Tile flooring for kitchens comes in many styles and can stand up to a wide variety of traffic conditions and abuse. Tile can withstand heavy foot traffic, water, spills and doesn’t absorb odors or bacteria. It can stand up to pets and children and it can go with any décor.
The hardness that makes tile so desirable as a kitchen floor surface can also be a drawback. Serious cooks will want to wear comfortable shoes or put down floor mats or area rugs, because standing on tile for long periods of time can be tough on legs and backs. Its surface is cold to the touch of bare feet. And dropped dishes, mugs, and glasses can break on impact.
Tile Flooring Essentials
What Is It? Tiles are manufactured pieces that include materials such as ceramic, stone, metal, or glass.
Durability: This ultra-hard surface won’t be damaged by pets or kids, and it withstands stains from spilled food. But it requires proper sealing to withstand water.
Cleaning and Maintenance: Wipe up spills immediately to avoid staining grout. Sweep, dust, or vacuum regularly, and occasionally wipe the surface with a damp mop or cloth. Avoid abrasives such as steel wool and scouring pads.
What to Consider When Choosing Tile Flooring
There are three primary types of tile.
Ceramic- Ceramic tiles are made from natural clays. They are easy to install but slightly more prone to damage than porcelain tiles.
Porcelain- Porcelain tiles are made from sands and minerals. As a result, they are harder and more dense than ceramic tile and water resistant. Porcelain tiles are typically harder to install.
Stone- Stone tiles are beautiful and durable but require sealing to protect for liquid spills. Stone is also the most expensive type of tile.
The most popular tiles are large-sized styles that minimize grout lines and make a small kitchen appear larger. Squares are the most popular shape, but rectangles, hexagons, and octagons can make a statement. You can incorporate one or more style to create a variety of patterns and add accents for visual interest.
What to Consider When Choosing Tile for Kitchen Flooring
Durability- The Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) has established a rating system to designate tile durability. For many kitchens, tile that is rated either Class 3 (moderate traffic) or Class 4 (moderate to heavy traffic), are good choices.
Water resistance– Some types of tile are very water-absorptive, which is a big negative in a kitchen. The best bet will be unglazed tiles with a maximum absorption rate of 0.5 % and glazed tiles with a maximum rate of 3%.
Texture- Textured floors make a floor less slippery and mask dirt, but they can be tougher to clean. If you’re worried about slipping, consider adding mats in areas of concern, such as in front of the sink.
Underlayment– Tile must be installed on a subfloor that is smooth, flat, rigid, and clean. Depending on the existing subfloor, a cement tile backer board may be required beneath the tile.