Vinyl sheet and tile are particularly good flooring choices for kitchens because they are able to withstand the common rigors of the space. Durability will vary based on the quality of the material purchased, however, vinyl will generally be water-resistant, stain-resistant, and easy to maintain. This functionality can be combined with advanced print and textural techniques, which allow you to achieve the look of a variety of flooring options.
What Makes Vinyl Great For Kitchens?
Waterproof: Vinyl is a water-resistant material that is impervious to penetration from moisture. With vinyl tiles, the seams between pieces will be weak points that will have to be sealed in order to prevent water from seeping down through them. This seal will wear down over time and will need to be reapplied periodically. With a vinyl sheet, you are able to create a single consistent covering over the entire surface of the floor, with the edge seams heat welded to the base of the walls.
Price Points: At $2 - $5 per square foot vinyl is on the low end of the flooring price scale. This is particularly poignant because printing techniques often allow you to replicate the look of much more expensive materials.
Cleaning: Maintenance is key in a kitchen where spills and splashes of various foodstuffs, are going to occur on a regular basis. Vinyl tends to be relatively stain proof and easy to care for, but some regular cleaning is required.
Dirt and small grit particles are particularly hazardous for causing slips and falls. You need to sweep or vacuum weekly in order to prevent them from scratching the wear layer of printed vinyl. Accidental falls are a major cause of injury in the home, and the kitchen is a place that often suffers from slippery spills and splatters that can make the floor treacherous, especially for young children, and the elderly. Vinyl is naturally resistant to slippage, but if you still have concerns, there are a variety of textured surface treatments that are available to give the material, even more, traction.
Mopping can be done with warm water or, in some cases, water mixed with a mild detergent specially formulated for your vinyl type and surface treatment. Rinse the floor thoroughly to remove any soap residue that may linger.
Comfort: Prolonged standing on hard surface floors can be fatiguing and painful to legs and feet. With vinyl, you have the option of placing a sheet of padding beneath the surface covering in order to soften the impact of footfalls. The thickness of the padding will determine how soft the floor is, but thicker material will be more expensive.
Dropped Objects: Cooking is kind of a juggling act and whenever you drop something, your floor will be there to catch it. With vinyl the surface that a dropped dish or glass hits will be relatively soft, making it less likely that accidents will turn into dangerously shattering housewares.
Design: This is where vinyl really shines. Modern manufacturing processes have led to the creation of vinyl flooring which can simulate nearly any other material, whether its tile, natural stone, or hardwood. It is even possible to get textured elements in the surface structure of the sheet or tiles in order to simulate the natural feel of the material. You can also use real grout in between tile pieces to create the appearance of a real installation.
The caveat to this is that no matter how good vinyl looks, the feel will always be slightly artificial. You can mimic texture and patterns, but the way that your foot feels pressing into the floor will give away subtle hints as to the true nature of the material.
Vinyl Kitchen Flooring Concerns
Usage: If the kitchen is a very active room, or if you enjoy throwing parties centered around this area, then you have to consider the durability of the vinyl that you choose.
Printed Vinyl This material gives you the widest range of design options but is manufactured with a wear layer over the surface. The thickness of the wear layer determines the durability of the vinyl, as it will fade over time.
Solid Vinyl: This vinyl is manufactured with homogenous layers which means that the colors run true straight through the material. Because of this the surface won't wear down or fade away with use. Vinyl composite tiles are similar but are manufactured to be even more durable and versatile than solid materials.
Sunlight and Fading: It is true that over time direct sunlight from open windows can cause fading in some vinyl. This can be offset simply enough by being aware of the problem and using curtains, or strategically placed throw rugs to protect the surface of the floor.
Things To Avoid With Vinyl Kitchens
Cleaning Restrictions: Do not use bleach, strong detergents, or abrasive cleaners when cleaning a vinyl kitchen floor. You should also avoid the use of scouring pads as they can scratch the surface of the material.
Punctures: Vinyl will yield when most objects are dropped on it, but if a knife or a sharply pointed piece is pressed down into it, the surface of the floor can puncture. To avoid this make sure that you use furniture pads under the legs of all furnishings in the kitchen. You should also strive to keep high heels well maintained and pet nails properly clipped.
Rubber Mats: These are popular in kitchens because they can easily catch and hold drop spills and splatters, protecting the floor below. However, if the rubber is allowed to be in contact with vinyl for a prolonged period of time a chemical reaction can occur which may cause discoloration on your floor.
Dirt and Oil: Since the kitchen is a messy place, dirt and oils often build up on a vinyl floor over time. This can lead to a grimy yellowish film appearing over the surface of the material. This can be handled to some extent through regular cleaning, and or stripping of the floor.