Linoleum kitchen flooring is a favorite due to how easy it is to clean, its durability and the wide variety of styles in which it comes. But kitchen flooring doesn’t stop with just linoleum. There are all kinds of different kitchen flooring options, many of which are as durable or even more durable than linoleum. Choosing between different kitchen flooring types like hardwood, concrete, ceramic tile, natural stone or vinyl can offer an even wider array of kitchen styles. For instance, concrete kitchen flooring is the perfect way to get an urban or industrial look.

Installing a new kitchen floor can vary in price, depending on what type of flooring you buy. New flooring can range from around $0.50 to $14 per square foot. Wood and natural stone flooring tends to be the most expensive and vinyl tends to be the least expensive. Adding the cost of installation can often double or even triple those prices. However, if your kitchen flooring has seen better days, it will be worth it. And the wide range of materials and costs means you can likely find something to fit your budget and preferred style.

Hardwood is a classic material that works across multiple areas. Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

Hardwood kitchen flooring

Hardwood is a favorite kitchen flooring option in any home style. It can look classic or modern. Darker-toned woods can give a cozy, classic feel. Lighter-toned woods look great in brighter, more modern kitchens. Some pros and cons include:

Pros:

  • Different types of woods can give different design textures.
  • Wood floors come in a wide variety of styles, like oak, walnut and cherry woods. Bamboo is advertised as a more sustainable and durable flooring option due to how fast it grows.
  • You can sand and refinish your hardwood floors when they look worn, meaning less cost than a whole install.
  • You can match other interior elements, like the cabinets, to wood floors easily.
  • It doesn’t get as cold as other types of flooring.
  • It’s easy to clean.

Cons:

  • You have to be careful about which wood you use, as some are more durable than others. Pine tends to scratch easily, for instance. Some finishes also tend to be more durable than others, like fortified polyurethane finishes.
  • Moisture can warp and otherwise damage hardwood kitchen flooring. A leaking refrigerator or kitchen sink pipe can be catastrophic on your wood floors. Even spills left too long can damage them.
  • Hardwood needs a completely flat surface underneath it or it will bend with time. The substructure must be in good condition.
  • It tends to be the most expensive option on this list.

Concrete can be given a high gloss to look modern and sleek. Image: Kristof Gregoire/Shutterstock

Concrete kitchen flooring

Concrete kitchen flooring is on the more unconventional side of flooring options. But it looks great in urban, modern or industrial spaces. When given a high polish, it also reflects the light beautifully. Some pros and cons to this kitchen flooring option include:

Pros:

  • Concrete is resistant to moisture.
  • It’s the most durable of floors, in that it won’t scratch or scuff the way hardwood can.
  • When sealed well, concrete also doesn’t hold onto dirt, stains or spills.
  • Concrete comes in different colors and textures, thanks to modern dyes, paints and finishes.
  • You can opt for added heating elements under the floor to keep it warm.

Cons:

  • Concrete may become cold easily if heating elements are not installed.
  • The hardness can make it uncomfortable to walk barefoot on and dropped fragile dinnerware is sure to shatter. Falls can result in worse injuries, too.
  • Concrete can crack over time. However, you can find patching kits and paint to hide the cracking.

Different tile sizes can give a floor some visual interest. Image: Elena Elisseeva/Shutterstock

Ceramic tile kitchen flooring

Tile kitchen flooring can give an organized geometry to the space. The wide variety of textures also makes ceramic tile an attractive option for many kitchen designs. Included in this category is also porcelain tile, which is famous for its tougher and more scratch-resistant properties. Some overall pros and cons include:

Pros:

  • Different types of ceramic tile can mean different levels of durability but, on the whole, this is one of the most durable types of flooring. In fact, porcelain tile (a type of ceramic) is made from a dense clay that’s heated at high temperatures, making it tougher than natural stone.
  • Its surfaces are moisture-resistant.
  • Ceramic tile is not as prone to cracking as concrete, and when it does crack due to something hitting it, it’s easy to replace individual tiles.
  • It’s resistant to dirt, stains and liquids, so it’s easy to clean.

Cons:

  • Tile insulation can be time-consuming, meaning higher install costs if you hire a contractor. Laying tile is often tricky for DIYers, as well.
  • Grout between the tile tends to show its age fast if not sealed well.
  • Exact color and texture can be hard to pin down, as different batches of tile will have different sizes and colors.
  • It can be uncomfortable to stand on when barefoot due to its hard texture and ability to retain cold.
  • Tile is heavy and will require sturdy substructures.

Here you can see how the texture of natural stone reflects beautifully against cabinet lighting. Image: Kristin Smith/Shutterstock

Natural stone kitchen flooring

This kitchen flooring option is a favorite for anyone who wants texture in the home. It’s also a favorite for anyone who wants to bring the outdoors inside. Some pros and cons include:

Pros:

  • Stone is very durable and will last forever with care.
  • This is another floor type that combines well with heating elements under the floor.
  • Stone flooring is one of the most timeless elements you can add to a home.

Cons:

  • It retains the cold, but it does this even in the summer when that quality is welcome.
  • This is another flooring type where hardness can be an issue for standing barefoot. Stone is also not forgiving of dropped dinnerware or falls.
  • It’s very expensive.
  • This is also a very heavy material that will require sturdy substructures.

High-end vinyl does a good job of mimicking other textures, like natural wood. Image: appleyayee/Shutterstock

Vinyl kitchen flooring

Vinyl kitchen flooring is a highly durable favorite. It comes in many customized styles. It can even visually mimick natural wood in a convincing way. Some pros and cons are:

Pros:

  • Vinyl comes in both sheet and tile flooring styles, meaning it can mimic other styles like ceramic tile.
  • It’s stain- and water-resistant, though sheet vinyl is more resistant to moisture because it comes in bigger pieces.
  • Vinyl is durable under heavy foot traffic.
  • It’s not as noisy when walking on or as hard as wood, ceramic tile, concrete or stone.
  • Vinyl is inexpensive, often costing as little as $0.50 per square foot.

Cons:  

  • The color can fade over the years, especially under direct sunlight.
  • Sharp objects can tear vinyl and it doesn’t stand up well to very heavy objects.
  • Bumps and other texture issues in the substructure can show through vinyl.
  • People with sustainability and natural living concerns may want to keep in mind that vinyl flooring is not biodegradable and uses many chemicals in its production.
  • There is no refinishing vinyl, so if it tears, you often have to replace all of it if you have sheet vinyl.
  • Vinyl comes in both high qualities and low qualities, so you will have to be diligent when shopping.

Remember, choose kitchen flooring that fits your aesthetic preference and budget. While there’s nothing like a true hardwood, ceramic, concrete or stone floor, vinyl can do a good job of mimicking other natural materials.