Bailiwick Interior Design


Kitchen Refresh Part 3

Thinking About Replacing Your Kitchen Flooring?

Kitchen floors are the workhorse and backbone of your kitchen. Most clients cringe at the thought of replacing any type of flooring in their kitchen, and for good reason. But aside from your cabinets, your flooring takes up the largest visual space in the room in terms of pattern, texture, and color. So changing it out can have a tremendous impact on your overall design and “freshness’’.

When thinking about changing up your Kitchen flooring there are a few things to keep in mind;

  1. What is the flooring in the adjacent rooms?  If you are trying to make your Kitchen look larger than choosing a flooring material similar, even in color tone alone, can create the desired effect. Or, how do you plan on transitioning into other areas? The height differential of different flooring surfaces can have a real impact on your decision-making.

  2. If your goal is to just refresh your home for resale? Perhaps a good steam cleaning or grout painting might provide the same visual results and save you money.

  3. Think about how much you want to spend. Most products are sold by the square foot. Think about the total square footage when determining your budget. Be sure you are comparing apples to apples - so include demo AND installation into your cost comparison.

  4. Consider your existing flooring material; how it was installed and what is the underlying substrate material and can it be reused for the new flooring choice?

  5. Does your existing flooring go with your existing cabinets? This is important especially if you have an island. On a recent Kitchen refresh project, we planned on reusing the existing cabinets and installing new flooring. But during a demo of the existing vinyl floor, we found that there were 3 layers of existing vinyl - EACH with its own subfloor. This created a height differential of 1.5” at the base of the existing cabinets! So we decided it was best to uninstall the existing base cabinets and tile the entire floor area - and then re-installed the cabinets on the new, lower tile floor. Fortunately, we were already planning on replacing the countertops and backsplash - but if we weren’t this situation would have created a HUGE domino effect! Just a perfect example of how planning and preparation are paramount even in a simple refresh project!


  7. If your kitchen is like mine, it’s probably a high traffic area where spills and messes can and will happen. Look for products that are durable and easy to clean.

A few popular products for kitchen flooring:



  • One of the most inexpensive of all floorings
  • Resilient surface is easy on the feet
  • Easy to clean


  • Resilient vinyl can be gouged or scratched rather easily including tearing from sharp objects



  • Versatile since it comes in any color you can think of
  • Affordable
  • Easy to maintain


  • Overtime can fade and look worn
  • If not already coated by the manufacturer you may need to wax or polish
  • Difficult to work with and install



  • Can convincingly mimic wood, ceramic tile, stone, and other premium floor coverings
  • Installation is surprisingly easy


  • Not ideal for areas where moisture is an issue
  • Can be scratched
  • Underlayments and trim pieces can add substantially to installation costs
  • Cannot be cleaned by wet-mopping

Ceramic Tile


  • A very elegant flooring surface
  • Extremely durable—can last for decades, stands up to wear and tear including spills and splashes.
  • Huge variety and many choices
  • Surfaces are easy to clean
  • Custom choices, including patterns.


  • Tile can crack as floors settle
  • Moisture makes tile slippery; a honed or textured surface can provide slightly more traction. Grout needs periodic sealing and special cleaning to keep stains at bay.
  • A very hard surface that can be unforgiving to dropped dishes
  • Can be a cold surface on the feet
  • Grout lines may get soiled or gather mold or mildew
  • A more complicated installation than most other types of flooring
  • Additional materials needed can significantly add to the overall cost

Natural Stone


  • Classic look and naturally beautiful and has been used for centuries
  • Can be cold when it’s cold weather and hot when it’s warmer weather
  • Durable and require little day-to-day maintenance


  • Expensive
  • Not for the DIY
  • The tiny crannies in its surface can trap dirt
  • Scratches and chips can be an issue with softer stone
  • Porous stone will need protective sealing at regular intervals



  • Never goes out of style
  • Maintenance over time is easy with sanding and refinishing when necessary.


  • Liquids can cause damage if they’re not wiped up right away
  • Wood dents and scratches easily



  • Very comfortable to the feet
  • Easy installation methods
  • Resilient and flexible
  • Can absorb the shock from a dropped plate or cup
  • It holds warmth and absorbs sound, lending a cozy feel
  • Rich with suberin which is a natural substance that guards against mold, mildew, rot, and pests.


  • A bit more expensive than other flooring options
  • Dirt and grit can scar it
  • High maintenance - you’ll need to stay on top of sweeping and vacuuming along with the need to reseal it regularly with polyurethane or wax
  • Can fade over time



  • Stays cool so it’s ideal for warm climates
  • Virtually indestructible


  • Difficult to work with and will require a professional install
  • Can be unforgiving on feet and cold
  • Porous and must be sealed to ward off stains




Carrie OesmannComment