Kitchen Flooring - Which types are best?

Home Builder with The Flooring Girl

What is the best flooring choice for a kitchen? Pros and cons for the Top 9 kitchen floor choices.

Best floor kitchens - what is the best flooring for kitchens


This is a "condensed version" of my original article:  What is the best floor for a kitchen?  This version discusses the pros and cons for the Top 5 flooring choices for kitchens.  You can read about the next four choices in the original article. 


The kitchen is the heart of the home, and for many families, it's the one room that you spend the most time in and gets the most foot traffic. So what is the best floor for a kitchen? Well, I would argue that there isn't a BEST choice, but rather there are several great choices. I would also say that there are pros and cons for each choice; you just need to determine which factors are most important for you, your kitchen and your family needs.  



Best floors for kitchens - what are the best tyes of flooring for kitchensI would also argue that the answers to some of these factors will vary a bit based on where you live (e.g. warm climate vs cool climate), and what type of sub-floor you have (e.g. plywood vs concrete...often related to climate/housing structures).


And, of course, we have that other factor - BUDGET. Thankfully, there are many great flooring options for kitchens that can work with your preferences and your budget.  


By far, the most preferred and popular kitchen flooring options are hardwood floors and tile. These are the most upscale, they last the longest and improve the value of your home.


But, there are also some wonderful mid grade and niche items that are rising in popularity including Luxury Vinyl Plank/Engineered Vinyl Plank (e.g. Coretec Plus, Cork flooring and linoleum tile.  


Coretec Plus has been growing since it looks like hardwood and it's waterproof. It's also a very versatile product that can be installed on top of concrete, existing tile and can even be installed by some do-it-yourselfers.Cork and linoleum have been on the rise due to their green/environmentally friendly properties as well as comfort on your feet.  


And, of course, there are some more lower priced items, such as laminate, bamboo, sheet vinyl, etc. These would not be my first choices, but if you are very budget constrained, they will save you some money in the short term (they generally do not last as long, so in the long term, they will cost you more as they will need to be replaced sooner).  


This Kitchen flooring guide is divided into 3 sections:

1. Most preferred/highest budget: Hardwood and tile flooring

2. Mid Grade budget/great alternatives: Luxury Vinyl Plank (e.g. Coretec Plus), Cork flooring, Linoleum Tile

3. Lower budget options/Least preferred (some definite downsides): Laminate, bamboo, Sheet vinyl, Peel & Stick Tile, carpet  


Please note that this article may contain affiliate links.  You can read my full disclosure in the right side bar (scroll down a bit).



Most popular/preferred Kitchen Flooring Options (Higher end): Hardwood floors and Tile Flooring

kitchen floors - Best Floor for a kitchenIn Mid to higher end homes, the preference (and often expectation) is to use hardwood flooring or tile floors for the kitchen. These give your kitchen an upscale look, they are highly durable and they improve your home's value. In my opinion, they are both great options.


But, if I had to choose one over the other, I would probably recommend hardwood flooring for those in colder climates and tile flooring for those in warmer climates.  


Please note that I've written a full in depth article on hardwood vs tile flooring for kitchens. This is a quick summary of the Pros and Cons for both wood and tile floors. Read the full article here (hardwood vs tile for kitchens) for more details.  


Advantages for Solid Hardwood flooring for kitchens

  • Hardwood flooring for kitchensMost stylish, preferred
  • Warmer and easier on your feet (especially important if you spend a lot of time cooking or gathering)
  • Makes your home look larger (assuming you have hardwood in adjoining rooms)
  • Generally less expensive than tile (when you factor in labor...and assuming you have a plywood sub-floor)
  • Improves the value of your home more (and has higher return on investment)
  • Lasts longer (solid hardwood generally will last 100+ years
  • Never goes out of style, can be sanded and refinished to change the color if you want a change (or a new buyer has a different color preference)
  • Easier to repair
  • Easier to clean (vs tile where dirt gets stuck in the grout and discolors it)


Disadvantages to hardwood flooring in kitchens:

  • kitchen floors - best typesIsn't waterproof (but note: it is much easier to repair)
  • Scratches (note: it can be refinished)
  • There may be height issues with your appliances (and/or cabinets) if they are already installed
  • You will need to periodically refinish the floors (e.g. every 7 to 10 years). This is a bit of an inconvenience (but can be done while you're away).


Advantages for Tile flooring in kitchens:

  • Best floors for kitchens - tile flooring High end look
  • Waterproof
  • Resistant to scratches
  • Ability to go lighter in appearance (e.g. white/cream)...and this goes better when you have mid toned, cherry or dark cabinets
  • Variety of colors, styles and shapes...including tiles that look like hardwood planks. Many design choices.
  • Tile floors work well with radiant heat; they conduct the heat better making your feet warmer.


Drawbacks to Tile floors:

  • Best flooring choices for your kitchen - tile floorsHard on your feet
  • Cold on your feet (this is a real disadvantage in the winters for colder environments, but could be an advantage in warmer climates)
  • Can be slippery for pets
  • Items that fall on tile may break (could also be an issue for aging adults)
  • Tiles can crack (and it's challenging and sometimes impossible to repair)
  • Louder/noisier
  • Usually this is more expensive, especially in colder climates (due to labor rates, floor prep and based on sub-floor)
  • More expensive to replace (and more difficult to repair)
  • Tile choices go out of style and these can date your kitchen


Quick thoughts on wood for kitchen floors - important considerations:

Best Floor for a kitchen - Top flooring choices for kitchensPlease note that I would strongly recommend solid hardwood for kitchens over engineered wood. If you have a concrete sub-floor, and your choice is between engineered wood and tile, I'd probably recommend tile for your kitchen.


Please also note that I would strongly recommend unfinished hardwood over pre-finished hardwood for kitchens.   You can read a more in depth article about hardwood vs tile in kitchens in this article. And, you may also find these articles helpful:


Mid range budget/up and coming alternatives for kitchen floors - luxury vinyl, cork, linoleum squares

Luxury Vinyl/Engineered Vinyl Planks (e.g. Coretec Plus) for kitchen floors

Best choices for kitchen flooring - Coretec Plus engineered luxury vinyl flooringOne of the most innovative products to hit the market place is Coretec Plus. I love this product. It looks like hardwood flooring, but it's waterproof! Yes, waterproof, so it's a great option for kitchens and other areas that prone to water or moisture.


The product looks really real (and stylish of course), and in my opinion looks better than most engineered hardwood and head and shoulders above laminate floors.   Coretec Plus has an attached cork underlayment, so it makes it a bit softer on your feet, as well as warmer (and it's better for sound absorption).


Coretec Plus can be installed on top of most surfaces including plywood, concrete and even tile (so if you don't want to rip up tile, this is a great option). It comes in a variety of colors (from light to dark...and even grays). And, they do have this available in tile looks, too. You can read a full review of the product here.  


Best Selections for floors in Kitchens - Coretec Plus luxury vinylCoretec Plus is an engineered vinyl plank (meaning it's layered in the same way that an engineered hardwood is constructed. It's 8 mm thick so it has some dimensional stability and it helps make it feel like real hardwood flooring (and not like vinyl).  


There are other forms of luxury vinyl as well, such as glue down luxury vinyl. This is usually waterproof, too (but some of the cheap brands are not waterproof). A glue down vinyl is a good option when your floors are wavy and uneven and you don't want to invest in leveling the floor. (This would occur more often in basements).  


Cork flooring for kitchens

corking flooring for kitchens - top choices for floorsCork flooring is also another great option for kitchens. It's extremely water and mold resistant and it provides a great cushioning and softness for your feet. It's unlike any other floor that I've stepped on.


Cork floors also provide some insulation, so they are warmer on your feet. This will really come in handy during the winter in cooler climates as you'll feel warmer (and you may even save a bit on heating bills).  


Cork is a green product and you can read more about how it's made in this article: How is cork flooring made and how is it environmentally friendly? It's really fascinating to understand the process for this unique flooring.   best types of flooring for kitchens - cork flooringCork now comes in a variety of colors and patterns. Most cork is in the form of flooring that floats and be installed on top of most surfaces including concrete and tile (as long as the surface is level).  


When kitchen items fall on a cork floor, they are unlikely to break (and BTW, this is also a nice option if you have an older family member as they are less likely to fall and injure themselves).   One downside with cork is that it's a very niche and taste specific product. Some people love love love it; others don't like it at all. So, it's generally not a good option if you are looking to sell your house soon.  


Linoleum tile for kitchens

durable flooring choices for kitchen - linoleumLinoleum has been growing due to its retro style and its green properties. Many do get the terms vinyl and linoleum mixed up (see this article: What's the difference between linoleum and vinyl?). Linoleum is an eco-friendly product made with linseed oil; vinyl is a synthetic petroleum based product.  


Linoleum is a nice option for those looking for a colorful and/or a subtle retro look (could work a farmhouse look, too) and for those seeking a water resistant option. Linoleum comes in both rolls and tiles.


The rolls are not very compatible for kitchens as they are 6.5 ft wide and most kitchens are of course wider than, so you would have seams in the middle (they can, however, work well in smaller bathrooms. Instead linoleum tiles work well, regardless of kitchen size, and they look nicer anyway.


Also, you have the ability to do more than one color (e.g. do a checkered pattern) or even multi-colored and make a fun pattern (tends to work better for larger open rooms (such as a basement, rather than a kitchen which is cut out with cabinets).   Note: Linoleum uses a specialized adhesive that is also eco-friendly (avoid using vinyl adhesive).  


Lower budget choices - Laminate, bamboo, sheet vinyl, peel & stick tile, commercial carpet

These items would not be products I would typically recommend for a kitchen. They are simply lower priced budget items. They each have significant drawbacks. But, if money is the primary concern and these are all you can afford to do, they at least do provide some cheaper options.


Sometimes people install these because it's all they can afford; sometimes it's because they are misinformed or don't know any better, sometimes they do this because it's a rental or they are selling their house and just want to spend the least amount as possible. I would not expect any of these to last that long.  For more info on these in the full article:  What is the best kitchen flooring choice?



So what IS the best flooring option for kitchens?

Kitchen floors: what is the Best Floor for a kitchenOf course there is no one size fits all for kitchen flooring. It depends on which factors are most important to you as well as your budget. As a general rule, I'd say that the 2 best options are hardwood flooring or tile (assuming this fits in your budget).


Thankfully, due to new technologies, there are now several great mid-grade flooring options for kitchens. In particular, Coretec Plus (and other luxury vinyl or engineered vinyl planks) is a great alternative and for when you want a wood look, but also a waterproof option. And, of course, cork floors and linoleum tiles are other great options for Kitchens.  


I hope you find this advice in the article helpful so that you can make the best choices for your kitchen floors. Feel free to leave a comment or question below, and I will get back to you as soon as I can.  


Related articles:



For more info, check out my Ebook - Discover the 6 Secrets to Refinishing Hardwood floors.

6 Secrets of Refinishing hardwood floors ebook 



Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Charles Stallions 06/16/2017 12:00 PM
Home Improvement

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William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I have seen some great ceramic floors that hd all kinds of cracks because of dropped cans of food or other heavy objects.   Ceramic would be my lst choice.

May 30, 2017 05:55 AM #8
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

I'll be changing my kitchen floor in the near future and I'll be referring to this post.... I like the idea of Coretec.... I'll bookmark... thanks, Debbie Gartner 

May 30, 2017 05:58 AM #9
Doug Dawes
Keller Williams Realty - Topsfield, MA - Georgetown, MA
Your Personal Realtor®

Good Morning Debbie Gartner 

This is another great blog post. I have shared it with my Facebook friends.

May 30, 2017 06:01 AM #10
Dana Basiliere
Rossi & Riina Real Estate - Williston, VT
Making deals "Happen"


We see a lot of hardwood in kitchens in the nicer homes in the area. I am finding that folks are actually drifting away from the trend after living with it for a while. I am finding tile to come back to kitchen, eat in kitchen and wrapping around to mudroom/entry areas.  In the Northeast weather can be messy much of the year.

May 30, 2017 06:17 AM #11
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Sharon - Thanks so much.  I really appreciate your compliment.

William - I prefer hardwood over tile.  Ceramic is inferior to porcelain.  But, one of the biggest issues (and it's likely that you have this if you have lots of cracks) is poor installation/prep.  Many install tile on top of plywood and that's a no no as that causes cracking (and usually more than you get from dropping stuff).


May 30, 2017 06:21 AM #12
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Barbara Todaro  - So glad this will help.  Coretec plus is an awesome choice.  When the time is right, read the whole article that I wrote on Coretec.

Doug - Oh thank you.  I'm so honored.

Dana - thank you.  The trend here in NY is that hardwood for kitchens is growing.  But, also, I do see people doing tile in mudrooms growing too.  The other thing is that many here will enter homes from the garage, esp in winter, so they are putting tile there/don't need a mudroom.  this may have a lot to do with how many homes are constructed here.  It works well with split levels.

May 30, 2017 06:25 AM #13
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good Morning Debbie -  good discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of each.  There are great choices in tile or hardwood.

May 30, 2017 06:31 AM #14
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Lend Smart Mortgage, Llc. - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

Debbie Gartner This informative kitchen flooring guide is about as informative as I have ever seen. Thank you...Flooring Girl!

May 30, 2017 07:21 AM #15
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Very comprehensive look at breaking down the various flooring types available in kitchens.  I always wanted tile, but as much as I tend to drop things, I think it's best I have hardwood floors.

May 30, 2017 08:12 AM #16
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Grant - Thank you so much.

Norm - Thx.  You're the best.

Chris Ann - Thank you.  Yes, it's all about trade-offs.

May 30, 2017 09:37 AM #17
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Tiles are way easier to clean than hardwood floors in the kitchen. If one wants hardwood floor avoid darker color as dusts reveals quickly.  

Great blog,

Jun 05, 2017 10:04 AM #18
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Sam - actually hardwood is easier to clean and keep clean than tile (due to grout lines).  I agree that dark is harder to keep clean (even w/ tile).

Jun 05, 2017 10:44 AM #19
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

WE LOVE  our cork kitchen floor....a remodeling  replacment...had hardood but really never liked it...the cork is so good on your feet...easty to clean...XOXOXO

Jun 08, 2017 01:32 AM #20
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

I could probably make my own cork flooring with the wine corks I've been collecting!

This was a very helpful article. I hadn't heard of the Coretec Plus product - very interesting.

Jun 17, 2017 06:08 AM #21
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Debbie

What a stellar article on kitchen flooring. I've seen some really good choices and some bad one, and this will help anyone looking to make a change some important matters to consider before deciding. Some recent buyers tore out all the carpet in the living, family and dining room and put in the Coretec product. It was gorgeous and felt wonderful on bare feet!!! And the pricing was pretty favorable.


Jun 17, 2017 11:14 AM #22
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Sally - I'm so glad you're loving your cork.  I remember that phone call.   Cork was the perfect choice for you.  and, I love how it feels on your feet.  I just had a painting appt where they had cork in the basement.

Kat Palmiotti LOL.  And, I've had people ask me if we could use their bamboo plants growing in the back for their floors.  Yes, Coretec is an awesome alternative.

Jeff - THx so much.  I hope it comes in handy.  So glad you got to see and feel coretec.  What a great and reasonably priced product.


Jun 17, 2017 05:12 PM #23
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

I struggled when we built our home about what to put in the kitchen. I decided I wanted the look and feel of sand and finish wood and put it everywhere on the main floor. I love the look and feel as I am barefoot in the house a lot. I know some people are afraid of leaks and ruining a wood floor but I also know it can be repaired and replaced and insurance often pays for it. 

Your article lays it all out and will help people make a wise decision. The Flooring Girl comes through again.

Jun 17, 2017 08:33 PM #24
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Hi Debbie -- thanks for the education you so often provide.  I'm intrigued with Coretec Plus and think that could be a wonderful product in many situations.

Jun 18, 2017 06:14 AM #25
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Debbie Gartner Thanks for very informative post.

Jun 18, 2017 12:34 PM #26
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

WOW I've got to bookmark this one and will email it to my builder !!!

Jul 16, 2017 09:24 AM #27
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