(Family Features)--Whether designing a brand new kitchen or renovating your existing one, there are many elements to consider, and the floor should not be the last. Giving special attention to the material composition of your kitchen, particularly when it comes to the aspects that take the heaviest use - the floors, sink and countertops - can help ensure your renovation stands the test of time.
Though often taken for granted, the floor is generally the kitchen feature that sustains the heaviest use over time. Whether your tastes tend toward tile, wood or another option altogether, there are still numerous variables to explore.
Tile is an excellent choice for the kitchen because it stands up well to the heavy traffic and spills common in that space. However, tile can also be slippery and can be uncomfortable if you spend long amounts of time on your feet in the kitchen. Ceramic tile is the easiest to install but not as resistant to damage as porcelain or stone tile.
The latter options require more skilled installation, and stone especially tends to be more expensive. You'll also need to pay attention to factors like water resistance and texture, both of which affect safety and how easily the floors can be cleaned.
When it comes to wood, one of the first decisions is whether you prefer engineered or solid hardwood.
Engineered versions tend to offer greater durability and flexibility in installation while the texture and appearance of solid hardwood are its strongest appeals. Other variables include the wood type, which further affects the look and strength. Oak is most common, but other traditional selections include options like maple or cherry and specialty woods like teak or bamboo. Plank width influences overall aesthetic, with slimmer boards lending a more modern look. Color is also a consideration, as you'll need to determine whether you want to match, complement or contrast your cabinetry.
If something a little less traditional is more your speed, an option like foot-friendly cork or a modern take on vinyl may be more to your liking.
Published with permission from RISMedia.