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The Worst Type of Flooring for Kitchens, According to Interior Designers

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and when you’re ready to sell, one of your home’s most (or least) attractive features. Replacing your kitchen flooring can be expensive but provides a good return on investment, especially when you pick a timeless and long-lasting option.

Wooden Kitchen FlooringWooden Kitchen Flooring

To help you get the most bang for your buck, we interviewed interior designers and flooring manufacturers to discover which flooring types you should avoid. Here’s what they had to say.


Carpet is a Big No-No

Carpet is the worst flooring choice in the kitchen, according to almost every expert we spoke with. “Water flooding and spills will get trapped under the carpet and between the subfloor causing a mold problem you don’t want,” says FLOOR360 interior designer Courtney Wollersheim. “Even if you can soak up the surface spill, moisture damage can still occur and, in the worst cases, rot the wood flooring underneath.”

Instead of carpet, Courtney encourages waterproof flooring options like luxury vinyl plank. She adds that if you want carpet in the kitchen, low-pile, easy-to-clean area rugs in high-traffic spots are the best option.


Laminate Floors Can Warp When Exposed to Moisture

Laminate flooring offers an inexpensive and easy-to-install option that mimics the look of natural wood. While these floors are stylish, they are composed of several layers, including a fiberboard core that can warp when exposed to moisture. When a drink is spilled on a laminate floor and not cleaned in a timely manner, the floor’s core will absorb the moisture, causing warping, buckling, and, ultimately, a wavy-looking floor.

There have been some advancements in laminate floors in recent years. So, if you’re opting for this route, pick a waterproof laminate. These floors have a water-resistant top layer that can give you extra time to clean up spills.


Hardwoods Aren’t Always a Good Choice

Hardwoods work well in some circumstances, like in kitchens that don’t fare many spills or have heavy foot traffic. In busy kitchens, not so much. Here’s what Alice Moszczynski, a New York-based Interior Designer at Planner 5D, had to say, “Wood, though visually appealing, can be a bit high maintenance in the kitchen. It’s prone to scratches, water damage, and stains, making it a high-maintenance choice for this high-traffic area. Spills can turn into a real-life kitchen horror story.”

Alice recommends stone or porcelain tile as a durable, long-lasting kitchen flooring. “Porcelain flooring is like the superhero of kitchen floors – tough and practical. These tiles can take a beating without showing wear, scratches, or chips, perfect for a bustling kitchen.”


Marble is Prone to Scratches

While beautiful, marble doesn’t stand up to heavy foot traffic like porcelain or ceramic tile. Here’s what Rotem Eylor, the CEO and founder of Republic Flooring had to say when asked about the worst kitchen flooring choices. “The worst type is obviously carpeting, but also marble is not ideal because it can scratch so easily.” Instead, he recommends sticking with easy-to-clean waterproof flooring for the kitchen.


Better Flooring Alternatives for the Kitchen

According to the experts we interviewed, the top flooring choices for kitchens include porcelain tile, luxury vinyl plank, sealed natural stone, and glazed ceramic tile. In some households, hardwood floors or waterproof laminate will hold up well depending on lifestyle factors.

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