Hardwood or tile in new home kitchen

Liberty2March 10, 2012

Hi everyone, we are building a 3500 sq ft ranch and are debating hard wood floors in the kitchen. We plan on doing radiant floor heating throughout home, we have 2 small boys and entertain often having holidays in the new house. We were are thinking of doing hardwood white oak 5 inch plank throughout the whole home. Now thinking of just having kitchen, mud room and sitting area that are all connected in tile. It could work visually as the dinning and great room you have to walk through an opening to get to these rooms so would look ok. Worried about all the heavy traffic and scratches on wood floors.

Can anyone comment on going from wood to tile? Prefer to do wood but also don't want to be greased out when food and water start getting on the floor as I am a clean freak.

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It's hard to beat wood, but, tile is nice over radiant. Tile will wear like iron. Wood can, and will have to be, refinished at some point. With kids (or dogs) I'd go for tile in the rooms you mentioned.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 10:43AM
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My husband will not allow hardwood in the kitchen so he made up my mind for me. He owns a flooring store and he just can't handle the thought of subjecting hardwood to all the potential accidents- we also have 2 small boys! I completely understand his concern though, as my mother has hardwood througout her entire kitchen/dining/living area and she gets a bit stressed everytime all the grandkids are over for dinner. We are doing tile in the kitchen and connected dining area and mudroom, then hardwood in living room and foyer.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 10:46AM
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I've had both. I would choose hardwood in a heartbeat. If you do a high quality finish(not high gloss), and used a very hard wood, I don't think the "accidents" would be that evident. Our last two kitchens have had hardwood, and we used a Swedish finish called Glitsa. It has held up remarkably well. We currently have hickory with matte finish, 3 coats of Glitsa, and we love it. We have 8 grandchildren so it does get abuse at times. Wood can be refinished should it need it.

I know that tile is nice over radiant heat, but I absolutely abhor the grout. I had it one kitchen and never again. An absolutely nightmare to keep clean. And the tile cracked, and was hard to walk on. After a year, the floor look horrible. We tore it out and put in wood. I know this is not the norm for tile, but I've got a bad taste in my mouth after our experience.

Have you thought of wood look laminate? I've seen where people have used real wood and laminate, and they blended really well together.

In our utility areas we used Armstrong Altura luxury vinyl tiles. I love this product, and cleans so easy. We've even had people ask us if it was slate.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 11:21AM
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"He owns a flooring store and he just can't handle the thought of subjecting hardwood to all the potential accidents"

He is greatly exaggeration the problem.

The stiffness required for a tile floor is very hard to stand on for any length of time.

While the difference in allowed floor flex between hardwoods and tile may not appear large, it starts to matter if you are going to be standing for any length of time.

A site finished hardwood floor using typical strip widths of under 2 inches is not that hard to keep clean, and not very vulnerable to even daily spills.

And keeping grout clean is still a PITA

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 2:35PM
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I have had both and would choose hardwood in a heart beat! I am building and did 5" oak throughout except bedrooms, baths and back hall. Our back hall/mudroom/laundry we did tile, thinking that would catch most of the stuff from outside when someone forgets to wipe their feet.

I have 3 boys, getting larger by the second, and a large dog and personally think hardwood is much easier to live with in the kitchen. It looks better, you don't have to deal with grout (which I hate), it always looks clean even when it isn't perfectly clean (mine is cleaned at least weekly, but no compulsion to clean daily like tile unless I spill), etc. We chose oak so it would hold up better since it is so much harder than reclaimed pine, for example.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 3:00PM
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I say hardwood too. I can't stand on tile for very long without my back and knees starting to hurt. I don't like grout either, although I did do a slate looking tile in my mudroom.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 3:17PM
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If you use tile try to find one with a rectified edge that will let you use a tiny grout line. But still it's hard on the feet and the grout line will hold dirt

IMHO you need to be a bit of a gambler to choose wood because at some point in the life of the home there will be a water leak on the floor. It's not an "if" question, but "when" if you are there long enough.

In my years of homeownership I've had a few washing machine water leaks (pump not hoses), a sink leak and a couple of dishwasher disasters. And the time I let the laundry sink run over for about 45 minutes .....don't ask! If you are there to catch them all then hardwood can survive but if not then you'll be replacing floors.

When I considered the probability of a water leak and the fact that my wear patterns in the kitchen would be very concentrated, I couldn't go with wood.
I had put tile in our previos homes kitchen remodel and never truly loved it plus after only 6 months the grout was getting pretty grimy and neded scrubbing.... Not my idea of a fun afternoon.

In the new build I'm planning to use sheet Marmoleum in the kitchen, rear entry and mud room. Good luck as its a tough choice!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 1:39AM
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I had ceramic in my last house - while I like ceramic - the maintenance of the grout is a PITA.
I have hot water radiant in my new home (on a slab) put wood in the kitchen, dining, family room, hall and powder room. OMG it is sooo easy to clean.
I do have a few places where I have dropped a can in the kitchen with alittle ding now, but I don't notice it.

FYI -Since my floors are sooo warm - I opted to put the same ceramic that's in my bath into my master closet. It's wonderful! So easy to clean, carpet in closets can be a PITA and dusty and smelly from shoes, etc. I just wipe it up and it's dry in no time.
FYI - if you are on a slab - and decide on the wood you may want to consider an addional step of putting down a very good moisture barrier. My builder thought it was unncessary, but I had the installer do it anyway. I think for the money it's good insurance.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 4:24PM
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I have 5" white oak throughout our house...I love it. No problems, and I think it is beautiful.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 9:34PM
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I had red birch flooring out in my whole house, including mud room and kitchen. I loved it and didn't find it was difficult to keep clean, even with three teenages and a large dog. Just a little spot cleaning with Bona and I was happy. I'm also not the sort to freak out about dropped ski boots dinging the floor - patina!

My SIL's house has Brazilian cherry floors, 3 kids and 2 dogs. They are beautiful but much more difficult to keep clean then the lighter colored red birch.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 10:01PM
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I agree with gbsim. Eventually there will be a leak and I wouldn't want to have to replace the hardwood floor. I would love to have wood floors in the kitchen though!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 10:42PM
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Wood. Life is too short to let some future imagined leak dictate my flooring choice. On our third house with wood throughout and haven't had any leaks that damaged any wood floors.

And if you do have a major leak, tile isn't going to save you, you might still have to rip everything out. In that case taking out damaged wood floors is much easier and cleaner than taking up tile & mortar.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 11:37PM
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I've had wood floors in my last two houses (11 years' worth) and never had a leak. Knock on wood hahahaha! I'll be putting it in my new house kitchen, as well.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 8:52AM
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Thanks everyone for the excellent feedback. I am not worried about the leak issue, my biggest concern is that i was going to stain the wood dark brown and i am worried about seeing all the scratches and wear that will surely come over time. we are going to have a low island that 5 people can eat off so chairs will being dragged, kids pushing around toys, a medium sized dog, you get the point.

No thinking of doing that new tile that looks just like wood only in the kitchen area? anyone can comment on this?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 9:50AM
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You might want to consider the hardness of various wood species when choosing your wood flooring. I installed red oak in one kitchen and after their housewarming party the clients were already disappointed. There were numerous depressions in the wood that the installer later tracked like the spoor of big game. But it was actually the tracks of a petite Persian who had attended wearing the spikeiest of spiky heels.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 10:04AM
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I'm not doing dark wood for that very reason (going with a medium color). I love the dark wood look but considering not just the scratches (which could be touched up, imo) but the water and mud trails just seems untenable. But they sure do look good!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 10:26AM
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Spiky heels are the enemy of hardwood. I am not picky about my floors and do not tell people to take their shoes off. I do not mind scratches or dings. It's the patina of living. But, I can not tolerate those marks left by spike heels.
I don't think twice about politely asking someone to remove spiked heels in my house.

I love hardwood. I have red oak in this house a d after 6 yrs of fairly good family use--kids and dogs--the kitchen does show wear.

Next house, I would like to use something harder, plank type with some distressed look maybe-- but no tile for me. Except for the baths and back entry/mud room.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 10:30AM
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I have wood look tile being installed as we speak. This is not for our main house, but a separate building on our property. Part of the installation is basement so hardwood was not the best option. The wood look tile is fine, but it is still tile. I chose wood look tile planks because I wanted a neutral/brown floor and the ability to make the grout lines a bit more random. The planks are 8" wide and 2 lengths of 24" and 40".

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 11:39AM
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I must be the only new build that went with tile in their kitchen! I had wood in my other kitchen and loved it, but I did have an ice maker leak that made the wood under the fridge rippled. I also hated the scuff marks left by my bar stools even though I had the glider type pads on the bottom. I had to refinish those areas before we sold the house.

I decided to go with tile in my new kitchen and used darker grout - figuring the grout will darken up anyway, so just start with darker grout. It is sealed and only time will tell if I'll regret the decision. So far - I am happy. My tile looks like travertine and has alot of movement. I cannot see any dirt on it (could be deadly!) and I can't see smudge marks either. I feel like I'm not cleaning it as often as I had to clean my wood floor in my old kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 1:08PM
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Downey- may I ask, how did you refinish those areas. We will be selling this house an d I would love to be able to spiff up the scuffed areas without doing anything else to the floors.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 2:07PM
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I had some minwax stain that was very similar in color so I touched up just the scuffed areas with stain on a soft cloth and then I used a low gloss poly over it - just in the scuffed area. (My floors were 16 yrs old and weren't very shiny. They were more of a satin sheen and that's what I used for the poly.) Since it was under the bar area of the island you couldn't tell I did a touch up. It wound up looking really good - blended perfectly.

I'll tell you another trick I used to make my bar stools slide across the floor easier and not scratch the wood once I touched them up. I used silicone spray on the floor and it took away the friction. Now mind you - don't over spray the silicone in a walkway because it makes the floors VERY slippery! I learned that the hard way.

I used silicone spray that I have on hand for my drapery business, but I would imagine WD 40 would work too.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 4:08PM
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Thanks Downey. Clipping this post. So helpful.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 11:18AM
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Tile is hard on your joints, and will be less forgiving as you age (if you are planning on this being your forever house).

Hardwood is LOUD especially if you have two boys. We had hardwood in our old house. I know everyone loves it, but I DESPISED it. I could not keep it clean and it was LOUD whenever my son had friends over.

Pick your poison :-)

Have you considered cork? We put cork floors in our new house and we will eventually replace all the carpeted areas with it. It is so soft, feels great on your feet, is quiet (my son has regular playdates now and the noise doesn't bother me), and best of all, is super easy to maintain. We have central vac and put a vacupan under the prep sink so it's really easy to keep the prep area clean and even if one would, hypothetically speaking, forget to clean the floors for two weeks (ahem), other than a few cheerios, you'd never notice. We had a few tours through our house as it's the newest on the block and everyone is surprised by the cork. It wasn't what they thought, and after walking around on ours, several wished they would have put it in instead of hardwood.

To be fair though, cork floors don't like heels either. It's not a problem for us, though, we don't have shoes on in the house. If you do, and wear heels, you might want to stay away from cork.

Source: dejongdreamhouse.blogspot.com via Jen on Pinterest

Source: dejongdreamhouse.blogspot.com via Jen on Pinterest

Here is a link that might be useful: cork floors

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 10:30PM
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Saw your post on the message board and have exactly the same situation - what did you end up doing? Hubby and I just downsized, so we have one large open area - tons of natural light. Problem is dark cabinets in the kitchen and I want to go dark wood floors, but husband doesn't want all the dark wood throughout the whole house. Compromise to save 35 year marriage - Ceramic in the left half of home (kitchen areas and sunroom) and then the dark hardwood would go throughout the rest of the home (except bedrooms-which are carpeted). I love, love the ceramic tile I chose (large 18X 18-gorgeous) We have a professional installer giving us an estimate today - hoping to have them butt up to one another without a transition piece. What did you end up doing? Do you like it? Can you post a pic? Please help, I know it's just a floor, but am losing sleep over it - your thoughts?
Thanks soooo much,

    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 9:46AM
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