your new floor, whichever tile choice you end up going with.