Thinking of installing new kitchen flooring in time for spring? In this five-part kitchen flooring series, we'll lay the groundwork -- and you make the decision.
Ceramic floor tile. Photo: Getty Images
Is ceramic tile the best kitchen flooring option for your home? Photo: Getty Images
The tracking of winter's elements (snow, slush, mud...ack!) can take quite a toll on your poor kitchen floor. So if installing new kitchen flooring is on your DIY agenda this year, you're in luck.
We've taken the five most popular kitchen flooring options -- ceramic tile, hardwood, laminate, linoleum and vinyl -- and broken them down according to their pros, cons, cost, durability, and DIY-ability (of course).
In this first installment, we take a closer look at ceramic tile for the kitchen. See if it's right for you!
CERAMIC FLOOR TILE
How It's Made:
Constructed of natural clay, ceramic floor tiles are glazed on one side and then fired under extreme heat for resilience.
How It's Sold:
They're available in either a glossy or matte finish. Ceramic floor tiles are typically sold in ½-inch to ¾-inch thick four-by-four squares, but can be much larger (even up to 24 by 24 inches).
Extremely durable and dent-, water- and stain-resistant.
Although durable, ceramic tile is susceptible to cracking, so be sure your subfloor is level and can accommodatesthe thickness of the tile you choose. Ceramic tile can be slippery when wet (consider slip-resistant textured tiles), hard on legs and cold underfoot.
DIY Degree of Difficulty: Challenging but Doable
Although many homeowners successfully install ceramic kitchen flooring on their own, this job isn't for everyone. Because tiles usually require cutting to fit, precise measurements, mortar mixing and grout application, the entire process can be very time-consuming. Detailed designs require advanced DIY skills.
Care & Maintenance
Cleaning ceramic tile is as simple as using a damp sponge. Photo: Getty Images
: Dust-mop and/or sweep with a soft-bristled broom. Vacuum with the soft floor attachment (but be careful; the ends of certain attachments can scratch delicate finishes). Wash tiles by hand with a natural vinegar-based solution or use a damp mop as needed.
Cost (per square foot)
: From $4 to $8. Contractors generally charge about $5 (installation only, excluding tile and grout).
• Only choose ceramic kitchen tile with a number three (for medium to heavy traffic) to five (for extra-heavy traffic) rating as recommended by the Porcelain Enamel Institute: It's a cumulative measure of the tile's hardness, how much water it will absorb, and how well it will wear.
• Buy extra tile so you'll always have spares on hand to replace cracked pieces.
Ripping up your old flooring? Expect to pay $2 per square foot for its removal.
Check back next week when we explore another great kitchen flooring option: Linoleum.
If you do choose ceramic tiles for your kitchen, watch this video to learn perfect grouting techniques: