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Kitchen Flooring Options: Wood, Vinyl, Laminate, and Tile

The choice of kitchen flooring material is broad; vinyl in sheet or tiles, ceramic tile, wood floors and now, the new laminates. Which is best for you ? Each of the choices has its fans and some choices are more prevalent in one part of the country more than others. Ceramic tile is often chosen for homes in the West and South. Wood floors are extremely popular in the East and MidWest. Vinyl floors are the perennial favorite in all parts of the country and laminates are gaining popularity all across the country.

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Use these insights to help you select the right floor for your kitchen:

  • Light or neutral tones emphasize the impression of light and space, while darker shades offer warmth and intimacy. Even the finish on a floor contributes to this effect. Higher gloss adds to a feeling of spaciousness, while a subdued or matte finish can have the opposite effect. Stronger color may be wonderful in a smaller space, but it may be too strong in a larger space.
  • It is not always possible to use the same flooring all over the house, and it could be boring. It is often successful to keep the same tonal range when selecting floors. For example, the kitchen may require a hard-working practical floor, but these can be blended to match adjoining floor material.
  • We can't always push the walls to create more space, but you can use your floor to create the feeling of more space. If you have small spaces with many divisions, you may wish to consider coordinating the look with a single floor. Large open spaces may require a larger scale pattern. Most decorating rules can be broken. A small room can also look great with a strong color or a dramatic pattern on the floor.
Material Relative Cost Advantage/ Disadvantage Care
Solid Wood High Beauty, warmth. Can scratch, dent. Not affected by heavy traffic patterns. Depends on finish. Some polyurethane sealed wood floors require only light care. Avoid water.
Tile Medium high Broad style, color and pattern selection. Cool floors for hot climates. Won't scratch. Grout lines will chip and discolor with some stains. Heavy traffic not a problem. Easy to clean, requires no waxing or special cleaners.
Laminate Medium Large color pattern selection. Resists scratching and heavy traffic wear. Easy to care for with light cleaners.
Vinyl Low to Medium Color pattern selection. Most vinyl resists dulling with use, but will cut (dropped knives, etc.) Heel marks difficult to remove. Can stain. Requires mopping with cleaners.
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