The kitchen is tough on floors. How can you choose one that is low-maintenance? You have spatters and stains from inevitable spills onto the flooring. On top of this, you have extremes of heat and heavy appliances which stand in place for years. Then there are the sharp or heavy objects falling such as knives, cans, and pans which can puncture or crack the flooring.
The material that you choose for a kitchen floor has to be able to withstand all of these rigors on a day to day basis. At the same time, it needs to be relatively easy to clean and care for, so that you can spend more time cooking, and less time cleaning and caring for your flooring.
Vinyl is a relatively new surface covering, which has only been developed into flooring in the past few decades. It is a man-made material, similar to plastic, with many of the same resilient and resistant properties. This makes it proof against almost all staining agents and makes the surface relatively easy to wipe clean of spills and splashes. Vinyl is also a tough flooring material that doesn’t easily rip, tear, or scratch.
Natural stone refers to a variety of materials which are extracted from the earth and then processed into architectural elements. This is important because different types of stone will have different properties. Marble and onyx, for instance, are very soft, easily scratched, and can be stained by liquid agents.
If you are looking for a good low maintenance stone kitchen floor, then you should probably look at materials such as slate and granite. These are very hard stones, that can be made nearly impervious to water with a proper sealing treatment. They are also resistant to scratches and divots, although chips and cracks can appear if a heavy enough object is dropped, or if the floor is improperly installed.
Multi-colored slate and granite can also save you time on cleaning because the mottled surface of these materials will tend to hide dirt and imperfections. You will have to do less work to keep the kitchen looking spotless because all of the spots are camouflaged by colors.
Note that natural stone kitchen floors do need to be sealed periodically to make them impervious to water damage and stains.
Linoleum is a low-maintenance, easy-care, and resilient flooring material that is also ecologically friendly. Manufactured from linseed oil, linoleum is easily renewable, all-natural, biodegradable, and has almost no negative impact on the environment. It can even be recycled at the end of its life cycle into fuel for power generators.
At the same time, linoleum has many of the durable properties that make resilient flooring so popular in kitchens. This includes resistance to stains and spills and inherent durability which protects it from ripping, tearing, or scratching. In some cases, it may suffer from curling in moist or humid environments, but this has largely been taken care of with modern improvements in the manufacturing process.
With ceramic flooring, you get the look, feel, and strength of natural stone in a tile that is also manufactured to be impervious to moisture penetration. Cleaning can be done by sweeping, vacuuming, or damp mopping the surface, with spot treatments being handled when necessary. You also don’t have to worry about sealing the tiles themselves, although applying a coat to grout lines can help to cut down on the growth of mold.
Concrete is becoming a popular flooring option and, when accompanied with radiant heating, it can be a great choice as an alternative flooring. It is very easy to care for and maintain a concrete kitchen floor. That is because this material is powerful, durable, and strong enough to use as the foundation for an entire house. It is extremely difficult to chip, scratch, or dent concrete, and even if you somehow manage to do it, the repairs are generally simple, quick, and fairly inexpensive.
The only maintenance issue that you might have with concrete in a kitchen is the fact that it is permeable. That means that dropped liquids can spill down, and then seep into the body of the material. Luckily concrete floors can be sealed, allowing you to create an invisible barrier over the surface, while also clogging those porous holes in the concrete down below.
Aside from periodic reapplication of that sealer, care of a concrete kitchen floor will just require regular sweeping and or damp mopping as you feel it is necessary. Spot treatments can be applied to places where bad stains occur, and you can even use relatively heavy duty detergent if you make a huge mess. However, as long as you maintain that surface seal you shouldn’t need to take such drastic measures.
Brick flooring is very similar to stone and concrete in that it is a hard surface material, that is also permeable and needs to be sealed. However, once sealed it becomes a low-maintenance kitchen flooring option, that only has to be swept free of debris every few days. The surface sealant will have to be reapplied periodically, but as long as that is done on a regular basis, a well-installed brick floor can potentially last a lifetime.