Fun with Flooring

Get to Know Your Flooring Options

Although flooring by nature exists to be stepped upon, floors can and should do more than be durable. Whether wood, laminate, tile or stone is your material of choice, the kitchen floor adds color and character to the room. It also unites the kitchen with, or distinguishes it from adjoining areas. As one of the largest visible sufaces, flooring has a huge impact on a kitchen's design. Here's a sampling of the available options.

Eco-Friendly Antique Flooring

Reclaimed from about-to-be-demolished factories, warehouses and mills in the Eastern and Southeastern United States, this antique heart pine flooring features warm tones of orange, amber and pumpkin as well as the tight vertical grain and fewer knots typical of old-growth hardwood. Forest Stewardship Council certification means every board is an antique and qualifies for LEED credits. Available in widths of 3 to 12 inches, unfinished or prefinished.

Limestone Tile for Indoors or Outdoors

Give an indoor or outdoor kitchen a timeless, weathered look with Galaxy Black limestone from Ann Sacks. Available in square or rectangular tiles, the limestone can be sandblasted for a smooth honed finished; antiqued by hand; or bush-hammered (better for walls). The manufacturer recommends sealing Galaxy Black tiles for protection, which deepens the smoky black shade of the stone.

Exotic Hardwoods

The Global Exotics collection from Armstrong features hardwood flooring from species such as tigerwood, jatoba, cumaru and lapacho. Choose from ¾-inch-thick solid wood; more affordable, low-profile 5/16-inch-thick wood; or the more environmentally friendly engineered wood, which uses fewer raw materials and can be floated over existing flooring. Shown: 4¾-inch-wide planks of engineered African mahogany in the natural color.

Color-Coordinated Tile

With three patterns and one solid, plus four field tile sizes and matching trim pieces, the Building Blox collection of porcelain tiles creates a wide range of creative options for the kitchen floor (and even a coordinating backsplash). Designed by Robert A. M. Stern, the tiles offer a contemporary twist on classic style with the Greek Key, Urban Fabric (interconnected rectangles), and City Garden (floral) patterns, available in nine colors: white, limestone, wheat, pistachio, ice, terra cotta, slate, taupe and black.

Hand-Scraped Hardwood Flooring

Add instant heritage to your home with the Amish Hand-Scraped collection of hardwood flooring from HomerWood. Sculpted individually, by hand, by Amish craftsmen, the planks range in width from 3 to 7 inches and come in cherry, hard maple, hickory, oak and black walnut species. Available either unfiinished or prefinished, in ¾-inch thick solid wood or 5/8-inch thick engineered wood planks. Shown: Cherry wood with a Cinnamon finish

Leather-Look Porcelain

Suitable for a contemporary kitchen or a more rustic style, the Metro Leather tile series from Daltile offers the look of worn leather in five rich earth tones. Choose from three square or two rectangular tile sizes with matching trim pieces and decorative accent tiles. The glazed porcelain tiles can also be used outside or for walls and counters. Shown: 20-by-20-inch tiles in Hong Kong Brown.

Wide-Plank Engineered Wood

For a wide-plank wood floor that doesn't expand and contract with the seasons, try the Westchester collection of engineered wood planks from Bruce. This ¾-inch thick engineered product offers increased dimensional stability and a more affordable price than solid wood floors, and can be installed over most subfloors via gluing, floating, stapling or nailing. The oak, maple and hickory planks come in 3¼-inch or 4½-inch widths and a range of colors. Shown: Hickory with a Country Natural finish.

Colorful Porcelain Tile

Bring color into the kitchen via the floor with Rocco Pia tiles from Mohawk's Classic Collection of ceramic tile. These glazed porcelain tiles come in four rich hues and work inside or outside for flooring, counters or backsplashes. Available in 6½-by-6½-inch, 13-by-13-inch or 20-by-20-inch sizes. Shown: Indigo.

Easy-Install Laminate Floors

Now with LocNPlace technology, Shaw's laminate flooring offers the look of exotic wood flooring while saving trees and making installation quick and glue-free. The inner layer consists of EnviroCore, a high-density fiber material made from recycled wood fiber. Shown: Georgia Pecan finish from the Americana Collection.

Decorative Stone Tile Murals

Decorative tiles can create beautiful designs for a kitchen floor as well as for a kitchen backsplash. Stone Impressions offers a wide range of hand-printed (not painted) murals and patterns on Botticino marble, Durango stone, limestone and travertine. The company also can customize tiles with any image or design. Shown: The Zellii pattern on 12-inch x 12-inch Durango stone with a border of ½-inch x ½-inch mosaic tile.

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