Inspirational product design eMagazine
Flooring options for kitchens have undergone many changes over the years as new materials have grown in popularity. Early kitchens had wooden floorboards, ceramic tiles or natural stone; however, research and development of new materials has brought about many alternatives.
The key feature of any kitchen surface is that it must be easy to clean; aesthetics should really come second. Kitchens tend to become very dirty when food is prepared, and many kitchens act as a back entrance into the home that adds to the grime that accumulates on the floor.
Each type of flooring that is available has its own benefits and drawbacks, and ultimately the best choice is the one that suits the personality and needs of the individuals who will be using the kitchen on a daily basis.
Ceramic tiles are one of the most popular choices in kitchens. They can match any kitchen style; plain and patterned tiles look great in modern kitchens, while more rustic looking tiles complement traditional kitchen fittings. How the tiles are laid down can have a huge impact on the look of the kitchen, so consider laying them diagonally instead of laterally. A separate style of border can help to finish the kitchen.
Tiles are very durable and easy to clean. However, they can get very cold underfoot in winter, and they often work best when there is underfloor heating. Another problem with tiles is that they are so hard; anything dropped on tile tends to break much easier than if dropped on laminate, wood or vinyl.
Real wood floors look amazing in both traditional and modern kitchens. Either a very light wood or very dark wood complements modern kitchens best. However, wood scratches easily, and scratches often accumulate dirt; this is often clearly visible. Wood also fades over time, so areas exposed to more sunlight will start to lose their color. Wood can be treated to repair damage though.
Very few people choose carpet in a kitchen, but it can work well, especially in homes with large kitchen diners. A carpet adds warmth to a kitchen, and to avoid having to replace the entire carpet if one area becomes excessively dirty, carpet tiles can be used.
Carpets can, of course, be cleaned, and some designed for kitchens can be cleaned more often. A good chemical clean, such as that provided by Action ChemDry Carpet Cleaning, will keep a carpet looking new for many years.
Vinyl tiles are becoming more popular. They come in all designs, with wood effect, stone effect and ceramic effects. They are durable, easy to clean and provide better sound and heat insulation than wood or ceramic; they can also be replaced easily. However, installation is more complex because the ground needs to be treated with a layer of screed so that the floor is perfectly flat and level.
Kitchen flooring should be a major investment. A low quality material, whether it is carpet or a hard floor cover, will soon start to look worn and stain. Cheap vinyl is prone to tearing and some can be hard to clean. Carpets need to be resilient to heavy-duty footfall and washing on a regular basis. Whatever option you choose, you can extend its lifespan by having it fitted professionally and regularly serviced.