The kitchen can be a challenging area to provide flooring for. On one hand, the flooring must be comfortable enough to stand on for long durations. On the other hand, however, the flooring must be resistant to stains and a high level of foot traffic. The right kitchen flooring requires little maintenance and can keep up with the demands placed on it by a modern kitchen. Spills and accidents will occur frequently, putting a strain on any flooring that is installed in the kitchen area. To prevent serious maintenance problems and future expenses, it pays to install the right kind of flooring to begin with.
Wood flooring has traditionally been seen in kitchen flooring, but it can lead to high maintenance costs. Wood aborbs moisture, causing it to warp and crack over time. When a wood floor absorbs too much moisture it can end up crowning or cupping, producing an unsightly and uneven surface. The only solution to this problem is to sand down the bowing section, or to rip out the entire floor and start over. Neither of these are very attractive options, and involve many hours as well as thousands of dollars. While a properly finished and maintained wood floor may resist these problems, wood flooring is certainly more prone to suffer from them.
More reliable options include slate and ceramic tile. Tile and slate do not absorb moisture, and do not suffer from warping or cracking. As fairly rigid materials, they experience little expansion or contraction.
Slate and ceramic flooring are available in a broad range of colors and shades. Slate and ceramic flooring are also very slip resistant, making them a safer surface to use in the kitchen as well. Hardwood flooring can become slick, especially if it has been exposed to moisture. When using slate as a kitchen surface, be sure to go with a low gloss or finish for extra slip protection.
Laminate flooring is also another viable option in the kitchen. To achieve that hardwood look without the maintenance issues, laminate flooring can be a great alternative. Laminate flooring is easy to install, affordable, and very resistant to both water damage and stains.
Laminate flooring is also designed to withstand a great deal of foot traffic and pressure. The kitchen is a high stress area for flooring, and should be treated as such. Choosing the right kind of flooring will give homeowners lasting durability, with low maintenance requirements.