Is your white kitchen floor impossible to keep clean?

beckyg75August 4, 2010

Hi everyone,

This forum has been so very helpful and I'm already indebted to many of you for advice and help (and also, before I registered to post and was just lurking, to everyone who posted their gorgeous kitchens and baths!)

I have a relatively small kitchen (about 12x12 - hey, it is an apartment, not a house!) There are 2 doors opening into the kitchen. One is a room with a dark stained wood floor, the other is an entry hallway connected to the foyer, that has a kind of brown limestone, but a totally different brown than the floor.

The cabinets we picked for the kitchen are walnut, and the counter tops will be some kind of marble, still trying to decide between calacutta, vermont danby, or carrera.

What color floor should we use? I was thinking a white or off-white large tile would fade away and look good with the countertops. Also, it won't conflict with either of the brown floors OR the brown walnut.

However, I am really worried that every speck of dirt, cracker crumbs, etc. will show up on the floor. I don't want to be a slave to keeping the floor looking crumb free. In fact, in my last kitchen I had an ubatuba green tile floor and counters, and I LOVED it because it didn't show a thing! But I really want to go with light countertops this time.

If I did the floor in a 16x16 white tile, so there won't be many grout lines to get dirty, what kind of stuff will show up?

Do you regret having a white floor in the kitchen?

Please DON'T tell me that you like to see every crumb so you can clean it up - that is not my personality.

OR, do crumbs not show up as much as I think they will?

OR, would it look bad to use a granite on the floor, like "snow white" granite that has a lot of speckles? Would that clash with the countertops?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I had a white kitchen floor once. It was horrible and I would never do it again. Never never never again. Too dark isn't good either, a medium shade is best.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 7:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have had a white ceramic floor for over 10 years and am about one week away from destroying it FOREVER. That floor has turned me into one neurotic mess of a person. I am constantly sweeping, mopping and wiping. Winter is even worse. Everything show. Mud, water, crumbs, dog hair, human hair...everything. It does look lovely when it is spotless. Keeping it spotless for more than an hour or two, however, is impossible. I'm getting wood floors throughout my first floor. I can hardly wait. My advise to you....don't do it.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 8:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree about not doing a white floor in general, as I hate my current one. That said, our new kitchen floor with be white hex tiles with black grout and black accent tiles mixed in. The larger the white tiles, the more the expanse of white needs to be absolutely pristine. When you use smaller tiles and darker grout, it breaks up the field of vision and helps hide a stray crumb or 2. I am not uptight about perfection (if you could see my house now, yikes!) yet hate to see crumbs or debris on floor. It is a pet peeve of mine. Even more so, I hate to feel them on floors when barefoot, so would not want one that totally hides crud from my eye either.
Here is my inspiration floor that I am hoping to shamelessly copy, or come close. Maybe something similar would work for you as it would be very classic to pair it with marble:

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 8:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mine are not even white - they are dove gray and I echo all of the comments shared here. However, mine are a flat finish and do show every spec of dirt. I have other tile - the same color mind you - in my sunroom, but it has texture to it. It looks spotless most of the time. So I think with some texture and/or a pattern like dianalo's example above, so should be OK. Just don't do white grout. I have white tile with white grout in my master. Let's just say the grout is no longer white! Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 8:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I started to write you how much I love my glittery white floor but then you said not to tell you about how seeing the dirt makes it easier to spot clean. Don't do it if you don't want to see cracker crumbs. Just don't. Don't even consider it. Get cracker crumb beige. My mother's kitchen floor is the color of variegated lightish cork with a mottled look akin to particle board (but pretty) and no matter how much you want to find what you've dropped or spilled and you just can't find it no matter how hard you try. Don't do white.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 8:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I grew up in a house that has had white kitchen floors (brick pattern followed by lightly marbled pattern) for 42 years. I recently did a white floor with a light grey cross hatched pattern for a client who is pretty sloppy. In each case the light patterning is a help. Pure white would be problematic. The sloppy client's medium dark wood floors always look worse than the white floor.

The reality is the dark floor is just as dirty as the white floor, and you simply don't see the dirt or crumbs so you are grinding it into the finish.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 8:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Our white floor is currently sitting outside in the dumpster! Every little speck of dirt showed. Haven't chosen our new flooring but we know it will not be white. I think anything with variation in it will work better and not show dirt so much.

Of course, it may be okay for you in your apartment. We have tons of trees and four dogs so pretty much anything is probably going to be hard to keep clean in our home.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 8:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I had a white, high-end vinyl floor in my previous 12 x 12 kitchen and it was a nightmare. As attygirl noted, everything shows. EVERYTHING! I would never ever do it again.

But there is a potentially livable difference between actual white and white-ish, which reads as white overall but can hide quite a lot. Consider natural stone or man-made tile that includes some irregular specks and swirls of some pale brownish colors that will go with your other floors and your cabinets. You might be able to go without washing your floor every day. (Insert rueful smile here)

Your final choice of countertop material and color will make a big difference in which particular specks or swirls on a white-ish floor could look great and still read white.

I completely understand the appeal of white or white-ish floors. They look fabulous in magazines where they have been perfectly buffed just moments before the photo shoot.

Good luck!

in VT (home of the Danby quarry)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 8:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We were looking at your same color scheme but ended up w/ white cabs w/ white marble. The website below has a white patterned cork that I really liked called Nieve. I saw it in stores also but usually called African White.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 8:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

i have white (almost pure white) and white grout.

yes, we like it. Yes, we have to wipe it much more often than previously, and we know that adjacent floors are just as dirty, or even worse, but don't show it nearly as much.

It isn't a big deal to drop a cloth onto the floor, move it around with your foot and then toss it into the washer. It is a bit more work to get out the swiffer and do an official cleaning operation, but that is what we have been known to do. We are happy with a lighter than beige kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 9:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ok, wow! This feedback is so great. It seems like *most* people are glad to be rid of the completely white floors.

Knowing myself, even though I dream of the look, it will turn out to be a nightmare.

Funny - I know the countertops will take extra maintenance, but am willing to do the upkeep for the marble. But something in me revolts against swiffering the floor more than every other day.

Thanks to everyone for the input.

I will have to pick the final slab in the next few weeks and then will post a pick of the marble and try to figure out what flooring.

The hex photo is gorgeous - I downloaded the photo and will think about either something like that or a granite like Kashmir white (sometimes has hints of walnut brown or even a deep maroon color.)

Did you guys bring your cabinet doors to the marble/granite yard? I think that will have to be the first step, then the floor.

But thank you for helping me rule out pure white!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 10:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I wouldn't call our floors "pure" white but they are definitely very light off white with a slight marble-y look. Only the veining is a tan color instead of the gray marble color.

We have wood cabinets and white counter tops.

I love our light, ceramic floor. We've had it for 10 years (maybe more?) and everytime I wash it I think about how much I have enjoyed this floor. Yes, we've had two kids with it, teenagers, dogs, cats, etc. Stuff gets spilled.... Easy to sweep or wipe up. Granted, our grout is the color of our local dirt. I do not obsess about crumbs or seeing occasional grass blades tracked in. However, I like knowing if we have any insect-life inside (sorry but bugs happen in the South) and I can see things on this floor immediately...where I can't with the wood floors. I wouldn't have a darker kitchen floor here. Maybe... if I lived way, way, way up in the (cold) North I would consider a darker, tile floor in the kitchen. Probably heated though. :)

A light floor would be lovely with your walnut cabinets.

So that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 11:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My friend has white tile floors in her kitchen and with 2 black dogs it is always a mess. She hates it. I think it looks terrible but wouldn't say so because it stresses her out. She just finished a major bath remodel so she's stuck with it for another few years.
However, I had an all white tile bath in my last house and loved it. Yes, it showed hair and I wiped it up everyday. It was a very small room so it was easy to keep clean . I wouldn't even consider it in a kitchen where you cook and have a lot of foot traffic unless you are willing to vacuum or wipe it up every day.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 11:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We had a white vinyl floor for several years. It was miserable. It would stay clean for about two hours and that was it. I was washing it constantly. We replaced it with what I call mud-colored tile about four years ago. I wish I had done it years before.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 11:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I put white hex ceramic tile in my bathroom and chose white grout against all advice. I have been sorry since two days after installation. I am currently looking to color the grout gray or black to minimize the PIA-ness of the situation. And there are only two adults living here!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 6:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a friend with white ceramic tile and she HATES it! she has 3 kids, and she's a type A, perfectionist personality. So, she obsesses over it and it way too time-consuming! She's on her hands and knees constantly wiping up stuff. On the other hand, and sippimom pointed out - you can see an ant walk across the room with no problem! Whether thats a plus or minus only you can decide.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 8:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm another hater the white kitchen floor. Our kitchen has white ceramic tile, came with the house, and I hate it. I am not a type a obsessive cleaner but this floor drives me batty. Minutes after I mop I can see dirt. I am counting down the days until the is smashed and removed and I will be giddy with joy!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 12:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I had a white tile floor at my home in Maine. It was in the entry and through the kitchen, downstairs bath and mudroom. I remember thinking when I put it in that it wouldn't be such a big deal. I walk barefoot a lot and I hate the feeling of stuff on my feet--so I would be cleaning it anyway....WRONG! The floor was a nightmare to keep clean. I would go through and have the whole floor looking perfect--as soon as the first guest walked in the floor would be a mess. We ended up with cracking in the tile and we pulled the whole thinkg up and put wood floors in. Now that was a messy job.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 12:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

And I apologize for all the typos in my post!! Goes to show you that talking on the phone and typing on a forum at the same time do not mix!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 3:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's so interesting how so many of you hate your white floors! I don't know if it's the texture that makes my floor so much better. It's bright, glittery, solid white and I LOVE it!!! Damp shoes make footprints, but not dry ones. I love being able to see where I didn't know I dripped something and just cleaning it up with a sponge before I step on it and get ick on me. Even when there are hordes here the floor stays remarkably clean looking. I have been too pre-occupied while cooking for the mob to wipe up after myself before the meal, and that does look pretty bad, which is why I recommended against white for people who don't want to clean spills, but I LOVE the white. It makes the kitchen very bright and cheery. When it's just a few adults in and out, I rarely have to do a full mopping more than once a week, which I adore, since I hate mopping. If I couldn't spot clean, I'd feel like I had to mop daily like I used to do, as I was taught as a child

This is the only picture I have that really shows the character of the tile. The blue-gray is shadow. The color under the flash lower right is closest to the real color. It's a true, not-cool, white with glitter in the glaze and a molded texture like broadcloth.

I LOVE it!!!!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 3:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Pillog--How long have you had your white floor? I loved how mine looked, it is just that the maintenance drove me nuts. It seems like feet are always wet in Maine. I think our mud season was 6 months long.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 3:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My floor has been in about a year, but was covered with paper for about half that time while they worked on the kitchen (against scratches and dings, not dirt).

Climate, of course, makes a difference. We have fire season, not mud season, and ash is easier to clean up. Shoes aren't often wet here (So. Cal.) and are always removed if they're gunky. Still, if it's just damp out, and shoes are slightly damp and dirty, they will make tracks. And they're easy to clean up on the white because they're easy to see. I have a white marble entry hall, and a white tile bathroom too. I guess I'd just rather have the floor be clean than merely look clean.

And I did advise a mottled medium brown floor for those who don't want to see the dirt, up topic. You can't find anything on my mother's floor. It's just surprising to me how many people so violently hate white floors considering how much I love mine.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 3:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Add me to the white-floor-haters, mine never looks clean. It isn't really white, either -- it's more beige. The folks who built our house put it in, I never would have. And bad as the tile itself is, the wide grout (the same color as the tile) is even worse.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 4:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I hate my kitchen floor. It's 8x8 non slip white ceramic and the only thing I like about it is the black grout. My in laws were gracious enough to give us this house before retiring to warmer climes, and they had the floor specially installed when MIL became ill. DH absolutely refused to let me change it, and we just redid the hardwood floors in the rest of the house. I shouldn't complain since he's letting me redo the kitchen exactly how I want in every other way.... I just cannot stand mopping a floor only to find that 30 minutes later it's dirty again. Hell, I can't stand mopping the floor period. I used to think MIL was kind of mean to have a *No Shoes* policy, complete with sign on the door. But lemme tell you, after the kitchen's finished, that sign is going right back up.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 8:05PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
New to Kitchens? Read Me First!
Welcome! If you are new to the Kitchens Forum, you...
Barker Cabinets sample cabinet came today!!!
I am so excited to see the sample cabinet from Barker...
thoughts about Grabill and/ or Superior Woodcraft kitchen cabinets
Hi, everyone. Does anyone here have experience with...
Your longest stretch of granite counter w/o seam?
Our counters will be re-templated later today. It...
WAC vs. Seagull vs. Kichler or what else - "best" LED UCL
can someone please help/advise i feel like a fish out...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™