Our favourite floors for busy Kitchens
The kitchen is often referred to as 'the heart of the home', and for good reason. It's the one room we all pass through as part of the morning routine, regardless of whether the next step is school, work or a lazy day on the sofa. It's also a place for entertaining, where guests can chat and drink wine until the early hours.
Choosing floors for your kitchen space, then, can be difficult. You need something tough enough to cope with near-constant foot traffic, without it looking as though it should be in a factory. Fortunately, you have some fantastic options.
Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)
If it’s durability you’re after, LVT is easily the best place to start. It’s the perfect solution for a busy home because, as flooring goes, it’s almost indestructible – it’ll take whatever you and your kitchen can throw at it. This is one of the reasons why it’s currently the fastest growing flooring type in Europe.
More than this, it’s incredibly easy to maintain. Spillages are handled with a quick wipe, and the same goes for mucky foot and paw-prints. It’s really not difficult to keep LVT flooring looking great. For maximum protection, though, it’s advisable to invest in a quality entrance mat. This’ll soak up outside moisture and remove grit that could potentially damage your flooring.
The range on offer here is already large and expanding as popularity grows. There are styles and colourings to suit any kind of home. Take Polyflor, for example; this Manchester-based manufacturer offers some impressive wood-inspired LVT flooring, perfect for that clean and classic appearance. Karndean’s range is also well worth considering, especially if you like the appearance of stone flooring.
Choose your tiles from a reputable manufacturer like these and you can expect outstanding reproduction and finishing. In fact, we think you’ll get bored before your LVT wears out. Even still, all of our options come with lengthy manufacturer warranties for that added peace of mind.
Solid or Engineered Wood Flooring
It's difficult to match the warm, charming appearance of real wood flooring. This is why it has become such a popular choice in recent years. Particularly suited to homes with rustic décor, it's available in countless shades and textures, from light oak to dark maple.
Now, it’s important to realise that wood does take more care to maintain than the other flooring types you’ll come across. It’s more sensitive to scratching and marking, so you’ll need to be mindful of how you live with it should you choose it for your kitchen. All of that said, it is very much possible to retain the original appearance of wood with the right attention and maintenance. You’ll need to keep it clean at all times, for instance – liquid spillages could cause expansion if not dealt with quickly.
Aside from the colour and style, you have another big decision to make here: solid or engineered?
Each section of solid wood flooring is made up, as the name suggests, of a single solid piece of wood. Engineered wood flooring, on the other hand, is made up of cleverly layered boards – and this is the key to its suitability for your kitchen.
Each of the layers runs perpendicular to its neighbour to create more stability. As a result, the flooring is less likely to expand and contract when exposed to heat and moisture, making it better than solid wood for a kitchen environment where spillages tend to happen more frequently and regular cooking activity causes humidity levels to fluctuate constantly.
The ply boards are topped off with a top layer of solid wood, known as a veneer. The end result is identical in appearance to a solid wood floor but cheaper, more stable and less of upheaval during installation. Just be sure to go for quality flooring from a reputable manufacturer; Elka and Furlong Wood are two good examples, both of which offer solid and engineered wood floorings.
If you’re considering underfloor heating, or already have it, solid wood will be out of the question as the heat can cause expansion. The same is rarely true for engineered wood flooring, which can usually handle higher temperatures.
Once again, a decent entrance mat is well worth the extra money; it’ll help to protect your flooring from moisture and grit coming in from outside.
Next up, a long-time kitchen favourite. The fact that laminate is so easy to clean makes it an extremely popular choice for use in kitchens and bathrooms. Spilt some red wine? Simply wipe clean. The same goes for muddy paw prints and dropped food. This convenience is why it's perfect for homes with energetic kids and pets.
That’s not to say it doesn’t require any care at all, though. While laminate floorings are generally better engineered than they were several years ago, seepage could still cause unwanted expansion if left untouched. Spillages must, therefore, be dealt with quickly.
Like engineered wood, laminate flooring is made up of several layers of material, with the top part designed to imitate the appearance of wood or tile. Once again, the choice of finishes is endless, meaning you won't struggle to find the right style to suit your home's existing décor.
As well as generally being one of the more affordable options, laminate is easy to install; the process can be completed without any professional help, which makes it even more cost-effective.
It’s worth noting that laminate flooring can't be refinished, which means it'll need replacing completely when it starts to show signs of wear. The key here is to opt for a high-quality product from a reputable manufacturer, instead of going for the cheapest; you’ll find that the reproduction is considerably more authentic than the examples available in DIY stores. For added peace of mind, though, all of our laminate floorings carry warranties. Take a look at the Balterio and Quick-Step ranges for some inspiration.
Last but not least, we come to cushion vinyl. In the past, it was vinyl's status as the cheapest option that made it appealing to homeowners - it wasn't particularly trendy. These days, however, things are different. Available in a huge range of different styles, it can imitate everything from classic wood to tiling. Like laminate, it's easy to clean and pretty simple to install yourself.
Most importantly, though, the best examples on the market today are extremely durable. They’re typically made using four or five layers, the top one being known as a wear layer. Wear layers differ in thickness – the thicker it is, the longer it will last. This means there are options to suit various environments and budgets; some are even strong enough to stand up to commercial use. Your family kitchen, then, should pose no problem at all.
With the reproduction offered by reputable brands like Avenue, Tarkett and Rhinofloor considerably better than that available in the past, cushion vinyl is now a completely viable and cost-effective option that could suit your busy kitchen perfectly.
All that considered, the final choice is up to you. Take the time to consider your options carefully and you'll no doubt be happy for years to come!