Wood Floor in Kitchen - How do you all do it...

nypatti99January 24, 2012

Having a wood floor in the kitchen was one of my biggest dreams, I couldn't wait!!!

Well, we did it, new construction, pre-finished lyptus wood floor throughout (except bathrooms and mudroom), loved it - until we lived in it for a year. The floor does seem to dent (not scratch, but dent) much more easily than we thought it would based on "hardness" ratings, etc.

In most of the rest of the house, its not a big problem, but in the kitchen its basically destroyed. I guess we had a bit of foreshadowing, when the painter moved the fridge forward to paint behind it, the floor was covered with plastic, but not plywood and it left tracks from the fridge wheels before we even moved in. Anyway, anything you drop, leaves a dent - and I admit I am a bit of a klutz, and this is a hardworking kitchen... DH obsesses about the condition of the floor. It makes me sad to see the dents, but I still like the overall look of the wood. The only way DH will be able to sleep at night is going to be if we change it out to tile. Sigh, that's what I hated in my old kitchen.

I guess I'm just looking for sympathy. Thanks for listening.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I can sympathize with you. We chose pine because we love the look of it and it fits the character of our house. It looked radiant until we got a chocolate lab who is currently 80 lbs at 1 year old. His nails have destroyed the floor! It makes me sad, but we have learned to live with it. It is really only apparent when the light hits it.
As bad as it looks to me though, I would never trade it for tile. It's too cold to me and I hate grout!!

Hugs! Talk DH into embracing it- tell him that that people pay good money for distressed floors. :)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 12:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Real wood is better than engineered or laminate. At least real wood only dents. It does not chip. I have real wood veneered floors in my kitchen and there are several spots where a pan has gouged the laminate off the surface and left a noticeable discolored spot. I could live with dents.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 12:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sorry to hear. The "painter" should have known better, probably did know better.

Have you considered Amtico? It is high end vinyl tiles, used in commercial settings and is beautiful. It comes in styles from "concrete" to "slate". This is not inexpensive, but oh so nice. Also comes in abstract and wood styles.

Here is a link that might be useful: Amtico Stone styles

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 12:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've tried to get DH to embrace it, not going to happen... you'd have to know his personality. And you really only notice ours in the light too, but its still too much for him. Thanks for the Amtico link, those look nice, but the kitchen is right off the mudroom, so if I have to change out the kitchen, I don't want to introduce another floor, I was just going to extend the mudroom tile (its a great tile, I love it... in the mudroom).

tubeman - sorry to hear about your laminate, I agree dents are not as bad. I could probably live with the dents, I just can't live with DH and the dents. Hmmm, maybe I have a decision to make... just joking, DH stays.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 12:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

we have pine floors throughout the house so you can imagine the dents!

I have a few braided jute rugs in our kitchen with thick rug pad underneath. They are cheap so if they get trashed in a few years I will replace them. it's worth it to me for the peace of mind.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 12:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We had pine floors in our last house, in the kitchen too. We had them refinished when we bought the house, and they looked great for about a week. We also had a 100 pound German Shepherd, so I know exactly what doggy nails can do to a pine floor as they romp about.

If it helps, though, we were very clear to disclose the scratches and wear to the floor to the new owner when we sold the house. We even made sure they knew the finish had yellowed in the areas unprotected by area rugs in the sun (they bought most of our furnishings and rugs too.) They could have cared less, and said the wear fit the age of the house (1940's farmhouse.) So go figure.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 1:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I put in oak (white oak i think). It's top nailed to match the rest of the house (built 1916). I have no scratches and dents after about 18 months (2 children, 1 cat). If it does eventually start to look bad, we'll just have it sanded and refinished.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 1:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have wood floors in my kitchen and love them. Used oak prefinished flooring and one year+ in, they are still immaculate. Oh, wait, there is a tiny dent just in front of the fridge where I dropped a crystal butter dish but otherwise, immaculate.

It may be too late for the OP but my suggestion is if possible use a hardwood. And, respectfully, today the prefinished flooring is IMO every bit as good as 'real' site finished, if not better for some applications. The technology that allows engineered flooring to be processed with various hardeners and protectants means this stuff is almost bulletproof. I have oak engineered hardwood floors throughout my house and they have stood up to kids, pets and clumsiness of all types. Kitchen floor care consists of sweeping and a weekly dustmopping with Bona hardwood cleaner sprayed on the head of the mop. And that's it. No scratches, dents or problems whatsoever.

I've linked below to the flooring I used. It's not cheap but definitely worth it to me to have these gorgeous wood floors in the kitchen!

Here is a link that might be useful: Oak engineered HW flooring

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 1:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's my understanding that pre-finished and engineered are two different things, is that not correct? Pre-finished simply means real hardwoods - with a factory finish.

In any case we have prefinished walnut and it dents. Yep. Even something like dropping a piece of silverware just right has been known to leave a dent. And forget that we've attempted to be careful with protecting chairs - we have scratches too.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 1:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow, I don't know what we've been doing wrong, but we have oak floors everywhere in our house but the kitchen and after 1 year the foyer and main hallway are in terrible shape! It's just my DH and I, along with 2 large dogs and there are dents, gouges, scratches, and most of all loads of dog nail marks all up and down the hall and foyer. It's solid oak that was installed and stained afterward.

I don't really mind it that much, but we decided not to put it in the kitchen because I can only imagine what that would look like based on our hallway/foyer! Even though I really didn't want to, I guess we have to put in ceramic tile when we pull up the vinyl :(

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 2:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Honestly, I think it depends on the quality of the finish in most cases. Of course, it's also going to depend on the hardness of the wood as well. Here are two excellent articles explaining, in detail, both types. If you click his name, you can see other Ideabooks by him. He also talks about laminates, etc.



    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 2:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We put 5 coats of waterbased urethane (Ace Hdwre) on our red oak two years ago and it's holding up well. One laborador dog, two adults, and near to outdoor access. In a few years we will need to re-coat it I'm sure, especially along most used walkpaths. That's the story in other parts of our house on old oak floors.

Solid oak, no other substances or pre-finish.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 2:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I read a lot on the flooring forum and engineered isn't necessarilty evil. If you get engineered you want the top layer to be sawn and at least 3mm thick. The flooring specs should tell you that. They may also give you the hardness rating. Walnut and pine are soft, white oak is pretty good, maple is a little better, and hickory is better than most woods. The flooring I was looking at had some floors made in China, and the maple for those was quite soft, so I would look for Janka hardness ratings for the particular floor.

I wanted to look at the porcelain that looks like hardwood but my husband vetoed that. It wouldn't hurt to look, would it? I hope he knows what he's doing!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 2:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Can someone explain to me why my 1924 oak floors have no dents, despite sloppy former owners and a sad history of being used as a rooming house in the 1970s?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 2:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have red oak in my living, dining, kitchen, halls. It was installed in place and has three coats of oil-based finish. Just one careful adult and three cats in the house, but it looks like new. My cats chase each other down the L-shaped hall and skid out of control at the bend. I can't see any scratching.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 2:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Marcolo, all I know is, any time we've had to cut into old framing, or we've made something from recycled wood salvaged from an older building, it seems to us that old wood is almost always harder (seems more dense) than new wood. Old pine framing is harder than the new pine we buy at Lowes. But I can't explain why.

The pine flooring in our 40's house had been installed in the 70's. I wonder if it would have been tougher stuff if it had been original to the house.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 2:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It seems like I have lots of company. My site finished oak floors have dented terribly from things being dropped in the kitchen. I had no idea oak was so soft.

Totally Confused

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 2:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mudhouse- I'm no expert, but I thought I read somewhere that trees used in the construction of older homes, were much larger/older (therefore the rings were more compact) and the result was a much denser/harder wood. Younger trees (even oak) that are cut down early, don't have rings that are as compacted. Sorry, I don't remember where I saw this, but it made sense at the time.

Marcolo- Maybe that's why the oak floors in your 1920s house are so much more durable?

And to the OP, if tile is what your husband wants, my concern would be how very hard it is. Yes, dents won't show, but my back wouldn't be able to deal with it, either. Maybe you could come up with a middle ground?

For me, I live on a farm and track mud and snow in constantly. I'll probably go with a fairly inexpensive vinyl (that looks like wood) and have it redone every ten years or so. That's just me, though :)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 2:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I use 100% polypropylene rugs in the traffic areas. When they get gross, I take them outside and hose them off. I'm pretty sure it is not the manufacturer suggested way of cleaning but I haven't had any problems.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wood floor saver

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 2:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

((((((((((((((((((cyber hugs of sympathy)))))))))))))))))

So sorry your wood floors were not what you wanted.
I may have been one who raved about how much I love mine.
I do love my floors. Do they have the occasional dent
or mark? Yes but it is so light you can barely see it and
it does not bother me.

I think you could have been a tile floor person rather
than wood floor. I hope anyone reading this post learns
that wood does indeed not wear as easily as tile.
Wood has issues. I am sure all floors have issues but
perhaps wood is not for everyone.

I love my wood and all it's character.
Mine are a mix of red and white oak stained a deep chocolate.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 3:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So sorry to hear about your kitchen floor dents. Maybe the finish shows them more than others. Are they refinishable? We have quartersawn white oak that we refinished ourselves with Waterlox. If there are dents, I don't see or notice them. Two dogs, college kids, general traffic and dropping things. Not sure if its the hardness of the wood, the waterlox or my failing eyesight, but ... our kitchen floor is standing up well to the abuse.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 3:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Older homes built long ago...probably prior to the 1950's had lots of old growth forests. Back then, they harvested very large trees...where the core was really hard. Have you ever heard the term "Heart Pine"? That is the inner core of a large pine tree.

Today, trees are harvested before they get that big. This is why wood is not as hard as back then.

In my last house, I had oak floors put in my kitchen to match my 1915 home. The floor, after 11 years, still looked great. The only place I had denting, was in the dining area where the barstools were.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 4:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have had maple hardwood in my kitchen and DR for a bit over a year. It helps that maple is a very light wood, but I can't really find any dents from our normal kitchen wear and tear.

Shoe warning: I do have a few dents from a party where one of our guests was wearing stiletto heels. ouch!! And I don't mean normal heels with at least a square centimeter of surface area touching the ground at the heel, but real stilettos with a pointy, pointy heel. Thankfully another guest pointed it out to her before it caused too much damage, and she was sweet enough to ask me for a pair of socks so she could take them off. Now I just mention "no stilettos" when I invite people over. It's become a joke...

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 4:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have white oak floors in kitchen, living room, foyer, hallway. After 14 yrs., the kitchen mostly just had scratches under the table and barstools and in front of sink. But they weren't that bad considering it had been 14 years. We just had them refinished, and the dishwasher leaked. The floor buckled a little there, but it's not too noticeable. Also, a granite sample was dropped and left a nice ding.

I think one thing that helps in doormats outside and inside (two chances to wipe feet). I don't ask guests to, but we slip shoes off at door if they're overly dirty or it's rainy/muddy outside. Also, we don't have any inside pets. It sounds like dogs do a number on wood floors.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 4:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

oooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh I forgot about shoes.
Shoes are left at the entrance of my home. Maybe that
is why my wood floors look so great?

Oh dear, this could turn into the dreaded shoe debate.
: )

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 5:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for all the comments. To answer a few of the questions, the floor is solid hardwood, but with a factory finish. I went back and looked it up and the Lyptus literature says it has a Janka rating of 1550 which puts it higher than white oak, but less than hickory. It can be refinished at some point if we want, and since it is solid, we can probably sand out most of the dents (although some are pretty deep and they won't come all the way out), but I think it might just prolong the agony - I'll just have to deal with DH complaining about "ruining the new floor" all over again.

We do leave our shoes at the door, and we've got felties on the chairs, etc, but drop a spoon or a plastic dish, and there's a dent. We did have some oak hardwood in the old house (circa 1960 install) and though it was in need of a re-finish when we moved out due to worn out spots in the finish, you really had to do something eggregious to put a dent in the floor.

I think I'm going to try to put it off for a while anyway by getting a couple rugs for the kitchen between the sink and island where it is the worst - maybe if he can't see it won't bother him so much...

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 6:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think that you might want to think of the scratches and dents in your floor like the etching on marble countertops -- something that just is.

My parents remodeled about a decade ago, and put an oak floor in their kitchen to match the rest of their main living areas. I've always thought that it was one of the most beautiful features of their kitchen.

I did the same thing about 3 months ago, putting oak floors in my kitchen to match the rest of my main floor. So far, no significant dents or scratches.

But at Christmas, after I had installed my floor, I really looked at the floor in my parents' kitchen. On closer inspection, it is incredibly dented and scratched, even though none of the other rooms with the original 1960s hardwood are. The dents/scratches are significantly less in the area of the older wood of the original house, even in very high traffic areas like the path to the main bathroom.

I had never noticed it before; I only noticed it because I was interested in seeing how my oak floors might fare.

My point is that, unless you were looking for the scratches and dents, you wouldn't have noticed it. It looks lovely in the kitchen. And, unless someone is looking for it, nobody else sees it but you. I bet the floor looks great to everyone else.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 8:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Repairing dents in the floor could be a DIY project using a combination of heat and moisture to restore the grains of the wood back to normal or near normal. This process is also used quite often for furniture repair. Might be worth a try if the dents are really bothersome.

Here is a link that might be useful: build direct

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 10:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We still love our wood floors after 8+ months (we have pre-finished Ash, which is similar to Oak on the Janka hardness scale) While we have noticed quite a few scratches and the occasional dent, we knew (with two dogs and three teenagers) that our floors would have some wear. The worst "dent" (which I would almost call a divot) came from a son's friend opening a 12 pack of soda on the island, and then walking away, allowing a few cans to roll out and over the side of the island, landing on the floor. Ouch!

That was very early on in the life of the floor, and left a nice mark, so perhaps it gave me some needed perspective on the little scratches left here and there since then.

I agree, though, that tile would have been too hard and cold for me, so I am willing to accept the imperfections that may come with a well-used wood floor.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 7:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So sorry for your dilemma. Have you considered refinishing the floor with a high quality product? And perhaps removing your shoes, etc. If you aren't used to removing your shoes when entering the house, it will take time to get in the habit. But so worth it. All your floors will last alot longer.

Our old 1916 Arts and Crafts house had QS oak on the main level, and birdseye maple upstairs. Although not really dented, it was more like scuffed up. The POs had refinished the floors themselves (horrors) with hand held sanders, and used a cheap finish. The finish was most of the problem, I think.

Our new house has hickory, which is one of the hardest woods of those commonly used for floors. We even have it by the back door/garage entrance. No problems at all. They were finished with 3 coats of a swedish finish called "Glitsa" in a matte finish, and nothing shows. Very, very happy. I dropped 12 cans of soda the other day, and nothing dented or scratched. I've dropped pans, lids, dishes, etc....and so far, so good.

Shoes, especially sneakers, are the worst for floors. Tiny pebbles can become embedded in the sole, and cause lots of damage to even the best of floors. Popcorn, or dried beans/peas are hard on floors. If spilled, and then walked on, they can make tiny impressions. Pets, too. Especially if their nails aren't kept trimmed. I can't imagine anyone pulling out a heavy fridge without protecting the floor, no matter what kind of floor.

One of the most important things for wood floors is to keep them swept, or vacuumed.

I hope have a happy resolution to your problem. Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 10:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Circus Peanut

Marcolo, you surely already know this, but see "old growth wood" discussions. Most woodworkers consider old growth softwood (heart pine, fir) in the same category as modern "hardwood" when referring to flooring.

The quality of old wood is extraordinary in comparison. Last summer I rehabbed a set of 100-year-old wooden window sash which had been languishing outside in a junkyard for at least 2 years. The stuff is still like iron and the freshly sanded & stained windows look fabuloso. In the meantime a new pine casement installed by the previous owner in the 90's is already starting to show signs of softness and rot, argh.

Real wood floors will ding and scratch, there's unfortunately no way around it. It's the price paid for the warmth you can't get with any other flooring, and the cost of not living on plastic, or things coated in plastic ...

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 11:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am actually glad to hear of even "hard"wood suffering. Our 1910 house has original fir flooring (under 2" of plywood nailed right into it, covered in vinyl for 40 years before we moved in!) which we've had refinished. But despite shoes off policy (I get admonished by DH anytime I wear shoes in the house!), 2 kids and dog have scratched the heck out of it. Knowing fir is a softwood, I won't do it in our about-to-be-remodeled kitchen. We think there's fir in there too(under the vinyl and plywood), but I'm going with tile. All our trim will be fir and I don't think I could find another wood to match our gorgeous grain. But we'll try to re-use it in a bedroom. I am also considering plank wood-look tile elsewhere in the house, as in link below. Our floors are actually part of why I am now so enamored with soapstone for the kitchen counters - they are lived in and well loved, dings, scratches and all. But sorry, I just can't do it in the kitchen.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wood-look plank tile

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 12:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have Lyptus in my kitchen too and experience the same issues as your DH. You can't help but notice the scratches, the dings, the dents (yes deep dents) and roll marks ( dining server). The floor is horrific based on ratings it gets. Keeping it clean does help but given the timeframe that Lyptus has been around as an alternative wood, I think its time people know how bad it is. Its really unfortunate, that seeing others have a similar problem gives me some peace of mind that its not just me who notices. Had my 3/4 inch re-finished solid floors for over 3 years and regret it each day. I do like color though as stated in an earlier post.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 8:44PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Would soapstone work for me?
I currently have Cambria quartz and like it, but don't...
How many cabinet estimates do you get?
Uggh, I tried to search but am giving up. We are considering...
am I being too picky?
Ok, is my perfectionism is out of control..... I bought...
Layout review needed- please give feedback!
I think I'm getting closer to finalizing a plan for...
color of sink in a modern kitchen ?
I will have white cabinets and dark grey counter tops. what...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™