Tile Flooring in the Kitchen
Tile floors are a great choice for kitchens. Tile can withstand heavy foot traffic, water, spills and doesn't absorb odors or bacteria. It can stand up to pets and children and it can go with any style decor. And tile can be arranged in a multitude of patterns.
The hardness that makes tile so desirable as a kitchen floor surface can also be a drawback. Serious cooks will want to wear comfortable shoes or put down floor mats or area rugs, because standing on tile for long periods of time can be tough on legs and backs. Its surface is cold to the touch of bare feet. And dropped dishes, mugs, and glasses can break on impact.
This rich, beige porcelain tile features natural color variations and realistic textures. The large-format tiles are less busy, causing the kitchen to appear larger. Shown: Cairo, Papyrus. Photo courtesy of Mannington Mills, Inc.
Distinctive and beautiful, tile floors are a carefree choice for high-traffic kitchens. A variety of accents, borders and trim pieces make it easy to achieve virtually any look. Photo courtesy of Shaw Floors
Realistic Stone Details
An affordable alternative to travertine, this tile floor features enhanced realism due to a special digital imaging process. The tiles are formed from 40 to 51 percent recycled material. Photo courtesy of Mohawk Flooring
Durable Wood Finishes
Innovative porcelain tiles offer the beauty of wood with enhanced durabililty. The low-maintenance flooring is available in four finishes. Shown: Nocchio porcelain. Photo courtesy of ANN SACKS
What You Need to Know
The Lowdown: Tiles are manufactured pieces of durable material, such as ceramic, stone, metal, or glass.
Tough Enough? This ultra-hard surface won't be damaged by pets or kids, and it withstands stains from spilled food. But it requires proper sealing to withstand water.
How to Clean: Wipe up spills immediately to avoid staining grout. Sweep, dust, or vacuum regularly, and occasionally wipe the surface with a damp mop or cloth. Avoid abrasives such as steel wool and scouring pads. Reseal stone floors as necessary.
Considerations When Choosing Tile Flooring
There are three primary types of tile.
Ceramic. Made from clays. It's easy to install but slightly more prone to damage than porcelain.
Porcelain. Made from sands and minerals, it's harder and more dense than ceramic tile and water resistant. But it's harder to install.
Stone. Beautiful and durable, but requires sealing and is the most expensive.
The most popular tiles are large format styles that minimize grout lines and make a small kitchen appear larger. Squares are the most popular shape, but rectangles, hexagons, and octagons can make a statement. You can incorporate one or more styles to create a variety of patterns, from checkerboard to basketweave, and add accents for visual interest. Here are some considerations when choosing tile for your kitchen floor:
- Durability. The Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) has established a rating system to designate tile durability. Choose tile rated Class 3 (moderate traffic) or Class 4 (moderate to heavy traffic) for kitchen floors.
- Water resistance. Some types of tile absorb water like a spongenot the best option for the kitchen. For moisture-prone kitchens stick with unglazed tiles with a maximum absorption rate of 0.5 % and glazed tiles with a maximum rate of 3%.
- Texture. Textured floors make a floor less slippery and mask dirt, but they can be tougher to clean. If you're worried about slipping, consider adding mats in areas of concern, such as in front of the sink.
Underlayment. Tile must be installed on a subfloor that is smooth, flat, rigid, and clean. Depending on the existing subfloor, a cement tile backer board may be required beneath the tile.