Kitchens are not only at the heart of Australian households, they're also at the heart of the family unit. A kitchen is where you lovingly prepare packed lunches for your kids, cook delicious meals for your loved ones, and host friends for late night catch-ups over wine at the breakfast bench. Kitchens are what keep Aussie families running.
For this reason, it's extra important that we select the right floor for our homes when we're building, renovating or updating. But what should we consider before making that decision?
Most people think that money is the most important thing, but we beg to differ. Before you do anything else, you really need to consider the fact that the kitchen — as the hub of the home — is a high traffic area.
With people coming and going from the fridge at all hours of the day, the kitchen experiences almost more foot traffic than any other room in the house. This traffic inevitably translates into wear and tear over time, meaning that further down the track you may need to fork out money for specialist cleaning, or in a worst case scenario, to repair or replace your flooring.
Furthermore, we all know the kitchen is a water prone area. When we do the dishes, water will splash and slosh over the sink, potentially leading to waterlog and damage in the future. For this reason, we not only need to consider a floor that can withstand traffic, but one that is suitable for the environment in which it will be laid.
Your choice will need to be practical, affordable, and you'll have to like it -- after all, you'll be spending a lot of time there.
We have done the research and narrowed the list of what we consider the best flooring for a kitchen down to three, key choices:
1. Laminate Floors
Interested in fitting wooden floorboards in your kitchen, but looking at your bank account and starting to sweat? Don't stress. If you can't afford real wooden boards, there's another option that's just right for you: laminates floors.
Modern laminate floors can be an ideal choice for a kitchen, not just in terms of affordability but also in aesthetics. Laminate collections such as the Quick-Step Majestic and Quick-Step Eligna catalogues are ultramodern and up to the task of performing as one of the greatest kitchen floors out there.
Quick-Step Eligna Vintage Oak Natural Varnished
Laminate flooring is stylish, cost-effective and, best of all, can be customised to resemble an authentic wooden look that suits you. They're easy to install and maintain, and so long as they're factory sealed they will age better than most types of flooring out there. Furthermore, as technology advances, they are becoming increasingly water resistant and are therefore perfect for water prone environments such as kitchens.
The Quick-Step Majestic and Quick-Step Eligna laminate floors will add a timeless, opulent look to your kitchen and expand the feeling of spaciousness without hitting you in the hip pocket. The kicker is that the laminate is delivered in planks and are a breeze to fit, even for the amateur homeowner or floorer.
2. Vinyl Floors
The second type of flooring that is well suited to a kitchen environment is a good quality vinyl floor. Its greatest appeal is perhaps that it is a less expensive option than tiles and laminates, and yet it is also extremely durable and comes in a range of patterns that can be made to match the interior of any kitchen.
Quick-Step Balance Click Artisan Planks Grey
This type of flooring is becoming increasingly popular and in high demand, mainly due to its combination of looks, robust composition and the ease with which it can be looked after and cleaned. Some vinyl planks can even be textured so the topic surface matches the design thereby creating a wonderful impression of the material which it aims to imitate.
New technologies and methods of production mean that the physical and aesthetic qualities of vinyl planks has improved dramatically over recent years, making them one of the most sought-after products for kitchen floors.
Homemakers and residential developers have been opting for tiles in the kitchen forever, mainly because they're tough, durable and able to withstand the demands of kitchen life, such as spills, stains and foot traffic.
Natural stone tiles are one of the most popular types of tiles. That is because they have a timeless, stylish look about them that never ages or goes out of fashion. These tiles will suit any abode; from the small suburban home, to the uptown apartment, to the old, country-style getaway house, they're sure to enhance the look of any Australian kitchen.
However, the prospective customer should be aware that this type of flooring requires additional care before and after installation to ensure the tiles are sealed and properly finished. This is because natural stone tiles, such as limestone, are porous and therefore their surface needs to be expertly sealed. This will prevent them from being damaged by external forces, and to preserve their integrity so they might survive in humid areas.
If you aren't turned off by this, and are willing to have the floor expertly maintained, then you will be increasing your home's value and enriching its appearance. Available in a wide range of colours, sizes and textures, natural stone tiles are an asset to any kitchen.
However, if you've just had a glance at the price tag of a stone tile and gasped with shock, you may want to consider a cheaper, but no less endearing alternative. Porcelain tiles are trouble-free and tough. They can be made to imitate the look of wood or concrete, and they hold up to the pressures of kitchen life almost as well as the materials they aim to replicate.
Similarly, if you're hoping to install a glossy slate or marble floor, but you're reluctant to fork out the big bucks to buy it, there are other, cheaper lookalikes out there.
If you're willing to do the research and porcelain tiles aren't your thing, there are other alternatives that offer the same aesthetic value, minus the hefty price tag and cost of maintenance. Stone-effect tiles, for example, are not only cheaper than the real thing, they're also waterproof, sturdy and easy to maintain.
And thanks to new, cutting-edge technology, these tiles can be made to impersonate the real thing to such a standard you'll struggle to tell the two apart!
So what type of flooring will you select for your kitchen?
Even though it is the middle of the range in terms of pricing, our personal favourite is the Quick-Step Majestic and Quick-Step Eligna range, largely due to the simplicity with which it can be installed as well as its unique features which make it the most enduring type of flooring for a kitchen environment.
Nevertheless, any of the flooring options we explored above are definitely the top contenders when it comes to enhancing the atmosphere and longevity of your kitchen!