Monday, 24 October 2011

Kitchen Floor Materials

Kitchen Floor Materials - Weighing the Options
Nick Austin

What are the main points to consider when choosing a flooring material for your lovely new kitchen? Beyond style and aesthetics one should bear in mind price, durability, maintenance and ease of installation. The main contenders in this race for the flooring prize are stone, wood, ceramic tiles and vinyl flooring.

In the first place it is easy to rank the materials according to price. Basically, stone, whether it's sandstone, slate or some form of marble will be very costly. Wood varies enormously - wide, reclaimed French farmhouse boards are very dear and thin slivers of oak on a plywood base aren't if one is prepared to shop around a bit. Ceramic tiles are comparable with the lesser end of the wood world depending on size of tile. By far the cheapest option is vinyl floor tiles, although there too there is a wide range in terms of cost and corresponding quality.
In terms of durability the same rankings will apply; it will take decades to go through a stone floor and similar for solid wood but laminates wear out comparatively quickly as do some types of vinyl flooring, although some more expensive types do wear well. Ceramic tiling is immensely durable right up to the point you drop an iron casserole on it and then it's ruined. Essentially, when it comes to ultimate longevity you get what you pay for but it is worth bearing in mind that a floor surface in a modern domestic situation probably doesn't need to last five hundred years.

When one thinks of maintaining floor surfaces one is thinking of basically two things; sealing and cleaning. Natural materials like stone and wood need regular application of a protective layer to prevent the underlying material becoming stained in the hustle and bustle of kitchen life. Ceramic and vinyl floor tiles do not (Although porcelain tiles do need a one-off treatment)

Failure to keep up with the maintenance of stone will lead to unsightly discolouration and with wood, inconvenient and immensely disruptive floor sanding.

Cleaning wood and stone in a kitchen environment takes more effort than the ceramic and vinyl alternatives simply because of the grain of wood and texture of stone which creates little hollows in which grime will accumulate and therefore require hard work to remove. Ceramic tiles and vinyl flooring are usually completely smooth in texture and can be cleaned as easily as in television commercials.

With ease of installation vinyl flooring is the easiest, a craft knife is about all you need. Wood, if one is confident with a saw, is comparatively straightforward although there is a difference in complexity between 'click-click' laminate and complete replacement of boards. Ceramic tiles and stone require water, specialist cutting equipment, cement, grout, goggles, a truss for when you've wrecked your back and probably reinforced joists to take the absurd weight of a two inch thick layer of the Jurassic era in your modest terraced house.

So what's it to be?

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