The Vinyl Countdown: Choosing Low Cost Flooring Options For Your New Kitchen
Choosing to have your kitchen renovated is never particularly gentle on your bank balance, and most people will look for ways to make savings here and there to bring down the overall cost of the renovation. However, cheap is not always cheerful, and you should be careful that choosing the less expensive option doesn't critically undermine the appearance and lifespan of your new kitchen.
One of the best ways you can save money on a renovation is by choosing low cost flooring. While traditional porcelain and stone flooring tiles may look the part, they can be crippling expensive, and some more unusual flooring options can offer comparable beauty and durability at a fraction of the cost.
A largely foolproof option well suited to busy kitchens, vinyl flooring is about as low maintenance as floors get. It is immensely durable, does not stain or scratch, and is waterproof without the need for regular sealing. It is also completely resistant to rot and insect attacks. Vinyl is also versatile, and is available in tiles, sheets and even mock floorboards. While not the most aesthetically pleasing option to many, vinyl floors are available in a vast array of colours and patterns, and can be found printed with convincing wood grain and stone effects, so vinyl floors can be matched to practically any kitchen scheme.
However, when a vinyl floor does eventually fail, that's it -- the material is difficult and expensive to repair, and most vinyl floor owners will choose to have theirs torn up and replaced. Vinyl may also be an unsuitable option to lay over wooden floorboards, particularly in humid climates, as the vapour barrier created by the layer of vinyl can promote fungal decay.
The soft, spongy material rammed in the end of your wine bottle may not seem like the best material for high-traffic flooring, but cork has a lot to offer. Its looks are very distinctive, and the irregular pattern of pores and discolourations on the surface of your cork floor can be very engaging, especially when set in rustically-styled kitchens. The soft surface of a cork floor is easy on your feet and retains heat well, particularly if used with underfloor heating. Cork floors are also simple to install if you opt for cork tiles, as they can be purchased with adhesive backing and slotted edges that make installation a breeze. Alternatively, you can have cork flooring professionally installed, a quick and easy process and very useful if you opt for larger cork sheets.
However, cork is still more fragile and vulnerable to damage than other, more rigid materials, and a cork floor will need to be trimmed and resurfaced as it wears out, potentially adding a considerable amount to the floor's price tag in real terms. To counteract this damage, you can have the cork's surface sealed, although this will reduce the cork's cushioning effect and may affect the colour.
While solid hardwood floors made from exotic tropical woods may be prohibitively expensive, you can still enjoy the durability and warmth of a wooden floor in your kitchen on a low budget. Low cost wood flooring options include:
- Plywood -- Strong and durable, plywood can be a convincing solid wood alternative that can last just as long. Choose a real wood surface veneer for added beauty.
- Reclaimed wood -- A surprising amount of sought-after woods can be found being sold as reclaimed wood. Some reclaimed wood has never actually been used and was instead ordered by mistake or was offloaded as surplus. One excellent reclaimed wood to look out for is jarrah, an Australian native wood used primarily for structural purposes due to its great strength. Its rich red-brown colouring and tremendous durability makes for a magnificent floor.
- MDF -- A very cheap option, this material is made from wood fibres glued together with strong resin, and makes for a tough and durable flooring. Make sure to have an MDF floor sealed thoroughly against moisture, as it is very vulnerable to warping.