Whenever you have an older home, with hardwood flooring that is the actual subfloor, kitchen flooring can be a difficult decision. Traditionally, you find the hardwood subfloor does not carry through the kitchen, you have a rough plywood subfloor in that area instead. What that leaves you with is a height issue if you try to install any flooring that is higher than about 1/4 inch. If you were to put say, a stone or tile floor in, you would have a terrible trip hazard at every entrance to the room.
So what are your options? You have two.
You can remove the subfloor and have it essentially rebuilt, at a lower level, to account for the height in many popular kitchen floors. This, however is not only expensive, but also very intrusive. With that said, I have done it before for clients, and I'm sure I'll do it again. For a very formal kitchen, I feel like it is, in many cases, the best option.
You can put in a floor with a very low profile. Let me share with you some of my favorites. - Well- maybe I'll start with my un-favorite. The obvious selection is vinyl. Sheet vinyl to me, is like a politician. It's always trying to be the popular thing; but never being true to itself. Wood floors are popular, well, with sheet vinyl, you can have the wood floor look roll out in 12' goods. Travertine is the "in" thing, well, you can get sheet vinyl that looks exactly like it. Slate- no problem. Seriously, who are they trying to fool? No one has EVER mistaken sheet vinyl slate for real slate. It all looks ridiculous.
Now on to the low profile floors that I would recommend.
1. Amtico. I have mentioned this in many flooring posts already- you can read more about it here. The thing that is so different with Amtico compared to sheet vinyl is, of course, its durablity, but it is also so much more real looking. I had a client that had a large home, and we put in Amtico wood flooring throughout. It looked terrific. She said that people would ask her what kind of wood she had and she would respond truthfully, "Weathered Elm". Keep Amtico wood away from real wood, or you wouldn't fool a soul. I will also say that I still don't like their slate. You just can't fake slate. Don't even try. The floor below is Amtico's matte limestone. It is a great looking floor. I especially like it in the long shape. (it comes with many shape options.)
2. Cork. Years ago I did a kitchen remodel in Burbank, where we had this height issue. It was an older home. We put in these fabulous stained blue cabinets, and I found a cork floor with a vein of blue in it. It looked perfect, and the height was perfect. Cork is forgiving on the joints, and adds a real natural feel to a room, in the way that hardwood floors do. It comes in squares or on a roll.
3. Now, what did I tell my sister Kim to put in her home? One of my other favorite products, and certainly the easiest to install and care for out of the three is Marmoleum. Marmoleum has a classic vintage feel to it. When people refer to vinyl flooring as Linoleum, it is actually incorrect. It is an entirely different product. Marmoleum is a brand name for traditional Linoleum. Linoleum is actually made of linseed oil. It is environmentally friendly and customizable. It is also easy to care for, and simply a good looking floor.
So here is Kim's the "after" photo- the island's not in yet, giving you a larger view of the Marmoleum. What do you think? Do any of you have any other low profile flooring ideas to add to my list?
What is your favorite selection for kitchen flooring?
More photos to come as she finishes up.