Wood floors in kitchen

fairygirl43January 7, 2008

What do you all think about wood floors in the kitchen? We currently have tile (not a pretty tile either) that was put in by the previous homeowners. We will definitely be removing it and originally had thought about new tile (the big 20x20"). But I've seen a lot of pictures with wood floors in kitchens. I always thought it was a "no-no" to put wood around water. Thoughts?

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Spilled water is going to be cleaned up , but something like a supply line bursting when no one is home and the water sits around for awhile is hard on most flooring types. A good sealed hardwood floor isn't a problem imo and is what we have planned. A bead of silicone around the perimeters before base or shoe mould can help keep water from seeping under where the flooring meets the walls, cabinets,etc.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 10:23AM
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I really love wood, to the point that I find painted cabs a bit... offputting, to say it politely.

I've heard horror stories about boards warping from fairly minor spills, like the dog's water bowl; so there is a potential for disaster and they will require more careful, prompt maintenence than tile-- you'll want to sweep up any grit constantly to keep it from abrading the surface, you may want to consider banning high healed shoes, etc.

But at the end of the day, it can be done. Probably better if its done by people who DON'T need it to look spankin' new, year after year, though.

If you want it, and are willing to do the maintenence, accept the fact that a simple burst pipe might have dire consequences, etc., by all means go for it-- a warm beautiful look.

But if, like me, you want a home that's very low maintenence and easy care, that looks as though you slave over it when in fact you don't, you may want to keep looking. A wood floor with some wear on it often looks dirty when it isn't...

Perhaps my biggest reason for not going with wood is my own tendency to sweat the small stuff. I don't want to have to be the heavy that yells at people to take off their shoes, or worry about a wet dog laying on the floor, or the like.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 4:41PM
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I have wood floor in my kitchen for all the reasons listed for not having them. Easy to maintain, no dirty grout to clean, wipes up easily. Never have an issue with shoes - no dents in the floor yet (12 years now).

I decided on hardwood because I didn't want to be the type of grandma that would have to gasp when the grandkids walked around with milk and cookies.

The grandkids even ride their peddle tractor and airplane on the floors - they still look great after all theese years.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 9:02PM
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An excellent, TOUGH finished, engineere wood floor is Mirage brand. It's finished is impregnated with ceramic bits i believe and it's baked in the factory so the original finish is like iron. I've seen some that I installed after 3-4 years of teenagers in the house and it still looked like new. Just clean up the spills as they happen like you would do anyway on any floor.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 11:04PM
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Love our wood floors throughout the house, including the kitchen. I don't want to walk on cement floors -- tile is the same effect. Key is a good poly finish. You wash the poly, not the wood underneath it. Our grandson rides his trike all over the place -- no damage.

Now, I wouldn't want wood flooring in a bathroom or laundry -- too much moisture and real 'slosh' factor.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 12:35PM
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I wouldn't have anything but wood floors in the kitchen. Tile is hard on my legs and feet if standing for any length of time. I think the worry is unnecessary if one is reasonable (not excessively) careful.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 8:15PM
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"I've heard horror stories about boards warping from fairly minor spills, like the dog's water bowl..."

Not if the floor has a finish.
Surface tension keeps the water from getting into the small gaps.
It beats the hardness of tile by a huge amount.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 9:41PM
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We put a sanded in oak floor in our last home. It did well for us and the new owners for 7 years so far. True, a burst supply line or leaking refrig that is not caught in time may lead to warping but this is what insurance is for. Just check the policy to see if it is covered. I also installed water sensor system near the obvious water supply points (under sink) and was planning on drilling seep holes at low points to allow water to drain to a trap where I would also add a sensor as a secondary protection. I like the Watercop.

One problem that has come up is that the floor wore at a point just in front of the refrig where the new owners always step when opening the refrig. Maybe a throw rug should have been placed there.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 10:20PM
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I've had a wood floor in my kitchen for 3 years now and love it. Yes, water spills, but it's easy just to wipe it up. Even if the drops sit there for a short while, they're sitting on the floor's tough finish and probably aren't going to do any harm before I can get to them. I'm more careful to mop up around the cat's water dish, but it's no big deal. The floor has sustained some minor scratching, but you have to actually be looking for it and have the right light to notice it. Overall, I love the look, it's easy on my legs, and is super-easy to clean. There's nothing wrong with tile if you prefer it, but I do love my wood floor!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 10:02AM
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We had beautiful hard maple floors installed in our kitchen in '89. Water has never been a problem. The biggest, ugliest problem is the scratched, worn areas under our kitchen chairs when they are moved back and forth, esp when people are sitting on them and push back. Yes, we have felt pads, and every other imaginable pad, under the chair legs but they wear out or fall off and the sitter/mover does not realize that the floor protectors are gone. One minute the pads are on, and the next minute the pads are off. Cans have dropped on the floor and dings, gouges, are the result. The floors were gorgeous for many years, but it is long past the time to refinish. Don't worry about water. Keep a large supply of pads handy, change them often. The pads do collect dirt, hair, so they are not maintenance free. But I suppose tile floors, or any other floor, would have the same problem.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 12:58AM
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I agree water is not usually the biggest problem, with normal high traffic problems being bigger (scuffs, dings, etc.) My teenage daughter propped a glass in the refrig door water dispenser and went to school (ran for 7 hrs). Most of the water went through vents in the floor, but the areas of wood that were soaked, eventually dried and look almost as good as the rest. Luckily, the area under the kitchen was unfinished basement. We now have a water sensing system to automatically shut off the water (watercop).

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 9:26AM
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Two weeks after I delivered a near million dollar home in 1990, the buyer called me, concerned over all the dents that had appeared in the red oak, especially in parts of the kitchen.

The flooring contractor and I traced the mysterious damage to their housewarming party, where one guest was their very hot, very petite, stiletto-heeled neighbour. I (somehow) recalled her!

The most comfortable flooring I ever installed was hard rubber 40" stud tile in a lively red.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 5:03PM
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Brazilian cherry throughout my house, even in the kitchen.

10 years in and still looks fine. Only negative is that it's a dark wood so it shows dirt easily. Positive? It shows dirt easily, so we keep it pretty clean.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 8:30PM
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Chris 8796, What a story! Your 17 year old left the water running for hours?
What a great attitude and forgiving nature. You just fixed the problem and did what you had to do to prevent it from happening again. I applaud you.
I cannot begin to imagine what I'd do if our 17 yr. old did the same. I would harm myself!!!!lol
That convinces me not to have in door water/ice in our planned refrigerator. I cannot supervise all the teenagers who come into our kitchen. And accidents happen, all the time. I don't want to wipe up the floor any more than I already do. Another reason why I will not get a darkly colored or highly shined floor.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 12:07AM
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If you have a massive water spill in a house even with tile you are very likely to have problems.
While the tile, grout, and cement board will not be damaged by the water, the sub floor and framing still can be.
The best tile job on a warping sub floor is not going to last very long.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 7:13PM
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Agree w brickeyee. We just suffered through replacing much wood flooring in our kitchen following a dishwasher leak that happened while out of town for three weeks. Wife fussed about how much better tile flooring would've been in this situation but it would fail, too. Now that the new wood is in and the entire flooring in the house was refinished it all looks new again. Insurance covered it all.

That's another advantage of going with real hard wood flooring. After you dink and dent it up over the years, get it refinished. Looks like new. Can't say replacing grout in a tile floor would be so sucessful...

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 1:30PM
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