Choosing the right tile for your kitchen floor is more essential than most people believe. The floor sets the style of your room as much as the walls, and isn’t as easily changeable. After all, you can always choose to repaint or change your wallpaper every couple of years, but are you willing to go through all the trouble of re-tiling your floor that often? We didn’t think so.
So it’s important that you get your tiles down right the first time. You may want to change them later, maybe when pieces break or wear out in a decade or so, but when you start out, remember that they’ll be around for a really long time.
While color and style are important, they come as secondary considerations to the two main choices of material and size.
Your primary concern should be the material. There’s a large range of these, from glass to cork, which can be made into tiles. However, not all of them are suited for kitchen floors. Glass, for one, would be too slippery and prone to breakage. Cork is absorbent and breaks easily. So your best choices are porcelain, stone, and terracotta.
First, decide on the type of tile you want, based on the amount of foot traffic your kitchen will get, and whether or not it is an accident prone area. Some families that don’t have young children might hardly use the kitchen, so glossy, glazed tiles can be used. But houses where families with young children and pets live need to have slip-proof tiles. Some tiles are made of terracotta and have a nice color and feel to them, but these are not as strong as most industrial tiles. Some tiles have a texture that prevents you from slipping easily, even when they’re wet – and they can be made of stone or porcelain. The latter types of tiles are also strong and last a long time.
Next, consider the size of tiles you want, and whether you want to keep the size uniform or tile your floor in a measured mix of different sizes. In general, large kitchens don’t do very well with small tiles, especially if you choose different colors. They make the floor look too busy and distracting. If you have a large kitchen and still want to use smaller tiles, you can select larger sizes and create a pattern of smaller ones around them. This way, there will still be some focus and flow to your floor, and you will have the cute, intricate tiles you like.
Smaller kitchens can do better with a range of sizes, since large tiles don’t necessarily overwhelm a small space. Just make sure to keep the tile a neutral color and you’re all set. If you want a more vibrant floor, keep the tiles to scale with the size of the kitchen.
After you make these crucial decisions, you’ll be set to decide on the color and style you want.