OVERVIEW on Kitchen Flooring:
The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home, and the right choice for kitchen floors is key to the style of the space as well as the maintenance time and your ongoing comfort as you cook for yourself, your family, and friends. Now more than ever, you can choose from a diverse range of kitchen flooring materials. For each aspect of home design and remodeling you can also strive to make choices that are 1) Functional, 2) Stylish, 3) Cost-Effective, and 4) Environmentally Sustainable. These are the four key guiding principles in the GREENandSAVE strategy. You will find that in certain cases, one or two of the criteria take precedent over others. However, as you review the home improvement options that are right for your home, you may be surprised to learn that reaching all four is more achievable than you thought.
Selection Tips: In choosing a kitchen floor material make sure to think through its durability, maintenance needs, and its integration with your kitchen countertops, cabinets, appliances, and the paint color for your walls and ceiling. Your kitchen floor will then work well with your overall kitchen design and ongoing use. The best kitchen flooring solution for an active family is often one that is low-maintenance, while higher maintenance floors work better for quieter lifestyles. To find the right kitchen floor for your home, review the different options in this article section that will give you perspective on the advantages and the disadvantages of each flooring material. From green flooring like cork and bamboo to traditional hardwood, stone, and tile, you have a lot of great options to choose from. Make sure to also consider the advantages of radiant flooring to generate heat that rises up through almost any surface material. Stone or tile has a thermal advantage of storing the radiant heat more than other surfaces. Since gourmet kitchens are increasingly popular and many cooking enthusiasts spend quite a bit of time on their feet, you may want to consider the hardness of the surface. If you love to cook and also want the comfort and energy saving advantages of a radiant floor with a stone or tile finish, you can buy professional chef cushioned mats or area rug underlayment for a few key work areas. Now, you have helped your feet also enjoy the kitchen floor experience.
DETAILS on Concrete Kitchen Flooring Maintenance:
Dust Mopping: This is the most important step to preserving your decorative concrete floor. Dust mopping regularly will prevent sand and dirt from building up on the surface of your floor, abrading the floor finish, and wearing through the concrete sealer and concrete stain below. Any light duty sweeping or vacuuming tool is fine, but we have found that an 18” to 36” microfiber dust mop works best. The static electricity created by this flat, broad-surfaced material picks up small debris and contaminants like a magnet. Just be sure to shake out the mop periodically so as not to scratch the floor.
Damp Mopping: Cleaning your decorative concrete floor promptly, when the floor finish has become dirty, marred, or lost its luster will restore the initial gloss and preserve the integrity of the remaining floor finish. You should use a ph neutral cleaner, diluted in cool water, according the manufacturer’s instructions. Most cleaning products do not require rinsing, except when recoating with new floor finish.
But when mopping, be sure to keep the cleaning solution from getting too dirty, and do not allow the cleaner to puddle. Also, do not use Swiffer Wet-Jets, bleach, ammonia, Pine Sol, or any harsh detergents! They will break down and discolor the existing floor finish, and maybe the concrete sealer as well, which both may then require stripping and re-application.
Recoating: A certain amount of abrasion and scratching over time from foot traffic, playing children, pets, and wheeled objects cannot be avoided and will erode the existing floor finish on your decorative concrete floor. This finish needs to be restored so that the concrete sealer and concrete stain below is not affected. How often you need to recoat depends on your circumstances. In homes, 8 months to a year is a good rule of thumb; for commercial establishments, it should be more often, perhaps every 2 to 4 months.
Be sure to use a commercial grade floor finish from a janitorial supply house, not one from a hardware or grocery store. Use a garden sprinkling can and a lambswool applicator or rayon (synthetic) mop to apply thin, uniform coats. A new coat of floor finish can does not take long to apply and usually dries in 45 minutes or less. If you have the time, you can apply a second coat of finish at the same time for added durability and longevity. Floor finishes are inexpensive, usually no more than $15 a gallon from a janitorial supply house. They also come in matte or gloss versions, depending on the amount of surface sheen you desire.
Objects & Materials: The sealer and finish on your acid stained concrete floor or stained concrete overlay is a form of plastic. Most plastics tend to bond together, so avoid placing on your floor anything with a plastic or acrylic bottom, such as mats, air mattresses, painters tarps, planters, and furniture coasters. Otherwise, when you go to move these objects, they may take the sealer and color right off your floor. If you do plan to keep such objects on the floor, use fabric in between, a felt bottomed object, or a nitrile-based or other quality rubber. Cheap or poor quality rubbers may leave yellow or brown staining.
Also, be careful of runoff water from plants, which may contain tannins, lignin, fertilizer or plant food. Over time, these trace chemicals can discolor and permanently stain your sealer.
Finally, NEVER EVER apply tape, of any kind or for however short a period of time, to a stained concrete floor! The tape will pull up the concrete sealer and concrete stain coloring when it is removed. Painters should know better, but they do this all the time. This is not covered under warranty, so you need to warn your painters beforehand or recover repair damages from the offending party and then pay to have it fixed.
When it comes to cleaning your kitchen floors look for products that have ingredients that are not hazardous to humans or the earth. Many cleaners are now produced without phosphates, chorine, borates, phenol, ammonia, formaldehyde and nitrates Also look for cleaners that have low or zero volatile organic compounds, the chemicals that produce noxious toxins and air-pollution. Make your home the safest place in the world without sacrificing cleanliness. Finally, help save the environment by looking for concentrated cleaners so that we collectively reduce the shipping and transportation cost of moving heavier products that are pre-hydrated (just add water!). Overall, this new generation of concentrated, toxic-free, and biodegradable cleaning agents save the environment, you family's health, and your money.
Click here to see the range of top choices for environmentally friendly cleaners.