Are Brick Floors the Best Kitchen Flooring Option?
Average prices for kitchen brick materials and installation range from $11 to $15 per square foot
The best? They could be. For homeowners who want classic charm and authentically textured feel underfoot, with long-lasting durability, brick kitchen flooring can be a perfect fit.
What is it – is it full brick? What are its benefits and potential problems? How much does brick kitchen flooring cost? Get all the details in this comprehensive report on brick floors in the kitchen
Welcome to our latest kitchen flooring report focused this week on brick flooring. A brick floor kitchen is one of the more unique and niche kitchen flooring choices and one that really shines within the right type of home and interior design environment. Let’s start by taking a look at the brick options available:
BRICK FLOORING OPTIONS FOR A KITCHEN
You have several choices for use in the kitchen: Full brick, thin brick pavers and porcelain brick tiles.
Using full brick is rare. The problem, apart from expense, is that its average height of 2 1/4″ causes elevation issues when joining up to other flooring types like hardwood.
Brick veneer, also called thin brick and brick pavers, is the common choice when “real” clay brick material is preferred. Brick paver options are 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick, with 3/8” being common. Some brick paver lines have specialty end pieces formed with an L-shaped 90-degree angle for use when the edge will be exposed.
Length and width span the spectrum from 1” x 6” to 4” x 10”. The color palette is just as wide-ranging from nearly white to deep reds, browns and charcoals. Many are color blends, just as you see on brick homes.
Both new thin brick and reclaimed brick that has been sliced into veneer is available. These are green options for indoor flooring.
TILE THAT LOOKS LIKE BRICK
Brick tile is usually porcelain tile formulated and formed to look very much like genuine brick. It has the advantage of being tough and more impervious to moisture and stains than natural brick pavers, which are porous by nature. This is a useful attribute in a kitchen environment.
Pieces or panels? Most brick flooring for use in the kitchen is sold in boxes of individual pieces. This approach gives you the most control over color selection and how wide you want the mortar/grout lines to be.
Panels of brick pavers fixed to a mesh back are also produced. The advantage is that the pavers are pre-spaced to produce uniform mortar lines. They are a good option for DIY, if you’re not experienced in laying brick.
What else is there to know? Plenty, and it starts with pros & cons before moving on to kitchen brick flooring cost.
PROS AND CONS OF KITCHEN BRICK
What are the advantages and disadvantages of installing brick in the kitchen? Here they are with comparisons to other popular kitchen flooring materials.
- Material cost starts in the range of laminate and sheet vinyl and below Luxury vinyl and hardwood
- Brick flooring lasts indefinitely – 40+ years
- The look creates a classic, homey vibe from rustic to contemporary
- Herringbone, basket-weave and other designs can be created for uniqueness
- A good selection of color blends, textures, shapes and finishes from matte to semi-gloss to suit your tastes
- Perfect for use over radiant heat flooring systems
- Low-VOC flooring made from natural materials
- Might be reclaimed and can be recycled
- Easy to maintain, and resistant to stain when sealed
- Texture and grit make it slip-resistant
- Resistant to heat and fire
- Installation labor cost is much higher than for hardwood, vinyl and laminate
- Repair and removal costs are higher too
- Concrete or cement board subfloor is required
- Matching brick color “down the road” can be difficult, so buy and store an extra box of pavers for repairs
- Hardness can cause feet and back soreness when standing on brick for long periods
- Dropped items are likely to break or dent when hitting brick
- Uniqueness of appearance won’t appeal to all potential home buyers
- Porous, so moisture can penetrate and stain if brick isn’t sealed properly
HOW MUCH DOES BRICK KITCHEN FLOORING COST?
As a refresher, we have identified four types of kitchen brick flooring – Brick pavers, paver panels, porcelain tile made to resemble clay brick, and full brick, which again, is rarely used.
Here are material costs and installed costs for these kitchen flooring types.
|Type||Material/sq. ft.||Average/sq. ft.|
|Brick Pavers – Individual||$1.25 – $8.00||$6.00|
|Brick Pavers – Panels||$7.00 – $12.00||$10.00|
|Porcelain Brick Tile||$2.50 – $6.00||$4.50|
|Full Brick||$4.00 – $12.00||$7.50|
Installed Brick Flooring
|Type||Cost Range/sq. ft.||Average/sq. ft.|
|Brick Pavers – Individual||$7.00 – $16.00||$11.00|
|Brick Pavers – Panels||$12.00 – $18.00||$14.00|
|Porcelain Brick Tile||$9.00 – $17.00||$12.50|
|Full Brick||$10.00 – $21.00||$15.00|
KITCHEN BRICK – MORE INFORMATION
We get questions about where to buy the materials, what does installation involve and what supplies are needed, how long does it take and what do you need to know about living with a brick kitchen floor post installation?
This section provides answers to these brick kitchen flooring FAQs.
WHERE TO BUY BRICK KITCHEN FLOORING
You’ll always find the best selection online, but because brick, even pavers and tiles, is heavy flooring, you’ll incur significant shipping costs.
Individual Pavers and Tiles: These are widely available at home improvement and flooring stores, but selection could be limited. If the store doesn’t have the style you want, perhaps it can be ordered at little or no extra charge. Buying in person allows you to examine the pavers and tiles you’re considering and get the best look at their color and overall appearance.
Buying online offers a better selection and might save you a little bit of the cost – but you’ll probably lose that savings through shipping charges.
Paver Panels: The story is about the same as for individually pieced flooring, including buying online, but the selection isn’t as good.
Full Brick: Your local building supply store might have limited options and quantity on-hand or for order. The best place to find full brick is online from brick specialty dealers like Brick It. Expect very high delivery costs, though. This is just another reason that full brick is an uncommon choice for kitchen floors.
Here are the basic materials and techniques needed for kitchen brick floor installation.
Tip – Most manufacturers supply customers with an installation guide that includes a list of supplies and tools along with detailed step-by-step installation instructions.
Subfloor: The mortar used for brick requires a cement subfloor. If the kitchen is on a concrete slab, which isn’t common, then you’re all set. When the subfloor is plywood or OSB, then you will have to use construction glue to fix the cement board subfloor to it.
Layout: Chalk lines and spacers are often employed to define the flooring layout before installation begins.
Pavers and Tiles: Mortar is “buttered” onto the back of the paver or tile, and it is pressed onto the subfloor. Mortar between the pavers can be applied as the pavers are installed, or this job can be delayed until all the pavers are laid. If using porcelain brick tile, then grout is applied once the entire tile field is installed.
Panels: Installation begins with fixing the entire panel to the subfloor using mortar, and ensuring that the courses of pavers or tiles are “perfectly” straight. Mortar or grout for the joints is usually installed once all the panels are in place.
Grout Tip – Grout can be used with brick pavers, if that’s a look you prefer to mortar. Grout can be tinted to nearly any color you prefer.
Cutting: Pavers and tiles are cut with a power saw fitted with a diamond-tipped stone/brick blade. Be sure to use safety equipment when cutting materials.
Paver Sealing: When genuine brick pavers are used – individually or in panels – the brick must be sealed to prevent moisture absorption and the staining it can cause. Sealers are available in various gloss levels, starting with matte, to give you the finish you prefer.
Note on sealing – Installers often delay sealing the brick for up to 30 days to give the mortar time to fully cure.
How Long Does Installation Take?
Good tilers install 8 to 12 square feet per hour when all aspects of the job are considered – floor prep, paver installation, grout, sealing and cleanup.
12’ x 20’ – 240 square foot kitchen: 3-5 days
15’ x 30’ – 450 square foot kitchen: 4-7 days
20’ x 40’ – 800 square foot kitchen: 7-10 days
What About DIY?
If you’ve successfully installed flooring tile, then you are probably considering doing it yourself and saving the majority of the total cost. You know your skills, and obviously, the call on DIY is yours to make.
For inexperienced homeowners, there are a number of hurdles to getting a professionally looking final product. These include subfloor installation and prep, using the right mortar or grout mix, getting the lines straight, cutting pavers and more.
How Much Does Pro Installation Cost?
Hiring a pro to install brick flooring in the kitchen will cost $5.00 to $10.00 per square foot for most jobs. This is two to five times higher than the cost of installing kitchen vinyl flooring, as one example. Installation includes putting down the subfloor, if necessary, installing the tile and mortar or grout, sealing the brick and cleaning up the worksite.
If costs are high where you live and your kitchen design is complex, meaning there are a lot of obstacles to work around, cost can rise to $12.00 or higher per square foot. Be sure to get multiple quotes before hiring.
BRICK KITCHEN FLOOR MAINTENANCE
When brick is properly sealed, it is easy to maintain which is important for a kitchen floor. Broom it or use a hard-floor brushless vacuum weekly to remove dirt that can scuff off the sealer over time when walked on.
A damp mop and warm water – or spot cleaning – is best for stubborn dirt. A steam mop is OK for monthly sanitizing, but prolonged use will shorten the life of the sealer.
If, after using a mop or steamer, the floor keeps a blotchy, wet appearance longer than it should, it probably means moisture got under the sealer. This is an indicator it is time to reseal the floor.
For comfort, cushioned rugs are recommended in front of the kitchen sink and where you normally stand for food prep. They’ll allow you to work on brick for longer stretches without feet and back discomfort. Pets appreciate a soft rug too.
Speaking of cushions, it’s always good to add them to the bottom of chair, table and other furniture legs to protect any type of kitchen floor material.
BUYING THE BEST BRICK FLOORING FOR YOUR KITCHEN
Take time to get familiar with the look of brick to be sure it’s the flooring style you want in the kitchen. That’s not said to warn you away from it, but to remind you of two things:
1 – There are many styles, shapes and colors to consider before choosing your favorite.
2 – Brick kitchen flooring lasts for decades and is costly to replace. A well-considered decision is one you are more likely to be happy with for many years to come.
There are cheaper alternatives. If you don’t want to commit to decades of brick in the kitchen, browse brick-look sheet vinyl and laminate flooring choices.
BEST BRICK FLOORING BRANDS FOR THE KITCHEN
Brands aren’t emphasized as much with this material as they are when discussing hardwood, luxury vinyl or laminate.
One reason is that many brick and paver brands are regional because of the transportation costs of shipping brick. It simply doesn’t pay to ship them more than a few hundred miles from their manufacturing site.
A few of the brands with a wide reach include Real Thin Brick, Boston Mill, Inglenook and Rock Ridge.
Brick porcelain tile is manufactured by MSI Tile, Daltile and many others.
FINAL THOUGHTS FROM HOME FLOORING PROS
Brick works with any style – but not all brick works with all styles.
As a result, it is important to match the kitchen design to the home’s architecture and style – Old World/Mediterranean, Traditional, rustic, country, European, urban, modern and contemporary are popular themes that brick is suited to.
The more you familiarize yourself with your options, the easier it will be to narrow them to just the right fit for your kitchen’s personality. You’re about to make a large investment, and hiring a designer to help you pull it all together might be money well spent.
What about ROI? Expensive kitchen flooring delivers the best return in houses where it is at home. Is hardwood, stone tile and brick common in your neighborhood? Then don’t hesitate to choose it for your kitchen. Where more affordable flooring materials are the norm, you won’t get good resale value from brick.