Hello, and thank you for your question.
So often in kitchen remodels, the flooring is an afterthought or saved
for the last line in the project budget. You are smart to consider
your own health and comfort first in your remodeling project, and
fortunate to have the budget to provide yourself with a comfortable
and attractive floor for your kitchen.
I have two recommended options for you - one that you mention and one
that you didn't but may have heard about. These are based on my own
research conducted during my own minor kitchen remodel.
My first recommendation is natural cork flooring. Relatively new on
the market, cork is gaining in popularity. Cork is known for its
comfort underfoot, ease of installation, noise reduction, and allergy
benefits. Cork flooring comes in parquet-style tiles that have a
natural, variegated style to them, similar to linoleum and some styles
of stone flooring. You can have cork flooring installed for around
$10/sq ft ($5 average per sq ft, then doubled for labor costs).
"Natural Cork Flooring" (EcoByDesign)
"The corks soft surface makes for a very comfortable, springy floor
to stand on for hours on end, Hazan notes. ... The cork is sealed with
polyurethane, and has to be resealed once a year."
"Gourmet Kitchen Features Amenities Fit for a Chef" (Kitchen and Bath
"Cork Floor Material" (HGTV.com)
Cork information at iFloor.com
My second recommendation, one that you prefer, is a "floating"
laminate floor. Available in a huge variety of styles, a floating
laminate floor is installed over a high-density foam or cork cushion
to provide comfort and noise reduction. Laminate floors are known for
how easy they are to maintain and keep clean, even in the kitchen.
Another benefit is that this floor could probably be installed over
your existing linoleum, adding another comfort layer between your feet
and the concrete slab. The following brand review at iFloor.com is a
great place to start, since your biggest challenge in choosing a
laminate floor is the number of choices and brands you face. Pergo,
Inc. laminate flooring usually gets rave reviews for durability, style
and warranty, and is coming out with a new "Comfort" line soon.
"Brand Wars - A Laminate Showdown" by Steve Simonson (iFloor.com)
"Pergo, Inc.: Laminate flooring that keeps performing" (This Old House
With any flooring, take note to see how much and what kind of water
damage is covered in the warranty. Different product lines within the
same brand will have different coverages and exclusions.
Any professional remodeler or supply store can get these materials for
your project. Start with the showrooms (Kitchen & Bath Depot, Home
Depot) and work off of their recommendations for skilled installers in
"A Look at Whats Going on Underfoot" (Kitchen and Bath Design News)
"What's underfoot? Plenty of 'Flooring Options'" by Clyde Noel (Los
Altos Town Crier)
"Kitchen Update: Part 2 of 3: Flooring" (CHW Online)
National Association of the Remodeling Industry - Arizona Chapter
National Kitchen & Bath Association
comfort flooring kitchen standing
I do hope this answers your question. If you need further
clarification, please don't hesitate to ask.