Choosing the right materials for floor covering is a compromise between taste, budget and maintenance. Kitchen floors have to survive the heaviest traffic and no matter what happens, the floor must not allow water to permeate it.
The basic choice is between the soft and warm feeling of the timbers, corks, linoleum and vinyl as against the great looks but hard and cold touch of the ceramic tiles, stone and granites.
Types of Floors
In use for thousands of years, ceramic tile has a lasting and traditional beauty that is always in fashion. Today’s tiles come in an enormous range of colours to compliment any decorating need. They come as vitrified tiles that have the same texture right through, or glazed tiles, that is glaze on a whitish base, that may show up when chipped. Installation and cleaning is similar to natural stone but sealing is not required. Cleaning is easy with warm soapy water.
Consists of a thin 12mm thick timber floor of pre-grooved beautiful timber strips, laid on a substrate of foam underlay to cushion the ‘echo’ when walked on (as they are not nailed or glued to the sub-floor, they are just ‘floating’ on top of it). They can either be real timber (natural timber veneer strips bonded to a MDF substrate) or laminated (laminated colours/prints bonded to a MDF substrate). These timber floors are both beautiful, easy to maintain, very cost effective and can be laid very easily by the home handyperson. Sweep/vacuum regularly and clean with moist wet mop occasionally.
Pre-finished hardwood flooring is available in a myriad of finishes and styles. The factory finish using the latest technology eliminates the need for sanding, staining and finishing in the home. This time saving element pays dividends with cost effectiveness. Parquet, accent borders, random and strip planks are just a few of the design possibilities that this genre of hardwood offers. Timber floors come as strips, planks or boards in any size, glued to cement or nailed to timber floors. After laying the floor is sanded and clear coated in either glossy or matt. Sweep/vacuum regularly and clean with moist wet mop occasionally.
Softwoods should be avoided, as they are susceptible to indentations.
Natural Stone Tile
Granite, Limestone, Slate – these are luxurious stone tiles from Mother Nature’s palate. Timeless beauty that creates earthy elegance. They may be heavy and special underlay is required for timber floors. They are glued to the substrate and the joins are grouted. For best protection they should be sealed and require resealing regularly in heavy-duty areas. This is typically a more expensive option, as stone is not cheap to purchase. Cleaning is easy with warm soapy water.
Vinyl Sheet Flooring
Today’s vinyl composite flooring is distinctly fashionable and indisputably durable. With an array of patterns and dazzling colours, vinyl can provide a distinctive look for your new kitchen. An underlay is recommended and joins can be ‘radio frequency’ welded. It is easy to clean and maintain, similarly to linoleum and no sealing is required.
Using bold colours and assorted geometry, vinyl tile is a durable choice for your new kitchen, with high impact. It is harder than vinyl sheets but has the same installation/maintenance needs as vinyl sheet flooring.
Terracotta Tile Floor
These are composed of baked clay with no surface coating, ranging pinkish, red to brown. These tiles come in larger sizes with wider joins, laid on cement base and need to be sealed or waxed; significant colour variation in the same batch is common. They can be porous and will absorb grease and oil stains that need to be washed off immediately with water and detergent. These tiles may also discolour over time.
Cork covering comes from the compressed bark of cork oaks, the colour range is limited to Yellows – Orange. They last from 10 to 20 years but should be sanded and clear coated (three coats) once every 3 to 5 years. The tiles are glued to concrete or underlay sheeting. The clear coating may be affected by spills of boiling water and oils that need to be cleaned immediately.
Cork is nice and soft and relatively warm under the feet, in has a nice ambience and pleasing texture, but is limited by colour.
This is a composite of oils, wood flour, resins, limestone and pigments, either in sheet form or in tiles that are a bit harder than say Cork and they come in a great colour spectrum.
Linoleum needs a smooth, rigid and very dry surface for laying (i.e cement slab) whereas timber floors require an underlay sheeting.
Linoleum is a long established product that lasts over 20 years, is easy to maintain by sweeping or mopping with water and detergent; but light colours could show scuffmarks.
From a health, cleaning and maintenance point of view, carpet floor covering should not be a choice for the wet areas and the food preparation area of a kitchen, however it may be a preferred choice for the family/dining extension in the kitchen area.
Carpet has some advantages (providing not in the wet areas or food preparation areas):
- Warmth & Insulation. Cushioning falls (for small children, carpet cushions the falls that come with learning to crawl or walk)
- Sound insulation.
- Soft on feet and toes and not slippery (unlike ceramic tiles for example)
- Durability (Hard floor surfaces may look good when new but most are prone to scratching and scuffing, unlike quality carpet)
- Huge colour choice
Note: The information provided here is to assist your Kitchen Design ideas – Aneka Kitchens & Joinery of Canberra does not quote, supply or install flooring – we have just supplied information on flooring to help with the whole design concept.