When you're shopping for kitchen floor tile, you need to keep certain factors in mind that distinguish this space from others in your home. So, along with the all-important need to seek beauty and aesthetics, you should balance these other factors:
Even though kitchens are not as water-intensive as a shower, bath, or even the general bathroom area, they do get water. That's the number one reason why surfaces like tile (vinyl stone, or ceramic) or sheet vinyl are great for kitchens: water cannot degrade these inorganic materials.
Kitchens are notorious for getting lots of activity, and not all of it related directly to cooking. So, your kitchen floor tiles need to stand up to the constant flow of traffic.
One aspect of durability is a tile property called through-body. This means that the tile is homogenous: what you see on top continues all the way through the tile material to the bottom. In real-life terms, this means that if you chip a tile that is not through-body, you will see white underneath If you chip a through-body tile, you will see more of the same top material.
The irony of installing durable kitchen flooring such as stone is that it can be hard underfoot. For many home chefs, stone and ceramic/porcelain tile are hard the back and legs, especially when you stand for a long time. Resilient floor tile provides more flex than ceramic tile.
Ever wonder why so many kitchen floor tile designs use earthen tones? Darker tones hide the dirt from foot traffic and cooking spills better than light colors such as white. If you do purchase lighter toned flooring, be prepared for more frequent cleaning.
This is a minor point, but it bears mentioning. Resilient floor tiles provide for better breakage protection than ceramic--thus the word resilient. If you accidentally sweep a bottle of olive oil off the counter, there is a good chance (but no guarantee) that it will bounce off of the vinyl kitchen tile. Do the same thing with ceramic tile, and you'll be wet-mopping oil for days to come.
Breakage of the tile itself (not just kitchen items) is important, too. Ceramic and porcelain tiles can crack if a heavy object such as a small appliance is dropped on it. Resilient tile will not crack.
Product: Shown here is large format travertine tile for this Tuscan style kitchen. Travertine is a sedimentary rock that is a favorite for flooring as it has a warm, comfortable, almost suede-like texture. You can purchase imitation travertine in ceramic form for a relatively similar appearance, though the texture will be smoother.
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Dependable and Durable
Kitchen flooring doesn't get any more basic and dependable than this 18"x18" size ceramic tile from American Olean.
The color, Brownstone, runs all the way through the tile, due to ColorBody, which the manufacturer states is "a color pigment...mixed with the clay body powder, giving the finished tile a consistent color throughout the body of the tile."
Through-body color is an important feature for maintaining durability: if the tile chips, white will not show through. Instead, much like chipping natural stone, you will see more of the top material.
Product: American Olean Avenue One BrownstoneContinue to 2 of 7 below.
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Clean and Bright
First, you consider earthen tones to hide traffic stains, wear, and cooking spills. Then that white tile in nice large 18" x 18" format begins to look pretty good, too: bright, cheerful, and clean.
Product: American Olean, Mirabella Ocean PearlContinue to 3 of 7 below.
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Armstrong resilient kitchen tile that offers a scuff-hiding low gloss finish and a limestone-impregnated surface, the very definition of durable and maintenance-free.
This is a dry-back tile, meaning not self-adhesive. You need to apply using a separate adhesive.
Product: Armstrong Moselle ValleyContinue to 4 of 7 below.
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Now, this is a sturdy kitchen tile floor. Solid clay pavers, one foot by one foot square, for a rich, warm feeling in your kitchen.
Note that these are unglazed kitchen floor tiles.
Product: American Olean Terra Paver 12x12 Clay (Solid)Continue to 5 of 7 below.
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Why should Armstrong and American Olean have all the fun? Small, locally-owned shops can put out kitchen floor tile as good as the big boys. So take that, humph!
Gustin Tile, based in South Dartmouth, MA, is owned by Chris Gustin--a real-live BFA/MFA. Now, how many floor tile makers can claim graduate degrees?
Gustin puts out lovely tiles of "handmade of vitreous high-temperature stoneware clay that is fired to 2300 degrees."
Find It: Gustin CeramicsContinue to 6 of 7 below.
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A vinyl, no-wax kitchen floor tile from Armstrong. Color is Canyon Shadow in 16"x16" size. The low gloss finish works great in kitchens. This is dry-backed; not self-adhesive.
Product: Armstrong Mesa Stone CanyonContinue to 7 of 7 below.
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Ceramic and dark-toned, this product is another low-maintenance floor tile that comes in 18"x18" sizes. The glazed finish helps withstand stains and resist traffic.
Product: American Olean Vallano 18 x 18 - Dark Chocolate Tile Flooring