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Flooring

How to choose the best kitchen flooring material

When choosing kitchen flooring for your home, there is a lot to take into consideration. The kitchen is the busiest room of the home, so as well as looking great, you want your flooring to be able to withstand spillages, heat and constant foot traffic.

modern kitchen with adequate lighting and allows you to freely move aroundLuckily, there are plenty of kitchen flooring options which offer a good combination of both aesthetic appeal and durability. Whether you choose to go for tiling, wooden flooring, cork, or stone, each option has its own advantages which may make it more desirable to you.

As well as appearance and longevity, other aspects to take into account are the cost of the flooring, as well as the cleaning and maintenance required to keep it in good condition. These are all significant factors when deciding which flooring to invest in. Allow Watertight Homes to talk you through your kitchen flooring options, helping you find the right balance of aesthetics, durability and cost.

Ceramic

Ceramic tiling is a popular choice for kitchen flooring. It’s an ideal option for a number of reasons.

As well as being durable, ceramic tile is water and stain-resistant, in addition to being easy to clean and maintain. It is also impervious to heat and breakage. Being able to withstand spillages, humidity and heavy footfall means ceramic tile will keep its original appearance and practicality for a long time.

Ceramic tiles are also versatile when it comes to the design element of your kitchen flooring. It is available in a wide array of colours and styles, shapes and sizes. This means you can find a design to complement the design of any home.

There are some minor drawbacks to ceramic tiles, however. A common complaint is that they can be too cold and hard on the feet. Yet, ceramic tiles are compatible with underfloor heating and a rug can be used for a softer and warmer feel. They can also be slippery, especially when wet.

In terms of pricing for ceramic tiles, they are cheaper than porcelain, stone and wooden flooring, making it an ideal midrange option for your kitchen. You can find ceramic tiling for around £10 per sq m.

Sheet Vinyl

Rather than coming in tiles or planks, sheet vinyl is available to purchase in one large sheet. The lack of seams and gaps makes it water-resistant, as water can’t seep through underneath. Sheet vinyl flooring is also easy to clean and maintain. Unlike ceramic tiles, sheet vinyl flooring doesn’t get cold to touch during winter, making it more comfortable to walk on.

Sheet vinyl is available in plenty of styles and colour schemes making it adaptable enough to fit into any kitchen design. Sheet vinyl is available in bold, contemporary designs schemes as well as more subtle, traditional styles and can mimic wood or stone.

Although mostly scratch-resistant and easy to maintain, sheet vinyl flooring will not last as long as say ceramic tiling or wooden flooring. The surface of the flooring will begin to fade after 7-8 years. It is DIY-friendly however, so it is simple enough to replace yourself whenever this may be.

Another advantage of sheet vinyl flooring is that it is cheap when compared to many other kitchen flooring options. Sheet vinyl flooring usually costs between £7-10 per sq m, this, of course, depends on quality and design.

Natural Stone

Stone flooring is a classic choice for the kitchen. It can get a bit cold underfoot sometimes, so it’s up to you whether or not this will bother you. In a warm house though, this shouldn’t be a problem. Some stone flooring needs to be sealed, which can be expensive and makes the floor colder.

If you have the budget though, underfloor heating is an option you may want to consider. Marble, slate, granite and limestone are the most popular choices for stone flooring and each has varying properties. They are all hygienic, attractive and long-lasting because of their toughness, giving them long life spans with plenty of strength in them.

Natural stone is another kitchen flooring option which is very durable. Despite its toughness, it is semi-porous, meaning it isn’t as slippery as other tilings, such as ceramic flooring. The drawback of this, however, means it is more susceptible to water penetration, yet this can be resolved by applying a stone sealer.

The main characteristic which attracts people to natural stone flooring is the visual appeal. It signifies luxury due to its appearance and high-quality. Natural materials are always stylish and combine nicely with either rustic or modern designs.

There are many options of natural stone tiling you can choose for your kitchen flooring needs, so they are versatile enough to suit a range of decors. Some of these include travertine, marble, slate and granite. There are some variations is aesthetic, cost and quality between these:

Travertine

Travertine is available in light colours and earthy tones. It has a calming appeal and is smooth on the feet as well as being non-slip.

Travertine flooring can cost anywhere between £20-44 per sq m.

Marble

Marble flooring is available in a wide array of colours, including near-black, grey, brown and green. It can also feature coloured veining for added visual effect. Marble is often polished thoroughly for aesthetic appeal, this can make it slippery, however. This flooring is very hard and durable.

More deluxe and expensive than travertine, marble flooring tends to cost between £45-90 per sq m.

Slate

Similar to marble, slate is durable and hard-wearing. It is more slip-resistant than marble, as it is less polished and features more of a matt finish. Slate is also more resistant against spillages and stains than marble and granite. It is available mainly in grey, blue, red and orange tones, yet features a similar veining pattern to marble.

Slate flooring costs £24-50 per sq m.

Granite

Granite flooring is even more durable than slate flooring. It’s extremely scratch resistant and similar to marble, can be polished to a high shine, which of course will make it more slippery.

In terms of colour variations, granite flooring is available in blacks, deep greys, tans and speckled white tones.

Granite flooring tends to cost between £60-90 per sq m as it is a luxury product, due to its aesthetic appeal and quality.

Cork

A surprising admission, cork is unique when compared to alternative kitchen flooring options. It has an almost soft texture compared to wood and stone flooring. It’s also a great insulator of heat, meaning during winter the cork flooring won’t be too cold. Cork is also sound absorbent, which makes it ideal for kitchens in flats with neighbours below.

As cork is a natural material, it is eco-friendly and biodegradable, unlike say vinyl flooring. Cork flooring is also surprisingly durable despite its soft texture. Another advantage of choosing cork for your kitchen floors is that it can be installed easily yourself. It is available to purchase in either peel-and-stick, glue-down or snap together forms.

Cork isn’t completely stain-proof compared to ceramic tiles, however, any spillages dealt with quickly should be ok. If there is a spillage, mopping up quickly with soapy water should prevent any stains forming. Cork flooring is easily maintained and any stains or scratches can simply be refinished and revarnished, by sanding the surface and applying a sealer.

Cork is available in a variety of warm, natural colours such as grey, brown and tan. These natural colours and soft texture give it a warm, homely feel, which is great for the kitchen.

There are some shortfalls of cork flooring, however. Due to its soft texture, it can be prone to depress and sink under the legs of heavy appliances, which isn’t ideal if you plan to rearrange the layout of your kitchen after a few years. Cork is also susceptible to fading in direct sunlight, which can damage the appearance of the surface over time.

Cork is roughly the same price as hardwood flooring and can be bought for around £50 per sq m.

Linoleum Flooring

Linoleum was once the go-to option for kitchen flooring a few decades ago. It shares similar characteristics to vinyl flooring, it being affordable as well as easy to install, clean and maintain.

The main benefit linoleum holds over vinyl flooring, however, is that it is environmentally friendly due to being produced from all-natural materials. Linoleum is formed by bonding linseed oil and powdered cork. This makes it entirely biodegradable and eco-friendly.

Linoleum can also be purchased in a sheet, similar to sheet vinyl, which is easy to install. If installed correctly and maintained to a high standard, linoleum flooring can even last up to 40 years.

In terms of design, linoleum can mimic stone and other materials.

This flooring, however, can be susceptible to water damage, if subjected to large amounts. The odd spillage or mopping won’t do any damage, however, if there was a flood due to a broken appliance or burst pipe, then the entirety of the flooring would likely be ruined. Linoleum flooring is also sensitive to humidity which can cause it to curl.

Fairly cheap compared to other kitchen flooring alternatives, linoleum can be purchased for £18-25 per sq m.

Wood Flooring

Wood flooring is a much sought after but expensive option. Oak is a popular choice of wood for flooring because it’s strong and long-lasting, but as with anything effective; it’s expensive. Despite being long-lasting and durable, wood flooring needs to be sealed regularly. This sealing can be expensive, yet wood flooring provides such a unique, individual look that people are often not dissuaded by the price. Excessive water exposure will damage wooden flooring so care must be taken to mop up large amounts of water if there are spillages.

Hardwood Flooring

Although now a classic, hardwood flooring hasn’t always been the most suitable material to be used for kitchen flooring. This is because hardwood flooring can be susceptible to high levels of moisture. However, thanks to effective sealers and finishes, hardwood flooring is now as resistant to moisture and humidity as any other material is.

Hardwood flooring is also naturally strong and durable, making it ideal for kitchen use. Over time, wearing can be visible in areas where there’s been heavy footfall or spillages. For some people, however, this just adds to the vintage, rustic feel of the flooring. If you prefer hardwood flooring in pristine condition, however, another benefit is it that can be sanded down and refinished multiple times, to keep it looking as good as new.

One disadvantage of opting for hardwood for your kitchen floors is that it can be difficult to install. It also needs time to adjust to the local climate before installation, otherwise, the material can begin to warp and separate over time.

Hardwood flooring is expensive when compared to vinyl or linoleum flooring. However, due to its quality, durability and longevity, it can be seen as an investment. As it can be resanded and refinished multiple times, there is no need to install new flooring every few years. Depending on quality, thickness and type of the wood, hardwood flooring costs approximately £50 per sq m. b

Cleaning and maintenance

hardwood-floor-cleaning

As well as the cost of materials and installation, another financial factor to take into account is the cleaning, maintenance and restoration of your flooring. Certain materials are easier and cheaper to clean and maintain than others. Some flooring you choose can be restored over and over again, whereas with others, once it is damaged, it may need to be replaced.

Cleaning hardwood floors

If your hardwood floors are finished or varnished, they will be easier to maintain than unfinished flooring.

Cleaning hardwood floors is cheap and straightforward enough. It is recommended to hoover your floor before mopping, as this will remove any excess dirt and debris, protecting the surface from scratches. When mopping, use warm water and try to avoid adding bleach. A hardwood floor cleaning spray can be picked up for cheap. Work your way around the floor with a microfibre mop to remove any dirt.

Any light scuffs can be buffed out with a cloth. If overtime hardwood flooring has developed heavier scuffs and the surface has worn, this can be resanded and refinished to look brand new.

Cleaning tile floors

Although many types of tile flooring are durable and stain-resistant, it is important to look after them properly. Sweeping may remove some dirt and dust, however, won’t keep your tiles looking brand new. Some tiles also require more attention than others.

Ceramic tile floors require less upkeep than slate, marble and granite, which need more specific, individual care in order to remain in pristine condition.

Cleaning ceramic tiles

To maintain ceramic tiles, clean up loose debris by sweeping or hoovering before mopping, this way you avoid scratching sand and grit onto the tiles and damaging surface.

Mop using a mild floor cleaner with clean, warm water. Rag mops or chamois mops are also more suitable for tiles because sponge mops can push dirty water into the grout lines.

Try to change the water if it gets dirty to avoid rubbing dirty water into the surface and grout. Also be sure to dry the floors with a lint free cloth after mopping, as if you allow the floors to air dry this will leave watermarks.

Cleaning stone tile floors

When cleaning slate, granite or marble, it’s important to ensure you choose the correct, specific cleaner. Chemicals in other floor cleaners can damage the surface.

Slate tile
Avoid using a floor cleaner with any acidic contents. Also if you have coated slate flooring, dry your flooring with a soft tile after cleaning.

Marble tile
Marble is also subject to staining if cleaned using a detergent with an acidic PH level. Also avoid using brushes with tough bristles, as these could scratch the surface.

Granite
Similar to marble tiles, granite flooring should be cleaned with a non-acidic, mild floor detergent, to avoid discolouring the tile or leaving streaks. Buffing granite flooring will also keep it looking as good as new.

Repairing stone tiles

Stone tile is made from real stone aggregate suspended in a polymer binder. It’s a relatively affordable alternative to stone. Depending on the type of stone it is made of, stone tile has varying resistances to scratches and stains. Stone tile can be chipped due to acute and heavy impact, and it can also become loose.

Repair Stone Tile Scratches and Chips

If a stone tile is scratched, chipped or cracked, or discoloured, it will probably have to be replaced, which often means pulling up the tiles around it (which risks damage to those tiles, too). If you’re not confident in your experience with such work, it is a good idea to call in a professional to avoid any further damage. These tiles are pretty tough, but the likelihood of one or two becoming damaged over their lifetime is far from zero. It is a good idea to purchase more tiles than you need during installation, as it might be difficult to find replacement tiles that match your existing tiles. Intricate patterns, such as irregular edges, will be more expensive to repair and may require more materials and time to be completed.

Loose Stone Tile Repair and Grout Replacement

To repair stone tile that is simply loose, it just needs to be pulled up and put back in new grout. Though it can be a slightly messy operation, this job is relatively straightforward. If your grout (the material put between tiles to finish the surface and seal against leakage) is discoloured, you might want to try using bleach to scrub it clean. Otherwise, the grout will have to be ground out and replaced.

Grout replacement is tedious, though not an incredibly difficult process, involving cutting out old, discoloured grout and filling in the cracks with bright new grout. Make sure that the new grout gets properly sealed, though, or you’re likely to have stains again sooner than you would like.

Remember, all flooring tile, including tile made of natural stone, should have a nonskid, stain-proof surface (if it’s only stain-resistant, it should be sealed and routinely resealed for protection). Natural stone, though incredibly strong, is always somewhat porous if left unsealed

How to clean resilient flooring

One of the benefits of having vinyl, linoleum and cork flooring, is that they are durable and require minimal maintenance.

Vinyl flooring
Vinyl flooring is straightforward to upkeep. Simply sweep or hoover any debris, then mop with a specific vinyl cleaning detergent. Using water and vinegar will also suffice. Also avoid using an abrasive cleaner or scrubbing tool on the vinyl, as this will scratch the surface.

Linoleum flooring
People often use a vinyl floor cleaner on linoleum flooring, however, they require different upkeep. Sweep or hoover, then apply a specific linoleum floor cleaning solution, rinse, then dry. You can also apply a wax to the linoleum flooring every few months to protect the surface.

Cork flooring
Cleaning your cork flooring will depend on the finish of the cork. The majority of cork floors are sealed with polyurethane. In this case, you simply need to clean with water and a mild detergent then rinse well. If however, the flooring is unfinished or waxed, floor the same process, however, apply wax once the surface has dried.

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