We take a quick look at the pros and cons of the two superstar flooring choices – how do they manage the ick, while allowing for style and comfort?
Your kitchen sees you at your most inspired – and grottiest. The kitchen floor has to weather it all, serve up charm while you serve dinner, and be easy to clean if it wants to survive your wrath.
So how do the two most popular choices out there measure up?
Everything old is new again. Old kitchens were commonly wood floored, until mod-cons and tiles took over. These days, wood is back in favor, as we realise there’s no reason that lovely look around the rest of the home can’t be extended into our kitchens for a seamless feeling.
They’re beautiful: Though it doesn’t suit every kitchen, wooden floors add a touch of class to this important space and value to most properties. Enveloping modern features, their cleanlines add a seamless polish. Helping ground a cosier, more country style kitchen, wood can feel homey and welcoming.
Less sneezing: Carpets and other coverings can create problems for allergy sufferers. Pet hair, dirt, dust and other bits and pieces don’t stick as readily to wood, so may offer relief.
Sustainability: Well-tended, wooden floors will last a really long time and natural floors are generally more environmentally friendly than synthetic materials.
Extra TLC: Wooden floors do require extra care and attention in this spill prone zone. While they’re not too difficult day to day (dust is a breeze), you’ll need to treat them over the long term and take care not to use damaging cleaning materials.
It’s alive!: Your floors are a living thing which will creak, give, absorb and breathe. This adds character, but may also create noises, movements and other little surprises. Talk closely with your materials provider and installer to get the timber that not only fits aesthetically, but that will feel, sound and behave the way you expect over time.
Wear and tear: The kitchen is a thoroughfare, and hardwood floors do show their scratches. If you run a busy ship, you might want to try laminate floors instead. They offer a similar effect, with less vulnerability. Wood also doesn’t play well with excessive moisture, so make sure your kitchen is rigged for optimal temperatures and deal with water damage quickly.
Cost: The big one. Doing wood right isn’t cheap, especially if you have a large space, or want to match floors to other parts of your property. But doing your homework will help, and if you’re a true aficionado, you’ll hatch clever compromises to make it happen.
There’s no denying the shiny appeal of tiles. They’re been kitchen favorites as long as most of us can remember. And in recent years we’ve let ourselves experiment with colour and texture, so tiling isn’t a bland beige or white sentence.
They’re sturdy: Unless you literally drop the kitchen sink on them, tiles will weather the trials of your kitchen well and happily support years of foot traffic.
Design flexibility: Lighter colours can make a kitchen seem bigger, darker tiles can add contrast and shade. Smaller tiles are great for featured patterns, and larger tiles help a kitchen feel expansive (they’re also usually easier to clean).
Hot and cold: Tiles keep you cooler in warm or hot weather, and well-made tiles tolerate in-kitchen temperature extremes well.
Limited stock: They stop making certain tiles regularly, and it might be difficult to find a match if you need to replace or repair.
Stains: Tiles can be sneaky. Simple wipe ups are straightforward, but some lighter coloured tiles stain easily. Avoid bright whites or work with your provider to get maximum stain resistance. Heavy textures may also catch muck and be tricky to clean, and slate or other special tiles will take extra time and care to scrub.
You drop it, you’ve lost it: Let slip a plate or glass and you’ll be dusting up the pieces. Tiles aren’t a drop friendly surface, so be careful. You might want to add rugs or decorative fabrics to mitigate the risk of stuff shattering. Also minimise waving crockery around under the influence.