Wood Flooring for the Kitchen

Kitchen floors receive a lot of wear and tear. There’s foot and pet traffic, spills, dropped dishware, heat, moisture — so you’ll want a floor that looks good and lasts a long time. 

There is a very wide variety of flooring materials to choose from.  One type that never seems to go out of style is wood flooring.  Choosing the right type of wood flooring, the type to suit your lifestyle and budget, can take some research.  

Here are some popular wood flooring types to consider:

Solid Hardwood Flooring

Solid hardwood flooring is exactly what the name suggests.  It is made of solid wood all through its thickness.  

Solid hardwood flooring is available in different species, providing a variety of grain and color.  Hardwood choices include oak, hickory, cherry, maple, walnut, and birch. There are also more exotic species available, such as tigerwood and Brazilian pecan with their dramatic contrasting colors, or sapele mahogany with its wavy grain.

You can buy hardwood floors as solid unfinished planks, solid prefinished planks, or engineered planks.

Solid unfinished planks are sanded, stained and finished in place after installation. The staining and finishing will take a certain amount of time to complete, but on the plus side you can customize your choices. For example, there are unlimited options for wood species, and you can choose your own stain color and finish system, as well as other details such as medallion designs and border work.

Solid prefinished planks have now become more popular than unfinished flooring. The factory has already sanded, stained, and finished the planks, so the floor is ready for use right after installation. The finish applied at the factory is often more durable than finishes that are applied on-site to unfinished planks. However, the choice of species, colors, widths, etc. is more limited. 

Advantages of Solid Hardwood Flooring

  • Never goes out of style and adds to the resale value of your home.
  • Adds warmth to the kitchen.
  • Lasts longer than other floors if well-maintained.
  • Wide variety of choice for wood and stains — you can mix and match woods. Choices are between unfinished and finished.
  • Can sand and refinish for an updated look multiple times (more times with unfinished planks). 
  • Comfortable for feet, legs, and back when working at the counter.

Disadvantages of Solid Hardwood Flooring

  • Can be expensive.
  • Requires careful maintenance — microfiber mop, sprays for wooden floors, regular vacuuming with brush roll turned off. Water and other spills should be wiped up as they happen.
  • Susceptible to water damage, resulting in discoloration, raised edges, and buckling.
  • Prone to dents and scratches, especially with some finishes.
  • Expands and contracts with humidity. Can result in warping or gapping if consistent high humidity.
  • Magnifies the sound of footsteps.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Engineered hardwood planks are made of natural wood laminated to layers of plywood, or high-density or medium-density fiberboard. Engineered flooring can be unfinished or prefinished, but the prefinished is the most common. With prefinished, the top or “wear” layer is sanded, stained, and finished at the factory.

Unfinished engineered flooring has a wide variety of wood species available, and it can be customized with unique colors. It is sanded on-site, with the option to apply stain (or not) and finish.

Advantages of Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Engineered hardwood floors have many of the advantages of solid wood flooring:

  • Difficult to tell apart from solid wood flooring when installed.
  • Adds to resale value of home.
  • Just as comfortable as solid wood.
  • Available in different wood species, styles, colors, finishes and plank widths (especially with unfinished).
  • Less likely to expand and contract due to humidity.
  • High quality engineered floors can last a long time if cared for.
  • Adds warmth to the kitchen.
  • Some can be sanded and refinished if the top or wear layer is thick enough.

Disadvantages of Engineered Hardwood Flooring

  • Quality engineered hardwood costs about the same as solid hardwood, and sometimes more.
  • Requires careful maintenance — microfiber mop, sprays for wooden floors, regular vacuuming with brush roll turned off. Water and other spills should be wiped up when they happen.
  • Less expensive engineered floors can’t be sanded and refinished because the top layer isn’t thick enough.
  • Quality engineered floors can only be refinished a limited number of times.
  • Susceptible to dents and scratches.
  • Not waterproof and will buckle and shift if exposed to too much water.
  • Magnifies the sound of footsteps.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is sometimes confused with engineered hardwood flooring.  They can look similar, but they are different.

Engineered hardwood has a top layer of solid wood. The top layer of laminate flooring is a photographic representation of wood, coated to protect it against fading, stains, and surface burns.  Laminate flooring’s core layer is most often a durable, high-density fiberboard that gives protection against indentations. The fourth back layer protects the plank against moisture and gives it its stability.

One of the strengths of laminate flooring is its close resemblance to real wood. 

Advantages of Laminate Flooring

  • Inexpensive.
  • Available as planks and tiles.
  • Highly resistant to wear and tear.
  • Easy to clean and maintain.
  • Resistant to scratches.
  • Doesn’t fade.
  • Resistant to stains and impacts.
  • Easy to install for do-it-yourselfers.
  • Doesn’t contract or expand.
  • Comfortable to stand on for long periods.
  • Can be made to look like anything from marble to distressed oak.

Disadvantages of Laminate Flooring

  • Can’t be sanded and refinished and must be replaced if heavily worn.
  • Prone to water damage if exposed to excessive moisture — warping can occur.
  • Can be noisy (makes a hollow sound) if installed without the proper underlayment. Underlayment will reduce sound but may not eliminate it.
  • Pricier brands look and feel more like wood, stone, and other materials, but you can tell the difference. Low-end lines look unnatural.
  • Planks can sometimes pull away from each other if the room temperature drops too low.

For the very best in appliance repair and maintenance, you can count on C&W Appliance Service. Get in touch with us at (855) 358-1496 or submit our online service request form for prompt, reliable service.

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