Pros & Cons of Hardwood Flooring in the Kitchen
There is a lot that happens in a kitchen that can cause damage to wood. So, one might assume that hardwood flooring wouldn’t be the best choice for a kitchen. Surprisingly though, hardwood floors, when sealed and cared for properly, work well in kitchens and can be a great option.
Yes, they are prone to water damage and plank hardwood flooring requires sanding and refinishing every decade or so, but they’ll last the duration of a home’s lifetime if they are properly maintained. That being said, they do need to be taken care of, which is why hardwood flooring isn’t for everyone.
Deciding if Wood Floors are Right for Your Kitchen
Hardwood floors are beautiful and work with any design style. If you’re in the process of remodeling a kitchen with existing hardwood floors, we recommend keeping them unless you’re dead-set on replacing them with tile or an equally durable selection. If you’re not remodeling, but simply considering new floors for your kitchen, weighing these pros and cons will help you decide if hardwood is the way to go with your kitchen’s flooring.
Natural wood is gorgeous, and the variety of color and wood grain patterns mean there’s a hardwood type for everyone. If you have a particular color in mind, be mindful that some woods take stain better than others. If you’re interested in sanding the floors and refinishing them to a color that better coordinate with your kitchen, you’ll want to pay close attention to samples, and test different stains to ensure it looks the way you want it to when the project is complete.
Water is a hardwood plank’s worst enemy. Water damage will cause a plank to warp and/or split. For this reason, many homeowners question whether wood is durable enough to be a good flooring choice. In truth, tile or concrete are the most water-resistant flooring options, but wood is a close second/third. A spill or puddle that is mopped up quickly will never cause a problem. It’s standing water, or an unresolved leak, that will cause a level of damage that would require a replacement.
What to Do with Furniture When Getting New Floors
You’ve finally decided to take the plunge and treat yourself (and your home) to a brand new floor. Maybe you’ve gone for the hardwood you’ve always dreamed of in the dining room, or maybe you’re refreshing up the carpet in your much-loved family room. Perhaps you’re giving your home a total flooring makeover. It’s an exciting time, but how are you supposed to put a new floor in without moving your whole family out?
What to Do with Furniture When Getting New Flooring
Furniture and belongings must be out of the way in order for your new flooring to be installed. Exactly what you choose to do with your furniture will depend on several factors.
You can start to formulate a plan by asking yourself a few questions:
How big is your new flooring project?
Do you plan to get new flooring in just one room or the whole house? If you just need to temporarily shift a small kitchenette table and two chairs to a balcony, that’s one thing. However, if you need to think about all the furniture in every room in your home, that’s another.
How long will installation take?
You’ll also need to consider the time frame for the installation. If you’re on a tight schedule and need your furniture out fast that might change your game plan.
How big is your home?
If you have several spare rooms and a two car garage, you have more options to shift your furniture than if you live in a studio apartment in midtown.
What’s your budget?
When it comes to moving (and storing) furniture, it’s generally a choice between money and muscle. Can you carry a couch by yourself or with a buddy? Can you afford to pay someone else to do it? Or do you have funds to temporarily move it to a storage unit?
Do your hardwood floor or carpet installers move furniture?
Some companies may include furniture moving in their quote, although it’s not a standard. If you do have this option, it can save you time (and maybe a sore back!). However, it may increase the total cost of your installation.
Once you have the answers to those questions, you will probably have enough information to choose between these three main strategies for dealing with your furniture while your new flooring is installed:
Simply, move your furniture to another room while your new flooring is being installed. If you’re having multiple rooms refloored, it may mean a lot of moving and carrying from room to room. It’s hard work, but it doesn’t cost a dime — and your beloved armchair never has to leave the house.
Garage or Shed Storage
This option only works if you have outdoor storage space. A shed or garage can be a makeshift home for your furniture while you’re putting in a new floor. However, you must be confident that the facilities are waterproof and secure to avoid damage to your furnishings. Otherwise, this is an extremely convenient option.
Renting a storage unit for a full month may be overkill for a small flooring project, but it can make life a lot easier. This rings especially true if you live in tight quarters or if you’re flooring more than one space in your house. Rented storage is convenient, safe, and secure. No constant shuffling of chairs and tables or tripping over furniture awkwardly crammed into the wrong room. If you really want to give yourself a break, you can also hire someone to move it there.
Things You Don’t Want on Your Hardwood Floors
With distinctive grains and unique tonal qualities, hardwood floors are a beautiful, time-tested addition to any home or office. Unlike carpeting or vinyl that often needs replacing after 10 or 12 years, hardwood is a “forever floor” that can last for decades—if you take good care and the precautions listed below in our wood floor tips
To preserve the ageless style of hardwood floors, start by following manufacturer’s advice for cleaning and maintaining proper humidity in your home, and stop these seven things that can detract from the look and long life of natural wood flooring:
Unprotected “feet” on furniture can be damaging to hardwood. Cover all plastic, metal, and wood bottoms with felt protectors.
Long pet nails can scratch the wood’s protective surface. This allows dirt and debris to burrow into the grain, build up, and damage the wood over time.
High heels easily scratch and dent wood’s surface and leave it exposed to more extensive harm. In fact, a 125-pound woman with spiked heels or a shoe nail protruding from a high heel yields as much as 8,000 pounds per square inch of pressure—that’s more than enough to leave a trail of noticeable indents on the surface of any hardwood floor.
Cleaners and polishers can work wonders on vinyl or ceramic tile—not hardwood floors. Ironically, 2-in-1 cleaners containing acrylics or urethane polish actually dull wood and strip its finish after only a few applications. Self-polishing acrylic waxes can also make hardwood floors dangerously slippery.
Water, over time, will slowly deteriorate your wood’s finish and leave it unprotected. Even water from a traditional mop or steamer will eventually damage the wood and lead to warping. Instead, remove spills immediately with a damp cloth and stick to dry dusters.
Rubber-backed area rugs have two ill effects on hardwood—they prevent air ventilation, sealing any moisture or spills in the wood, and often contain glues or adhesives that can compromise and corrupt your hardwood surface.
Direct sunlight can either fade or darken your floors, causing discolorations in areas near windows. Exotic species and cherry woods tend to darken as the sun’s UV rays “burn” the wood, while other woods can lighten after extended exposure to sunlight.
The Impracticality of Hardwood Flooring
My absolute hands down favorite flooring choice for a home is real wood, even more than engineered hardwood. I love the look and feel of real wood in a home, in family rooms, bedrooms, anywhere. Real wood has the warmest look and a softness underfoot that tile and vinyl can’t really compete with.
But today I’m sharing my tale of woe regarding my hardwood floors, specifically in my kitchen. My kitchen addition was eleven years ago and I at the time I chose more traditional style cabinetry. If I was doing it again now I’d go with a different cabinet style like Shaker and quartz countertops not marble but that’s not the point. The focus today is on the hardwood flooring, more specifically, it’s impracticality in kitchens.
Because I’m a lover of consistent flooring throughout downstairs community spaces, when we added this kitchen to the house eleven years ago I opted to continue the hardwood into the space for seamless flow. The truth is that over time we experienced water damage in this space on several occasions, first where that French door access has to the courtyard, next under the sink and dishwasher, and this month, under the icemaker.
I’m not alone in this experience, my parents chose hardwood for their new build fifteen years ago and when their icemaker leaked a huge section of the flooring had to be replaced at great expense. I’ve heard other stories of water damage from friends and clients too because hardwood flooring’s greatest foe is water.
Ever since I refinished my hardwood floors in a dark stain a year and a half ago I’ve been anxious about any water that spills on it, whether it’s from the dishwasher or the pet bowl or any moisture spill at all. Aaaaaand just last month, the icemaker started leaking and now look what’s happened to my beautiful floors… they’re buckling from moisture and I will need to have these boards replaced. This wood runs under under the cabinetry which means the cabinets and countertop next to the fridge have to be removed to adequately repair the floors. UGH.
It’s Time to Stop Putting Hardwood Floors in Every Room
I almost entirely blame real estate shows for the modern malady that I’d like to call “Decor Generic-itis.” It’s marked by a distinct anxiety of making a mistake in one’s home decor scheme that leads to an almost paralyzing fear when it comes to any decor decision. As a result, you default to the trinity that nearly every prospective home buyer or makeover recipient lists on that show as must-haves: granite, stainless steel, and hardwood floors.
It’s not that these features are bad or tacky. They are not. But these features aren’t always what suit your life, personality, or your property’s overall design. When arbitrarily added to a home, they can take away character, creating an odd cookie-cutter look (thus the “generic” part of “Decor Generic-itis”). As a result, all interiors (regardless of the age of a home) can have an odd, similar look. It’s especially noticeable when someone gets the idea to renovate their home to add hardwood floors.
Hardwood floors are NOT a cure-all for property value.
Look, I’m not saying that they’ll make your home worth less. But it’s not going to be the detail that suddenly takes your house up in value to the next hundred-thousand bracket. You might recoup your costs, yes. Especially if you had bad ’80s carpet beforehand. But it seems like hardwood floors are an expected feature, so they’re not valued as much as they used to be.
Your home can echo like crazy.
Any and all sound practically bounces off of the pristine surface of hardwood floors, especially TV noise. This is only a good thing when you quickly run to the kitchen for a snack in the middle of a mystery miniseries without pausing.
It’s better to have a high-quality floor covering than a low-quality wood.
No one’s budget is infinite, after all. Skimping on material can lead to durability concerns (or even toxicity), not to mention that you probably won’t get the stain or finish you love. But you can often find higher-quality options in carpeting or tile for the same price.