Are Hardwood Floors a Good Idea in the Kitchen?

Hardwood floors are wonderful in living rooms, hallways, and on stairs, but you really have to think about the pros and cons of them when you consider installing them in rooms that have the potential to become wet frequently, like bathrooms and, yes, sometimes kitchens. This is because continuous exposure to water, such as might happen around the sink or dishwasher, can cause warping or buckling, which will mean portions of the floor will need to be replaced down the line. However, this doesn't mean hardwood floors should never be found in the kitchen. It's just important to know what you're getting into. If you do have spills, clean them up promptly, and if something leaks, get it fixed right away. With that said, let's take a look at what else you need to think about when considering a wood floor for the kitchen.

Wood floors add warmth and homey comfort to this popular part of the house, but because the kitchen is such a busy room, you'll want to be careful selecting your species of wood. Some woods work better than others in a high traffic room. Oak, ash, maple, and other "hard" hardwoods stand up better than the less durable woods like pine, fir, or cherry. When you're shopping for flooring, make sure to talk to the seller and let them know you're planning on installing it in the kitchen. He or she may have some good recommendations to make.

Aside from choosing a wood, you'll have to decide on a finish.  Wood floors finished on-site (with wax or oil) tend to have a beautiful sheen, but know that they will require yearly refinishing.  Polyurethane finishes last longer, and they don't need stripping, waxing, or buffing.  Today, many people are opting for high-quality pre-finished floors, which is an alternative that saves time, mess, and the addition of toxic fumes to your home during the finishing process.  Also popular today is turning new wood into "distressed wood" to give floors an old-world feel.  People will hand-scrape and dent the wood after the flooring is installed in order to create a rustic appearance.  These floors need to be finished, too, though.  A properly finished floor is what will allow hardwoods to work in the kitchen.  That's what makes them easy to maintain and promises that minor spills won't be a problem.

 

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