What’s on my feet usually interests me a whole lot more than what is under them, but after spending hours standing on my feet preparing Christmas dinner, I have a new appreciation for what is on the floor. There are a number of different permutations when it comes to materials. When looking into different floorings, you also have to think about not only comfort and durability, but traffic area and usage. Cork is a great if you plan on spending a lot of time in the kitchen, the sponginess of this natural material is easy on the joints and reduces fatigue. But other factors need to be taken into account. Begin by considering where the flooring will go and how much traffic, sunlight, and other wear and tear it will get. Vinyl proved tops in Consumer Reports moisture tests and most linoleum, plastic laminates, and solid wood fared nearly as well. But many engineered woods, as well as some solid woods, and a linoleum product we tested flubbed that test--a serious drawback in a busy kitchen. And while the best vinyls and plastic-laminates fended off wear better than solid wood, they can't be refinished when worn.
Now, I have to admit, this is all very good advice, and when I was choosing flooring for my kitchen, I tried to take into account all of the factors and make an informed logical decision that fit within my budget. Then I fell in love with reclaimed timber floors. Eight inch wide planks, beautiful sheen and history. Unfortunately, the history of my family also showed up on the floors. Being a softwood, fir showed every step that my dogs took, and anywhere that had high traffic flow the floors became rutted. In ten years I have had to refinish my floors twice. Moral of this story? Save falling in love for shoes, and keep your head in the game when choosing what you wear them on.