Buying kitchen flooring is a whole different process than buying flooring for other areas of your home.
Not only should the flooring in your kitchen look great, but it must also stand up to the rigors of everyday use as well as the ever-present threat of humidity, moisture, and water.
Start your search by narrowing your choice down to flooring type. Though tile isn’t your only option, it’s certainly one of the best (and, not to mention, most popular).
Below we guide you through the top options for kitchen tile flooring materials as well as additional design options like dimensions, color and texture, tile rating, porosity, and much more.
A. Kitchen Floor Tile Materials
Once you’ve settled on tiles as your kitchen floor type, it’s time to take a closer look at the specific material options available.
The problem is there are dozens upon dozens of kitchen floor tile materials on the market. To make your decision a little easier, we’ve narrowed down the options to the fifteen best types of kitchen flooring tiles.
Here are the most popular kitchen flooring tile materials.
1. Ceramic Tile Kitchen Flooring
Ceramic tile is one of the most commonly used kitchen flooring materials.
The main reason for its popularity is its water and stain resistance. Use “glazed” ceramic tiles for even more humidity resistance.
Ceramic tiles are also extremely durable. In the kitchen, where accidents are common, a dropped pot, plate, or another object likely won’t cause any damage to your ceramic flooring.
In addition to its functionality, ceramic tile is also notable for its good looks. Multiple design options are available so you can create a unique kitchen floor.
The only downside to ceramic tile is its hardness and weight. It’s not a very comfortable flooring material to stand on for long periods of time. It’s also so heavy that it’s not always a smart option for upper-story kitchens.
Ceramic tile is a mid-range flooring material as far as price goes.
2. Porcelain Tile Kitchen Flooring
Porcelain tile is very similar to ceramic tile, yet takes durability and water resistance up another few notches.
Simply put, porcelain tile flooring is one of the most durable kitchen floor materials. It’s so strong that it can even be used in commercial kitchens and other high-stress environments.
Not only can porcelain tile stand up to heavy impacts, but it’s also even more water resistant than ceramic. The Porcelain Tile Certification Agency requires porcelain tiles to have less than a 0.5% water absorption rate.
Porcelain tile flooring is also low maintenance. Cleaning it usually only requires sweeping and perhaps mopping with a damp rag.
Take good care of your porcelain tile kitchen floor, and you can easily expect it to last for several decades.
Like ceramic tiles, the main downside to porcelain tiles is weight. They are often too heavy for upstairs use. DIY installation is also difficult because of the weight.
Porcelain tiles are more expensive than ceramic tiles. The difficult installation also means there are higher installation costs.
3. Travertine Tile Kitchen Flooring
Travertine tile is a flooring material that’s becoming increasingly popular in kitchens.
A type of limestone, travertine has a natural charm that no doubt adds to its popularity in kitchens where a subdued, rustic look is desired. It’s most commonly available in earth tones like brown, rust, and tan.
Interestingly, travertine is also considered a high-end luxury material. The unique patterns found within make every tile unique.
Though travertine tile flooring does need regular maintenance and care, it has the potential to last for decades on end. Spend the required time caring for it, and it will likely last you a lifetime.
Another benefit of travertine tile is its eco-friendliness. It’s completely recyclable, 100% biodegradable, and used in its natural form.
The big downside to travertine flooring is the above-stated required maintenance. Especially when used in a kitchen where moisture is abundant, a penetrating sealer and barrier surface sealer must be installed on a regular basis.
Travertine tile is a mid-range flooring material as far as price goes, falling somewhere between ceramic and porcelain depending upon the particular variety.
4. Slate Tile Kitchen Flooring
Natural slate tiles are loved by many for their gorgeous natural beauty.
Use this flooring material in your kitchen for a contemporary look that still reminds you of the wonders of the natural world.
Slate flooring is such an interesting kitchen flooring material partially because each slate tile looks different from every other. A fully-tiled slate floor doesn’t look like any other in the world.
In addition to looks and style, slate tile scores high in the functionality department. It’s strong and durable, standing up well to cracks, scratches, chips, and more.
Though slate tiles are resistant to staining and water damage, it must be sealed on a regular basis to give it the longest lifespan possible.
Use slate tile for your kitchen, and your home resell value goes up. Because it’s considered a high-end luxury kitchen flooring material, it can add to the overall value of your home.
The biggest negative to this flooring material is undoubtedly its high price. Slate tile is very expensive, especially when you buy top-grade slate (which you should when used in a kitchen).
Like most other natural stone tiles, installing a slate tile floor is a demanding process. It’s usually best to leave installation up to the pros.
5. Marble Tile Kitchen Flooring
If an elegant, modern kitchen is what you’re after, few flooring materials do the job quite as well as marble.
Marble tile is simply breathtakingly beautiful. It’s long been a staple of high-end, ultra-luxurious kitchens where chic style is just as important as overall functionality.
Highlights of marble tile flooring in the kitchen include the wide variety of colors it’s available in as well as its highly-polished appearance that allows individual colors to shine even more brightly and dramatically.
Unfortunately, for such a highly-valued flooring material, marble tile has its fair share of drawbacks, especially when used in the kitchen.
While it is waterproof, it gets very slippery when wet. Some types of polished marble are even slippery when completely dry.
Marble tile is also highly susceptible to scratching and staining. Periodic resealing is required to ensure a minimal amount of wear and tear occurs.
Finally, marble is one of the most expensive kitchen flooring materials.
In addition to the cost of the raw material, installing marble is expensive, especially if you want a mosaic or other complex design.
6. Granite Tile Kitchen Flooring
Source: Ward Log Homes
Like marble, granite has a solid reputation as a luxury flooring material.
Install a granite tile floor in your kitchen for an upscale look. Complete the sophisticated design by adding in a matching granite countertop.
Granite tile flooring is available in a wide variety of colors. The material usually has a natural, mottled pattern. Add granite polish to brighten the colors contained in each tile.
Durability is another benefit of granite tile kitchen flooring. It’s one of the hardest natural stone materials regularly used for flooring.
Granite is stain resistant and even holds up well to heavy impacts. It’s a good choice for high-traffic kitchens that get a lot of regular wear and tear.
One downside to granite tile is its slipperiness, especially when polished. Be very careful when using granite as flooring in kitchens. In fact, homes with children or the elderly should avoid it altogether.
Granite tile is slightly more expensive than other mid-range kitchen flooring materials.
7. Onyx Tile Kitchen Flooring
Source: Surface Art
Onyx is yet another type of natural stone that looks great when used as kitchen floor tile.
Though it’s also considered a luxury flooring material, it’s much rarer than either granite or marble. Use it in your kitchen for a uniquely exotic look.
Despite the sheer beauty of onyx tile flooring, it’s not always the best choice for your kitchen floor. The material is quite soft and scratches and scrapes quite easily with regular use.
Of course, proper maintenance helps extend the lifespan of onyx flooring but requires a lot of dirty work. In addition to regular resealing, onyx requires regular cleaning with a special cleaner to prevent damage.
Finally, onyx tile flooring is expensive. The material is up there with marble and granite regarding price.
8. Quartzite Tile Kitchen Flooring
Quartz tile flooring, also known as quartzite, has long been a widely-admired option for kitchen floors.
The attractive flooring material is known for its shiny, opulent look. The elegant charm makes quartzite a popular option in modern kitchens.
Quartz tile flooring is notable for its non-porous structure. Very little water seeps in, adding to the material’s lifespan. The non-porousness also keeps bacteria out, making quartzite a hygienic kitchen flooring option.
Another benefit of quartz tile for your kitchen floor is its strength. The natural stone material holds up well to scratches and heavy impacts. Chipping or cracking is uncommon.
Finally, quartz tile is cost effective compared to other types of natural stone tiles. It gives off a luxurious appearance without a large investment upfront.
Like other smooth, shiny types of kitchen floor tiles, quartz gets slippery when wet. You must clean up spills quickly if you install quartzite as your kitchen floor.
9. Sandstone Tile Kitchen Flooring
Not many people use sandstone tile for their kitchen floors. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good option to consider.
Sandstone tile flooring is notable for its natural looks. It’s a classy, stylish material that doesn’t look overwhelming luxurious. It’s a good mix of rustic and modern regarding design.
Most sandstone tile is the same color as natural sandstone: mostly gold, red, or brown. The tiles often contain a beautiful mixture of these colors.
Another interesting design element of sandstone tiles is its texture. Unlike most natural stone tiles that are polished smooth, sandstone is often left naturally rugged.
Of course, it’s smoothed out enough so that it doesn’t hurt your feet, but it’s still left with enough texture to prevent slipping accidents.
Aside from its natural beauty, sandstone is a great flooring material because it’s rock hard. Its ultra-durable and doesn’t easily scratch, stain, crack, or chip.
Finally, sandstone tile is an eco-friendly kitchen flooring choice. Buy from a reputable manufacturer for a product that’s all-natural, recyclable, and biodegradable.
Chief among the few downsides of sandstone tile is its porousness. The material absorbs much more water than other natural stones.
The absorption rate for sandstone is usually between 1% and 6%. It’s imperative to select the tile with the lowest absorption rate possible if you want to use sandstone in your kitchen.
Sandstone tile flooring is a mid-range choice for kitchen flooring when it comes to price.
10. Cement Tile Kitchen Flooring
Source: Cote de Texas
Cement tile is a relatively uncommon kitchen flooring material that can look great in the right kitchen.
The material looks beautiful in a stark, minimalist way. A variety of design and color options give you a lot of flexibility in how the finished product turns out.
Cement tile flooring is often a mixture between modern and industrial in style, but not so much as poured concrete. With a little research, you can easily find cement tiles that will work well in a traditional-style kitchen.
Like all materials, cement tile has a few negatives. Chief among these is that it’s porous, prone to scratching, and easily stained.
Proper care and maintenance are key if you opt to use cement tile for your kitchen floor. You must have the floor resealed on a regular basis to extend its lifespan.
Hiring a contractor to install your cement tile floor also improves its lifespan. Since the material isn’t the most durable around, it requires a professional touch when it’s put in.
Cement tile isn’t expensive, but it isn’t cheap either. It’s a mid-range priced kitchen flooring material.
11. Pebble Tile Kitchen Flooring
If you want a hip, high-end look for your kitchen, consider pebble tile bathroom flooring.
Currently one of the trendiest options available, pebble tile is sure to remain popular for a long time. The highlight of this floor tile type is undoubtedly its contemporary style.
Pebble tiles are made up of small pebbles, of various colors and sizes, held together by resin or concrete. Because the pebbles are mined naturally from stone, no two pebble stone flooring tiles look the same.
Like sandstone tile, pebble tile flooring isn’t usually smooth. Instead, the individual pebbles create a textured finish. Find the right in-between for the perfect amount of slip-resistance.
Pebble tile flooring requires a lot of grout to remain sealed and held together. Preventing discoloration of this grout requires a lot of maintenance.
Pebble tile flooring is a little over the mid-range price point for types of kitchen floor tiles.
12. Glass Tile Kitchen Flooring
Not everyone likes the appearance of natural stone flooring tiles. Those that prefer something different should consider glass tile flooring.
Add a dash of color and brightness to your kitchen with glass tile flooring. Available in a wide variety of colors and finishes, this flooring material can additionally be installed in a wide range of patterns and designs.
Glass tile flooring can be laid to create an atmosphere ranging from sleek and stylish to laidback and traditional.
Other than looks, glass tile is notable for its cleanliness. It’s one of the most hygienic flooring materials available.
In addition to preventing bacteria, stains, mold, and mildew, glass tile also shows dirt. It looks dirty when it’s dirty, so you know when it’s time to clean.
Perhaps the biggest drawback to glass tile flooring is that it’s susceptible to scratches. You’ll undoubtedly see scratches accumulate over time if the material is used in a high-traffic area like your kitchen.
Fortunately, replacing scratched tiles is easy. Only the tiles that are scratched need to be replaced – not the entire floor.
Glass tile flooring is also fairly expensive, both the material itself and the installation process.
13. Floating Wood Tile Kitchen Flooring
Floating floors are a unique style of flooring that are quickly catching on in all areas of the house, including the kitchen.
While floating floors can be made with a number different materials, one of the most popular is engineered wood.
Engineered wood floating floors are available in numerous varieties, including planks, boards, and tiles.
According to Armstrong Flooring, floating floor wood tiles are connected to each other rather than to the sub-floor, enabling you to install a new kitchen floor without tearing out your old kitchen floor.
An interesting benefit of a floating wood tile kitchen floor is that it expands and contracts with differing humidity levels. Moisture doesn’t damage this flooring type the way it damages others.
A floating wood tile floor is also relatively easy to install. Most people can take on installation as a DIY project rather than hiring a pro.
The big con to floating floors is they’re more susceptible to damage than normal floors. They have more give and flexibility than normal floors, often causing them to wear out more quickly.
Engineered wood floating tiles are relatively affordable. What makes them an even more cost-efficient choice is the fact that they can usually be installed without a professional’s help.
14. Cork Tile Kitchen Flooring
There’s no denying that cork tile flooring is a beautiful choice in kitchens.
It has a unique look that you just don’t see very often. In addition to looks, cork has a very nice feeling underfoot. It’s soft on the feet, making it a perfect choice for children, the elderly, and those that value comfort.
Another benefit of cork tile flooring is its insulation properties. It can keep your kitchen cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
Unfortunately, cork isn’t the most durable flooring material. When used in the kitchen, it’s vulnerable to scratching, denting, and water damage.
Ensuring a proper seal is vital to preserving your cork flooring. Yet even with a top-quality seal, water damage is possible in the event of a flood.
Cork tile flooring is a mid-range choice for kitchen floor tiles.
15. Rubber Tile Kitchen Flooring
Source: Home Depot
Rubber tile flooring is catching on big time in areas where water is prevalent, including kitchens and bathrooms.
In addition to some of the best water resistance of any flooring type, rubber tile flooring looks unique. It’s available in a variety of fun colors so you can tailor your kitchen style to your individual preferences.
Rubber tile flooring is also durable and low maintenance. It doesn’t take much care to keep it in tip-top shape for years to come.
And if your rubber tiles are damaged, single tiles can be easily replaced. You don’t have to replace the entire floor at once.
The biggest drawback to rubber tile kitchen flooring is the expense. It’s one of the most expensive flooring materials for quality tiles.
B. Kitchen Floor Tile Design Options
After you select a kitchen floor tile material type, there are a few additional design options to consider.
These include tile dimensions, rating, porosity, color, finish, and texture.
1. Kitchen Floor Tile Dimensions
The dimensions of your kitchen floor tile dictate both its looks and functionality.
Tile thickness is the first choice to make. Most flooring tiles are between ½ inch and 1 inch thick.
As for length and width, flooring tile bought directly from a manufacturer is usually somewhere between 3×3 inches and 24×24 inches.
Custom flooring tile can be bought in just about any dimensions imaginable. Additional options include non-square shapes like rectangles, octagons, and hexagons.
According to Lowes, tile rating relates to the hardness of the material you’re using.
Different rooms require different tile ratings. Your kitchen should utilize tiles rated for moisture-resistance and slip-resistance.
Your kitchen tiles should also be designed for heavy use.
2 Kitchen Floor Tile Porosity
Porosity is an important measurement to consider in your flooring tiles.
It relates to the amount of water the tiles absorb. For a kitchen where water is abundant, you want a low-porosity tile that absorbs minimal water.
3. Kitchen Floor Tile Color, Finish, and Texture
Now comes the fun part – selecting the specific color, finish, and texture of your kitchen floor tiles.
Of course, the specific material you choose largely dictates your options. Many materials have a variety of colors and finishes available you can choose from to match the overall style of your kitchen.
Choosing a textured tile is smart for a kitchen to improve slip resistance when wet.
C. DIY or Professional Installation?
The difficulty of installing kitchen floor tiles relies largely on the type of material you’re using.
Certain materials almost always require professional installation. Materials like granite and marble are two examples.
Materials that require complex installation also require the help of a professional. Due to their small size, glass tiles are difficult for most people to install on their own.
Other materials, however, can easily be installed by your average Joe. Rubber tiles are the most obvious example.