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Question DetailsAsked on 12/6/2013

best kind of flooring for kitchens

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3 Answers


The kind that resists spills and heavy twisting traffic and dropped items the best, is easy to clean, and hopefully can also survive occasional puddling of water and maybe a dishwasher or sink plumbing leak.

Unfortunately, this REALLY limits you if you want to avoid high maintenance or a short life. In my opinion, any kind of soft flooring or real wood is out due to the traffic issue and (for wood) the water and spillage issue. Any kind of laminate or floating floor will succumb to water leaks or pooling, both through joints and if any ever gets under it froma leak. Tile and stone can handle the traffic fine but break easily when things are ddropped onthem, can nbe slippery, are a cleaning problem, and special construction care has to be taken and frequent resealing is necessary if you want them to be waterproof enough to handle a kitchen water leak. High quality seamless sheet vinyl and linoleum can handle all the above requirements pretty well but water getting under them.

Therefore, it is sort of a case of the lesser of evils in selecting a product. For my money, I would not have a jointed product in my kitchen (laminate or wood) unless it was 100% plastic like some of the Pergo and other manufacturers make in snap-joint products, and even then the joints will quickly turn black with gunk no matter how well you clean. Tile and stone have the problem of being hard on the feet to walk on, break or chip when things are dropped on them, are cold feeling unless heated (which raises issues of its own if you do that), and keeping the grout joints clean in the kitchen is a nightmare - and this from the son of a tile contractor !

For my money, seamless sheet linoleum or vinyl with a high-density product topped with a substantial clear wear coating like Mannington no-wax or Armstrong is my recommendation, with the flooring carried in under all appliances (including dishwasher) with either turned-up edges to form a cove and baseboard with the flooring, or silicone-caulked base cove around all the edges (except doorways) to keep any surface spills or splash from getting under cabinets or the flooring, and to keep any leak water from the sink area or dishwasher or kitchen alcove laundry on top of the flooring, rather then leaking underneath. This also means waterproofing in the cabinet under the kitchen sink the same way, with similar product or something special, so any leak in that area runs out onto the top of the flooring rather than getting under the flooring. BTW - the reason I said seamless is to provide water penetration protection, as spills get into seams and start the edges curling up, and also edges in any walking area tend to get scuffed and damaged, but more so in kitchens where there is a lot of twisting and turning motion and perhaps a chopping block being pushed around.

Most people do not want to spend the extra few hundred dollars, but I am a fan of a very slight slope of the kitchen flooring to an emergency floor drain to handle water from any emergency leaks, even though it may never be needed. In most building code enforcement areas, such a clean water or gray water emergency drain can exit the house without having to go to the sewer, which eliminates the need for a trap and the problems keeping it filled - you can just use a flapper or louvre type outdoor cover on the drain pipe, similar to what you use on a dryer vent. This solution is particularly useful in kitchens with an attached laundry room where a washing machine may overflow or have a hose or pipe break creating a major flood event - particularly if not on the bottom floor.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD


I would agree with most all of what LCD said except I would go with a very good grade of laminate flooring. While sheet flooring is more waterproof than just about ay other flooring material it will wear out in high traffic areas or by the spots where the table is and chairs are moved around. In my present kitchen I have oak and it is showing wear near my table from the chairs, but it has been down for about 13 years and I am a contractor that does not take my shoes off when I get home. I would stay away from the cheaper grades of laminates as they do tend to pucker up when exposed to water. I installed a Pergo brand floor for my sister and where her dogs water bowl was it was destroyed by the spillage. The only brand that I would use is a brand named "Faus" it actually is hard for me to work with as it destroys my saw blades since the finish is so hard. The company says not to expose it to water as a disclaimer but besides the residential jobs I have done I have used it in two commercial applications. Both were kitchen and bath showrooms and get lots of foot traffic as well as deliverys with boxes being slid across the floor and such. The first showroom was open when I did the floor and the day after I put the main area down the cleaning ladies must have thought it was real stone and when the manager and I came in there were puddles of water on the floor. I thought the floor was destroyed but it did nothing to the floor. As a matter of fact since the showroom was open I did all my cuts outside and left bigger scraps on pallet racks that were exposed to rain and snow and the manager of the showroom gave those scraps away as samples for a few years. I am sure there are other brand that may be close but I have not found them, and I have used a few of the major companies products. You can find this one online and they will send you samples and the location of a supplier.


Answered 5 years ago by ContractorDon


I totally agree with Don on the laminates typically lasting longer than vinyl or linoleum (vinyl usually being the better of those two for wear as it is harder). Personally I do not like segmental or plank floors in kitchens or dining rooms because the joints get dirty and permanently stained real quick. The water intrusion into joints you can reduce by assembling them with a waterproof glue that can be wiped off the surface easily with water during assembly as excess glue comes out the cracks, but that does about double the labor charge as it takes a lot more time to glue and wipe rather than just tap together.

Don is absolutely right about sheet products gouging and wearing from chairs and chopping blocks and such being pushed around, though laminate do that too, to a lesser extent. No scientific data on it, but my gut feeling is a run of the mill builders grade laminate will wear about as fast as the best sheet products, and a very hard finish, higher-priced (not cheapest economy line) high-quality laminate from Armstrong, Bruce, Wilsonart, Mannington etc may wear maybe half as fast as a top-end sheet product.

With sheet products, and I think with ALL floors except stone and tile and concrete (where nylon glider feet work best) it is necessary to use thick glue-on felt or similar soft pads on the bottom of the chair feet, and put it on your calendar to check them ALL every couple of months. Table and chopping block legs maybe every few years if you push it around only every so often.

The staple or nail-on pads are quicker to put on, but the problem is unless you are religious about checking and replacing the pads (typically about yearly on chairs), as they wear through you will reach the point where the staple or nail head shows through, and it starts shaving material off the top of the flooring - initially without noticeable noise, so by the time you hear the screech or scraping sound you already have significant damge to the flooring.

I always recommend buying spare laminate when you do a laminate or engineered (or hardwood) floor - about 5-10SF for floors without a lot of wear like bedrooms, a full box (typically 14-21SF) for entry, living room, hall, kitchen, and dining rooms where you are likely to need to replace some someday. Can make the difference between a couple hundred $ to repair a worn or damaged area versus a thousand of more $ to replace then entire room's flooring.

One other personal thought, though there are people who swear by the product - I strongly recommned against, and would never install, a "floating" sheet floor material - I have seen them bulge, wrinkle, and tear in short order. For the same reason, I insist on full-contact trowel-on adhesive for sheet products, not the edge-only gluedown or sticky-back products, as they always seem to come loose and peel up after a short time.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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