When remodeling a kitchen, it's easy to focus on the super-visible parts: your funky patterned backsplash, the oh-so-Instagrammable Smeg fridge you just had to have, or the chef-worthy six-burner range you pinched your pennies for. But don't forget to pay attention to what lies beneath your feet, too. Flooring has the ability to tie a culinary design together, making your space feel like the ultimate masterpiece.
However, the bevy of floor tile options available can be a tad bit overwhelming. Beyond selecting that perfect color or pattern, you also have to think about which material will give you the look and practicality you want. For instance, slate might be lovely, but are you willing to reseal it every three years? And if your feet need a little extra support while meal prepping, perhaps an alternative material like cork deserves some consideration.
To get you off and running, here's a practical guide chock-full of helpful tidbits to aid in your kitchen floor tile decision-making process.
Porcelain Kitchen Floor Tile
If you're looking for a slight upgrade from basic ceramic and don't mind paying a small premium, porcelain kitchen floor tile might be the best choice for you. It averages around $3 to $7 per square foot, and like ceramic porcelain is made from clay, only it's slightly denser — making it a little better at resisting water intrusions. This super-water-resistant tile comes in a wide variety of colors, styles, and patterns, like the neutral option seen in this kitchen by Jenny Komenda from Juniper Home.
But it's not all good news: Porcelain tile is a little trickier to cut and install, so make sure you call in a pro.
Marble Kitchen Floor Tile
Dreaming of this luxurious and elegant look? Consider high-quality marble — but be prepared to pay a hefty cost. Marble floor tile can cost between $9 and $20 per square foot. But this glam option is worth spending a few extra coins: Just look at this transitional cook space designed by Sarah Winchester, where a black-and-white harlequin pattern feels deliciously luxe.
Because marble comes from the earth, every tile (and every kitchen) will be unique. But there are downsides to this gorgeous choice: It's brittle and can be easily scratched, so don't make a habit of dropping heavy pots, or sharp knives, or anything, really. Water and acidic solutions can stain your floors, but sealing your marble will extend the look and life of your tile, helping to prevent some of these issues.
Cement Kitchen Floor Tile
Cement kitchen floor tile is oh-so-trendy, and it's easy to see why: Bold bursts of color can easily jazz up an otherwise monotone kitchen. See design maven Emily Henderson's sky-blue cook space for an easy example of how cement floor tile can transform a room. However, there's a major downside: Cement tile can be really, really pricey. You could spend up to $30 per square foot for the tiles alone.
This colorful type of tile is eco-friendly and grippy — so you won't slip even if you spill an entire pitcher of water. (Just make sure to clean it up quickly otherwise it could stain.) And when you do clean cement tile flooring, make sure to use a mild cleaning solution to keep it looking pristine. As for maintenance, cement tile works much like slate: You'll need to reseal every three years.
Slate Kitchen Floor Tile
This rustic floor tile option gives your kitchen dramatic appeal. Pair with white cabinets to keep the space airy — or consider going totally dark. Slate tiles are slightly more expensive than ceramic or porcelain but significantly cheaper than marble. You'll spend between $4 and $10 per square foot for the tiles themselves.
Slate is extremely durable and incredibly unique, but maintenance often includes regular sealing. Make sure you're prepared before taking the plunge. And keep in mind that some tiles have an irregular, or "cleft," texture that can be uncomfortable if you're regularly walking around barefoot or in socks.
Ceramic Kitchen Floor Tile
This classic choice for kitchen floor tile goes far beyond dated, builder-grade beige. Ceramic tile comes in a variety of patterns and colors, including gorgeous geometric patterns that mimic more expensive concrete tile options. You'll have no trouble keeping your kitchen flooring clean, since ceramic tile is dent- and scratch-resistant. No fancy cleaning required. All you'll need is a mop — but just like any stone tile, it can be hard to walk on for extended periods. Make sure to add a plush rug in front of your sink to give your feet a rest.
Expect to spend between $2 and $7 per square foot for this inexpensive option, with prices increasing depending on the design.
Cork Kitchen Floor Tile
Now that plywood and bare pine are trending, it's no surprise that another natural material is shooting through the popularity stratosphere: cork. This super-cheap option will run you between $2 and $5 per square foot — and, along with the inexpensive cost, this unique kitchen floor material comes with a lot of benefits.
First: It's soft, making dinner prep easier on your poor feet. Plus, it's durable, and not just from cracks or scratches — it also resists mold and mildew. However, while cork flooring does come in a variety of styles and colors, some prefer the classic look of stone tile. And that's OK! Choose the type of kitchen floor tile that best suits you and your culinary space.