Your kitchen is probably one of the busiest rooms in your house, which means that, between splashes and spills, dropped food, mud from kids, mess from pets and a whole lot more, your kitchen floor has to withstand more abuse than just about any other part of your home.
For this reason, choosing the right material for your kitchen floor is vital, and you have several options. Nowadays, vinyl is among the most popular, so to help you decide whether this is the right material for you, in this post we answer the question, is vinyl flooring good for kitchens?
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What do you need from a kitchen floor?
Before we look at how suitable vinyl is for kitchen floors, let’s think a bit about the requirements most people have of kitchen floors in general.
Perhaps the most important feature of all kitchen floors is that they need to be water-resistant at the least – and fully waterproof if possible.
The kitchen is where you prepare and serve food and drinks, it’s where you wash the dishes, it might be where you clean your pets – and there are lots of other activities involving water or liquids that take place in the kitchen besides, so there’s always a high risk of splashes.
So in short, if your kitchen floor isn’t resistant to water, it’s won’t last very long.
Furthermore, your kitchen probably sees people coming and going in muddy boots, cats and dogs probably pass through the kitchen after playing outside and may also have their food bowls in the kitchen, and there’s always the risk of dropping food on the floor too.
This all means a kitchen floor needs to be low maintenance, easy to clean and stain-resistant.
Plates or mugs being dropped, pets’ claws or heavy boots can also damage many surfaces, so you want a kitchen floor that’s resistant to this kind of damage.
At the same time, your kitchen is probably a place where people congregate. It’s where your kids go to get a drink, but it’s probably where your guests will end up if you have a party – so as well as practical considerations, you also want your kitchen to look attractive.
So as you can see, when it comes to kitchen floors, we tend to have a lot of demands.
What is modern vinyl flooring?
One of the materials that can meet most of the demands we have on kitchen floors is vinyl.
However, before we look at the advantages and disadvantages of vinyl flooring for kitchens, let’s think a bit more about what modern vinyl flooring is to help understand the pros and cons of this material.
Vinyl flooring first appeared in the 1930s, but it really took off in the following decade, growing in popularity during the ‘40s and ‘50s, particularly as an alternative to linoleum.
Back then, vinyl flooring tended to come in large and uninspiring sheets of material, but it’s come a long way since those days.
As planks or tiles, it’s available in a wide range of colors, patterns and textures, realistically mimicking other more expensive materials like wood, stone and ceramic tile for a fraction of the price.
With all these advantages, it’s no wonder that vinyl flooring has become incredibly popular, so now let’s think about the reasons why it’s such an ideal material to use for your kitchen floor.
What are the advantages of vinyl flooring for kitchens?
As we mentioned, one of the first things to look for in a kitchen floor is that it needs to be water-resistant, and in this area, vinyl is a winner. All vinyl flooring is water-resistant to a certain extent, and some versions are 100% waterproof.
Vinyl sheet flooring is the most waterproof, but tiles and planks can be highly water-resistant too – and you can even improve this by adding a protective layer of sealant once it’s installed.
It’s also among the most low-maintenance surfaces available. You can wash it with warm water or gentle detergent, and since most modern vinyl flooring includes a protective wear layer on the surface, it won’t stain.
This means that with vinyl flooring, it’s super-easy to clear up spills, food, mud, pet mess and just about anything else that ends up being dropped on it.
The wear layer also makes it resistant to scrapes and scratches – although the level of protection will depend on how much money you spend on it since the wear layer on expensive vinyl flooring is much tougher than you get with more budget-friendly versions.
Another major advantage of using vinyl for a kitchen is that it offers an almost limitless range of styles and designs. You can choose vinyl planks that resemble all kinds of different wood floors, or you can choose imitation ceramic tiles, all for a fraction of the cost of the real thing.
Vinyl flooring that is printed may lose its pattern with time, but with homogenous vinyl, the pattern goes right through the material, so it will always be there, however much it gets worn down by foot traffic.
Other advantages of vinyl flooring
Vinyl flooring also has several other advantages that aren’t specific to kitchens.
It’s among the easiest flooring types to install, and it’s also among the least expensive. It’s durable too and won’t need replacing for many years, so choosing vinyl will give you savings in both the short- and the long-term.
When talking about vinyl tiles or planks, another positive is the fact that if it does get damaged, you can simply remove the plank or tile affected and replace that – you won’t have to tear up the whole floor to fix the problem.
Finally, it’s even comfortable to walk on too because it’s relatively soft and doesn’t get too cold in the winter.
So in sum, there are many reasons why vinyl is an ideal choice for kitchen flooring.
Are there any drawbacks?
Despite all these clear advantages of choosing vinyl, it isn’t without its problems.
The most obvious is that if you choose to glue the vinyl in place, it is notoriously difficult to remove. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but if you think you might change your mind later, this might not be the best pick.
However, “floating” installation that doesn’t require glue is also possible, so this could be the ideal alternative.
We mentioned that installation is easy, but you also need to make sure the surface is perfectly clean before you lay the vinyl – because any dirt or grime that gets trapped beneath the vinyl will eventually cause the flooring to develop bumps or ridges.
Another issue is that while vinyl is a tough and durable material, it isn’t indestructible, and it can be pierced if you drop knives or other sharp objects on it.
That said, as we mentioned above, with tiles or planks, if that happens, you can simply remove and replace the affected section, so this might not be such a major problem.
One drawback is that some people also say that however realistically vinyl mimics other materials, it will never have the 100% authentic feel of real wood or ceramic tile underfoot.
This material is also not an ecological option. Vinyl is hard to recycle, and most old vinyl flooring ends up in landfill.
Finally, vinyl is also known to give off Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), especially when new.
- Good level of water-resistance
- Low maintenance
- Easy to clean
- Tough and durable
- Many style options
- Easy to install
- Comfortable to walk on
- Hard to remove if glued down
- Need to make sure surface is completely clean before installation
- Can be damaged by sharp objects
- Not totally realistic
- Not environmentally friendly
- Gives off VOCs
What are the alternatives?
Of course, there are plenty of other options to compare with vinyl flooring for kitchens.
Hardwood is a popular choice due to its undeniablly stylish charm, but it costs more than vinyl, requires more maintenance and is easier to damage.
Ceramic or porcelain tiles are good options. They look great, are highly resistant and relatively easy to look after. However, they’re also expensive to buy and have installed, which might put them beyond the budget of some homeowners.
Natural stone is another option, but like ceramic and porcelain, it isn’t cheap to buy or install. Materials like these are also hard and cold, so some people might find them less comfortable to walk on, especially during the colder parts of the year.
Laminate floor is a more inexpensive option that has many of the advantages of vinyl. However, it often “feels” cheaper, so for aesthetics, vinyl is usually preferred.
So while every type of flooring has pros and cons, vinyl compares favorably with just about any of them, which is reflected in its popularity.
A popular choice for kitchen floors – and with good reason
If you’re wondering about which material to use for your kitchen floor, you have many options to consider. However, vinyl is durable, attractive, affordable and low-maintenance, making it a material that should certainly feature in your thoughts.