Nothing says “Colorado” quite like hardwood flooring. But can you put hardwood floors in a kitchen?
Will they handle well no matter how much you use your kitchen? Will they stand up to spills and messes? Will they show their wear sooner then if you installed more resilient flooring like ceramic or porcelain tile?
Hardwood floors provide a rigid flooring material that stands up well to high traffic situations. Yet hardwood isn’t as hard as you think. Hardwood is a porous material that accepts stain to bring out the characteristics of the wood. That also means hardwood is susceptible to moisture and liquid penetrating into the grain, and changing the quality of the wood over time. Places where moisture is a problem – bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements – aren’t the best places to install hardwood flooring.
But what about kitchens? They don’t deal with water spills on a daily basis as you jump out of the shower. They don’t have nonstop humidity from the length of your showers.
Should you install hardwood floors in the kitchen to create a space you’re proud to call home?
Are Kitchens Considered High Risk For Hardwood Flooring?
A lot goes on in most kitchens. They are usually the central hub of the home.
You gather to complete homework there. You sit back and share a glass of wine with your spouse. How many holiday parties have been planned out sitting at the kitchen island? What about the dinner party you’re planning for later this year?
There’s no doubt your kitchen is the busiest room in your home.
That means your floor will have to take a lot of punishment. Walking. Jumping. Scuff marks. Dog nails. Dropped toys. Water spills.
Have you ever dropped a glass of water onto the floor? Not only do you have 8, 10, even 12 ounces of water or more spread across the floor, but you also deal with broken glass splintering everywhere. It takes minutes to wipe up the mess and ensure the fractured pieces are cleaned away.
Now let’s talk about the pickle jar that fell and broke. Or the pot of boiling water that slipped out of your hands.
Hardwood can stand up to some abuse if you react quickly. A spill here and there that is mopped rapidly up won’t impact the looks of your floor.
But kitchens have a lot more potential for disaster than a dropped glass of water.
What happens if the line to your ice maker in your refrigerator has a slow leak? Water puddles just a little bit underneath, and you don’t notice it for weeks? What if the line to the dishwasher breaks while you’re away at work?
When hardwood floors are installed in your kitchen, they are sealed to provide a certain level of protection. The trouble is that protection often can’t stand long term abuse. Hardwood is most often installed as hardwood planks. If the seams aren’t tightly placed together, if the sealant doesn’t fully cover every inch of the hardwood material, water has the chance to seep in. And disaster is waiting.
Hardwood Comes In Two Formats
When you select hardwood as your flooring choice, you can install it into your home in one of two ways: site finished or prefinished.
Prefinished hardwood is created at the manufacturers. It’s cut into planks, stained, and sealed, before being boxed and packaged up, and delivered to your home. It’s convenient in that once it’s installed, it’s ready to go. No waiting for the staining and sealing process. It also means it’s more susceptible to damage because there isn’t a top layer that covers the seams between the boards.
With site finished hardwood, unfinished hardwood planks are installed in your home. The surface is raw wood, without stain or sealant in place as it is nailed or stapled into place. Once the flooring is completed, only then does the installer stain the wood if desired, and after the staining process is completed and dry, a sealer is placed over the top, protecting hardwood and the seams.
This means with site finished hardwood, it has a more cohesive layer that gives you complete protection over the entire floor area, including a filler for the seams.
But Is Hardwood Durable For Kitchens?
Are you still contemplating using hardwood floors in your kitchen? Depending on your lifestyle, hardwood can be a beautiful addition to your home.
In general, we see homeowners deal with three durability issues with their kitchen hardwood. If you’re aware of them and work to decrease the odds of these happening in your home, the chances you’ll love hardwood in the kitchen even more.
Scratches and dings – If you drop a can, the lip of the can may dent the floor. If you wear your high heel shoes in the kitchen, the heel may press down and dent the floor. Knowing this beforehand means you change your lifestyle just a little bit. Declare your home a “no shoe zone.” Add colorful throw rugs where you’re most likely to drop heavy objects – by the pantry, or near the kitchen sink.
Traffic – Even within the kitchen, some areas are going to have more traffic than others. Over time, you may start to see these paths worn into the wood. The good thing with hardwood, however, is you can sand it down, stain and seal it all over again for a new look.
Sun – If you have large windows or big patio doors that let the sun stream in, the sun may bleach the color out of your hardwood floors. The darker the stain, the more sun bleaching can occur. You can prevent this by protecting these areas – close blinds during the sunniest parts of the day, or use throw rugs to deter the process.
Should you install hardwood floors in your kitchen?
They make a beautiful addition to any home.
If you have a lifestyle that reduces the risks associated with hardwood flooring damage, hardwood floors might be the perfect choice for you.
Increase the durability by selecting site finished flooring, knowing you can create any look and feel.
And if you have any other questions about installing hardwood floors in your kitchen, stop by today. We’ll help you make the perfect choice for your home.