You’ve made the right choice and decided to use ceramic tile for your kitchen flooring. Exciting options for shapes, colors, textures, and designs await you!
Read on to discover which type of ceramic tile is best for your lifestyle and use our tile pattern templates to plan your space. Learn why the choice of ceramic tile for your kitchen flooring is a smart decision for both your health and your wallet.
Five Important Reasons to Choose Ceramic Tile for Your Kitchen Flooring
No matter how well your kitchen flooring functions, you still want it to look good. Finding the perfect flooring to complement the rest of your kitchen is as simple as reviewing all of your options. Ceramic tile is the ideal choice because it is available in an extensive variety of colors, textures, and styles to suit any decor and every need. Your dream kitchen begins with a beautiful, reliable ceramic tile floor.
2. Health Benefits
Ceramic tile is free of harmful pollutants, providing a healthy space for your family to make and enjoy meals:
- No volatile organic compounds (VOCs): Some VOCs emitted by nonceramic building products can contribute to a wide variety of health problems, including “sick building syndrome.” Ceramic tile has zero VOCs.
- No allergens: Because ceramic tile is inorganic and a hard-fired surface, it is inhospitable to bacteria, fungi, mold, and other irritants and won’t absorb dust mites. This is especially important if anyone in your family has allergies.
- No formaldehyde: Some wood products may contain formaldehyde. Certain levels of formaldehyde can irritate asthma and other respiratory disorders, but ceramic tile does not contain formaldehyde.
- No polyvinyl chloride (PVC): PVC is a resin used in vinyl flooring and is regularly a subject of concern among health experts and builders. Ceramic tile is free of PVC.
- No plastic: Ceramic tile contains no plastic and has none of the health or environmental concerns associated with plastic.
- Reduced embodied carbon: Compared to other flooring products that need to be replaced more frequently, ceramic tile’s long life means it is both cost-effective and a smart choice for reducing embodied carbon, as well as other negative environmental impacts, such as resource use, and demolition waste.
[Related: Health Benefits of Ceramic Tile]
3. Low Maintenance
Ceramic tile is extremely low-maintenance. Unlike many other flooring options, ceramic tile offers options that are:
- Stain-resistant: Your kitchen is bound to see many messes—ceramic tile doesn’t stain easily!
- Water-resistant: Liquid spills can ruin other flooring types.
- Scratch-resistant: Dents, scrapes, and cuts often seen in other flooring aren’t the same danger for ceramic tile floors, even after years of heavy traffic.
- Bacteria-resistant: Ceramic tile is inhospitable to the growth of bacteria.
- Antimicrobial: Antimicrobial options can suppress and even destroy harmful microorganisms, such as mold, fungi, bacteria, and viruses.
- Easy to clean: You can easily clean ceramic tile merely by sweeping and/or washing with water.
- Fade-resistant: Ceramic tile does not fade, so you can feel free to redecorate and move your furniture at any time.
When you’re putting away groceries, planning meals, and picking up after dinner, maintaining your floors will be one less thing to worry about.
4. Cost Effectiveness
Ceramic tile is a durable option for kitchen flooring that retains its timeless beauty and has the lowest life cycle cost of any flooring. That means it’s cheaper to maintain per year (least likely to need replacement or repair) than any other kitchen flooring option, including vinyl, wood, cork, and laminate. It also means that you won’t have to worry about replacing your tile anytime soon. Just take a look at how tile has been used over the centuries to get an idea of its incredible longevity.
Also to consider, kitchens are one of the top two most important rooms when it comes to the resale value of your home. So, if selling your home is even a remote possibility down the line, maintaining your kitchen flooring contributes to increasing the value of your home and is one of the most critical rooms homebuyers consider when purchasing a home. Use quality ceramic tile flooring now and you won’t be faced with replacing or repairing other damaged, buckled, or faded flooring types.
Safety should be top of mind for anyone planning a kitchen. This is a space that unites families and is likely where you’ll spend most of your time together. For that reason alone, you need to choose flooring that protects your family from potential hazards.
Ceramic tile is one of the safest kitchen flooring options. Your kitchen will likely experience spills of some sort on a daily basis. Ceramic tile offers a wide variety of finishes that provide anti-slip features so that you can choose the right kind of tile for your project. If an unfortunate accident with heat occurs in your kitchen, your nonflammable ceramic tile will not melt like some vinyl products. And, if that accident erupts into a fire, you will have peace of mind knowing that ceramic tile reduces the flame spread and won’t produce smoke, burn, or give off toxic fumes.
[Related: Post-Pandemic Dream Kitchen Guide]
Ceramic Tile for Kitchen Flooring
Ceramic tile offers the choice of unglazed or glazed surfaces in a large variety of finishes. Your favorite tile shape and color is likely available in a slip-resistant finish that is also stain- and scratch-resistant. All ceramic tile is flame-resistant and many options are also frost-resistant. These characteristics of ceramic tile make it the ideal choice for kitchens.
Porcelain tile is another member of the ceramic tile family that you might consider. Porcelain tile is fired for a longer time and at higher temperatures, which makes it denser than regular ceramic tile. Porcelain meets the “impervious” rating for water absorption (0.5 percent or less), making it incredibly moisture- and stain-resistant.
Porcelain tile also comes in glazed and unglazed options. Unglazed porcelain tile, or “through body” porcelain tile, carries the surface color through the tile. While any surface chips or scratches on porcelain tile are unlikely (it’s stronger than granite), they are even less likely to be noticeable, as the color is consistent through the depth of the tile.
Porcelain’s higher density and higher durability means that this option can also be more expensive and more difficult to cut, requiring some specific cutting tools. Keep these details in mind when considering your kitchen flooring plans and budget.
Whereas most other ceramic tile options are pressed, quarry tile is extruded from the clay mixture into a tile shape before firing. Because the firing takes place at higher temperatures, quarry tile typically qualifies as “vitreous” for water absorption (between 0.5 and 3 percent — absorbing less moisture than regular ceramic tile and more than porcelain). Quarry tile is a great option for spill-prone, uber-high-traffic kitchens, especially kitchens that have walk-in freezers (frost-resistant) and open flames (fire-resistant), such as commercial kitchens—and brewery operations are rising in use!
The most common color of quarry tile is red, but it can also come in other earth tones, such as grey, tan, brown, and even black. Quarry tile is a lovely and economical flooring option for designing a kitchen with a natural or rustic aesthetic and pairs authentically with decorative Spanish or Italian tiles. Because of frost and heat durability, quarry tile performs beautifully with spaces that transition to outdoor areas. Of note, terra cotta tile has a similar look to quarry tile but does not have the same level of flexibility, durability, or moisture resistance.
Tile Shapes for Kitchen Flooring
Popular square sizes for kitchen flooring range from 12″ x 12″ to 18 x 18″ and larger! You definitely won’t feel boxed in by the variety of square-shaped tiles on the market. Square shapes are the ideal canvas for high-impact colors and textures and the perfect partner for combining with smaller sizes and other shapes. You can lay squares tiles in a unique grid pattern to add interest to neutral colors
State-of-the-art design graphics have produced traditional tile shapes (such as squares) that give the illusion of odd shapes with a mosaic quality.
Rectangles continue to grow in popularity as a tile shape, from small mosaics to large-format tiles. A smaller rectangular tile is known affectionately as “subway tile,” as it gained popularity for use in transportation hubs. Subway tiles are back on the map with creative options for layout, color, size, glaze, and grout that give this familiar tile spectacular impact as a kitchen backsplash or wall tile to collaborate with your larger flooring rectangles.
The hexagon tile shape will add a fun honeycomb look to your kitchen’s flooring. Try a neutral color to let the pattern speak for itself, bold contrasting colors for something that will pop, or a texture bonus for this already charmed shape. Hexes are both modern and vintage — a distinctive choice for historic and contemporary properties. Hexes come in sizes that will fit any kitchen flooring space.
Irregular polygons are currently trending, with options that share a new angle with our friend, the hexagon. A playful choice, the irregular polygon shape gives an enlarged mosaic feel to kitchen flooring.
Mosaic tile has been defined as a tile less than nine inches squared in any shape. A new definition is emerging that speaks more to the creativity of the combination of tile shapes, colors, and/or textures to mean “mosaic.” Small mosaic tiles typically come in multiples mounted on sheets or strips for easy installation.
Because mosaic tiles offer a wide range of potential patterns, they give you great liberty when designing your kitchen flooring. Keep your kitchen’s total floorspace in mind when selecting a mosaic tile design — small mosaic tiles with intricate patterns may look overwhelming in a kitchen with a lot of floorspace, just as less spacious kitchens may limit visibility of larger-scale designs. Mosaic tiles can also be an ideal detail in combination with other shapes and sizes.
[Related: Tile Trends We Love: Think Outside the Box]
Tile Pattern Ideas for Kitchen Flooring
Choosing the type and shape of ceramic tile to use for your kitchen flooring is only half the fun. Finding the right ceramic tile pattern is an opportunity to be creative, even when using an economical or monochromatic tile. We’ve showcased a few pattern ideas to get you started.
Grid Tile Pattern
The grid tile pattern is the most flexible tile layout. This straightforward pattern complements any kitchen space and allows incredible versatility when it comes to ceramic tile type and color. This uncomplicated grid can showcase an elaborate tile design style, or it can maximize a monochromatic tile design for a sleek, modern look. If you’re planning to use a ceramic tile with a stone look, this is an ideal pattern to use.
Checkerboard Tile Pattern
The timeless black and white checkerboard tile pattern gives your kitchen a retro look that will never go out of style. However, choose other colors or offset the grid to play with the design and give your flooring a style all your own.
Running Bond Tile Pattern
The running bond tile pattern is a classic choice that works with any style of kitchen. This pattern pairs particularly well with wood looks. Wood-effect ceramic tile laid in the running bond pattern, especially with irregular panel lengths (and even widths), is often indistinguishable from hardwood floors, yet adds the essential durability and fire and water resistance of ceramic tile.
[Related: Guide to Creating a Transitional Kitchen]
Chevron and Herringbone Tile Patterns
The chevron and herringbone tile patterns allow you to add a twist in your design when you might otherwise choose the running bond design. This is a great option for smaller kitchens, as these patterns have widening angles that visually expand your floorspace and lead you toward a focal point or along your room’s intended movement.
Octagon and Dot Tile Pattern
The octagon and dot tile pattern has been a favorite since even before the Victorian era. The white octagon and black dot (diamond) combination is timeless. Play with the colors of your tile by reversing the dominant color for a more contemporary look or add colored grout for an ultra-modern trend.
For more help finding the right ceramic tile pattern for your kitchen flooring, download our template of tile layout patterns.
Now enjoy our inspirational galleries to consider different tile shapes, colors, and textures; read our blogs on hot and cool kitchen flooring tile trends; download our free Tile Buying Guide; and use our tile layout pattern templates to create a unique flooring plan that matches your dream kitchen design style and your lifestyle needs.