kitchen floor--wood or tile? Please help.

LAdancerJune 2, 2014

I have samples of wood looking tile and real engineered wood for our new kitchen. The wood, of course, is appealing but I worry about maintenance since I am a constant cook and have many gatherings. The tile, however, is also attractive but may be hard on the legs and feet over time. It also may not have that "warm" feel in the kitchen and may be less appealing or contemporary. White cabinets coming and tile is complementary with some white and gray tones. Wood is a light taupe shade and not shiny but rather matte in finish. I wonder if anyone has had bad luck with wood? Any regrets with tile? I'd love to hear from you. Thanks so much.

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I think you will get answers supporting either choice. I've had HW floors in my kitchen for 20+ years and no regrets. We used a water-based finish (at the time called Pacific Strong). It's similar to the current Bona Commercial finish.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 7:36AM
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We love our hardwood. It's easy to stand on, looks great even with an active young family and large dog, and if we ever need to make it look perfect again, we just sand it down and refinish it. I also think it is harder to date hardwood. Tile colors and shapes go in and out of style, but hardwood is always around.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 8:01AM
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Regarding your worry about maintenance for wood - I think it's a personal choice over which kind of wear you'd rather have or not have. Wood can scratch, though with a good factory finish it should resist a lot of scratches. Tile has the issue of the grout, which can stain. I don't care how much you seal the grout, it will stain, and sometimes the stain can seep under the sealant and be impossible to remove. Grout also will look dingy over time. So, you can probably tell, I prefer wood, but I understand that it comes with scratching. Make sure to put the little felt discs under chair legs (you can get them at HD); they work great.

People also like tile better if there is a water leak. Water spills, like from the dog dripping after drinking (ha), wipe right up from wood with no damage. But a big leak would cause damage. Having said that, I understand that if there's enough water, tile will buckle as its base gets soaked. Wood may or may not recover from a leak - it may dry out and return to its original state, or it may not, If tile has buckled from a flood, it will have to be removed.

You've already mentioned the other reasons I prefer wood - the warmth, easier to stand on. Also wood is quieter. And if you drop something on a wood floor, it is less likely to break than if you drop something on tile (though of course things can break if dropped on wood; it's just not as likely). Plus, I just like how a wood floor looks in a kitchen.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 8:11AM
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We have 90 year old hardwood floors throughout our house, even in the kitchen. They have held up just fine. The last time the floors were refinished in the house was in the mid-80s, and they still look pretty good. I am speaking about site-stained and sealed white oak, however. I am not sure how well the engineered products hold up. You may also want to check the thickness of the veneer on your product. Those with very thin veneers cannot be refinished, while those with thicker veneer top layers can.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 10:16AM
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You've identified the main arguments in favor of each. I have had both and hate tile because of the grout lines--no matter what they are lower than the tile level and dirt collect there--and even more because it makes my back hurt and is cold and hard underfoot. The wood in my kitchen hasn't had any issues and I'm keeping it when we remodel. (Kitchen including wood floor is orginal to my 1926 house as far as I can tell.)

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 10:50AM
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Thank you so much for your experiences and opinions about wood vs. tile in the kitchen. Your actual experiences and words mean a lot to help with our decision. Has anyone used Preverco wood floors? I like the matte finish on some of the Preverco floors yet I haven't seen many others to compare yet. Preverco seems very solid and well made. I'm happy for the input; again, thanks.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 12:05PM
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We chose tile. There is a new grout out, very new within the last year and a half called Fusion Pro. If you do go with tile, you definitely want to be sure to get this. The Pro's have lots of good things to say about it. Easy to clean, no mold. I have no connections other than as a happy customer (so far).
Check what they say on the John Bridge Tile Forum.
Also, regarding wood, there is a BIG difference between hardwood put in recently versus wood put in 30 or 40 (or definitely 50) years ago. I know because I have 80 year old hardwood in the rest of our house and know that it holds up well, even to lots of water (from a maid who didn't understand that you don't flood a hardwood floor with water when you mop, LOL).
If I were you, I would check out the forums that have the professional contractors weighing in on modern wood floors in the kitchen (I don't happen to know which ones they are but google search should be your friend.)

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 1:02PM
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We've had engineered wood floors and currently have bamboo floors in our kitchen. The engineered wood was fine, but it did scratch. The bamboo is about as hard as wood gets and one has to work hard to produce a scratch. In both cases we had/have the usual liquid drips and spills that just come with kitchen use. In neither case was/is this a problem.

If you'd rather not have wood and hesitate on tile, have you considered Marmoleum (linoleum)? It's come a long ways since the 50s. A biologist friend just put in a Marmoleum floor and designed it with a double helix running down the center. It looks great!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 1:25PM
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Thank you so much suzannesl and no I didn't even know about this new product. I've had Congoleum on my kitchen floor for 20 years and because I only used the Armstrong cleaner recommended, it still looks new! So, thank you because I will now look into this newer product in order to make a decision.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 2:08PM
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Another vote for wood here. I've had wood floors in my last 3 kitchens and am doing the same for my current reno. All were finished with bona traffic in satin finish. I prefer wood for all the reasons mentioned above (timeless look, better for back/feet, more forgiving when things are dropped, hate grout). While there will always be things that may "damage" the wood floor (I.e., moving appliances, and we've gotten a small dent but not though the finish from dropping a large glass Pyrex, but the pxrex didn't break!) and they likely won't look "perfect" I still prefer wood over tile in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 2:39PM
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We had ceramic (porcelain?) tile in our kitchen until the current renovation started. One thing no one mentions is how NICE and COOL it is if you live in the south. Our dogs just love it in the summer and if the a/c went out I would just lie down on the kitchen floor and be fine.
That being said, I would have wood in my new kitchen if it wouldn't clash with the adjacent bamboo that I don't even particularly like. ; )

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 6:01PM
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A kitchen is different than a bath, but we had had a commode overflow on our brand new engineered wood floor. It seeped underneath and warped from the underside. The warranty didn't cover that. Within five years we replaced it with tile. For that reason, when we redo our kitchen within two years, we are going with tile, in the event the fridge's water dispenser or the dishwasher should ever leak.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 6:24PM
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My tile floor was installed by clowns who said they knew how to use epoxy grout but really didn't. The grout was a rainbow of discoloration even though it was supposed to be a light tan. Last week I bought some grout colorant and recolored the floor grout using the same color. It couldn't have been easier and it was actually fun. And at that moment I realized that I would never have dirty grout again and the tile floor looks fantastic. All this just to say, if you like tile, don't fear the grout!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 7:23PM
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We have Preverco wire brushed hardwood in our new house (through the kitchen as well) and we absolutely love it. It's one of the best decision we made in the house. It doesn't show footprints like shiny hardwood tends to do. I love how you can really see the grain and you don't get the same glare from the light coming through the windows.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 2:56PM
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Wood-Look tile is SO much less maintenance. As mentioned above, just use Fusion Pro grout. It's antimicrobial, never needs sealing, is true to the colour and will NOT stain.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 3:09PM
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We've had stone (travertine) in the kitchen for five years. It still looks good and we love it! After five years, we cleaned and re-sealed it. It has been very low maintenance for us.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 3:19PM
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I just had tile installed in my kitchen (17 X 17 with 1/16th grout width) using TEC Power Grout that is stain resistant. Then the installer a few days later used a special sealer to prevent my new puppy's pee from staining the grout. It works! I am so happy with the look and the low maintenance.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 12:01AM
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Niki Friedman

Another vote for wood in the kitchen. We have two kids and two dogs and the floors are holding up wonderfully.

We are actually using the wood look tile for our mudroom, which leads to the garage and pool. Hoping that we can find a close enough match to our current hardwoods so that the change isn't glaring.

Any ideas on who carries the most variety of wood look tile? We went to the tile shop yesterday and they had several but I didnt see a perfect match. We are in the DC area. Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 4:43AM
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