Commercial Kitchen Flooring: 4+ Ideas for Your Restaurant
By Ciana Gitre
| Fact Checked By: Lamont Robbins
Published: July 30, 2021 | Updated: November 30, 2021
Everyone knows commercial kitchens are fast-paced environments. With the hustle and bustle of cultivating the best cuisine comes the regular mishaps that occur with daily kitchen use. For example, having slippery surfaces can lead to worker injuries, and the use of heavy-duty kitchen equipment can impact the longevity of your floors.
To help ensure workers’ safety in commercial kitchens, the United States Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have set workplace guidelines. Also, it’s important to note each state has different commercial kitchen regulations for high traffic kitchen areas. We recommend following up with the manufactures’ product specifications to meet OSHA and state standards.
To help make your search even easier, we’ve compiled the best, most resilient flooring options for your commercial kitchen. Although each flooring comes with different advantages and limitations, each is a reliable option. You can keep your workers safe and space looking excellent no matter the workday.
What is Commercial-Grade Flooring?
Commercial grade-flooring is made with the toughest materials on the market. Compared to low-traffic or residential flooring, commercial material can withstand common issues – like scratches, stains, and water spills – better and for a more extended period.
In addition, commercial kitchen flooring is an investment for your business. You can create an attractive work environment that can also keep up with the food industry’s intense physical requirements.
|Related Content >> Top 5 Commercial Flooring Options: Our Expert Picks|
How to Choose Commercial Kitchen Flooring
Besides being ultra-resistant to scratches, moisture, and denting, commercial-grade kitchen flooring can reduce stress on the joints, prevent potential injuries, and keep the workplace from harboring bacteria. Ready to mix it up with commercial kitchen flooring?
Ingredients for Great Commercial Kitchen Flooring
- Anti-microbial: The worry of bacteria growing in the kitchen is understandable. Our selection of commercial flooring can help keep things sanitary and prevent mold and mildew from spreading throughout the workspace.
- Slip-resistant: Injuries can occur in fast-paced environments. The best way to mitigate slips and falls is with slip-resistant flooring, which grips to the soles of workers’ shoes.
- Easy maintenance: By the end of a busy day, cleaning is the last thing you’ll want to do. Commercial flooring can withstand heavy-duty cleaning products and be wiped up easily for quick cleaning.
- Moisture-resistant: Compared to non-waterproof flooring, commercial kitchen flooring won’t succumb to water spills and moisture. Many of our options are either highly water-resistant or 100% waterproof, which helps extend your floors’ lifespan.
What Is the Best Commercial Kitchen Flooring?
The best commercial kitchen flooring options are Saltillo tile, epoxy, and rubber flooring. Each comes with varying benefits, and we can help you find the perfect one for your kitchen needs.
Commercial Kitchen Tile Flooring
Tile is a classic, durable option for commercial kitchens. Restaurant owners often go with Saltillo tile because it’s attractive, withstands heavy foot traffic, and looks great for well over 15 years.
Below are just some of the reasons Saltillo tile can be the perfect commercial kitchen floor for you.
Advantages of Saltillo Tile Flooring
- Low-VOC: Keep your kitchen air quality healthy and safe. Saltillo floor tiles are fired with natural clay materials, making them great for eco-conscious restaurant owners.
- Easy to clean: Saltillo tile naturally disguises dirt, so your space looks cleaner throughout shifts. In addition, it’s easy to clean with a broom or mop when you’re ready. We recommend resealing it every one to two years to add the shine back to your Saltillo.
- Wears beautifully: Overall, this natural tile is highly durable and ages beautifully over time. Because it is handmade, every tile is full of character, and eventual chips and scratches add to that effect. This is one of the popular reasons people love placing Saltillo in the kitchen.
Limitations of Saltillo Tile Flooring
- Comfort: Saltillo doesn’t “give” much, and some may find discomfort after standing on it for long periods. Therefore, we recommend placing rubber mats wherever you spend a lot of time standing.
- Challenging to install: Saltillo tile generally weighs more than average tile and can be more fragile during the installation process, so we recommend having professional installers do the heavy lifting with this option.
|Related Content >> How to Clean Tile Floors|
Commercial Kitchen Epoxy Flooring
Epoxy and polyaspartic floor coatings are trendy options that can customize the concrete flooring in a commercial kitchen. Also, both are protective coatings that, in many cases, are slip and chemical resistant and work well in high traffic environments.
Pro-tip: The abrasion rating is an essential component to look for in epoxy flooring. For commercial use, make sure your floors have an abrasion rating of 8mgs or lower. In other words, the lower the rating, the longer the coating lifespan.
Advantages of Epoxy Flooring
- DIY installation: Laying epoxy is a fast application that results in minimal work interruption. We recommend choosing one solid color of epoxy versus mixed color options for the most effortless DIY commercial kitchen application.
- Stain-resistant: Floor epoxy is common in industrial settings. The resin-like coating resists stains, grease, and oil incredibly well.
- Sanitary: Most importantly, there are no crevices to worry about with epoxy. With a filled-in, level subfloor, you can achieve a perfectly glossy surface that keeps bacteria from seeping in.
Limitations of Epoxy Flooring
- Strong fumes: In the past, there have been concerns that epoxy flooring emits toxic fumes. With safety in mind, we have a selection of surface coatings that are low-odor and solvent-free.
- Time to set: Compared to other floor options, epoxy can take several days to harden and cure. However, a slow curing process ensures a heavy-duty surface that won’t chip easily with everyday kitchen use.
Our recommended commercial epoxy flooring:
- ArmorUltra Commercial Epoxy Kit w/ Topcoat
- Metallic Epoxy Flooring Kit
- Armorpoxy II Commercial Epoxy Kit w/ Topcoat
|Related Content >> Polyaspartic vs. Epoxy Garage Floor Coating|
Commercial Kitchen Rubber Mats
No kitchen would be complete without the benefits of rubber kitchen mats! Anywhere you want extra slip-resistance, like around washing stations and sinks, mats are a great addition. Rubber kitchen mats provide a cushioned surface during shifts. Also, aches and pains can occur when standing for long periods, so anti-fatigue mats make all the difference in transferring body weight effectively.
Advantages of Rubber Kitchen Mats
- Oil resistance: Most rubber kitchen mats are grease resistant and feature drainage holes to allow oil and water to flow through the surface effectively. However, they can deteriorate from excessive cooking oils over time. For 100% greaseproof power, look for kitchen mats made of nitrile rubber, such as our Niru Knob-Top Anti-Fatigue Runner Mats.
- Minimal maintenance: Kitchen mats are easy to clean, so all you need to do is sweep any food or dust particles, scrub with a mild detergent, and rinse.
- Breezy installation: Notably, kitchen mats are the most portable solutions to add to your commercial kitchen. They’re lightweight and easy to roll up and store when no longer needed.
Limitations of Rubber Kitchen Mats
- Not for full coverage: Quality kitchen mats can make all the difference in a high-traffic environment regarding safety, drainage, and comfort. However, they’re not recommended as a long-term solution or the entirety of your kitchen floor.
- Heavy machinery: Although rubber mats can take a significant amount of weight and impact, they can deteriorate over time. In addition, if heavy machinery rolls over your kitchen mats frequently, you might notice them wearing faster.
- Cleanliness: Rubber mats can hold on to food particles and liquids. Therefore, it’s essential to have weekly maintenance to remove any lingering substances.
Our recommended commercial rubber kitchen mats:
Commercial Walk-in Cooler Flooring
Commercial freezers need extra durable flooring that can withstand harsh environments and heavy foot traffic. Moisture in these spaces tends to accumulate and has the potential for spills, so you don’t want flooring that can get easily damaged or marked for safety concerns. Therefore, walk-in cooler flooring should offer scratch and crack resistance, insulation, and mold/mildew resistance. Below are two durable vinyl flooring options that will perform well in walk-in coolers.
Our recommend walk-in cooler flooring:
Remember, commercial kitchen flooring should have benefits of durability, antimicrobial materials, and slip resistance. Saltillo tile, epoxy, and rubber can all take the heat of high-traffic environments.
We hope our advice has given you the confidence to cook up a storm with flooring that supports your needs! Shop now!