Two of the biggest decisions to make for your kitchen reno is the countertop (which is covered in “Which Type Of Stone Countertop Is The Best?“), and the flooring. Kitchen floors are not necessarily a focal point, but the right style of kitchen flooring will make the cabinets and countertops stand out. So, which is the best? How do you choose?
Aesthetics: Laminate flooring is similar to hardwood in that it offers some variety in colour. It also provides the ability to have the look of exotic hardwood without the expense of exotic hardwood. The main downside to laminate flooring is that the wood pattern is repetitive as there are only typically 3 – 8 different photographic images.
Options: Traditionally, the planks are wider with a photographic image of three rows of wood planks. Today wide planks with images of 2, 3, or 4 rows are available. Narrower planks are also available with an imprint of a single wide wood plank. When installed this gives more of the appearance of real wood.
A wide variety of colours are available.
Cleaning: A typical broom can be used as the surface is scratch resistant. Mopping is not recommended as water can damage most laminate over time. Chemical cleaners can dissolve the protective layer. A proper laminate cleaner is recommended.
Durability: Laminate flooring is very dent-resistant, and is sometimes more forgiving than ceramic tile if you drop something.
Aesthetics: Vinyl plank flooring is available in wood patterns, similar to laminate, and in simulated ceramic tile. As with laminate, vinyl plan offers the look of exotic hardwood without the price. Vinyl plank also does not offer as much variety as real hardwood.
Options: As with laminate, there is the option of wider planks with the imprint of multiple rows, or narrower planks with the imprint of a single row. A wide variety of colours mare available.
Cleaning: A typical broom can be used as the surface is scratch resistant. Occasional mopping can be done as vinyl plank flooring is more water resistant than laminate flooring. Chemical cleaners can dissolve the protective layer. A proper laminate cleaner is recommended.
Durability: As with laminate, vinyl plank is very dent-resistent.
Aesthetics: If a minimal amount of colour variation is preferred, ceramic tile is the surface for you. Ceramic tile also offers some colours that are not typically available in the other flooring such as rose, and shades of blue. Traditionally ceramic floor tiles were square, and all tiles were uniform in size. Today ceramics floors feature uniform rectangular tiles, or combinations of two or three sizes.
Options: Unlike with vinyl plank tile flooring, with ceramic tiles it is possible to choose a colour of grout for in between the tiles.
Cleaning: Mopping is not recommended as the water can damage the grout over time.
Durability: Ceramic tile’s durability can be too much of a good thing when something is dropped on a ceramic tile floor (the tile floor usually wins).
Aesthetics: Being a natural product, hardwood offers more colour variation than laminate of vinyl plank flooring. Colour variation differs depending on the species and grade of hardwood.
Options: Popular widths are 2 ½” and 3 ¼”. Due to Alberta’s variation in humidity from season the widest board for domestic wood is 3 ¼”. The wider the board, the more it expands and contracts with the change in humidity. Exotic woods often don’t expand and contract as much which is why they are sometimes available in boards wider than 3 ¼”.
Cleaning: The most caution should be used when cleaning hardwood. Debris on the floor may sctrach the wood when sweeping. Mopping is not recommended as the water can damage the wood over time. Chemical cleaners will strip the protective layer on pre-finished hardwood.
Durability: Some species are more durable than others; exotic are the most durable. However, most things that are dropped on hardwood will cause a dent.