I Can’t Believe It’s Not Tile {Floors}


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Yesterday we dished about 10 budget-friendly kitchen ideas, and today my friend Kelly is here to discuss another way to save a bit of money on your kitchen flooring .  But, be forewarned– because this post is all about the ‘V’ word.  😉  ~Carrie

Of the many decisions that needed to be made when renovating our kitchen, for some reason flooring was the most difficult. There was just no obvious choice that stood out.

Hardwood? It’s beautiful, but it didn’t seem right for us. There is a lot of maintenance involved with keeping hardwood looking good – especially in a kitchen. Plus, the dogs and boys would have scratched it up in no time.

Tile? I don’t know… to me it just seems cold and hard. And since we had expanded the kitchen to be the size of two rooms, the cost of heating the floor would have been astronomical.

After ruling out these two choices, we found something else that was stylish, practical and durable. I am really happy with our decision! But, this is where I might lose you. If you are a die-hard decorator and flooring aficionado, I’m going to have to ask you to leave the room now.

(Are they gone yet?)

For the rest of you, brace yourselves because I am going to use the V-word.


Vinyl {yes, vinyl} FlooringI’ll give you a second to fan yourself off and wipe the sweat from your brow. Stay with me –  because this is not your grandparents’ vinyl. You won’t believe how far this product has come in the last few years.

We chose Armstrong Alterna, which is highly rated in Consumer Reports, easy to find in flooring showrooms, and to my non-professional eye looks almost exactly like tile. It has even fooled some contractors who have seen it installed in our home. I’m not kidding.

The style and color we chose is Mesa Stone – Chocolate. It’s a great color because it has so many gradations, it can match just about anything. Armstrong has a huge array of colors and styles; you wouldn’t have any problem finding a match for your home.

Armstrong Alterna Mesa Stone Chocolate

Here are what I find to be the overall pros and cons of vinyl flooring:


  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Doesn’t get extremely cold
  • Just enough “give” that things don’t shatter when dropped
  • Easy installation and repair
  • Less expensive
  • Updated styles can look very much like tile


  • Has the potential to look cheap, but not always (the Alterna tiles do not)
  • Can scratch easily if something drags across it, but easy to repair – even with a Sharpie
  • Can get dull if not maintained
  • It’s got the stigma of being, well… vinyl.

 Armstrong Alterna Mesa Stone Chocolate

Like everything else in our homes, there are preferences for some that wouldn’t work for others. But don’t rule out this choice because you remember the vinyl of yesteryear! I would recommend today’s vinyl flooring to anyone who is replacing a floor.

(Armstrong did not sponsor this post, nor provide any product. I just happened to find the Alterna product during our renovation and loved it.)

 Thanks, Kelly, for sharing your budget friendly {yet sexy} flooring!  From the photos I could swear that’s stone tile.  Considering what our hardwood floors look like after just 9 months, I wish I’d researched our choice a bit more and considered installing ‘the v word’ instead.

What do you guys think– would you consider using vinyl in your kitchen?  Any words of wisdom when choosing materials for kitchen floors?

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  1. That’s vinyl?! I have vinyl in my kitchen and hate it! But this vinyl? I could do that!

  2. I think this vinyl looks great. Especially for a mudroom or high traffic, dirty area. Would totally consider using it!

  3. The hardwood in our kitchen is destroyed!! I know I mocked the vinyl before but it is way easier to clean and maintain. I miss it!

  4. Beautiful – thanks for sharing you kitchen photos! We are looking for flooring for the sunroom/mudroom and this is the perfect solution!

  5. I can be a bit snobby when it comes to my choices in home decoration. I have to say, I noticed that vinyl has come a long way from my parents kitchen flooring the last time we were perusing the flooring department in our local big box store. The same can be said of the laminate countertops. (Some are downright pricey in my opinion!) Who knows what else will change in the years to come. Just please don’t ever tell me that avocado is back… At that point, I’m outta here!

    1. HA! Avocado is only good for one thing… EATING. As in, making guacamole. Trends are so funny, aren’t they? That’s why I love staying neutral with the big stuff and switching out colors with accessories. It’s hard to feel guilty over an avocado bowl, but an avocado dishwasher? YIKES!

  6. We had vinyl and replaced it with tile in 2011. The vinyl was a good start, but nail pops popped through and it did scratch and tear. I LOVE our tile. We don’t have to worry about it getting to cold because our kitchen sits above our heater–often the tile floor is the warmest in the house. I NEVER would have installed it when the kids were learning to walk for fear of falls.

    Your vinyl looks great! Such a stylish pattern choice.

  7. I had vinyl tiles in FL. Great fix for the problem areas. I did not know you can fix scratches with a sharpie. great article, the vinyl it looks great.

  8. Your floors look great. My one suggestion is that you think about you think who will be walking on them in the future, both animals and toddlers can make a mess of carpet floors easily if they are left to walk on them.

  9. Kelly,
    Do you know if you can use a steam mop on these floors? I had an Alterna floor (light color) put down in a large area of my home and I love the way it looks but that irregular surface that looks so much like stone make just mopping impossible. The once and done solution settles into the low spots and looks nasty. I think my steamer would do a better job but my salesman said it isn’t recommended. Have you tried it?

    1. Hi Pam, I haven’t seen anything that says a steam mop is okay or not okay. They are pretty good about marketing their own “Once and Done” product like you mention, so I haven’t tried anything else yet.

        1. Any non-abrasive mop is fine. We use a microfiber mop that you can wash the pads in the washing machine.

    2. I just talked to the salesman and he said to use ammonia and water solution on a 5×5 area and then dry it with a beach towel and then do the next section. The dirty water sitting and drying in the crevices will produce a build up over time.

  10. Hi! We are seriously considering the Mesa Stone in the Chocolate….we have cherry cabinets. It really looks like a good match…..but this is just looking at a single 16 inch tile. My concern is would it be too dark? I don’t want a light colored floor…..but I with so much cherry wood…..I don’t want the room to look too drab either. We are doing a kitchen/dining combo. Any advice…..MUCH appreciated!

    1. I’d have to see the samples, but I have to say I have dark wood flooring and it does kind of steal the light from the room a little. Contrast is good in a kitchen renovation, if it’s too close in shade it doesn’t have a designer effect. My friend Kelly is the one who wrote the post so I’ll make sure she comments since she’s more familiar with the product!

    2. Hi Donna!
      It depends on the amount of light you have in the room, and how big the room is. We have a lot of natural light and the room is huge, so it’s not overwhelmingly dark. But I have a feeling if the room were smaller or had less light, it would be pretty dark.
      I would get a larger sample, or more tiles before you decide!

  11. Hi Kelly, we are renovating mudroom, kitchen & foyer. don’t like laminate or tile, can’t afford hardwood. love my original armstrong solarian vinyl but it’s 40yrs old & cracking due to inferior sub-flooring. looking at alterna reserve. concerned about the bad reviews with regard to durability. scratching and chipping on the edges is my concern. now i read about the once & done issue too so now i’m back to square one with what flooring to choose. any advise you can offer is much appreciated!

    1. Hi Christine, what is the Once and Done issue? We have had Alterna installed for two years now. I’ve got two VERY active boys and have had up to two dogs at a time. We haven’t had a single chip on the edges or any durability problems. I love this floor and would do it again in a heartbeat.

  12. We just had a major frozen water pipe/flooding issue and I’m looking at replacing my Solarian vinyl with the Alterna in both my laundry room and kitchen. I’d love to hear others who have installed Alterna and how it’s held up for them.

    1. Hi Lori,
      My Alterna is two years old now, and we haven’t had one. single. problem. Not one! I would do it again in a heartbeat. Good luck with yours!

    2. Hello Lori. I’ve installed Alterna tile in a totally renovated bath and it really made the room pop! It’s been a year now and there have been no issues or problems. I’m in the process of kitchen renovation and Alterna will be used again (although my contractors are trying to talk me into ceramic tile) because of looks, durability and it’s not as cold or hard as ceramic tile. Can’t wait to see the kitchen completed in the next 4 weeks.

  13. We are ready to purchase the Alterna vinyl tile but not sure about whether to grout or not. If we don’t grout we were concerned about moisture and dirt over time getting in the cracks even though the tile is tightly butted together. I know with Congoleum Duraceramic there is an adhesive that is applied on every seam so it is moisture resistant. Is this something that is an option with Alterna. Did you grout and is it stain-resistant. We like thelook of grout but concerned about keeping it clean. Our kitchen is huge. We are ordering 350 Square Feet of tile so if we have problems it is not easy to change. Any input on this would be great.

    1. Hi Val,
      We did use the grout, but it is not traditional grout. The Alterna grout is more “plastic-like” (can’t think of another way to describe it). We chose a dark grout to blend in with our tile. It is fabulous!! Easy to clean and not wearing away at all. There are no problems with cleaning it whatsoever.

  14. Hello. found your blog – good stuff here. are you still pleased with your Alterna vinyl floor? grout or no grout? seriously thinking of getting this installed in my kitchen too. Thanks!

    1. Hi Susan!
      Yes, still very pleased after two years! We did a dark grout and love it. Easy to clean, no wear and tear at all. I would do it again in a hearbeat! Good luck!

  15. Ok, I keep hearing people say: Easy to clean. How? How do you clean it? I have this horrible smelling stuff, made by armstrong or course, which is expense. Has anyone used vinegar? What about steam mops? What about the robotic cleaners? I have searched and searched and haven’t found any answers…Thanks in advance!

    1. Debbie, my friend Kelly wrote the post so I’ll have her respond. Stay tuned!

    2. Hi Debbie,
      I do use the Armstrong “Once and Done” simply with water and a microfiber mop. It does not smell bad at all! Very easy to clean. Good luck!

  16. I am remodeling my main bathroom (approx 5 x 8). My house was built in the 50-60’s so it has the original small ceramic tile (ugly green). I saw this product and thought it would be a nice choice. But, I have also been seeing reviews on the internet referring to problems with white spots (I am guessing from wear and tear). I would like to just put this over the original tile since it is in perfect condition and flat. Any input? I just don’t know and want it to hold up for a long time. Thanks.

    1. Hi Charlene, Ours has been in the kitchen for 2 and 1/2 years now, and we haven’t had any problems with white spots. Good luck!

      1. We have had it for 3 years and are now starting to see the white spots. Those are areas where the surface layer has worn away. how do you patch those?

  17. Hi! I have had the exact same Mesa Stone floor for about four years now, and overall I’ve LOVED it, but it does have some scratches and “craters” where corners of things have made little gouges. These are fairly noticeable. The store where I bought them says any damaged tile must be completely removed and replaced, but I’m skeptical. Sharpies don’t work for me…the white comes right back through. I’m wondering if enamel paint might work because it’s thicker and meant to last? I could just paint over the flaws. Just curious if you have any thoughts or other ideas to try!

    1. Looking at this floor, alterna urban gallery, for a large portion of our home where two dogs are allowed. They are not allowed in other areas since I have maple hardwood and it scratches instantly. Concerned about this review that says there are scratches and the floor is four years old. Is this not covered by warranty?

  18. I read a Good Housekeeping review that said its consumers said it was uncomfortable to walk barefoot. Anyone notice that? We are thinking of putting this in our bathrooms.

    1. Hi Tina!
      Absolutely not, it is actually VERY comfortable! More comfortable than tile, in my opinion! It doesn’t get cold, and isn’t hard like wood or tile.

  19. Now that you’ve had the alterna floor down awhile are you still happy with the way it is wearing? Is it comfortable to walk on and is it easy to clean? Is the color staying and not dulling? Would it be OK in an eating area where chairs get moved a lot?
    Thank you, Linda

    1. Hi Linda, We are almost at 3 years and still more than happy with it. Very comfortable to walk on (see comment above yours) and no color fading whatsoever. It is in a VERY large area – dining, kitchen and foyer, and only minuscule scratches that no one notices but me. And I have two little boys and a dog who give it a real beating, with no wear whatsoever. Not even under the dining room table, or under breakfast bar barstools.

  20. We are thinking about putting Alterna Reserve Sunrise in our kitchen and dining room. Currently we have an 8×10 rug under our dining table so it doesn’t scratch the parquet that is currently there. Can I still use this on the Alterna vinyl tile or will it ruin the tile? The carpet is not plastic or rubber back, it is jute, I think.

    1. Hi Judy,
      I would read the product documentation or talk to a showroom rep, but we have had the flooring for three years and nothing has phased it so far! I would guess that a rug would be fine! Good luck!

  21. Kelly, we had Alterna installed and really like it. However, we just dropped a metal pan on it and damaged the tile. Do you have any recommendations for quick fixes? It gouged the tile so much that the colored finish split showing the white material below? I’m worried about water damage. How would you seal it?

  22. Best wishes on your very interesting blog. I have read your article about Armstrong Alterna Luxury Vinyl Tile and I see the overwhelming assessment is a positive one. I concur. It’s a great product!

    I work for Calvetta Brothers Floor Show in Northeastern Ohio and we have been extremely pleased with Alterna as have our customers. It has become the top seller in it’s category (LVT) and to date we have only received one performance complaint out of all the installations we have done.

    New selections have just been introduced and we expect even more people will be pleased with what this beautiful, comfortable and great wearing flooring product has to offer them.

    Regarding steam mops, Armstrong does not recommend any steam mops or cleaners on any of their floors. They always recommend Armstrong Once N Done to clean Alterna floors.

    Any damaged tile can be replaced. If possible, use leftover tile from the original job so it is the same dyelot. Be sure to only use Armstrong adhesive and premixed grout.

  23. Just had Alterna installed in our sunroom. A few tiles got scratched dragging the new couch into the room. You say it is easy to repair. How do you recommend repairing?

    1. Could even put felt pads on chairs as added precaution, although sounds unnecessary! Certainly I will use when dragging anything heavy across it!

  24. We have had Armstrong alterna tile with grout in our kitchen and laundry area for almost 4 years. Overall, we have been ok with it, but we have several areas of scratches, which I find odd, since we have no small animals or children in the house. I also found it has stained in the area of the kitchen where we stand the most. I was so frustrated with the stained areas, that I used a magic eraser to clean it. Worked well, but my friends who own a flooring business, were appalled! I had been using “once and done” and Bona cleaner, made for tile and vinyl. Perhaps I need to mop it more often! I wish I had chosen a a lightly darker color.

    1. We have old vinyl flooring in our house. I noticed that it was staining in the walk areas. I was told that if you have a asphalt driveway the oil from that product will come into your house via your shoes and stain the vinyl. I now have a concrete driveway and hope to install luxury vinyl in our bathrooms, but will hold off on the other areas until I know what I want really want in our housing market.

  25. Don’t waste your money on Armstrong vinyl tiles…they look great but chip so easily. This week I dropped the 4oz plastic paddle out of my air fryer and it chipped. Imagine dropping a pan!!!

    There are two of us, no children. This is my fourth chip in 6 months since I had it professionally installed. I am constantly being careful.

  26. We have an Alterna white sample we are deciding on for a fairly large kitchen/dining area. We were a bit worried about keeping the floor clean with all the natural looking tile indentations. It’s the best looking sample we’ve looked at but would like some feedback from anyone who has laid the white.

    1. We installed the white with neutral colored” veins” running thru it about 3-4 yrs. ago. Love the look, but,yes, it does show the dirt in the “pours” as I like to call them. I’ve only used vinegar and water,(didn’t do well),so I only use the once n done cleaner. I mix it stronger than suggested…seems to do better, but we have a muddy dog!! Am in search of a soft brissled floor scrubber!!! Also a few cuts from stones in our boots??

  27. I just picked up a few samples of the Alterna Urban Gallery that has a “linen” look, with striations and It has a modern , soft look. Thinking Brownstone. Has anyone advise on that choice?;) Possibly pairing with off white cabinets and Brown Fantasy marble.

    1. Looking at the same. Wondering if the urban gallery collections is newer and addresses some previous concerns regarding chips and scratches. I assume one tile could be replaced if damaged down the road. I plan to do a very thin grout line. Advise?

  28. Hi, I will be re-doing my kitchen in the next six months and am having a hard time deciding on what flooring to use. Kelly, are you still satisfied with your Alterna flooring? Our kitchen has a lot of traffic and I am concerned about discolorations in the “path” areas. I am also concerned with keeping the grout clean. Any feedback would ve appreciated. Thanks.

    1. Hi Kelly,
      I have the same concerns as the above poster. It has been a few years since you installed Alterna, do you still have it? Or have you had to replace it? Does it chip as easily as some reviews are saying? Would you recommend installing it or having it installed professionally?
      Looking forward to hearing an update on this product from anyone ?

  29. Installed Armstrong Altria LVT less than 1 year ago. Installed in our large kitchen which is the most used room in our home and used a lighter colored grout (recommended by Armstrong to match the LVT) and am so disappointed with this floor that I am ready to have regular vinyl installed. Have only used only once and done cleaner on the floor.

    Grout now is stained, the textures hold dirt and my kitchen looks so dirty all the time now. I have no young children and one dog, there is no reason for this floor to look like this! Any suggestions on how to clean the LVT and how to keep the grout from darkening would be greatly appreciated! Armstrong does not recommend any grout sealer so I am not sure what to do other than get rid of this floor!

  30. The hardwood in our kitchen is destroyed!! I know I mocked the vinyl before but it is way easier to clean and maintain. I miss it!

  31. Hi Carrie,
    I have the same question as Mary. Are you still happy with the Alterna flooring in your kitchen? I am remodeling my entire kitchen (original 1970’s!) and am considering putting Alterna over an existing ceramic tile floor for various reasons. I’ve also read some really bad reviews and not sure what to believe.

    1. Hi Christine! This post was actually written by a friend of mine, so I can’t personally speak to the flooring myself. I will say she’s had them for a long time at this point and doesn’t seem to have any complaints.

    2. Do not buy Alterna. Excessive marring and discoloration has appeared on my floor in less than one year. Worst decision I ever made was to believe that this is a great alternative to tile. I will be ripping this out.

  32. We have the Alterna Copper Canyon. Its gorgeous and we get compliments all the time. Since I cant stand strong smells, I use Murphys Oil Soap laminate and vinyl cleaner. Works great, floor never looks dirty. I just use a microfiber flat mop. We love it so much we plan on using it in the master bath since it is over the garage and the tile floor is always freezing.

  33. Have had the Alterna for six years. Find it very tough and durable and no problems with the grout. Has survived the falls from many heavy objects. However, surface for some reason does seem to “grab” dust and grime and much more difficult to keep clean than older sheet vinyl. A lot more scrubbing than an older age homemaker can manage.

  34. I would never suggest Armstrong Alterna tile to anyone. It is the worst decision I ever made. In less than one year our floor is marred badly. And the marks cannot be removed. I have tried multiple products and nothing works. And the furniture that is on the floor is lightweight aluminum with plastic glides. And another thing they don’t tell you is that the color changes in the sun. Ours has dulled a lot so even if you wanted to replace a badly marred tile you can’t because it won’t match. And don’t think you can get a warranty from Armstrong……you can’t!

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