Whatever your budget, whatever your style, find a practical kitchen flooring that looks great and lasts for years
Kitchen floors have to withstand all sorts, which is why we've worked hard to find some of the best kitchen flooring out there. Not only does your flooring need to be easy to clean, but also stain-resistant, stylish and comfortable to walk on. Some need to work with different surfaces or floor constructions, while others need to be compatible with underfloor heating (UFH), too. All need to last for many years, as replacing a floor is never cheap or fun.
Thankfully, there’s a huge choice of materials on offer, with advanced printing techniques enabling the look of timber or stone with the affordability of laminate or the durability of porcelain. If you’re keen to keep maintenance to a minimum, easily moppable luxury vinyl tiles (LVTs) are a good fit. Similarly, if you have time to clean regularly and want flooring with more character, a natural material that requires some sealing or waxing may be the best choice for you.
To help you make your decision and find the best kitchen flooring whatever your needs, we've picked out a varied choice of fantastic flooring to keep your feet and home happy.
This includes limestone, travertine, granite and slate, is a popular choice thanks to its unique veining and available colours. Finishes can be tumbled, for a more aged, antique look, honed, for a modern matt surface or polished for a light-reflecting shine. Some stones will be more hardwearing than others.
Limestone, for example, can be etched by acids, such as fizzy drinks and descaler, so it’s a good idea to seal it initially then reseal it regularly to protect the surface. On the plus side, it’s durable, easy to clean and is UFH-compatible. However, if you’re standing for any length of time, it can make your legs ache. It’ll be cold in the winter without UFH, while softer stones may scratch and textured surfaces harbour dirt.
It’s best to avoid using solid wood in the working areas of a kitchen as the boards can shift and warp with humidity and UFH. Blocks, such as parquet, are more stable but should still be cleaned with a damp, rather than wet, mop. A better option is engineered boards – made with a core of HDF or plywood with a layer of real wood on top. These are more stable structurally and usually UFH-compatible as well.
Other options include naturally bacteria-resistant and eco-friendly cork and bamboo, but like all such woods, they’re easily dented. In most cases, wood can be repaired with gentle sanding and refinishing. Check if your boards come prefinished or if they have to be oiled or waxed on a regular basis.
Vinyl has come a long way since it first appeared in the kitchen and its new-gen hard incarnation, LVT (as opposed to sheet vinyl on a roll), is easy to clean, water-resistant and comfy underfoot. In some cases, it can even be laid straight over an existing floor. Most tiles and planks replicate wood or stone with a digital print and faux grout lines but you can also find coloured and patterned tiles. Choose a good-quality version and it’ll have a thick wear layer so it protects against damage and scratches. Many are UFH-compatible but check with the supplier.
Laying it properly is key to its longevity – the sub-floor will need to be even and you may have to fit underlay first or glue it in place, depending on the system. Be sure to add pads to stool or chair legs to prevent damage over time.
If you’re choosing laminate, it pays to invest. While there are several budget options, they may not be especially hardwearing or water-resistant. Good-quality versions, however, come with realistic-looking designs and planks that can survive the odd spill. Laminate is made from a melamine back, an HDF core and a high-resolution image of wood, stone or tiles protected by a transparent wear layer. This makes it resistant to scuffs and scratches, although damage can’t be repaired.
Laminate can also sometimes feature a textured finish for extra realism. Even at the top end, it’s still a relatively affordable flooring option that won’t stain and won’t need sealing. Check its UFH-compatibility though, as not all of them will suit dry systems, and some require underlay.
Ceramic, porcelain or terracotta tiles are another popular option. Porcelain is a harder version of ceramic, meaning that it’s low maintenance, hygienic, easy to clean and incredibly durable. It’s also UFH-compatible and is often available in covetable marble or reclaimed timber effects. Porcelain tiles are usually more expensive than ceramic. They’re cold without heating and can be uncomfortable for long periods of standing.
More affordable ceramic and terracotta tiles have many of the same qualities but can crack and chip more than porcelain. This is worse for ceramic tiles, as any chips will reveal the white base - terracotta is, at least, solid-bodied.
Lino or rubber
Lino – or under its brand name, Marmoleum, is a mix of linseed oil, cork, wood and resin as waterproof sheets or tiles. It’s durable, warm underfoot and hygienic but needs to be sealed once it’s laid. On the plus side, it’s easy to clean and UFH-compatible. On the negative? It can fade over time or develop a yellowish tinge.
Rubber tiles or sheets are equally comfy underfoot, and have the bonus of being water-resistant and robust. It can even be designed with studs for extra grip. On the downside, it can dent over time, and smooth finishes can be slippery. Rubber tiles need a smooth subfloor and you’ll need to check if your version is UFH-compatible.
Concrete and resin
Poured floors are ideal for creating a seamless finish but require more complex, and often costly, installation. Concrete needs sealing once it’s set to be water and stain-resistant, but it’s otherwise easy to clean and UFH-compatible. It’s resistant to chips and cracks. Resin is warm underfoot, waterproof, easy to clean and UFH-compatible but again, will need to be sealed to help protect it from scratches and stains. However, it can be refreshed with sanding and resealed if damaged.