Story by Dakota Murphey – Guest writer
Photography by Various
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Guest writer Dakota Murphey runs through the pros and cons of several kitchen floor materials
In order to withstand the heavy duty traffic and daily wear and tear inflicted by kids and pets, durable flooring is the way to go – it’s stain and waterproof, scratch and dent resistant, and easy to keep clean. But which surface material is the most suitable?
I spoke to a luxury kitchen design company in Brighton (link below) to get the lowdown on 3 of the hardest kitchen floors: ceramic and porcelain tiles, natural stone and polished concrete.
Porcelain and ceramic tiles
Porcelain tiles are very resilient – a super practical and virtually maintenance free hard flooring solution for your kitchen. The tiles are fired at high temperatures to produce an extremely hard, stain resistant surface that is impervious to moisture and very difficult to chip or scratch. In fact, porcelain tiles are so durable that they can be used outdoors in most climates.
There’s a wealth of colours, patterns and textures to choose from including the latest designs that imitate wood, concrete, leather and more. Porcelain has a reflective quality that can make your kitchen look larger and brighter. It’s hygienic and non-porous and a great low-maintenance solution for any kitchen.
Ceramic tiles tend to be cheaper than porcelain since they’re not as hard wearing, but they come in a similarly huge range of shapes, sizes, colours and textures. Tiles are either glazed or unglazed, with the unglazed versions taking on the colour of the clay mixture which gives them a naturally more earthy tone. Ceramic tiles are easier to chip and crack, which is why it is even more important to install them on a flat, solid floor. Damaged tiles are unrepairable and will need replacing.
The disadvantage of a tiled kitchen floor is that you may struggle to achieve a warm, cosy feeling – unless you install underfloor heating.
Natural stone flooring
Classic stone is a popular flooring choice, which shouldn’t come as a great surprise. There’s a huge variety of stone flooring available including limestone, marble and travertine, granite and slate. As it’s a natural material, no two slabs are alike, with subtle variations in pattern, texture and colour adding depth and interest.
Installing a natural stone floor will give your kitchen flooring a unique, timeless and earthy look that complements beautifully with traditional kitchen schemes and can provide an exciting contrast to contemporary kitchen furniture. As hard floors go, it’s robust and very long lasting.
Stone floors are naturally cool, which is great for hotter climates and sunny spaces. In cooler zones, you may wish to add underfloor heating, which natural stone floors will respond to very well. Stone is a great heat conductor; it literally catches the heat and holds onto it.
Stone floors are heavy and need a solid base; suspended timber floors are not a suitable subfloor. The tough surface is unforgiving (just try dropping a china plate!) while your feet may complain after long periods of standing on a natural stone floor.
Choose your stone floor well since some stones, such as limestone and sandstone, may stain and will need periodic sealing for protection. Irregular surfaces will harbour dirt more easily, while a honed matte surface will give you a more contemporary look.
If you’re looking for an unashamedly modern kitchen flooring solution that’s as tough as it gets, polished concrete is the answer. Effortlessly cool and edgy, it has a fabulously contemporary look and feel that’s hard to beat.
Concrete is extremely hard wearing and, if looked after well, will last a lifetime – it actually gets stronger with age. It’s versatile and customisable with various colours and finishes including staining, polishing, stencilling and waxing.
A perfect solution even if you have an uneven subfloor, you can simply pour concrete over it, both inside and outdoors. Showing great thermal qualities, concrete absorbs heat during the day and releases it at night. As you’d expect, this surface is easy to clean and ideal for use with underfloor heating.
Laying concrete is a fiddly job best left to the professionals. It must be vibrated enough to eliminate all bubbles or else the concrete may crumble. Like other hard flooring surfaces, there’s no give, as you will find out if you drop a glass or your toddler takes a tumble.
Find out more about the Brighton Kitchen Company
First published date: 28 November 2017