Kitchens are one of the most hardworking rooms in any home or workplace. Not only do they need to withstand extremes of heat and humidity, they also have to be easy to clean, hygienic and able to withstand heavy wear and tear in the areas that are walked upon most frequently. The work triangle that links the fridge, range and sink tends to show wear first.
The earliest kitchens had stone floors, and while tiles are still popular options, this type of hard floor can be unforgiving. If you’ve ever dropped a cup or glass onto a tiled floor, you’ll know the disadvantages! The comfort and cushioning of carpeting also tends to be impractical in a modern kitchen; fitted carpets are difficult to clean and may suffer from damp and staining. So what are the remaining options?
If you are replacing or covering an existing floor, the quickest and simplest option is vinyl cheap flooring. Incredibly affordable, vinyl floors now come in a huge array of styles and patterns, whether you are choosing to buy it off the roll or as tiles.
Vinyl flooring offers cushioning and warmth underfoot while still being easy to clean. Priced per metre, vinyl is one of the best value floor coverings there is. Better still, there are now some great quality finishes and styles available in vinyl.
The downside is that, for many, vinyl is visually an affordable imitation of the flooring they would really love to have, whether that’s wood or tile. While it’s true that most vinyl flooring mimics traditional materials, innovative flooring producers are constantly reinventing the style and colours available in vinyl, and the advanced digital printing techniques make these effects more interesting and stylish than ever.
Solid wood looks and feels fantastic underfoot and offers a timeless elegance and style, but it can be an impractical choice for a kitchen. Real wood, however well treated and sealed, is prone to warping and gapping in the humidity and heat of a kitchen. High-quality laminate floors, also known as vinyl timber flooring, react better to these conditions and offer purchasers the look and feel of timber with few of the drawbacks.
Although traditional laminate flooring cannot be sanded and refinished as solid timber or high quality engineered wood can, the improved production methods used in recent years have created a more durable top layer that withstands chipping, staining and wear much more effectively than older laminate floors.
Most laminate floors are now laid using a simple click-lock method, making this a great option for the keen DIY enthusiast. Underlay beneath the laminate planks acts as a moisture and heat barrier, so laminate floating floors feel cushioned underfoot.
As with vinyl, laminate floors are easy to clean with a vacuum or broom and a quick mop. Unlike vinyl, if part of the floor becomes damaged, the usual installation method means it is simple to remove and replace a plank.