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Decorative encaustic kitchen tile flooring

Kitchen flooring is important to think carefully about - after all, the kitchen is usually the busiest room in the house.

Kitchen flooring might need to be practical and hardwearing, but there's no need for it to be dull. As kitchens often blend with dining areas into larger, open-plan spaces, the floor can be a great way of uniting different areas of the room, creating a cohesive finish. It's a good idea to choose your floor at the same time as your cabinetry, putting together a palette of colours and materials.

You might choose neutral tiles in large formats, or those with pattern and texture to add a burst of colour to your kitchen flooring.

Natural flooring such as stone and wood is always a popular choice and lends authenticity to a scheme. A current trend is 'mimica' porcelains, which re-create the look of natural materials. Advancements in digital imaging technology mean flooring which mimics the look of wood, stone, and even concrete can be produced, offering a more hardwearing, affordable option.

To make your flooring choice work for you, you'll want to consider the following:

Choose your material
Modern porcelain tiles tend to be the most hard-wearing, and they are waterproof, stain resistant and scratchproof, as well as easy to clean. Natural stone will last a lifetime if properly installed and treated, but it's porous and must be sealed. Solid and engineered wood floors are warm and offer character, but tend to be less durable (although solid floors can often be refinished).

Want underfloor heating?
Generally, porcelain and stone tiles are fine with underfloor heating, but wood floors are not always suitable (wood generally prefers stable conditions). Check with your flooring supplier before buying.

Think about pattern
Patterned and shaped tiles can be used to create a feature floor, or to 'zone' an area, such as underneath a dining table. Natural colours and worn-in, aged looks are ideal for a vintage patchwork effect, while parquet patterns in stained and textured timbers are a modern take on this traditional and elegant floor.

A good foundation
Sub-floors need to be clean, dry, structurally sound and flat, and most suppliers recommend using an installer experienced in the flooring being applied (especially for natural stone). Larger format tiles and patterned layouts usually take longer to fit and incur more wastage, so are generally more expensive.

For more inspiration, take a look through our pick of the 10 best kitchen flooring ideas...

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