Think of it as the fifth wall. Kitchen floors have a huge impact on the overall look of the entire room. And whichever material you choose – wooden boards, ceramic tiles, vinyl, linoleum or laminate – you can make a statement. Thanks to technological improvements, faux finishes are more convincing than ever, and Consumer Reports floor ratings now list the available shades for each product.
Of course, all kitchen floors look great right away, but the real test is what happens when real life takes over. The results of our latest testing show that even stain resistance like ink, asphalt sealer, and crayon has improved on the latest floors we’ve seen. And a vinyl we tested earlier showed improvement against scratches and stains.
For many kitchen floor buyers, there is no substitute for the warmth of wood. In an active kitchen, both solid wood and engineered wood floors are particularly prone to dents from dropped objects. A great advantage of solid hardwood and bamboo, however, is that many can be reworked multiple times to remove the scratches and dents from normal use. If a wood you choose has a rustic, desperate look, like the Armstrong American Scrape Oak Brown Bear ($ 7 per square foot), you probably won’t notice even minor scratches.
Pay less for a wood look
The better laminates we tested were about as good as solid wood. And they can be buoyant: installed right above your old floor without the need for adhesives or fasteners. For an even tougher kitchen flooring product, our high-performance “luxury” vinyls are available in various wood looks and offer better dent resistance. Both types are also available in realistic stone and slate designs.
But we often got mixed results on our tough tests due to the effects of frequent walking, spilled food, dragged and dropped objects, and sunlight. The Project Source Winchester Oak 2765 laminate, only $ 1 per square foot, used to be a CR Best Buy, but the latest version was too prone to wear and tear to rank even near our recommended floors. But some have gained ground. The Mohawk Pastoria Red Oak Natural HCC27-10, $ 4.30 per square foot, improved durability but wasn’t enough to be one of our favorites.
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