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Need opinions on hardwood floor in kitchen

cmottesenJanuary 8, 2013
I am replacing ceramic tile flooring in my kitchen. I love the look of hardwood and have found a product that matches the existing hardwood in the surrounding rooms. However I'm concerned that wood is not a practical option in a heavily used kitchen (2 young boys and a dog). Will it scratch up easily under the kitchen table and island seating area (i.e. chairs being pushed in and out)? I would love some opinions from people who have hardwood in the kitchen.
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We love the hardwood floors in our kitchen, but we definitely have little circular foam/felt protectors on the bottoms of all the chairs, table, etc (a rug beneath the table and chairs is another option). You didn't mention what kind of hardwood you were using, and some are more durable than others. Ours are quarter sawn white oak and have lasted 90 years (and still going strong). We have two dogs and a son, and the people before us had three kids and a dog. So it certainly is possible. Have your dog's nails been a serious problem for the hardwood floors in the rest of the house? Do you (or your kids) tend to leave spills on the floor rather than wiping them up fairly quickly? If the answer is no to both of these questions, then I wouldn't worry about having hardwood in the kitchen.
2 Likes    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 5:46AM
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Galle Construction Inc
One of the greatest qualities of using hardwood as a flooring option is the warmth it brings into your space. With that said, you must be aware (and comfortable) with the fact that wear and tear to the floors is inevitable and will only add character to your space.. no matter what kind of wood or quality of flooring you choose. Not to say you shouldn't try and protecting it by adding protection to the bottom of chairs and other furniture.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 5:57AM
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We have hardwoods in our current kitchen & breakfast room and scratching from chairs being pushed back from the table by large teenaged boys is an issue. The "triangle" is hard to keep clean - the combination of spills and oil/steam around the range requires you to be vigilant to keep residue from building up. And that is with a very heavy-duty ventilation system. We are beginning renovations on our "down-size" house and I am looking at using either cork plank or pre-finished maple. Would love to hear from people with either of these products.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 6:14AM
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Agree with Feeny. I have wood floors in my kitchen and love them. One advantage is that they are easier on my feet when I have to stand a long time. I previously had tile and found it too hard and when something did happen to fall it shattered sending chards of glass everywhere.
    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 6:25AM
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May I suggest that if you are looking to replace the floors in your kitchen you might want to consider hardwood floors that are finished on site rather than pre-finished. Floors finished on site have multiple coats of polyurethane that seep into the cracks between the boards as well as on top, thus giving much better protection against spills. Pre-finished floors have no protection between the boards and are thus not quite as useful for kitchen applications.
2 Likes    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 6:28AM
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Flamingo Construction
There are cork and porcelain tile products that give you the same look as hardwood floors without the maintenance issues.
2 Likes    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 7:26AM
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Jayme H.
With little ones and pets, with whom I have a lot of experience...Just wouldn't put in hardwood in a kitchen. It would look gorgeous, but I want to enjoy my home and not have to constantly worry about the floor. (Mom's are busy enough). I would look for an alternative bullet- proof product that gives a similar look-because with kids and pets...stuff happens!. You have a great kitchen to start with, so it will turn out nicely for sure!
    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 7:41AM
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If you are leery of using real hardwood in your kitchen, you might consider luxury vinyl strip flooring for easy care and a great look. Take a look at Karndean.
Parks Golden Gate Vinyl Plank Floor · More Info
1 Like    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 7:47AM
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Dar Eckert
I have a dark (walnut) floor in the kitchen and dining room. It is about 5 years old and has its share of scratches from dog and dropped items but it still looks good. The worst problem is crumbs under the stools and work area but a light electric broom takes care of that but it is a daily task. I do fear that something will seep under the wood and smell but it hasn't happened.
    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 7:53AM
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Showcase Kitchens
Hardwood flooring can take a beating. There are wonderful porcelain tiles that look just like wood, are durable and look great
    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 7:54AM
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Lumber Liquidators
Hardwood can be used in a kitchen, but we suggest putting a throw rug near the sink and other "spill-prone" areas. An excess of water can damage wood or any floor for that matter. Also, you'll need to wipe up spills as soon as possible. Engineered floors are most recommended for these areas (such as an engineered hardwood).

If you decide not to go with hardwood, have you ever considered cork? It's naturally cushioned, a sound reducer, durable and takes on the temperature of the room. Plus, if you're standing in the kitchen for long periods of time, cork relieves stress in the back and legs. (http://www.lumberliquidators.com/ll/s/bamboo-cork-flooring/cork-flooring) Just a thought! Hope this helps :)
    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 8:00AM
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Cancork Floor Inc.
Hey Carolincarolina,

For cork planks (and you are right, cork planking in a kitchen is VERY COMMON) at a great price, check out Icork Floor LLC for 40+ colours. Be VERY CAREFUL with the product you choose. Some of the "high wear" products can NOT BE SEALED! This removes them from the "can go in a Kitchen" list. Wicanders has 2 high wear surfaces that are not allowed in kitchens/baths/entrance ways. You void the warranty if they are installed in those areas...but the sales people/dealers RARELY know these details.

At Cancork Floor Inc, we have just received a new product which is a "White" beveled edge plank (White Leather....which is more of an ivory). We don't have any photos of it yet, but I thought of this colour as I was scrolling through your idea book.

You can view the full collection at www.corkfloorsales.com (this is the Canadian sales website, but we can ship to the USA if there is a colour you like from this collection that has yet to make it to the Icork Floor site).

Feel free to email me direct if y
    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 8:24AM
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Crystal Chavez
How about adding in floor pieces to heavy traffic areas that can be easily cleaned? I found these browsing:

River House · More Info

1901 Kitchen Remodel · More Info

Austin Modern Farmhouse · More Info
1 Like    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 5:30PM
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Sue Dennis
After living in MA for almost 50 years and enduring the frustrations of hardwood floors I would never do any room in wood. If you don 't like tile then possibly cork or faux wood in tile or laminate may work.
    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 5:50PM
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Karndean for sure it is throughout my entire new home!
    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 6:16PM
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I just ripped out all my wood floors, except entry, after 10 years. I have 3 sons and 2 small dogs. I know others have asked this same question before in this forum, and the responses are always mixed. The wood looks beautiful and is versatile, but it scratches, dings and if your dog has accidents, the urine can ruin it. Near my dishwasher, it wore out faster from heat about the 6 th year. You can't install it on cement slabs so you need to go to an engineered type wood that can only be refinished twice. I did this and liked it for a while but then ended up ripping it out. I'm going to include some pix of what I have been dealing with. The 2nd one is where I was for about 2 months - slab only - until this past Monday. This week I am having tile installed and am seriously on cloud 9.
    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 6:24PM
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Scott Design, Inc.
3/4" thick wood floors are great! They are easy on the legs and back. If children fall, they don't crack open their heads. If they get wet, they are not as slippery as tile. If faced with broken pipes or overflowing water left to linger for quite a while, there will be some dimensional change but it will dry out along with the subfloor and continue to give you years of service. Grout between tile cracks due to the movement in the floor (and if the floor is not strong enough to support the tile, then the tile will also crack). When the water seeps down into the subfloor, it may never dry out because tile is non-porous and then you promote rot and mildew. I love cork but when the edges stand in water for any length of time, they tend to expand and not return to original shape.

Here's my suggestion...install 3/4 thick unfinished wood (doesn't have to match your other floors in species, grad, width or color); sand it; "pop" the grain before applying the stain so it will penetrate deeper and more consistently than it would on sanded floors; apply 3 or 4 coats of Waterlox tongue oil finish. This penetrates the wood and moves with the wood whereas urethane sits on top and cracks when the wood expands and contracts. "Waterlox literally locks out water with a formula that relies on the protective nature of resins and the penetrating sealing advantages of tung oil. Waterlox permeates wood surfaces and actually becomes part of the wood itself to resist moisture, dirt, household chemicals, alcoholic beverages, heat and cold." per www.waterlox.com/about

The whitish scratches you typically see are in the urethane. Tongue oil surfaces will wear and scratch with normal every day use, but because the finish is part of the wood, you will not be able to see them as much.The best part of all is that you can spot clean and remove scratches and repair deep scratches yourself. You don't have to rescreen or resand the floors as you would with urethane. I still recommend that you put felt pads on the table, stools and chair legs and anything else that may be dragged across the floor to minimize whatever upkeep you may want to do later. You may also want to get a grade of the wood that has imperfections in it so that whatever marks may happen from dog and kid activity will not stand out, e.g. #2 oak.

I recommend this approach to all of my remodelling clients and I do this in the new homes I design and build. It provides a rich, hand-rubbed patina that enhances a wood’s grain.
2 Likes    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 6:56PM
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I just came from home depot looking at wood and cork and tile. why is it so confusing? why does everyone in the flooring business and even home owners have different views on laminate ..engineered wood..cork etc. How can a person know what to do with so many conflicting reviews?
    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 7:56PM
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Thanks to everyone for your opinions and ideas. I agree that it is very confusing with all the different flooring options. I'm feeling discouraged about wood. I appreciate the suggestion from Scott Design, but it sounds like a time consuming and costly option. I will continue my research.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 4:41AM
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Dar Eckert
Don't be discouraged! I've had my dark wood floors for over 5 years with both pets and children and you get scratches and dings on it. Maybe in 10 more years it will need to be refinished. Just resign yourself to it and enjoy it. Its still cleaner and less work than a carpet.
3 Likes    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 7:18AM
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Cancork Floor Inc.
Differences in opinion are as many as there are choices for flooring. And each flooring option will have lovers and haters. That means there are 2 opinions for EVERY option. If there are 3000 floors out there, there are 6000 opinions (fore or against).

Part of the confusion comes from the information of sales people VS. the reality of the product. As a cork expert (I dabble in other flooring solutions...just for fun) I can tell you that so many of the "sales" reps in the big box stores have very limited understanding of cork. Now multiply that ignorance (I use the work ingnorance in the true sense of "being unaware of the facts" and not the demeaning version so often seen in society) by the amount of employees and multiply THAT by the number of big box stores!!!! You have more than 100,000 different "opinions" of the same product!!!

Now times THOSE opinions by the owners of the floors! I guess what I am saying is: How ever many people sell a floor is how many "differences" of understanding you will have a with a SINGLE PRODUCT!

I know cork. I know it very well. I research other man. cork products, I research the finishes (there are close to 20 different finishes out there!!!! Just for cork!!!) and I have learned HOW to differentiate between the different products. So far, I have dedicated 2 years of my life to understanding cork. I still have hundreds of different products of cork to research. I think I will have a "perfect" understanding inside the next 20 years...if I keep at the pace I'm going.

Imagine how many floors a "Home X-Ware" employee has to memorize! S/he has no time (nor the interest...most likely) to investigate the OTHER floors out there! S/he already has over 100 floors in her/his playbook. Now ask them about cork. My guess is, they will have to "look it up".

JMHO on "opinions" regarding a single product.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 9:55AM
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these kitchen floors are 90 years old!
5 Likes    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 10:19AM
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I prefer hardwood for all above grade surfaces except bathrooms and mudrooms. The one situation hardwood can't handle is pet urine. Even when you sand and refinish, the stains usually won't come out. (and it smells horrible when you sand those stains...)

I would not refuse hardwood in a kitchen due to concern about water leaks. Many people believe that wood floors must be removed in case of water damage but many situations can be repaired and there's no reason to remove a few hundred square feet of wood if only 5-10% is damaged. I haven't used any of the oil floor finishes myself but I would love to have the opportunity. I've used tung oil on a butcherblock countertop and have no problem recommending it for that use. In any case, I would only use site finished hardwood, not prefinished
1 Like    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 10:44AM
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Sally Unger
I had hardwood installed in my previous home's kitchen and loved it. Had teenagers and a black lab. Used felt tabs on the bottom of all furniture. It was beautiful! And easy care. I loved it so much that i had it installed again in my new house.

The only problem was when we did not mop up spills promptly. If water (e.g., from dog's water bowl) does not get mopped up promptly it can eventually discolor the wood. We had the floor refinished after 15 years for selling the house but it stays beautiful for years, much better than carpet would. And i could definitely feel the difference between standing on tile and standing on wood.

One thing that is important is to discuss the polyurethane coatings with your installer. Can't remember if it is 2 or 3 coats which is recommended - but you can find the number easily online. When it is freshly finished, the contractor will say that it's okay to walk on after about 24 hours. It is in a state of "curing." It is okay for human feet which are broad and flat, but don't let the dog on it for another 24 hours or so because their sharp nails will scratch the still-soft finish. But after that you are good to go for years and years.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 11:43AM
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what if you get the wood prefinished? what can you do regarding the poly finish your referring to? Does it matter if its floated or glued as far as life of the floor or other issues related to replacing damaged planks?
    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 12:54PM
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Cancork Floor Inc.
Designideas - prefinished or site finished, the cure time is still the same for a water based polyurethane. Many people will purchase a prefinished wood floor with the intention of also having it site finished with 1-2 more coats of finish. This little bit of extra precaution is often in cases where "spills" (wet feet, drooling dog, muddy entranceways, etc) are going to be part of the equation. A floating hardwood (solid hardwood) is quite rare but they are out there. A floating engineered floor is more common but many are still a "glue/nail/staple" type of install.

A floating "wood" floor is easier to repair - but still can be costly (labour costs, materials, etc). A permanent wood floor (glue/nailed/stapled) is a solid floor that is extremely costly to remove a damaged plank. It can be done...but it's not pretty. It requires a massive flooring saw, pry bars, etc to dig that thing up from the subfloor, etc.

To get to the point of having to replace a damaged plank, you would have to be looking at a plank that is either HEAVILY GOUGED or HEAVILY STAINED or ROTTING or BROKEN (literally the back of the plank is broken and the floor is failing). These heavy damage issues are rare - VERY RARE! There is no way to prepare for them and no way to reduce the damage when they occur because it takes an equaly HEAVY event (massive flood, etc) to produce such heavy damage that a cosmetic repair can not be performed. Cosmetic repairs are far more common and can be done by professionals or by very handy people who are very aware of how to perform the patch/repair.

Each situation is different. Each wood species is different. Each chemical finish is different. Each subfloor is different. Each manufacturer has their prefered finishes and their prefered species of wood that they work with. All of these factors add up to a very complicated answer.

This is certain, much of the install of a wood floor depends on the subfloor being properly prepared. Without this preparation (no matter how you install the floor) you might as well be throwing money out the window. It will come back to haunt you time and time again.
    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 1:43PM
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Scott Design, Inc.
You will find that the flooring approach I recommended is typically less than the installation of good quality 3/8" prefinished engineered flooring, 3/4" prefinished solid wood flooring, 12 x 12 x1/2" cork or interlocking cork planks, grade 1 solid vinyl flooring and Marmoleum linoleum sheet goods (which by the way is great looking with alot of design options...not your grandmother's kitchen floor). Also, I stipulate good quality materials because of their performance.

In addition to cost, you also need to weigh the short and long term benefits of each type of flooring to establish the VALUE of your investment which, of course, is a subjective analysis. If your budget cannot support your material of choice now, then wait until it can because it will pay off in the long run and flooring is a "long run" item.

How do you establish value? One way is to go to the websites of the products you are interested in and read the INSTALLATION instructions even though you will not be installing the product. They are very revealing. It will illustrate how much prep work is required...more work more cost to install. What conditions to avoid. DO NOTS for the installer that can give you insight as to the performance of the product. This information is fact from the mfr without the sales person filter. Then get feedback from an independent installer. No doubt he installs more then one type of floor and he can give you insight particularly on what he has torn out and why.

Bottom line...do not check anything off your list right now until you get a quote for the products you have researched AND their installation.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 1:54PM
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Ok first of all Babybear does not drool..........lol..............she does on occation throw up some yellow liquid gross stuff. I try to clean it as soon as I see it. My floor is concrete.. you know this by now. Nothing to be done to it except put the pad on than the wood floor.............for the floating floor. If I get bamboo its solid or I get an engineered floor. Its clic lock so its easy to install but yesterday at home depot the guy said that glued down floors last longer because they dont rub together as do floating floors and he said cork floors get dirt in the clevises that are hard to clean and he said bamboo scratched easy even know its solid. Everytime I try to make a decision I am given different info. if its floating is it easy to remove a plank vs glue down? If I use pads on chairs will it not scratch? If its in the kitchen and I clean up a little water right away will it not warp? If I my floor had carpet and linolium before isnt it level? How can I tell so when they measure they cant tell me its not level and I need to pay to have it leveled?
    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 2:01PM
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Scott Design, Inc.
I also take exception to Cancork Floors statement, "A permanent wood floor (glue/nailed/stapled) is a solid floor that is extremely costly to remove a damaged plank. It can be done...but it's not pretty. It requires a massive flooring saw, pry bars, etc to dig that thing up from the subfloor, etc."

Actually the smaller the saw and pry bar the better (a multimaster and flat bar or cats paw for instance). We do it alot during remodeling when we weave boards from one space to another to cover the subfloor revealed with the removal of the wall. The real issue is matching the existing floor stain. When there is other construction, the floors are usually refinished. If we need to replace a plank or two then we try to match the stain and put one coat of finish on it before we install the plank. Then we feather in another coat of finish with the surrounding area. It's not perfect but it's acceptable. I would imagine the same color variance could apply when taking a piece of prefinished floor out of the box and placing it next to one that has been exposed to UV light. And if there is a difference, how do you correct it?

There's always something......
1 Like    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 2:15PM
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Cancork Floor Inc.
Hi Scott, that you for clearing that up for Designideas. When comes to hardwood, my knowledge is basic but still a bit more than the average Josephine. Designideas is very nervous about using the wrong product that will not last and is afraid that she will be taken to the cleaners for said floor.
    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 3:45PM
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Ok all that was a bit technical. I kind of just want to know a few things................1... How can I tell if my floor is level now? 2. If i can afford to put in a glue down wood floor ( engineered or bamboo) is that a better way to go than floating? One advantage I see is no transition strips. 3. Is it best to put in the tile first or after the wood floor and how can they be made to line up evenly. I dont want transition strips. Thanks
    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 12:34AM
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Scott Design, Inc.
To designideas4me
This discussion was initiated by cmottesen who has a very different flooring situation than you and it’s no wonder you are confused about flooring. Each situation requires a different approach. I suggest you start another discussion where you identity your need for a floor covering for above ground slab application. This will alert discussion participants to a particular situation and you would get more directed feedback.
In the meantime, I also suggest that you call an independent installer over to your home and get his on site advice. Since an installer typically doesn’t sell a product, only his service, you are in a better position to get the nuts and bolts info you are asking about for your particular job. As I recommended earlier, I would also read the installation instructions for the products you are considering (get from mfr’s website) so your interview with the installer is comprehensive.
    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 11:25AM
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Legacy Floors

I would personally go with a hand scraped oil finished floor. Really hides the wear, better resistance to water, and no need to sand and refinish. Most of the wear issues show in the polyurethane coating on the wood. Oil finished wood doesn't show as much, can be spot repaired, and the character disguises accidents. I recommend Duchateau http://www.houzz.com/pro/duchateaufloors/duchateau-floors
Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2015 at 5:45AM
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