Kitchen Flooring: Is Hardwood or Tile Easier to Maintain?


Everyone wants durable – and preferably low maintenance – kitchen flooring that also looks good and fits in with the style and flow of your house. That may sound like a tall order but baby, have we got news for you! There is actually an almost endless array of kitchen flooring options that will last forever, look amazing and still be a snap to clean. Both tile and hardwood flooring are excellent options for a kitchen floor. 

But in a head-to-head, winner-takes-all deathmatch… who wins? Tile or hardwoods?

The Rundown

What’s Up With Tile Flooring?

Ceramic tile may be the only flooring material that genuinely works in any room of the house. Tile can be used in kitchens, bathrooms, foyers, mudrooms, and any other high-traffic area. Tile flooring also helps keep your home cool in the summer. Just throw down a few rugs in the winter to keep your tootsies warm!

Glazed ceramic flooring tiles have a hard, protective top layer that makes the tiles impervious to water and stains. This added protection is why tile is often preferred for wet areas like bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.

While most ceramic floor tile is glazed, there are also unglazed ceramic tiles – but these must be sealed to protect their surface from liquids and stains. And with all types of tile flooring, the grout in between the tiles is prone to getting dirty, staining, and is more permeable to moisture which can cause mildew and mold growth. If you go with tile for your kitchen flooring, your grout should be sealed regularly to protect it.


But What About Hardwoods in the Kitchen?

If you’re into HGTV (and who isn’t these days?) you’ll probably hear the words “hardwood” about 57 times per episode no matter what show you’re watching. And we have to admit, these floors are popular for a reason. Few flooring surfaces can match the look and feel of real hardwood flooring. It just adds a certain ambiance of elegance and warmth to a room. 

Hardwood is often seen as a good investment because it helps increase the value of your home. But while hardwood flooring in the kitchen is certainly gorgeous, and can provide a seamless look between the kitchen and the other parts of the house, is it really kitchen appropriate?

Wood floors are relatively easy to maintain. Just sweep and vacuuming regularly, mop when necessary, and use some wood cleaner to keep that healthy, wood-y glow. Another great feature of wooden floors (as long as they’re true hardwood and not veneer!) is that if they get badly scratched or gouged, you can have them refinished and they’ll be as good as new. 

The only problem is that wood is, by nature, a porous material. This means that it’s more susceptible to problems like warping or rotting when exposed to long term moisture. If your fridge leaks and it takes a while to catch, you could end up having to replace your entire floor. 

However, it has to be said that with proper maintenance, hardwood floors are very durable and can look amazing for decades.

The Maintenance Truth

Both tile and hardwood can be maintained with regular sweeping, vacuuming and mopping. And both would benefit from an annual professional deep cleaning to keep them looking their best. Both repel spills as well as dirt and dust. With both tile and hardwood flooring, you should use only cleaners that are non-abrasive and meant for that type of flooring. 

But in the long-run, tile is water-proof while hardwood is just water-resistant. And if a tile is damaged, you can replace just that one tile without ripping up the whole floor – that’s not always true for hardwoods, especially if we’re talking about water damage. 

So for these reasons, we have to name tile the winner in “Best for Kitchen Flooring.” But only by a hair! And if you’re willing to take the (pretty small) risk, hardwoods are equally as durable and easy to clean. And either way, your floor is going to look gorgeous. We promise. 


If you have any questions about choosing a kitchen flooring, contact The Carpet Center and let us help you build the kitchen of your dreams! 

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