Few flooring materials match the beauty, elegance and utility of real hardwood.
Aside from its authentic look and warm feel, hardwood is hypoallergenic, making it a safe choice for babies and allergy sufferers. Magazines like Canadian Interiors feature gorgeous photos of beautiful home interiors with hardwood floors.
But can hardwood work in your kitchen?
As one of the most trafficked areas of your home, kitchens are exposed to spills, dirt, high temperatures, humidity and everyday wear. As lovely as wooden floors may be, they’re prone to water damage and mould. Leaking dishwashers, unnoticed water spillage and constant splashing from the sink can increase the chances of hardwood floor damage or warping. Whether you’re remodelling or installing new flooring in your kitchen, knowing these pros and cons will help you decide if hardwood is the right choice for you.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Hardwood Flooring in Your Kitchen
Selecting the right type of flooring for your kitchen requires thoughtful consideration, especially because it’s a busy, hot and humid place. Below, we enlist some of the key benefits and drawbacks of using wooden flooring in the kitchen.
- It Looks Great
Available in a wide range of colours, finishes and grain patterns, hardwood is an undeniably gorgeous flooring material. This means that everyone, no matter their taste or preference, can find a suitable variety of wood within their budget. And if you ever get bored of the look of your existing floor, refinishing your hardwood with a different stain will give it a new look. The versatility of wooden floors makes it ideal for any type of interior design.
- It’s Durable
Since the kitchen is a high-traffic area, scuffs, marks and dents are common. That’s why it’s important to choose a flooring material that can stand up to abuse. With its innate strength and durability, you can rest assured that your hardwood kitchen floors will, with proper care, last a long time.
Some varieties of wood aren’t suitable for kitchen floors simply because they’re too soft to endure heavy objects falling on them or too light to deal with stains. When it comes to durability, it’s best to choose hardwood with a high ranking on the Janka hardness scale. This will give you an estimate about the durability of your chosen wood and help you make an informed decision.
- It Improves Air Quality
Unlike carpets with fibers, grout lines or embossing that traps dust, pollen or other common allergens, hardwood floors are hypoallergenic and promote healthy air quality. This is especially helpful for allergy sufferers, asthmatics, babies and those with weak immune systems.
- It’s Comfortable
Hardwood floors are warmer and easier on the feet than stone or ceramic tiles. This is an important factor to consider since the kitchen is a busy area where you spend a significant amount of time standing. While tiles feel cool underfoot in summer, they can be unbearable in winter. Wooden floors, on the other hand (foot?), feel equally comfortable year-round.
- It’s Easy to Clean and Maintain
Kitchens are prone to dirt, spills and stains. Hardwood is smooth, and stains and dirt don’t stick to it. Regular vacuuming and occasional mopping are all you need to keep your wooden floors looking like new for a long time.
- It’s Prone to Damage
While a well-maintained hardwood floor may last for decades, it’s prone to scratches, dents and water damage, especially in a kitchen. For example, softer wood varieties, like fir or yellow pine, are more likely to show up dents from heavy furniture and heavy foot impact. Liquid spills, if you don’t clean them immediately, can cause ugly stains. Over time, this results in warping, cupping or crowning of the floorboards or planks. Excessive moisture or humidity issues can also lead to damage.
- It Can Be Expensive
Compared to other kitchen flooring materials, hardwood is expensive, especially when you choose exotic varieties such as oak, maple, teak or rosewood. Moreover, hardwood floors are usually installed over sub-flooring, which makes their installation complicated and time-consuming. So, this might not be a great option for all, especially if you have a tight budget or you’re in a hurry.
- Maintenance Has to Be Regular
Although it’s simple and easy to care for hardwood, it requires frequent cleaning to prevent damage. Make sure you immediately wipe up any water or other liquid spills. Adding padded mats on the floor, close to the stove and sink, protects them from grease or light splatters.
It’s hard to beat the natural beauty of hardwood flooring. Although not a traditional choice for kitchens due to the risk of damage from water and traffic, proper hardwood installation and care can make it last for decades. Today’s hardwood floor finishes are suitable for kitchens, so long as you’re ready to wipe up spills and follow routine maintenance.