You love wood – its grain, its warmth, its timeless beauty. But will hardwood flooring really work in a kitchen? The simple answer is yes, but there are certain issues to be aware of before you make your decision.
GO WITH THE FLOW
Consistent flooring throughout the main areas of your home will make it appear more spacious. Continuous flooring creates a feeling of flow and cohesion. So if your home is open plan, don’t just consider the flooring in the kitchen, but look at the bigger picture. If you already have hardwood in your home, you may want to extend this into the kitchen as well.
CONSIDER WEAR AND TEAR
Remember that you are installing a floor! This is something that you walk on rather than just look at, and kitchens are busy areas of the home. If you have small children and pets, whatever you install will take a beating over time. If you drop something on hardwood, it will dent. If your children use the hardwood floor as a racetrack, it will get scratched. Are you able to adopt the attitude that this adds to the natural beauty of the wood?
By choosing a well sealed wood finish that is hard and durable such as white oak, rather than a soft wood like pine or cedar, your floor will stand up better to wear and tear. Light to medium colors show less dirt and scratches than darker colors.
HARDWOOD CAN FADE
If you are really worried about damage in certain high traffic areas, then rugs can be good friends. However, if the sunshine streams into your kitchen, be aware that sun bleaching can occur that changes the color of your hardwood floor. This is more noticeable with darker woods. If you leave rugs in the same area, over time the wood outside the rugs will lighten and you will get a nasty surprise when you remove the rug to reveal darker wood underneath.
HARDWOOD IS EASIER ON THE LEGS
We all spend a lot of time standing in the kitchen so the comfort of hardwood beneath our feet is worth considering. Hardwood is a lot easier on the legs and warmer on the tootsies than tile. Unless you live in a warm climate, with tile you will need a cozy pair of slippers for the chilly months!
WATER IS NOT A BUDDY
Water is the enemy of all hardwood floors. Spills need to be cleaned up straight away before they stain. Water leaking from a fridge or dishwasher that sits on the floor for any length of time will definitely cause damage and work its way into the seams. Major leaks are usually covered by your house insurance, but replacing a hardwood floor is a major job and a huge inconvenience. Always keep a few extra boxes of flooring in case of future small repairs.
KNOW YOUR WOODS
Read our article on the different types of hardwood finish – solid wood, engineered or laminate WHICH IS THE BEST WOOD LOOK FLOORING? Know what you are buying and understand the inherent properties of each. If you want the look of wood but you are still concerned about the upkeep, have a look at the new porcelain tiles that are made to look like wood. They are now so realistic that you can barely tell the difference until you get up really close.