The choice of floor covering for the kitchen remains problematic for many consumers. The ideal covering would be a product resistant to stain and acid, easily washable, warm for bare feet, relatively soft to allow standing position for long periods, water and wear resistant and aesthetically integrated with the adjacent dining and living areas as well as with the kitchen cabinets and countertops.
In short, no floor covering get the general approval, but two seem to approach the various requirements of each and every one: ceramics and vinyl planks.
Ceramic kitchen floors have always been popular for their high resistance to wear, stains and water. They also come in different shapes and colors allowing them to be aesthetically integrated with the rest of the kitchen. Ceramics are also a very ecological product, being made of a natural and very durable material, without VOC emissions and little polluting when disposed.
They are mostly criticized for being hard on the feet, cold for bare feet, slippery when wet, and to be more difficult to clean in their joints. They also require very rigid floors to avoid cracking.
There are different construction and design approaches to reduce their disadvantages. Heating wires under the ceramic tiles are more and more used to warm the floor and make it comfortable to the touch. In addition, these heating wires quickly dry wet surfaces, making the ceramic less slippery. There are also many kinds of glazed tiles with a more non-slip surface that makes them safer.
As for the maintenance of the joints, epoxy-based joints are nowadays very little porous. This makes them more watertight and much easier to wash. In addition, the current trend in ceramic flooring favors large tiles, which greatly reduces the number of joints. Large, pattern-free and relatively plain colors tiles aesthetically match cabinets and countertops as well as wooden floor coverings in dining rooms and living areas.
With their everlasting aspect and their sure value, ceramic floors remain probably the best choice of flooring for kitchens, but some still blame them for their hardness.
New vinyl floors
Typically, vinyl sheet flooring, also known as linoleum, is the primary alternative to ceramic flooring. Furthermore, it often copies its forms and colors.
The linoleum provides a waterproof and seamless covering, warm and comfortable for the feet, while being easily washable.
The good quality products are durable, but there are cheaper versions of very poor quality that tear easily, turn yellow and who gave a bad reputation to the linoleum. That said, vinyl flooring hasn’t said its last word. The vinyl sheets flooring imitating wood have become a very suitable products for kitchens.
Indeed, good quality products perfectly imitate wood, stone or ceramic and are known to be resistant to water, wear and discoloration. Many architects now recommend them, even in higher traffic places. Their lifespan is estimated at around 25 years.
For the kitchens, they are easily washable, warm for the feet, they do not make noise when walked on and when they are slightly textured, they become non-skid. In addition, these vinyl sheet flooring planks are flexible and do not require reinforcement of the subfloor as for ceramic.
Planks can be assembled with interlocking (click) seals on a soundproofing subfloor or can be glued. For kitchens, it is preferable to stick them to avoid joints opening and to form a waterproof surface.
Some products offer important environmental qualities: low VOC emissivity products, absence of heavy metals, plasticizer with 100% vegetable oil, absence of toxic plasticizers, solvent-free adhesives and a certain percentage of recycled materials.
The product is not recyclable, but according to the classification of waste made by the European Union in 2000, PVC is considered as a waste that can be landfilled or incinerated without endangering the environment.
Ceramic or vinyl ?
The choice of ceramic or vinyl is a personal choice based on our perception of materials and the overall design of the kitchen and adjacent rooms.
Ceramic evokes the permanence of the stone and is part of a more formal and conservative contemporary design, while, vinyl planks are more in a humanist contemporary design where its woody appearance emphasizes its warmth.