For kitchen floor: Duraceramic, Alterna, best basic vinyl tile, or what?

Discussion in 'Vinyl Flooring Q&A' started by jlrmodlin, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. jlrmodlin

    jlrmodlin New Member

    I'm pretty new to flooring decision-making. I've been trying to read up on luxury vinyl tile (eg Duraceramic and Armstrong's Alterna) as possible choices for a durable kitchen floor, but I am still confused. We are almost finished remodeling our kitchen but still can't decide on a floor. Our general contractor has already removed the old vinyl floor and the original lineoleum from our concrete slab floor and evened out the edges, but we’ll be ordering and paying a flooring provider separately for the floor and its installation. Cost is a consideration but not the only important one -- we want a nice looking, basic floor that above all is durable and low-maintenance.

    We started out looking for the best vinyl we could find, since it would be warmer, less expensive, and easier on our joints than ceramic or porcelain tile. We were thinking vinyl tile or even sheet vinyl (want it to handle spills well) but found ourselves drawn to the Duraceramic tiles that our well-respected local flooring store showed us. Even tentatively chose our color and style. Then I heard from a friend that she is so disappointed with the Duraceramic floor she installed just a couple years ago, not even in a highly trafficked area – has problems with grout discoloring, tiles chipping, crumbling, and showing nicks and scars from just minor use. Started reading up and it seems that many professionals have had good experiences with Duraceramic but that quite a few consumers report horrible problems. Even though we don't have young children I know my family is not all that easy on a floor. This floor will cover the dining portion of our "eat-in" kitchen as well as the working kitchen and adjoining laundry room and needs to handle a table, chairs sliding back and forth, cooking spills and cleanup, and high traffic.

    Now I’m wondering if other companies’ products are more reliable than Duraceramic – perhaps Armstrong’s Alterna? Or would it be safer to go back to plain old vinyl? Or linoleum? (do typical flooring stores even carry linoleum anymore?) Or switch to ceramic or something else entirely??? What would you professionals and other consumers recommend? Thanks much for your thoughts….
  2. Jackreed

    Jackreed jackreed Charter Member

    In my opinion Duraceramic is a good product. I think a lot of the problems you are seeing is home owner error or installation errors.

    Duraceramic is like any other vinyl flooring. Sharp objects dropped or drug across them will cause damage. But if this should happen they are easy to replace. Grout discoloring I think is caused by using the wrong cleaner. If congoleums cleaner Bright and Easy is used there should be no problem. Make sure proper castors and pads are used on all chairs.

    Installation You need a flat solid and smooth floor. If you don't have this there can be cracking of the grout lines. Also cracking can be caused if to much water is used in the grouting stage.

    I have never installed the Alterna so I can not comment on it. Duraceramic I would put it up agianst any good vinyl flooring for normal wear. You just need to try and protect it like you would any investment you put in to your home.
  3. kylenelson

    kylenelson You'll find me on the floor I Support TFP Senior Member

    Alterna and Duraceramic are very comparable in my opinion. Both very good products for kitchen/bath applications. If you are rough on your floor (dragging furniture, heavy pet use etc.) then I would go with a real ceramic tile instead.
  4. icanlayit2

    icanlayit2 Pro Member

    Call me old fashioned,but i think linoleum is just as good a choice.There are almost zero complaints with it and it gets better with age.If installed properly it will last until you get tired of it.
  5. kylenelson

    kylenelson You'll find me on the floor I Support TFP Senior Member

    Real linoleum, yes.
  6. jlrmodlin

    jlrmodlin New Member

    Thanks for the good suggestions

    Thanks to all of you, you've given me some good things to think about. I'm glad to hear you think Duraceramic and Alterna are as durable as regular vinyl. We'll do a little more looking around, and will get an actual estimate to see how much more ceramic would cost. (I'm intrigued to learn linoleum is still an available, viable choice too!)

    I have a related question - is it best to put the new floor directly on our concrete slab (assuming the surface is level and smooth) or better to put some other surface down first? Is the answer different for ceramic versus the luxury vinyl tile materials? This is a ground floor kitchen, we don't have a moisture problem, the houses here are just built on a concrete slab.
  7. ortiz34

    ortiz34 2nd generation Senior Member

    You can go right over smooth concrete. IMO duraceramic and alter a are more durable than most residential sheet goods. Hence the five year commercial warranty vs most residential sheet vinyl.
  8. j248

    j248 Pro Member

    Congoleum has the rounded edge patent. That makes it look more realistic IMHO. Check the wearlayer's, though they will be important for the scratch resistance.

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