The environment of commercial kitchen flooring is intense and unforgiving: extreme temperatures, constant spills, dropped food, broken plates, heavy foot traffic, chemical cleaning products, and large cooking equipment can wreak havoc on a flooring system that is not properly equipped to handle the job. You need a perfect balance of aesthetic appeal and functional prowess, and only a few building materials properly fit the bill. We’ll briefly cover ceramic tile, natural stone, epoxy flooring, and vinyl flooring in our guide to the best restaurant kitchen flooring.
Best Restaurant Kitchen Floor Solution
When looking for the best restaurant flooring, you have to keep these five things in mind:
Restaurants and kitchens have extremely high and low temperatures (think a walk-in freezer and then the area next to the stove). These environments also go through daily deep cleans with harsh chemicals. The floor needs to be durable to deal with the heavy foot traffic, spilled liquids, and crushed food, while having a degree of slip-resistance to ensure worker safety. Last but not least, the restaurant kitchen flooring needs to be sanitary. No one wants to work in a dirty kitchen. Let’s take a look at ceramic tile, vinyl flooring, natural stone, and epoxy flooring below:
Ceramic Tile Kitchen Flooring
Ceramic tile flooring is on the cheaper side of flooring options when it comes to commercial kitchen flooring for your restaurant. It’s ⅓ the price of natural stone tiles. The great thing about ceramic tile is that it is non-porous, which means it will not absorb liquids or water. The issue with ceramic tile is that if heavy equipment is dropped on a tile in the wrong place, it may be prone to breakage.
Ceramic tile originally starts as a clay and is fired in a kiln. Ceramic tends to come in two types: non-porcelain and porcelain. It requires minimal maintenance, and the surface is protected from wear and tear by a melted glass glaze that runs over the top of each tile. Be aware: unglazed ceramic tile is porous! So that means it will mop up liquids, odors, and chemicals. Regular concrete is porous too, which is why concrete is often polished.
Vinyl is made out of many synthetic polymers and natural materials. The mixture increases durability and comes in three types: luxury vinyl tile, vinyl composition tile, and vinyl flooring.
Luxury vinyl tile is stronger than vinyl composition tile and regular vinyl flooring. Luxury vinyl tile is made out of primarily limestone-based building materials, sometimes with a few composites mixed in as well. Vinyl floors are durable, and they resist stains, abrasions, heat, and water. They can also be made to mimic natural rock and stone options. They are cost effective, but not as strong as a building material such as epoxy or natural stone.
Epoxy for Your Restaurant Kitchen Flooring
Epoxy is a two part mixture of a resinous building material and a chemical hardener. When combined, it creates an ultra-strong and very resilient building material.
Epoxy flooring is safe for high-foot traffic areas like a commercial kitchen, and it is very easy to clean due to its monolithic surface. It adheres to all USDA and FDA food requirements, and easily passes all state and local health codes and regulations. Here are just a few benefits of an epoxy flooring system for your restaurant:
Epoxy is easy to clean. Since epoxy is non-porous, no chemicals, liquids, or squashed food will get stuck in the flooring. It cuts down on scrubbing time and deep cleans. We can guarantee that you’ll have a very easy time cleaning epoxy when compared to other surfaces such as natural stone. Epoxy flooring prevents oil and grime from sticking to the surface of your floor.
Epoxy flooring is sanitary. This is especially important for any place that requires stringent health codes such as restaurants, kitchens, and hospitals. Epoxy is installed seamlessly around crevices, vents, corners, and cracks, and it is naturally antimicrobial. Antimicrobial additives can also be added for even more food safety. The ant-microbial characteristics are not just a topcoat either, it is built into the flooring system itself. Therefore, it cannot be damaged by hot oil or harsh detergents.
Slip resistance. When you combine dried epoxy flakes to the top of your epoxy floor, it can create a coarse, yet non-abrasive surface that is naturally anti-slip. There are also anti-slip properties already built into the surface of the epoxy itself. Cut down on slip and falls in your restaurant today!
Epoxy is incredibly durable. There’s a reason why industrial manufacturing plants, warehouses, airports, and machine shops use epoxy flooring as their flooring of choice. It protects against thousands of pounds of force, acids, cleaners, oils, animal fats, liquids, cleaners and degreasers, and other harsh chemicals. All these substances will wipe right off of an epoxy floor.
Epoxy is functional and aesthetic. It’s the cherry on top. It doesn’t just protect against everything that a commercial kitchen environment can throw at it; it also looks amazing. You can customize your own restaurant logo and place it on the floor, and choose from a number of different color, design, and style options. The flooring will never fade – no matter how much cleaning, spills, or foot traffic your restaurant flooring goes through.
Natural Stone for Restaurant Flooring
Naturally, this is going to be the most expensive item on the list because natural stone must be precisely cut. Natural stone is often used to represent an outdoor kitchen where brand image and ambiance is incredibly important. The red hues in stone and natural brick are quarried and include many unique characteristics.
Avoid polished surface materials and tiles. When looking for restaurant flooring options, always go for something that is brushed or honed like granite or slate. This will provide a natural slip resistance – which is crucial for a restaurant setting. However, all natural stone is porous, so it must be deep cleaned thoroughly, as all the food, liquid, and foot traffic will naturally wear it down. Many business owners that have natural stone flooring periodically use wax treatments on the floor, but even then, it is often stripped and must be applied periodically to prevent damage to the floor.
Our Conclusions for the Best Restaurant Flooring
Vinyl flooring and ceramic tile are on the cheaper end of building materials. While both are non-porous, both of these materials can chip or crack from an extreme force (such as a dropped heavy item like a wok pan). Commercial sealers can help, but the durability is not the strongest. For more durability, natural stone flooring will set the ambience and provide great strength; however, natural stone flooring is porous and requires a great deal of periodic maintenance and deep cleans.
Epoxy flooring is the best of both worlds. It is incredibly durable and strong, and naturally non-porous. It’s seamless, monolithic surface can be customized with hundreds of different colors, styles, and options. Epoxy flake flooring and metallic epoxy flooring are just two examples of this customization. It is naturally anti-microbial and will not allow liquids to seep into the foundation. It is also stronger than natural stone and more durable to boot. For these reasons, we recommend epoxy flooring as the best restaurant kitchen flooring.
Have more questions about epoxy? Want to get in touch? Contact us today for the best epoxy flooring solutions for your kitchen!