Brick is a warm, durable and low maintenance material which has a distinct personality that can give your kitchen a unique flavor. It provides you with many of the characteristics of natural stone, including a strong hard surface that is long lasting and tough to damage. However, it also presents a number of concerns in the kitchen, and may not be suitable for all applications.
Water Concerns With Brick Kitchen Floors
The biggest problem you will encounter having a brick floor in a kitchen is that it is fairly porous, meaning if you spill water, it can penetrate down into the brick and cause damage to the subfloor.
It can also cause the growth of mold and bacteria in the material. If colorful liquids spill, then stains can occur dimensionally in untreated brick pavers.
The solution to this is to use a high-quality sealing agent to protect the surface of the bricks by creating an invisible layer over its pores. This will wear down over time, and a brick sealer will need to be reapplied every 6-12 months depending on the level of the traffic in the kitchen. You can also use a brick waxing agent which will create a shiny sheen over the floor, however, this will also sacrifice much of the traction of the material.
Brick Kitchen Flooring Design Options
There is something that is just homey about a brick floor. It instantly makes you think of a warm roaring hearth or the wafting of aromatic flavors drifting from a brick oven. This makes it a lovely material statement in a kitchen. But brick is much more than just a series of red rectangles placed in a row, and there are actually a variety of design options that are available to you.
Traditional bricks range in color from soft tans all the way up to dark crimson hues, with a range of reds shifting in between. The final color of the material is determined by the ingredients present when it is fired, as well as how hot the fire is, and how long the brick is baked for.
You also have the option to purchase color stained or tinted bricks which come in a variety of hues including greens, blues, browns, blacks, and silver.
Brick flooring can also be treated with color change stains and floor surface finishes after installation.
From basket weave to herringbone, there are dozens of different patterns that you can arrange bricks in. The use of different sized and shaped bricks can multiply this effect. Often disparate brick pieces are sold in square sheets that have seemingly random patterns which fit together to create an organic look.
Why Brick Works In Kitchens
Brick has a natural traction that will tend to grip feet, even when its surface is wet. This is enhanced by the texture of the grout lines running through the floor. If you choose to use a wax treatment on your pavers then you are going to sacrifice a significant amount of that traction, which can turn into a slippage issue in a damp kitchen.
Cost Over The Long Term
Brick floor pavers are moderately priced at about $5 to $10 per square foot, with outlying products existing beyond both ends of the range. However, brick is a long term flooring choice, and if it has been properly cared for a brick installation can potentially last for decades, saving you the cost of having to replace it every few years.
As long as you maintain the sealant on the bricks which will keep them water tight and safe, taking care of the floor should be relatively easy. Most spills should bead up on the surface, and regular maintenance will simply require regular sweeping or mopping to remove small dust and particles.
Brick Flooring In Other Locations
How Comfortable Is a Brick Kitchen Floor
Brick has a naturally warm and inviting feeling, that comes not only from the rich colors that adorn its surface but also from the fact that it retains heat. That means that if you sneak barefoot into the kitchen on a cold winter morning you won't have to worry about freezing your toes off.
While the strength and durability of brick can be wonderful as far as maintaining a long-term investment, it can also be murder on your feet and legs, especially when you are cooking big, complicated family meals.
The hardness of the floor can also be a problem when bending down or kneeling to get objects from low under counter shelves and cabinets.
A great way to offset this drawback is by placing rugs strategically through the kitchen. Make sure to position them in places where you do the most standing and kneeling, such as in front of the sink, or an often used counter area.
If individual bricks become damaged they can be replaced easily enough. Grout lines can also be sanded down and replaced. However, if you wish to replace the entire floor then removing the old bricks can be messy, costly, and time-consuming.
Brick is a relatively heavy flooring material that will usually need a concrete subfloor to support its weight. Floating wooden subfloors will have to be reinforced before installation. Most buildings are not designed to handle the weight of brick on second or higher level floors. It can be installed in many below grade environments, but proper water penetration prevention methods will have to be used.
Ecological Impact: Many people are concerned about the ecological impact of building materials used in their homes. The brick itself is relatively green and is manufactured mostly from clay, a natural material. However, the process of making bricks requires firing the raw materials to a relatively high temperature, which releases CO2 into the atmosphere. Depending on where the bricks have been manufactured the transportation of such a heavy material can also contribute negatively to the health of the environment.