Help picking kitchen floor

Mayo510October 19, 2012

Long-time lurker, first time poster. ;-)

We are completely re-doing the kitchen in our 1915 Craftsman bungalow. The plan is for white/off-white painted shaker cabinets, with a dark gray countertop. I am stumped on the floor.

The "front of the house" -- DR, LR, big foyer -- still has what we assume are the original wood floors, pretty wide plank, dark with some red tones. The "back of the house" -- BRs and BAs -- have what we assume are newer wood floors, narrower planks in a lighter stain. The front of the house and the back of the house do not touch. You have to walk through the corner of the kitchen to get between them. Just 3' or so, and while there are doors in and out of the kitchen, those doors are almost always open.

The kitchen currently has . . . black rubberized knobby floor tiles. You know, the kind you'd see on a freight elevator floor or at the edge of a train platform. I try not to think about how that choice was made. But, as much as I dislike it, it is awfully forgiving on our bodies, and on the occasional dropped piece of dishware.

Every single "inspiration kitchen" photo with white cabinets and dark counters I've saved has wood floors. I'd love wood floors. But I doubt I'm going to be able to get them to match either existing wood floor. (right?)

Go with wood floors anyway, even if you'd see three different versions of wood floor all up against each other in that corner traffic zone?

Something else? I'm eying Marmoleum and cork. I like that they have some of the forgiving qualities of my current industrial floor. But I'm stumped on color family (browns would seem like I'm trying to "match" the wood?) and whether I'd want any kind of patterning (maybe big checkerboard?).

Tile maybe? Our hallway bathroom has a 1"hex mosaic floor, which I like, but I haven't seen that at all in kitchens. Just fashion, or is there a functional reason? Bigger stone/stone-look tiles just don't feel like the right aesthetic at all, but maybe the right inspiration photo would change my mind.

Thanks for any thoughts!

--Mayo

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williamsem

Well, I don't have any sage advice, but as much as I like the look of tile we decided against it because it is hard to stand on for long periods. Plus the grout - check out the "truth about grout" thread. I know people love it, but it's not for us, we are too lazy for grout and I have bad knees.

We decided on cork tiles from Globus cork. Glue down, not click planks because it is a kitchen. Our project isn't until May, but everyone I've mentioned it to around here when looking at other kitchen components says I will love it. I actually stumbled across their site tracking down a fantastic hexagon pattern cork floor I saw online, which turned out to be theirs. They make a bunch of sizes and shapes and colors if you want something different.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 6:26PM
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carybk

Just a few thoughts. I'd focus first on any practical preferences you have. For example, I knew I didn't want tile because it gets harder to stand on as you age and we hope to be here a long time, and I didn't want to clean grout. We considered cork but were worried about how minor floods would affect it and saw advice that it didn't belong in a wet room.

Then, I'd look around and see how close you could come to matching either of the woods in the house. With the kitchen in between, you could go either way, and you could potentially refinish whichever floor you were going to match. You might be able to come a lot closer than you think.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 8:44PM
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remodelfla

I think cork would look fantastic with what you describe.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 9:16PM
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williamsem

Click cork flooring, like many other floating floors, has a particle board core which will expand when wet. Glue down cork tiles are ok as the cork itself does not absorb water and they are solid cork.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 10:39PM
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motherof3sons

Another vote for cork. In a former house, we used natural maple that butted up to 90 year-old oak. Looked beautiful.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 10:40PM
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pricklypearcactus

I'd vote for hex tile. I love the look and I think it would look great. But then, I like tile and I prefer it in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 11:29PM
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labbie

We have cork in the kitchen bumping up agains hardwood in 3 other rooms, and the cork is in the brown family. It complements beautifully without looking like we tried to match at all.
We used Wicander cork planks with a 25 year warranty, although I've read that glue down is preferred for wet areas. We discussed at length and decided to use the planks and have no regrets. If I was building a house today I swear I'd put cork down everywhere but the bathroom- it's that comfortable (and beautiful).

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 9:36AM
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Mayo510

That's a lot of votes for cork! Labbie, I love the look of yours. A color like that would be a lot lighter than my current hardwoods, so I don't think it would look at all like I was going for a match. But then I wonder if a darker floor would be better with the white cabs/dark counter.

DH said he didn't even want the 1"hex mosaic on the list. I'm guessing it's the grout issues that usually keep it out of kitchen use.

So, other thoughts on color assuming we go cork? The front of the house has unpainted wood paneling. Here's a shot from the DR into the kitchen. That hallway - wall on the right, the doorway - is coming down in the remodel; you'll just walk straight into the kitchen.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 1:17PM
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motherof3sons

I love the pictures Suzanne posted. That would be beautiful in a craftsman house. He Mediterranean would be my vote! Love the rug look.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 2:38PM
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