hardwood vs. tile in kitchen

astylish1January 29, 2006

The decorator I am using for my new home wants tumbled tile floor in my kitchen. I always thought hardwood...I am open for any & all suggestions...

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I think I will be minority with my response, but here goes. We just moved into a brand new house in July. I debated about hardwood or tile/stone in the kitchen. My decorator talked me into hardwood because the rest of the main floor has hardwood.

Well after six months, it is probably the number one thing we would have done differently. I love the wood in the rest of the main floor, but we already have so many scratches in the kitchen. Also, everytime, an ice cube falls out of the ice maker, we are just crazy about getting it off of the wood.

It is funny because my decorator (who I love) said when we were picking out the flooring that she had wood in her kitchen and would not do it again because her family is very hard on her house. She said that my family was not like that so we would love it. Well guess what, I think every family with kids is hard on a house.

So, I wish I would have stuck with the wood in the other rooms (dining, family room, foyer) but gone with tile/stone in the kitchen and breakfast nook.

I know many others love hardwood in their kitchens so it will be interesting to read the responses. Good luck.

1 Like    Bookmark   January 29, 2006 at 4:27PM
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I prefer hardwood flooring in the kitchen. It's not as hard as tile, so my back doesn't get achey when I stand for a long time, and if I drop something there's a better chance it won't break. I also find it much easier to clean because there are no grout lines. I have three young boys and they're definitely hard on any surface, but we've never had any damage from dropped ice cubes or spilled water. I wipe these up immediately whether tile or wood to prevent falls.

Scratches and gouges will probably happen. They will be more noticeable if you have a darker stain on the floor. The scratches will show up as the natural color of the floor. We've always gone with a natural finish. You'll know the marks are there, but visitors probably won't ever see them.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2006 at 6:41PM
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Although I prefer tile (for obvious reasons to those who know me in here), I would not recommend tumbled marble for a kitchen floor. I feel it would collect dirt way too easily, and although I can't say that I have anything to back this up, I have a feeling that the finish on tumbled marble would show a wear path in high traffic areas after a while. If you like the look of tumbled stone, you might want to ask your designer about tumbled lookalike porcelain or glazed tile.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 1:00AM
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I've lived with hardwood(oak) and tile in my kitchen. I like hardwood better. The tile flooring is cold on your feet. And if the grout lines are a little wide, they do tend to get dirty over time. Of course you can use darker grout, use tiles that have smaller grout lines, and seal the grout as well. One way to get around the cold tile is to put those heated coils underneath, so you have a nice warm tile floor in the colder months, however at an added expense. Keep a few tiles as spares incase one cracks....

I remodeled our kitchen. Hammered away at the tile and placed select-red oak(2 1/4" X 3/4") in the kitchen. Sanded and finished it off with a clear, satin polyurethane x3 coats and love it. We have 2 little kids that test it everyday. Sure it has some nicks and scratches, but you can't really tell unless you have your face on the floor. However, if you finish your hardwood floor with a semi-gloss or glossy polyurethane, you will DEFINITELY see the nicks and scratches. The satin finish "hides" them better. I didn't use the "pergo" flooring because you're not suppose to put appliances on it, since it's a floating floor. With the 2 1/4(width) x 3/4(height) planks, you lay them wall to wall and appliances and cabinets can go right over them.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 11:33PM
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An age old question that there are many threads of on this forum if you search.

I faced the same situation (less the decorator) 2.5 yrs ago. We decided on 3 1/4 Rustic (natural) Maple. The rest of our house is in a much darker stain (king's brandy) of Ash. It provides a nice contrast.

I have to honestly say that to this day I think I'm still 50/50. Although I love the look of our floor (and we ge many compliments), I see the benefits of a well laid tile floor as well. To date though, no regrets with the wood either.

We have 3 pets and this also causes additinal wear and tear (scratching, splashing water, etc...) so consider that also, especially if you have large dogs.

You have some great advice that I would agree with in all the above posts.... good luck!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2006 at 6:42PM
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I debated the same thing but ultimately went with tile for several reasons. First, I worry about getting hardwood wet from inevitable spills, which happens often with three small children. Second, with wood cabinets and wood trim throughout the house (both floors and windows), the tile is a nice contrast. Third, tile is easier for me to keep clean.

The downside of tile is that it is hard. As someone with back problems on and off, I was tempted to go with hardwood for that reason alone. Still, I don't regret the tile. It looks gorgeous!


    Bookmark   January 31, 2006 at 8:45PM
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I love our tiled kitchen floor. We have radiant heat throughour our entire house, and the tile always feels cozy to me. We have wood-look laminate instead of hardwood in the living/dining areas - it is okay, but I like the tile better. I do use a foam anti-fatigue style mat if I am doing a lot of standing (it sits in front of the kitchen sink).


    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 12:20PM
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We installed hardwood in our kitchen two and half years ago. I had the same reservations as others. I originally wanted tile, but our subfloor was not adequate (raised foundation), so we opted for oak hardwood. I am very happy with it. I did have to adjust the way I approached cleaning, since I have always used bleach and plenty of water on our kitchen floors. I now use a starfiber mop that cleans wonderfully without a lot of water. I used a satin finish polyurethane on the hardwood. I think I am the only person who notices any scratches. Keeping the floor clean and placing felt under all movable items is key in reducing scratches. Good luck in your decision!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 1:20PM
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Hardwood. Much gentler on the feet and back, much more elegant, IMHO, esp. if floors are continuous throughtout the living areas. I haven't had any maintneance issues - we mop up anything that spills and don't stress about scratches; they become part of the patina. If an when the floors look too beat up (no such signs after 3 years - they look alsmost good as new), we'll sand and refinish them (they're solid wood, so they can be sanded up to 7 or 8 times. I think they'll outlive all of us!!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 1:45PM
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I am considering the same issue--tile or wood in the kitchen.

I received a price on hardwood that was a third the price of the tile--the tile people in my neck of the woods are out of control so I'm leaning towards wood.

I have tile now and it does present a nice contrast with the wood in the house. It is somewhat scratched and that's why I'm considering changing it.

Tile is only cold when it's freezing outside so I wear socks or slippers in the winter. Not everything breaks when it hits. I have a bad back and it doesn't affect my back when I walk on it. I painted the grout (it's charcoal grey) and sealed it so the grout is a no-never-mind. My son and sister put wood in the kitchen and I love the look--they are very pleased with its hardiness (my sister has 8 children). My friend, on the other hand, said she regrets the wood because she sees the scratches and gets nervous if people don't tread carefully. Tile and wood are easy to clean in my experience.

Another friend has travertine and said she can't get the dirt out of the millions of ridges and would never get it again.

The finishes on hardwood are good and they can always be refinished. I have light cherry with a satin finish on several floors and they're holding up in the other rooms. If you put wood in the kitchen, consider putting rugs under the table and by the sink and appliances--that gave my friend peace of mind.

In the end, it's probably going to come down to what you like aesthetically. I don't think the cleaning, grout, temperature, "hardness" are big issues, having both tile and wood in the house. To be honest, the tile (never get white or tiles with ridges) is really easy to care for. My current tile has a smooth finish and it's marbelized so it hides dirt well.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 11:54AM
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Personally, I would go with bill's suggestions.

to me, natural wood flooring is a bad choice for a kitchen enviroment.

alternately, you could go with a more practicle solution of a wood look-a-like luxury vinyl tile (resilient flooring).

Many (including myself) have been fooled into thinking they were natural wood when viewing them after they were installed.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 8:48PM
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I've had both and prefer the wood floor. I have a large wool runner in my cooking area and another in the walkway to the mudroom. I don't remember allowing puddles of water to sit on the kitchen floor regardless of the surface. I am sure there are better grouts and sealers now, but I hated washing the tile floors we had in many of our Army quarters. Having said all of that, I think my favorite floor was a smooth linoleum which looked good and was very easy to clean. The floor in my kitchen, wood, was installed about 25 years ago. We decided to keep it since it has held up so well.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2006 at 5:54AM
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We have tile throughout the kitchen, breakfast nook, family room area. It's all pretty much one giant room separated by the kitchen island. The wood is in the formal areas which don't have as much traffic. Things get dropped in the kitchen and we chose tile because it is more durable. Decorative, padded, kitchen rugs are on the floor in the work areas in front of the island where the cooktop is located and in front of the kitchen sink.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2006 at 2:39PM
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I have brazilian cherry over radiant floor heat throughout the house, including the kitchen.

While I love the wood floor, the dark color of the cherry does show every smudge and smear of dirt. To me it's a good thing in that it aids in keeping the floor clean. But seeing everything drives my wife bonkers.

Still, hardwood vs tile? I vote wood.

My house is about 9 or 10 years old, the flooring looks great. It's a heaviuly used kitchen that has seen years of cub/boy/girl scouts and sports teams in it over the years, now we're into teenage sleepovers with the associated late-night smack fests.

I have a couple of dings in the floor from dropped cans, but I prefer that to the possibility (though it be remote) of a cracked or chipped tile.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2006 at 5:57PM
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I want to take issue with one statement I've been reading here many times. Wood floors are much easier on the feet and back than tile floors. When laid on a concrete slab, just how much cushioning is there in a 3/8" layer of solid hardwood? When a 110lb lady (I'm assuming that is the average weight for most of the lady's posting here) steps on this piece of hardwood, how much does it compress? I'll wager it's damn little. Probably a lot less than the cushioning they get from 1/8" thick leather soles on thier shoes. Those ladies who cook wearing stilleto heels are a subject for another thread. The softness of wood floors is more perception than reality!

Wood floors on a wood joist substructure may be subtancialy "softer" than tile, but not always.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2006 at 10:42PM
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We have terracotta tile that has been hand sealed (?) so it has a real rustic look. I love the look and feel (as we put in radiant under it) but it is very time consuming to clean! I think a smooth wood floor would be easier. Also just an after though. The percentage of serious head injuries on tile vs wood is quite significant. Although so far our kids have been ok. We also lose alot of dishes/glasses to the hard surface.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 10:10AM
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The percentage of serious head injuries on tile vs wood is quite significant.

What is the source of your information?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 1:24PM
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Personally, I do think there IS something to the "wood-is-softer-than-tile" thing. Runners often run on the street (asphalt) instead of the sidewalk (concrete), as it is less dense, and therefore less hard. It makes sense, then, to conclude that because wood is less dense than tile, it would be a "softer" surface.

That being said, I'm probably going to end up with travertine in my kitchen/den/dining/livingroom "great room", as we want one floor, and water damage (and a 90-lb. dog) would be worse on wood.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 4:47PM
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I think a smooth wood floor would be easier.

Almost ANYTHING is easier to keep clean than terra cotta. It's a high maintenence floor. But it's also a "niche" floor. It's one of those things that only certain people will use it, because of its completely unique beauty. Normal ceramic tile will be 100 times easier to keep clean than hardwood. In addition, you don't have to go paranoid everytime someone walks on it with anything harder than stocking feet.

The percentage of serious head injuries on tile vs wood is quite significant

As John Stossel says, GIVE ME A BREAK!! I'd ALSO like to know your source for this. I'd be willing to bet it's an organization within the wood industry!!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 4:55PM
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I don't know the stats on head injuries from falls on tile floors, but I did hear it was slippery and dangerous when I first put tiles in my kitchen back in 1988. I haven't found that to be a problem. It is a little slippery,but that's a minimal concern in my experience. However,if you asked me whether I'd rather fall on tile or wood, I'd pick wood.

I love the warm and elegant look of wood, but my problem is that I don't know how bad the scratches and discoloring will be. I heard that the new acrylic water-based finishes will protect it from damage for years--anyone know?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 7:42PM
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"The percentage of serious head injuries on tile vs wood is quite significant"

I can attest from personal experience - oak can hurt MORE than tile or concrete! I've had four concussions - one was from being knocked against a concrete surface, one from being knocked against an oak surface. Bad headache both times, but it was the OAK that actually did bone damage to my skull.

Our house has wood with polyurethane finish in the living & dining room & kitchen, tile in the bath. I have never come close to slipping and falling on the tile - I made sure I got tile with a good friction surface. And this is a tile floor that is wet often.

On the other hand, with satin poly, I have repeatedly slipped and nearly fallen on the wood. It would be much harder with modern wood finishes to get the floor sanded and smooth and NOT have a slippery surface!

In our new house, no wood in the kitchen - one dishwasher leak left our wood floor badly cupped. DH wants tile, we're going for tile.

For safety, I'd go for a tile floor with a good COF rating over wood any day!


    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 12:10AM
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4 concussions-wow! You should walk around with a helmet on. I hope your falling days are over. I put throws on my wood floors so I've never found wood slippery or dangerous.

I'm concerned about the wear and tear on wood--anyone know if the new acrylic finishes (Bonaseal and Traffic) protect the floor enough to put it in the kitchen?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 8:26PM
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I put throws on my wood floors so I've never found wood slippery or dangerous.

With throws, I can understand your statement, but I gotta say-- that sure wasn't tile Tom Cruise came slidin across in "Risky Business"!! :-)

    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 10:58PM
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I work with dangerous animals ;-)

I've got rugs with friction backs on my wood floors - but I don't need them on the tile. Even the bath mat wihout a friction back on the tile floor is not as slippery as the wood floor! Though grout can be a pain if you chose a light color, it at least gives traction every so many inches, while a well finished wood floor is smooth across the entire surface.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 7:45PM
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There have been a few articles written on Tile vs. Hardwood.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tile vs. Hardwood

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 12:38AM
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woodswell---stay safe. I understand about animals. I had a dog for 16 years and he was always under my feet.

The tile in my kitchen is slippery also and I have taken a few falls on it despite the grout. I guess I didn't think about how slippery wood could be since I have area rugs everywhere. I don't think tile or wood is dangerous really.

When I put my tiles in, I thought they'd last for 30 years and they really don't. My dog scratched the finish off my tiles in some spots and I have plenty of nicks and permanent black marks wherever there is a scratch. If something hits the wrong way, I get a new nick or scratch. Shoes, toys, etc. can scratch them. I have dark grout and it turns white when dirty so I stain it every couple years. (My tiles are considered high quality and were expensive). I do feel it's much harder to repair or replace tile as opposed to wood, but it seems that the wood might be damaged much easier. Also, tiles are not timeless. They can look dated after a while. These Tuscan-style porcelain tiles are very pretty, but in ten years, they will be done.

I'm a tile floor burnout, but maybe wood is just jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

I appreciate all the helpful comments here.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 8:06PM
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mauriedee-- it all depends on the tile. The glaze has a rating on it from 1-5, with one being the softest, and 5 being something you could drive a truck over.... with studded tires!! LOL. If you use a tile that has a PEI rating of 4 or 5, there's not much that'll ruin the glaze. Even a 3 is usually good enough for homes, but in your case, it might not be. Also, thru body color porcelain is another way to beat the wear problems you've experienced.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 8:46PM
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Tile also has a "friction" rating although sometimes they don't publish it. most floor tile has a matt finish and is not very slippery even when wet. They do however still sell glossy floor tile which is very slick when wet.

about 30 years ago i had tile installed in a kitchen. I bought samples of 5-6 different tiles and did some homebrew wear tests and impact tests. not very well controlled but good enough to show that half of the tiles were very poor for wear and the others varied from pretty good to almost indestructable.
2 years ago i repeated the same process for a new house. Every single tile I tried was as good as the best of the tiles i tested 30 years ago.
The tile industry has cleaned up it's act greatly. Almost any tile "rated for Floors" (PEI 4 or 5) absolutely will not show any wear from foot traffic or pets for many many years. They are also better about chipping but they still can be chipped. If your tile is wearing to the extent you describe, than somebody sold you wall tile and it never should have been put on a floor. It may have been high quality expensive wall tile, but still the wrong tile to put on floors.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 1:22AM
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As for running on concrete vs. asphalt, the asphalt is slightly more forgiving than the concrete. One of the tests suggested is to hit each surface with a hammer. The shock felt helps you to understand the difference in hardness between the two sufaces. You can then do the same test striking with the type of footwear you use between the hammer and the surface(s) to be tested.

I don't know if this sort of test applies to wood vs. tile for flooring. I get overuse injuries running on either surface. I think the hardness issue is less important than the cleaning preference and surface wear issue. I've slipped more on carpeted stairs than on either floor surface.

I forgot that I also had a brick floor. That was rough and hard on the feet. As for cleaning, it lended itself to the "patina" explanation for spots and chips. I will never choose brick again. It does make for a great sidewalk!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 6:12AM
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I don't know the answer either way between which is easier under foot- tile or hardwood or neither. The point about running on asphalt versus concrete is well taken.

Given that in a kitchen, much of the time is spend standing and not high impact running, is there really a difference (or perceived difference) that standing on hardwood or tile will offer different levels of fatigue? Does the asphalt/concrete example apply for mostly standing still and walking around slowly?


    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 4:21PM
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is there really a difference (or perceived difference) that standing on hardwood or tile will offer different levels of fatigue?

Actually, there is. I don't know the conditions that bring it on, but anyone who has a hard time standing or walking on concrete for any length of time will also have that same problem with tile. It DOES help to use hardwood if you're one of these people. However, for the majority of people, it really doesn't make a difference.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 6:40PM
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Thank you for your help Bill Vincent.

I'm still in a quandry. I am one of those people who can't walk easily on concrete, but I'm not much for cooking so it probably isn't that big a deal.

It's just trying to decide how bad hardwood will be in a kitchen. Iknow a lot of people who are happy with it and only one who isn't.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2006 at 11:38PM
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Although I prefer wood flooring (for obvious reasons to those who know me in here)...to borrow Bill Vincent's phrase...I have to say that there are two criteria to use in your deliberations when deciding what to choose.

One...appearance...what do you want to look at day in and day out?

Two...comfort...what will you be able to stand on comfortably day in and day out? Yes, you can use an anti-fatigue mat in front on the sink and stove to combat leg fatigue.

Today I saw a kitchen hardwood installation I did several months ago. It looks great, but with one obvious (to me) flaw. The painter did not follow instructions about moving the refrigerator across the floor and there now are two 'tracks' in this otherwise flawless floor. Doesn't bother the customer, but it irks me!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 1:54AM
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Thank you glennsfc. When you say "tracks," do you mean scratches, ridges, wheel paths? Is wood that delicate?--how do you have to move a refrig?
Thanks again,
PS I love wood and would love to look at it every day. When you walk in my kitchen, you see the kitchen straight ahead--I'd either like wood or I'll put in Fr. doors, which would close the place up a bit (not a big house). I thought the wood would look better as you come into the front door.

Also,comfort would be nice.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 8:57AM
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Wheel paths...you could describe them as ridges. The wheels on most refrigerators are a hard plastic. All of the weight of the thing winds up as four point loads through those wheels and onto the floor. Even an unloaded refrigerator at 275 lbs, for example, will exert a very high PSI point load to the flooring. I don't know the formula for this, but I guess thousands of pounds per square inch is probably what it becomes for the average refrigerator with contents.

The tracks are dents in the wood. Any heavy rolling load will do much the same thing to a wood floor. Wood flooring dents...no doubt about that. Expect and accept some denting. Drop a heavy pot, food can or cooking tool and you will have a forceful point load applied to the flooring...and, consequently, a dent.

Refrigerators wheels should ideally rest on thin slats of masonite. A masonite board is placed in front of the refrigerator up to these slats. The refrigerator is rolled onto this board. The masonite ditributes the load and you avoid denting your wood floor, as the wheels never touch the flooring.

Each wood species has a PSI rating. A quick internet search will give you a description of species and PSI ratings.

Acrylic impregnated wood flooring will have a higher PSI rating than the natural, unadelterated wood. Two examples of acrylic impregnated flooring are Hartco and Permagrain. You have to really try to dent some of those.

Plastic laminate flooring can give you a pretty realistic wood floor look with fewer denting issues, but plastic laminate flooring is not real wood and is a disposable product.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 10:08AM
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Just out of curiosity, i ran some numbers on wood vs ceramic.
elastic modulus of oak and similar wood is around 1.5x10E6.
ceramic around 33x 10E6.

If a typical garden web poster weighs 110 lbs and has size 5 shoes she would exert 55 psi on a surface while walking, considerably less when standing. Assuming wood and tile are both 3/8" thick, That would deflect wood .0000138". ceramic would deflect a measily .000000625".
Obviuosly there must be something else going on if wood is percieved as softer than ceramic. maybe the typical underlayment has more to do with it than the actual top surface? I woudn't expect wood glued down solid to a concrete slab to be noticeably softer, but maybe floating wood has a slight gap underneath that adds to the softness? and of course any wood subfloors add to the springiness.
Tile floors are typicaly laid on an extremely rigid substate, even when it is laid over wood joists, it requires extra joists and layers of subfloor to make it rigid.

Or maybe the differences are imaginary? That doesn't mean it should be diregarded. If you think the floor is softer then your back and feet will ache less and you will be happier! and isn't that why you are replacing the floor?

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 10:59AM
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I recently finished tearing out two tile kitchen floors.
They are now 3/4 inch hardwood floors, and both owners are pleased as can be.
The overall flex in a floor structure with tile is smaller than allowed with hardwoods since the tile has zero 'give' and any movement results in grout and tile cracking.
Wood floors are typically designed at 1/360 of span at max load (a number almost never reached). Small tile floors are routinely at 1/480 or so, and stone and large tiles at 1/720.
These numbers mean the tile floors are much stiffer than a typical wood floor.
On a concrete slab nearly everything is going to have almost zero flex.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 3:18PM
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Just another question. I have a combination of countertops. Some are cherry and the others are soapstone. A stemmed glass dropped on the cherry counters often sort of bounces and I can recover it before it breaks. It's a goner on the stone. Could this sort of "breakage factor" have something to do with the opinion about tile hardness vs. wood hardness? The underlayment is the same for both surfaces, just the cabinet skeleton.

Maybe this all boils down to the acceptance of wear or level of maintenance. I felt I had to scrub my light tile floors/grout with bleach and a tooth brush to have them look really clean. Yes, Bill, I did that. They were very light in color and not forgiving to any soil effect. I can spend less time removing grit and surface cleaning wood to my level of cleaning satisfaction. I am wrinkled and live in an old house. Dings and scratches look "right" here.

astylish 1, have you had either type of floor in the past?

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 4:32PM
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Small tile floors are routinely at 1/480 or so


    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 10:36PM
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astylish 1--every tile place I went to recommended against the tumbled marble on the floor for cleaning and durability reasons--I can't really say from personal knowledge,however.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 6:48AM
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I also used to recommend against it. My worry was that all those nooks and crannies would end up making the floor loo perpetually dirty (even grouted). But I've got some friends who, against my recommendation went and used it anyway, and a year later, the floor still looks just as good as it did when I put it down.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 3:28PM
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I have been wrestling with this decision as well but I had no idea there was such passion over the issue.

We had natural finish white oak floors in the main floor of our last home (kitchen included). The finish was Glitza...very hard. As i said, it was natural so very light and airey which is the look we wanted. Lived on it for 8 years before moving and loved it. Kids were small (new born and 6 when installed in a remodel). The traffic path from the kitchen, through the dining room, then family room, foyer, to hall back in to the kitchen was the toddler's Big Wheel track of sorts for several years and the wood and finish held up fine.

We have porcelain tile in current house and like it just fine as well although a bit hard. The good thing about it is we can call Stanley Steamer every 2-3 years and they make it look brand new again for $125. I did it once on my hands and knees and am glad to pay SS the $125.

The house under construction is slated to have a lot of old heart pine on the main level and we have enough to do the kitchen. Everyone including KD says put it in the kitchen so I probably will...it is beautiful flooring.

The other thing I was considering is slate or travertine.

I know, how does this help? I guess I am just saying I have had positive experiences both ways. Anybody got any thoughts on slate/travertine? I thought about this b/c I thought it would match the look of heart pine better where it transitions.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 4:14PM
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I had slate in my last foyer and it was very easy to care for--seemed pretty indestructible also. However,it needs to be in the right location because it is very dark.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 5:43PM
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P.S. Slate is also as hard as a floor gets I think

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 7:51PM
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Slate--I was just watching HG TV and saw a floor done with slate and the kitchen cabinets were heart pine--beautiful. The slates weren't just shades of grey, there was a tile with some type of gold or yellow in it. They also did a border of tile around and then a diamond design. It had a classic look but it was modern at the same time. Slate (like granite) is durable, extremely. I just didn't realize how beautiful it can be.

Does anyone know anything about granite kitchen floors?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 12:08PM
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Something like this?

As for the color of the slate, it sounds very much like either Indian or Chinese slate. Lots of reds yellows, and some blues and greens?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 5:01PM
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Hi billvincent,
yes, exactly like that. It's beautiful. That would probably last forever.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 6:35PM
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Sorry-- I didn't see the second part. Here's a couple of granite floors I did in a home this past winter:

These first two are all the same floor-- first the kitchen, and then the hallway leading to it. The reason for the discoloration in the hallway is that the floor was set the day before, and the latex in the thinset hadn't quite dried out yet:

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 10:59PM
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You do beautiful work bill-love that stone

    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 10:19AM
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I am new to this forum and enjoying the discussions. My husband and I are about to start construction on a new house and I need LOTS of help with decorating ideas. We are also on the fence about tile vs. wood in the kitchen. Ultimately, we will probably go with the wood just because it's very popular in the Pacific NW and will help with resale in the future. We had Travertine in our last house which was in the San Diego area. I loved how it looked but the upkeep was a bit difficult. If you drop anything acidic such as orange juice or in my case, a jar of olives it etches the stone.

P.S. I laughed at the poster who was guessing the average woman who posts here is 110lbs. Are you gals all TWIGGY here? I am considered slender by my friends standards and I'm 125. I looked up the average weight for US woman and it's 162. LOL

    Bookmark   September 9, 2006 at 2:48PM
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Hi Lindybarts,
I was 110lbs once. I am 125lbs now also and am definitely throwing off the average 110lb weight for posters. 162lbs as an average weight for US women makes me feel quite skinny. That's better to know than the wood vs. tile info.

More questions--
I think wood on a kitchen floor in the NE (where I live) is probably not a good selling feature, but I love wood--it's so elegant. I keep trying to tell myself wood is the best choice in every way, but I'm fooling myself. It's probably going to scratch and darken. I know my guests and family will be hard on my floors since they already are.

The contractor said that every 1-6 years (as needed), I should have the wood screened and a coat of poly put on -- he said that will keep the floor looking nice indefinitely--anyone know if that's true?

I looked at the wood samples of bonaseal with traffic and ruled them out (over the poly) because it looks like plastic. Actually, it is like putting a coat of plastic on the floor though it would probably keep the floors in good shape and they also wouldn't amber-out. (I don't mind redoak with an amber look, but no one else seems to like it.)

Now for my next question, I can't match the wood perfectly since my other floors were finished three years ago. Should I match as well as possible--does it matter? I have doorways separating all my wood floors from the kitchen (though they abut). Should I try a totally different shade that contrasts or should it be in the same tonal range? I'm so confused.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2006 at 4:15PM
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I would be happy to weigh the 162 - haven't weighed 110 since I was twelve -

    Bookmark   September 9, 2006 at 6:40PM
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Couple things I don't *think* have been adequetly covered so far in this thread:

An unglazed porcelain with some texture is about as slip resistant as a floor can get. A much larger saftey issue than the aleged 'softness' of a hardwood floor.

If you choose a medium to dark toned grout and a tile with some variation to the color, a porcelain floor will still look brand new after YEARS of wear, and will require almost no maintenence.

There was a post here a while back about a wood floor that was destroyed when the dog tipped over its water dish in the middle of the night. This won't be an issue with a tile floor, especially if its set on ditra or similar.

I know people who run marathons barefooted: the whole issue of cushioning has been so badly over sold by the shoe companies that inbiased info is almost impossible to find. If you have back or foot issues, take your MSM, hit the gym, and try some yoga or pilates. I'm not being flip, I've been there, done that, and have less pain in my life now than I did when I was 20. Pampering your body often does more harm than good.

I LOVE the look of wood. I really do prefer it. But I know myself well: I would not take adequete care of it, I'd get very frustrated when it scratched and dented, and I'd be physically sick if a simple spill or leaking pipe meant I had to replace the whole thing.

By all means, do the wood IF its something you love and you can live with. I'll have the porcelain [or maybe slate].

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 5:33AM
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We love an argument, don't we? Bill, you do the most beautiful floors I've ever seen and you truly are a tile expert. Uruboris, I agree about the slip and stays new factors in tile choice, but I truly disagree with your running shoe expertise. I see a sports physiologist and a physical therapist to prevent injuries. They don't give a hoot about what kind of floor I stand on. I do strength training and yoga. I also wear a running shoe suggested for the pronation and strike I have. I'm in my 34th year of running and take no meds. Without shoe marathoners are as much the exception as the 110 pound woman with a size 5 foot.

Maybe we could help the original poster by compiling a list of questions to help her make the best decision.

Here's my first one. Is your decorator suggesting a floor based on current trends or for kitchen function and does this match your take on these?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 7:11AM
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If i am ever in a position where i need to guess a ladies age or weight, I will always guess on the low side. It's better for my health and safety.

One other note on the Tile VS Wood: There are some tiles out there that do a very good job of imitating wood. I recently put in about 1200 feet of wood look tile. It's a medium brown color with 1/16" darker brown grout. most people assume its wood at first glance. It of course will not fool anybody who takes a close look.

There are a lot of wood look tiles out there, at least half of them look like crap, The other half range from passable to great. You'll have to do a lot of looking to find the good ones, but they are out there. There really are two distinct types. Photograph type that is similar to laminate except some of the photographs seem much more real on tile than on laminate. and the texture/color types that use a combination of surface texture and coloring to imitate wood grain.
I used Pamesa Teslin Coral 5" x 16" it was discontinued, but I located a quantity in Pittsburgh and had it shipped to houston.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 11:28AM
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qwertyu--Good idea about the weight-thing. Tact is always best.

I think the original poster, "astylish 1" has probably made his/her decision-(s)he posted in Jan.

I hope I don't sound argumentative--I'm just thinking out loud and my husband won't help me with my decision.

The water from the dog's dish spilling is probably an unusual thing. Maybe the floor wasn't finished properly or the poly was worn? I've had wood in every place I've ever lived and never had a problem like that.

The only stains that haven't come up are black marks from rug nails/staples. My sons used to come into the foyer with wet/dirty shoes and boots--those black marks had to be sanded up completely, but it looks perfect now. Recently, I had someone spill soda on my wood floor and I didn't notice until the next day (the floor felt like fly paper). It cleaned up perfectly because I have 3 coats of poly on it.

I'd keep the tiles under the dishwasher--that might help with the possiblity of a dishwasher leak. I think a dishwasher would have to leak for a period of time before a properly prepared floor warped (though I'd worry about it getting under the wood into a much larger area).

I went to a restaurant with porcelain tiles this morning and there were cracks in them. Granite shows stains and can crack. I know hardwood floors have more potential for damage than tiles, but they're not hard to keep clean at all. Tiles can be gorgeous and can add another dimension, but they can become dated.

Can anyone tell me if periodically screening hardwood and putting a new coat of poly on works?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 1:32PM
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Odds are the cracks you saw in the porcelain tiles were caused either by poor prep or too much flex in the subfloor.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 6:22PM
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oruboris--could the cracks in the porcelain tiles be from things dropped on them?--they were by the doorway.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 9:53PM
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Could be, yes. But if the support beneath the tile is strong enough, the tile shouldn't crack. Sorta like cracking a granite boulder by dropping a can of peaches on it.

Mind, I'm no expert on this, maybe Bill V. can help us understand the issues better.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 5:35PM
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Odds are the cracks you saw in the porcelain tiles were caused either by poor prep or too much flex in the subfloor.

Actually, the key here is that it was in a restaurant. As much tile as is used in most restaurants, usually it's installed by a crew. In this crew, the setters teams are 2 man crews, with one guy spreading thinset, and another setting tile. If the helper gets too far ahead of the installer, the thinset will develope just enough of a "skin" on it that the tile won't stick for more than a year, if THAT long. It'll then begin to loosen up to the point that the grout will crack, or the tile will, or both. If the cracks were in long straight lines, then it's most likely, cracks in the slab transmitting thru the tile.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 9:16PM
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Thank you for all your help. I'm going to look at tiles again. I love the wood, but I think it will be a worry. Tile is probably the best way to go for my lifestyle.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 6:51PM
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    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 3:49AM
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Hi Weandem,
Now I'm confused again-I do love wood.

My old tiles (a mud job) are under my kitchen cabinets and my biggest problem is that the contractors have to chip around the cabinets -- the mortar could crumble and it might misalign the cabinets and granite, especially since my floor is not perfectly straight. I had a couple contractors say they didn't want to do it and a couple said it's not a problem.

Do you know anything about this problem?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 4:01PM
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Weandem, there's no need for "duh." People's home lives don't necessarily conform to what seems obvious to you.

One last chime-in for a wood floor. I've had both, and the catching of crud in the grout bothered me more than the threat of water damage ever did. For that matter, I've always washed my wood floors with water (a damp cloth in my hand, not a mop and bucket) and they have been fine. You don't need to obsess about keeping every drop away.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 4:04PM
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I vote for wood floors in the kitchen. I have had refinished old wood floors in my kitchen for the last 13 years. Have no kids, but plenty of pets.

My Pros:
*Dropped glasses and plates rarely break.
*And as others have noted, my back/legs don't suffer.
*hide everyday dirt better than tiles
*no grout to clean
*looks refined and elegant
*makes my small home appear larger since the wood floors are continuous throughout the rest of house
*blends with my maple cabinetry..very soothing.

My Cons (only one!):
* the guy who refinished them used a water based polyurethane instead of oil based. As such, the poly has peeled up in places and/or worn off. This is more of the fault of the refinisher than the floors themselves.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 4:57PM
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It does rosr4me--everyone has been great.
Thank you everyone

    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 9:09PM
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I'm facing the same dilemma as Maureen and have to decide pronto. I have oak in LR, DR, foyer and FR but since I'm planning on remodeling my kitchen with cherry cabinets, I feel wood in the kitchen would be too much and was planning on using a light honed travertine on the diagonal in the kitchen. The kitchen opens to the breakfast room and the kitchen peninsula divides the two spaces - so the cherry cabinets are in both the kitchen and breakfast room. So I need to decide -- travertine in kitchen/breakfast room, or travertine just in kitchen and wood in breakfast room. These decisions are hard! Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 1:03PM
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We are currently building our vacation home- located on the beach- we are debating whether to have wood or tile floors in the kitchen - we have wood floors throughout the rest of the house- we have a large family, and love to cook - so the kitchen is our busiest place- we have buttercream - maple cabinets and a large island which is finished in a black distressed cherry-
I am totally confused at the moment and need HELP! I want to achieve a warm yet wow look in the kitchen and am concerned about which product would hold up and look best. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2007 at 3:19PM
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We've had porcelain tiles in our kitchen, family room, and dining room for several years now and like it a lot. We also have area rugs that are nice for softening the tile both in look and feel. The tiles are 16" (the largest we could get in this style), and the larger the better as far as I'm concerned. They are mottled tans and grays, and have a lot of texture that gives them a natural look. The grout is "cashmere", which is a mixture of tan and gray as well, but dark enough to not notice much when it gets stained. Since we didn't seal the grout, it does get stained, and what mottling that there is fits in with the natural appearance.

We're very happy with the tiles in the kitchen and elsewhere. They are cooler, which is not a bad thing, we live in a mild climate so they're never "icy", but they provide some cooling in the spring, summer, and fall. The cool feels good on my feet. They clean up real well, it is really easy to get dog hair, crumbs, etc. up, as opposed to the wall to wall carpeting that we used to have in the family and dining rooms.

We were torn about whether to use an engineered hardwood floor or tile, the fact that our house is on a slab pushed us strongly towards tile, and we are happy with that decision. We don't have to worry about water spills, which is good since we have kids and a dog, and living near the beach tile tolerates sand a lot better than hardwood would have. It looks less formal than hardwood, and it is pretty much a "no worries" kind of floor.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 8:39PM
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Just a few comments on the back/foot health issues.

It's one thing to tell people to take MSM and go to the gym - and another to follow one's own doctor's orders. Some people really do have back disorders - I do. It is the result of a congenital defect that I've gone to PT and used orthotics for - all my life. Eventually, it led to one vertebrae slipping (along with the disk of course) and even more PT. I am also in a profession (teaching) that is hard on the back.

At work, I stand on resilient flooring and a mat most of the day. I feel pretty good. At home, we have a tiled kitchen and a floating wood floor elsewhere. If I spend even a fraction of the time I spend standing at work standing in my own kitchen, I am in much more pain daily.

We agonized over changing out the tile but are currently putting in wood. If I had to rank the surfaces I stand/work out on daily - I'd pick the floating wood flooring, by far. And yes, I wear cork soaled shoes and other cushion devices. These shoes are not over-rated or over-sold by shoe manufacturers - not to those of us who need them. My doctor says I've avoided surgery (and epidurals) better than virtually anyone else he's seen with my degree of vertebral damage (there's also arthritis there now). I do all kinds of exercises and weight lifting to keep that spine in place using muscles - put I regard that as pampering my body, frankly. I have to cater to it.

We will be putting professional quality rubber mats, of the type seen in restaurants in front of the sink and the atove. They're actually very cool looking. Yes, I can slide on the wood floors - but don't. I don't find the wood floors particularly slippery, I've fallen twice on wet tile - in fact, that resulted in yet another injury and a deviated coccyx - no fun at all, that injury.

The wood floor is, to me, no more slippery when it is wet than when it is dry, and I expect it to have a certain kind of traction. But the tile goes from having a lot of traction to being extraordinarily slippery when wet or greasy. Not all tile is as slippery as ours - but ours as ADA rated as above average for traction, but in places, it has worn a little and that's where it gets really slippery.

I love tile and the look, but both my husband and I (he's also a teacher) feel the wood is much better on our joints. Because of our various back problems, other joints in our bodies are sometimes out of alignment, and when that's the case, standing on hard surfaces (even with cork shoes) is quite tough. Changing shoes frequently to different types helps, because foot and ankle bones tire quickly when held in place in one sort of footbed.

Nothing beats having a rubber mat (or similar) though where you stand most often.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 5:06PM
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Were building a new home and my wife can't decide on the flooring. Every other building decision has been made without regret. But I feel this one is like conquering the great divide. I tell her just make the decision and letÂs move on. But it keeps getting dump back on me, what should I do? Need some direction please.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 7:24PM
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We have tile, are rug throughout the kitchen, breakfast nook, family room area. We like the suggestion of http://www.postroadcarpetoneofacton.com/ pretty much one giant room separated by the kitchen island. We have found variety of rugs,carpet and hardwood for our home. Finally i Choose one which i like most. The wood is in the formal areas which don't have as much traffic. Things get dropped in the kitchen and we chose tile because it is more durable. Decorative, padded, kitchen rugs are on the floor in the work areas in front of the island.

Here is a link that might be useful: www.postroadcarpetoneofacton.com/

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 7:24AM
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