Interior Design and Decorating

Kitchen Flooring Choices for Aging In Place Design

Kitchen flooring is an important subject for those who are designing or remodeling for aging in place.  Not only is it a matter of safety but additionally it is a matter of comfort.  The longer a person lives, their body begins to lose muscle tone, bone mass and inflammation of joints may occur.  It is important to choose appropriate flooring to help reduce the discomfort these can produce.  Flooring choices that are safer, have lower maintenance requirements and are more comfortable are beneficial to all family members including those choosing to age in place.

Ceramic tile has probably been the most used flooring in kitchens all over the country.  I would like to suggest some alternatives to this popular choice.  What is wrong with ceramic tile you ask?  Doesn’t everyone want ceramic tile?  Isn’t it a status symbol to have tile?  Maybe so, but let’s think about this…

  • Ceramic tile is made of clay that is baked until it is very hard… 

What is wrong with flooring being hard?  There is no give or absorption on a tile floor.  This creates fatigue and discomfort.  Add to that a loss of bone density and muscle tone and standing for any length of time becomes a painful chore.  A simple act of making a meal can become a taxing and uncomfortable experience.

What would be a better alternative to placing tile in the kitchen?   Depending on the homeowners tastes and style, there are a number of better choices that range from cork flooring to laminates (check out Armstrong floors) to  engineered wood and even hard wood (make sure it does not require stripping and waxing).  These floorings have some give or bounce to them that will help alleviate some of the discomfort that standing for prolonged periods on a hard surface causes.

Another thing to keep in mind when choosing kitchen flooring is the slip factor.  Ceramic tile can create a potential slip issue.  Some tiles become very slippery when there is liquid on the surface.  Think about what will happen when there is water on the floor from spillage and cleaning. Look for products that have a bit of a texture to them so that there is traction.

Consider not only the comfort of using cork flooring, laminates or engineered flooring, but also the fact that they are environmentally friendly, have cost benefits and have low maintenance requirements.  I encourage you to explore the many flooring options available.  Do not just settle for tile just because it has always been done that way or because everybody else is doing it.  In the long run, we will all benefit from thinking ahead and designing for the future. 

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me at alesha@aechurba-design.com.  Take care.  

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8 thoughts on “Kitchen Flooring Choices for Aging In Place Design”

  1. Great ideas–I love the cork one inparticular! I do have a concern about engineered flooring as a lot of times that is far more slippery than tile. Do you have any ideas around that?

    1. The highly polished Engineered flooring (shiny) can be very slippery, this is true. Consider a matte finish and something with a bit of texture to it. You can find more information about slippery floors and the testing that can be done to determine slip resistance at http://ohsonline.com/Articles/2010/10/01/How-to-Buy-Flooring-Having-Sustainable-Wet-Slip-Resistance.aspx. It explains some of the testing that goes into flooring and the ratings. You might check out Armstrong flooring’s floor finder too for helpful suggestions. Thank you for commenting!

  2. Excellent point on tile being too hard and slippery! If you live in the north or midwest it is also cold, too cold in the winter. Cork is awesome underfoot and is cleanable. I\’m a fan of bamboo too. Great post!

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