Hardwood Floors In Kitchen - Yay Or Nay
Hardwood is the most desired flooring material and for a good reason. It is beautiful and durable natural material which doesn’t require much in the way of maintenance. Even more, it brings a sense of style and atmosphere which synthetic alternatives cannot provide. I mean, why go for a product mimicking another instead of the real thing?
Hardwood, however, has its problems. It is not perfect and there are places where you might be better off with something else. There is no universal type of flooring capable of working everywhere equally well. The key to a truly good home design is to combine both modern fashion trends and practical considerations in order to create an atmosphere you would like to have around.
The Dangers for Hardwood in Kitchens
The biggest threat to any wooden floor is water damage. This means that installing a wooden floor in any environment where such type of damage is likely to occur, is not advisable. The kitchen is one of those places. However, this doesn’t mean it can’t work.
The most likely source of potential damage in the kitchen is, of course, liquid and food spills. Those shouldn’t be a problem at all as long as you wipe them fast. A much more serious threat can come from leaking pipes or broken refrigerators. Even this, though, will not be much of an issue as long as your finish holds and the water cannot get between the floorboards.
Generally, if your wooden floor has been properly installed without any gaps between the boards and you’ve chosen a quality finishing product kept in good condition, you have nothing to worry about. What is a good finish, you ask? Well, if I was to get a hardwood in my kitchen, I would definitely go for a polyurethane lacquer/ varnish. These offer arguably, the best possible surface protection.
Choice of Wood and Finish
Naturally, you want to go with harder types of wood like oak or ash. Exotic species are even harder but they tend to darken over time and frequent changes of humidity can cause them to crack. Generally, polyurethane lacquers are the ones offering more protection. However, for exotic hardwood, it’s best to use an oil finish which will reduce the chance of cracks to appear on the surface.
What to Avoid!
First, despite their popularity and higher overall value, avoid installing solid wood flooring in kitchens or bathrooms. Solid wood is very susceptible to moisture and water damage. If you want a natural flooring material, you can go for engineered hardwood which is more dimensionally stable and offers higher moisture resistance. Bear in mind that they are difficult to sand and you can refinish very few times depending on the thickness of the wear layer. If you are about to take this step my advice is atleast to consult with some experienced floor sanding company, otherwise there is a big chance to mess up everything.
Second, do not purchase pre-finished floors for the kitchen. Why? Unfortunately, since the finish is applied in the factory, not on site, there is no way to put a sealing agent between the planks. They are virtually unprotected which makes them vulnerable to water penetration.
Can You Install a Hardwood in a Kitchen?
If you take a look at a magazine, you can find a lot of pictures of wood flooring in the kitchen. At the same time, you often hear that hardwood in this area is not ‘traditional’. Kind of controversial, isn’t it?
The short answer is yes. If you desire, you can install engineered hardwood in your kitchen and it will perform reasonably well as long as it has been properly laid. Keep in mind it can work but is there are better options. I would also suggest trying vinyl flooring for your bathroom and kitchen instead because it is completely waterproof, easy to install and much cheaper.
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