All About Kitchen Flooring: Tile vs. Hardwood (Pros & Cons)
Is home improvement on your mind?
Whether you’re planning a complete renovation or simply overhauling a room, expect a great return on your investment. Brand new features, from high-quality flooring to state-of-the-art tabletops, make your home more attractive, functional and appealing to potential buyers, and will, hopefully, fetch a good price.
When it comes to renovation, your kitchen flooring is a great place to start. While both tile and hardwood are popular kitchen flooring materials, both have their benefits and drawbacks. What’s perfect for you might not be for someone else.
Your choice will mostly depend on five key factors: budget, ROI, your kitchen’s interior decor, durability, and ease of cleaning and maintenance.
Which Is a Better Kitchen Flooring Option – Tile or Hardwood?
Here, we look at the pros and cons of both hardwood and tile flooring so you can make an informed decision.
Tile is a functional, economical and stylish kitchen flooring option. It’s durable and comes in a wide range of textures, shapes, colours and designs to suit any decor style and budget.
- It’s water-resistant
Tile’s water resistance makes it one of the most popular kitchen flooring materials. You don’t have to worry about water spilling or a flooded kitchen. Ceramic tiles, especially, have a glossy protective layer that makes them resistant to stains and water damage. They also naturally resist humidity, making them perfect for kitchens which are often hot and/or moist.
- It’s durable
Tile flooring is extremely tough so you don’t need to worry about shoes, chairs or other objects scratching. With proper installation, care and maintenance, good-quality tile can last more than 20 years. This makes tile perfect for high-traffic areas like the kitchen, where spills, messes and wear are common.
- It’s easy to clean and maintain
Like any other surface in your home, tile floors need to be swept and mopped regularly (using common household cleaners) to prevent the build-up of dirt, grease and other residues. Sealant only needs to be applied to tile flooring once every 4-5 years to keep it in good shape.
- There are many varieties available
When it comes to style and variety, it’s hard to beat tile flooring. It comes in a range of designs, colours, textures, shapes and sizes, so you can easily choose one or a combination of different tiles to create a personalized look. One idea: use tiles from the same colour family as the wall or furniture but a few shades lighter or darker to create a monochromatic look. Or consider multicoloured tiles for something quirkier.
- It’s hard on your feet
While the hardness of tile makes it durable and easy to clean, it also makes it difficult to stand on for extended periods. If you suffer knee pain, tile isn’t a good option, although you can mitigate this somewhat with area rugs.
- It’s susceptible to cracking
Tiles are tough but susceptible to cracking thanks to poor or faulty installation and lack of proper sealant. Installing tiles on top of the plywood and/or not levelling the floor can cause tiles to crack. Not sealing the tiles’ surface every four to five years can also increase the odds of cracking. What’s worse, if a tile is cracked, it’s often difficult to replace without damaging the adjacent tiles.
Hardwood floors are stylish, attractive and can last for decades when properly maintained. When it comes to the kitchen, though, things get a little tricky. Unlike tile, hardwood is an organic material whose cellular structure breaks when it’s subjected to prolonged pressure, moisture or sunlight. Read about these benefits and drawbacks to decide if hardwood is right for your kitchen.
- It’s comfortable
Unlike tiles which are hard and strain feet and joints, hardwood is relatively soft and easy to stand on. This is especially important if you spend a lot of time in your kitchen. Hardwood is also warmer than tile, which is a big plus in winter. You could install radiant heat underneath tile flooring, but this will increase the cost.
- It returns high ROI
Since hardwood is expensive and considered one of the most desirable flooring materials, it almost always adds value to a property. However, as wood is susceptible to cracks and cupping caused by excessive dampness, it’s best to opt for site-finished hardwood over prefinished. This is because the finish, or topcoat, will seep into all areas of the hardwood flooring, including seams
- It can be refinished
Unlike cracked tiles, which are difficult to fix and often need replacement, scratched or dented hardwood floors can be refinished and stained to give them an entirely new look. Staining also makes hardwood somewhat resistant to moisture and other environmental agents such as insects and bacteria.
- It’s versatile
Solid hardwood has an innate beauty and warmth that creates an earthy naturalness that suits almost every decor style. Choose antique-style hardwood or a contemporary parquet design according to your preference. Using the same flooring design throughout your home creates a uniform flow and unifies the decor.
- It’s not waterproof
This is perhaps hardwood flooring’s biggest disadvantage in the kitchen. Since it’s susceptible to water damage and can cup or warp easily, hardwood is not the go-to flooring choice for many homeowners. Fortunately, hardwood floors are usually treated to protect them against spills, scratches and everyday wear and tear.
- High Price
Another disadvantage of hardwood flooring is its cost. Aside from expensive raw materials, you also need to consider the installation charges. They’ll also need occasional refinishing, which is also quite pricey. However, considering its durability, long-term benefits and high ROI, hardwood is definitely worth the money.
Although there’s no definite answer as to whether hardwood is a better kitchen flooring option than tile, it definitely adds to your home’s resale value and makes selling it easier. If you can afford hardwood and are willing to care for it, it’s a great kitchen flooring choice; if you’re busy and have a limited budget, tile is better. It all depends on your needs, lifestyle and personal preferences.