How to Buy Flooring for Oak Kitchens
Once you’ve made the choice of which worktop (hard-wearing wood wins our vote every time) and which type of cabinetry (solid oak, we think: stylish, beautiful, and durable!), you now need to turn your mind to some other design elements: there are plenty of decisions still to make before your new kitchen is complete.
Being one of the busiest rooms in the home, your kitchen flooring has to put up with quite a bit of wear and tear. To make an informed decision on the right flooring that not only suits your own tastes, but also your kitchen requirements, we’ve put together this handy kitchen flooring information guide.
Having replaced linoleum, vinyl flooring can be a perfect choice for kitchens as it is durable, easy to clean and hard-wearing. This material is no longer limited to the awful designs of yester-year, with modern vinyl available in very convincing wood and stone designs, as well as modern patterns and even metallic effects.
Vinyl tends to come in a variety of thicknesses, from around 1.3mm up to super-insulating 4.5mm with comfortable backings and special protective layers to help reduce wear.
This type of flooring conveys the charming effect of wood or the rustic quality of natural stone whilst being a surface that is practical, easy to fit and relatively inexpensive. Whilst we feel that natural material is superior to imitation, there’s no doubt that laminate flooring has come a long way and is an affordable alternative in modern-day kitchens.
Laminate flooring is usually made up of 4 layers to create a laminate floor plank. The top layer protects the surface against wear, whilst the second layer is where the design – such as wood grain – is printed. The third layer is the thickest of all, and is made to add strength, stability and prevent moisture leaking through. The final layer of laminate is a backing which helps protect the laminate plank from moisture as well as helping to insulate.
Carpets may be the perfect flooring for cosy lounges, bedrooms and other areas around the house, but they’re not generally ideal for the kitchen environment. There’s a range of fibres, textures and styles available, but all suffer from the same problem in a kitchen where spills are unfortunately commonplace: they’re not particularly easy to clean, and tend to absorb spills. For these reasons, we’d advise choosing an alternative flooring for kitchens.
There is something unmistakable about the sensation of quality tiles underfoot. They’re easy to clean and come in a huge range to match any style of kitchen, though not all tiles are suitable for flooring. Some tiles are too thin and can easily shatter if something heavy is dropped upon them. If you’re going down the route of tiles, then make sure they’re specifically designed for flooring, and avoid choosing glazed tiles as they can become slippery very quickly. Tiles can also be quite chilly under-foot, so it might be wise to consider under-floor heating or insulating layers underneath.
This article wouldn’t be complete without a nod to solid wood. Hardwearing and the most aesthetically pleasing option available, it makes an excellent flooring that fits beautifully with all manner of kitchen themes. It is rather more expensive than other types of flooring available, but proves its worth by adding unmistakable unique character to a room that only natural wood can create. When choosing oak kitchens, solid wood flooring simply has to be considered as it is a wonderful complement to wood kitchen units and wooden worktops.
As manufacturing processes have improved, various other types of natural flooring material have become available, including cork, bamboo and engineered wood surfaces.
Cork has come a long way since the primitive tiles common in the 70s! Indeed, it’s now available in a wide range of colours, designs and finishes, and is both tough and naturally antibacterial. It’s also very quiet underfoot, naturally warm, and environmentally friendly.
Bamboo is more fibrous than normal wooden surfaces, making it incredibly durable, and is perhaps one of the most eco-friendly surfaces available (as bamboo grows so quickly). Its natural colour is a warm yellow, but it can be stained or steamed, which will turn it into a darker caramel shade.
Engineered Wood is a good alternative to solid wood, as it has a very similar look, but at a cheaper price. Boards are created in a similar way to laminate flooring, consisting of a plywood base with a thin hardwood layer on top.