Step up your kitchen floors

From cork, to tile, to wood: How to choose the right floor



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You’ve paid a bundle for your countertops, cabinets and appliances and with the right flooring all this effort will make your new kitchen shine and sparkle. New kitchen floors are a chance to make a statement—it’s also a chance to spend money on an inferior or a superior product. That’s because the true test of a great kitchen floor is how it stands up to everyday life. tests the different flooring options you can use in a kitchen renovation and finds the best options aren’t always the most expensive.

Porcelain or ceramic tile

Want easy cleanup that comes in a variety of colours and textures? Consider a porcelain tile floor. The downside to a tiled floor is that it’s cold and hard underfoot and grout lines can attract dirt and grime. Also, they are prone to chipping or cracking if heavy items are dropped.


If you want a warm look in your kitchen, consider installing hardwood flooring. Unless you select a particularly soft wood, such as pine, most hardwood floors are pretty good with dropped pots and won’t dent or scratch too easily. That said, hardwood will scratch and dent and lose its lustre over time, so you’ll need to consider whether or not refinishing the floor in the future is in the budget.


Want a floor with more cushion? Consider a cork kitchen floor. The warm look is similar to wood, but it’s more durable when it comes to wear and tear. That said,  you’ll need to refinish your cork floor with polyurethane once every couple of years to limit the wear and tear on the surface.


As an oil-based product, linoleum is good at repelling water, but to maintain its look (and repellency), lino floors need to be maintained over time. Still, for those that want the nostalgia of linoleum, you can always coat your new lino-floor with an acrylic sealer—just be sure to re-coat once a year, explains expert Walt Bamonto. Despite its tired, great-grandma’s house image, lino is actually a popular choice for daycares, hospitals and some retail stores—partly because of its natural bacterial qualities and partly because it’s highly durable . “You can get it wet,” says Bamonto, and you don’t have to worry about dents or cuts, like you do with vinyl. But stay away from this flooring option if you’re prone to allergies or dislike the strong odour of linseed oil. Also, expect to pay more for sheet linoleum (both in material and installation costs) than with tile linoleum. That said, sheet lino is considered better, in terms of wear-resistance, as it has fewer seams so there’s less chance for water penetration.


This product looks good when first installed, but over time it starts to show scratches, dings and warping far too easily. It’s also a terrible choice for areas where water or moisture are present—so keep the area around your sink nice and dry, if you install laminate flooring in your kitchen.

Flooring costs

To help you decide on your next kitchen floor, here’s a sample of what it would cost for professionals to install the material of your choice in a 600 square foot room (ranked from least to most expensive):

Linoleum: $3.20 to $4.20 per square foot for a total cost of $1,900 to $2,525

Cork: $4.65 to $6.15 per square foot for a total cost of $2,800 to $3,665

Laminate: $5.60 to $7.70 per square foot for a total cost of $3,200 to $4,450

Hardwood: $8.50 to $11.50 per square foot for a total cost of $5,000 to $7,000

Tile: $9.80 to $13.75 per square foot for a total cost of $5,950 to $8,325

More on the Ultimate Kitchen Renovation Guide:

Choose the right kitchen sink, faucet and hardware »
The ultimate guide to buying kitchen cabinets »
Picking the perfect kitchen appliances »
How to save on countertops »

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