I love the appearance of polished concrete flooring in kitchens, but concrete — along with other nonresilient floor surfaces, like stone, ceramic and porcelain tile — may take a toll on your joints. I have heard complaints from a number of homeowners that regret putting in a difficult flooring material in their kitchen because of the subsequent knee, hip or back pain they feel after standing or walking for a lengthy period. Fortunately there are lots of softer, resilient kitchen floor types available that are as functional as they are fine.


Sustainably harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree, cork is a great resilient floor choice in a kitchen because of its high level of cushioning. It is offered in a variety of colours, patterns and textures, and in tile or plank formats. It is somewhat self-healing but can get scratched and dented. It is possible to mitigate this by regularly applying a protective layer of wax or polyurethane and using protective felt pads on the toes of your furniture.

Substance cost: $4 to $14 per square foot

Read more about bamboo floors

Pohl Rosa Pohl


Not to be confused with vinyl flooring, linoleum is made of natural and renewable materials like linseed oil, pine rosin and powdered cork. It is soft underfoot yet very durable, as it comes in a wide selection of shades and patterns. As with cork, employing and keeping a protective finish will keep it looking great for many decades.

Substance cost: $5 to $10 per square foot

Read more about linoleum flooring

Ogawa Fisher Architects


This is a bit of an unusual choice at a residential kitchen, but vinyl floors is becoming more common in houses. Soft, springy and durable, it is a terrific choice if you would like to stand for hours on your kitchen without pulling on the pains and aches. Rubber flooring is offered in sheet and tile formats, and needs to be sealed after installation and every year or two, depending on traffic and wear.

Substance cost: $6 to $12 per square foot

Kristie Barnett, The Decorologist


A favorite budget-friendly option, vinyl flooring comes in both tile and sheet formats and in an endless array of styles and colours. I love to have fun with vinyl; I love to use bolder colours or put it out in a fascinating pattern. However, it is not quite as durable as other resilient flooring choices and may get dinged up pretty readily. Because of this, it tends to have a shorter life span than other choices.

Substance cost: $2 to $10 per square foot

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Merzbau Design Collective


A favorite flooring material for kitchens, wood is more forgiving on our joints than rock, ceramic, concrete or ceramic. It also looks and feels warmer than flooring. Some drawbacks to timber are it can get scratched and dinged readily, and it also has to be protected from contact with water. In kitchens I recommend going with a site-finished wood floor as opposed to a prefinished floor. Yes, it is a messy business sealing the floor following installation, but by sealing it after installation you also seal the joints, preventing water and dirt from collecting from them.

Substance cost: $5 to $20 per square foot

More about solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring

DLB Custom Home Design


Not technically timber — it is really a grass — bamboo has many of the very same benefits and disadvantages as timber. It is a good alternative if you’re looking to use a sustainably harvested material for your own kitchen floor. Not all bamboo flooring is the same, nevertheless; make certain to look for moso bamboo, as it is considered the toughest and most lasting.

Substance cost: $5 to $12 per square foot

Bamboo Products — Earth Friend or Foe?

Galko Homes


Similar to vinyl flooring products, laminates are a budget-friendly flooring option and are soft underfoot when compared to rigid floor materials. They tend to be more moisture resistant than hardwood flooring, but because they aren’t a solid substance all the way through, they can not be refinished if damaged.

Substance cost: $2 to $5 per square foot

Read more about laminate flooring

Alternate Option: Mats and Rugs

For those who simply have to have their hard concrete or tile kitchen floor, there is always the option of putting gel mats or other cushioning rugs in areas of your kitchen in which you invest large amounts of time standing, like in your sink or before the range.

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