Hardwood Flooring in Kitchen: Pros & Cons
2 January 2021
In the mind of most consumers, hardwood is associated with naturalness, luxury, and durability. Owners love to outfit their homes with hardwood flooring to boost the market value of the property. But is solid wood flooring suitable for kitchens?
Professionals may warn you about possible issues with having solid wood flooring in kitchens because 100% naturalness is not only the merit, but a significant drawback behind such products. When placed in a moist location, over time, the naturally-born tree may become a favorable environment for all sorts of pathogenic microorganisms to live, multiply, and intoxicate the inner air.
Though manufacturers cover the limber with top-quality finishes, this does not render hardwood planks an ultimate water-resistance. Continuous exposure to vapor can end up with the boards to start swelling and buckling. It hurts.
Still, a kitchen is not as damp as a bathroom, and humidity here does not prevail all the time, especially if you have a top-notch cooker hood to absorb all the moisture produced during cooking. You can use solid wood as a flooring material in your kitchen, but your decision should be based on the intensity of traffic in your household. If traffic to your kitchen goes through an ever-moist bathroom, chances are that your kitchen’s underneath is also subject to excessive moisture.
If your kitchen is well-remote from the moistest areas in your home and you know for sure that its bottom surface will not be open to high humidity, you may safely use solid wood flooring where you cook and wash.
Hardwood flooring kitchen pros and cons
- Gorgeous appearance
- Easy to refinish and re-sand
- Enhances the property’s market value
- Pleasant to touch and warm
- Can last for decades with proper maintenance
- Not ultimately water-proof
- Requires professional installation
- Not the cheapest option
Hardwood floor variations
Traditional options of hardwood flooring used in kitchens include:
- Unfinished solid boards. If you want uncompromised solid wood parquet flooring, you need to install, stain, and finish the lamellas in place. Such an approach ensures that the pieces are jointed firmly, while an appropriate sealer will provide additional protection against water and other penetrative substances.
- Prefinished solid boards. You are safe from the struggle of sanding, sealing, staining, and finishing the planks on your own since the manufacturer has already done the entire work on their facilities. Nevertheless, sometimes, prefinished hardwood boards are milled, causing the resulted pieces to have notched edges, which may lead to problems with installation.
- Engineered boards. Such a plate is created by gluing a hardwood veneer to a plywood or HDF core. This flooring option is marketed pre-finished and often comes with a click-lock mechanism allowing the boards to secure at the edges. This allows for installing a so-called floating floor that is not fixed to the underlayment. Such flooring is quite easy for DIY installations and can be laid directly on concrete.
- Reclaimed boards. The popularity of repurposed solid wood plates is rising since people are becoming more environmentally conscious and want sustainable, eco-friendly solutions. Recycled flooring is produced from the debris that remains after the demolition of factories, buildings, and other heavy constructions. When properly installed and sealed, repurposed flooring boards work pretty well for kitchens.
The price of solid wood flooring for kitchens in the UK
Lots of factors affect the cost of wood flooring tiles, including the species of wood, the processing method, the coating used, etc. However, the difference between costs for precious timber and engineered hardwood flooring is not so large. Despite engineered planks contain less natural wood in their composition, their production process is quite complicated and pricey, which is reflected in the final price. Moreover, engineered products are easy to install for DIYers, and handy consumers will more eagerly overpay for the quality rather than for the third-party help with the fitting.
The price of a square meter of the most popular household hardwood floors in the UK (oak, cherry, ash) ranges between 7-20 USD. More exotic breeds like mahogany or tigerwood start with 10 USD to infinity, depending on the exquisiteness of the tree. Engineered floors rarely appear more expensive than 20 USD per square meter; still, it depends on the wood variation, the gauge of the veneer base, and the finish used.
If it is not a DIY project, the price of solid wood flooring for kitchens in the UK will be affected by the cost of professional mounting and the job difficulty. Factors that may kick in if you hire a seasoned fitter include the removal of the existing surface, reinforcement of the baseboards, the actual installation, and customization to meet your requirements with anything imaginable in between, soaring to 40 USD per square meter or even higher.
Solid wood floor installation
The product type eventually determines how solid flooring will be installed in a kitchen
Solid wood boards generally come with a tongue-and-groove locking system, so that the planks securely connect to each other at the edges. This type requires nails to be inserted through the edges of the planks into the foundation with a professional nailing instrument. Solid wood boards can also be glued to the existing sub-structure such as concrete slabs or ceramics.
The edges of engineered boards are generally equipped with a click design, so they do not need to be attached to the underlayment. After installation, the untreated surface is painted and covered with polyurethane varnish, which does not allow spilt liquids to damage the finish. For kitchen floors, it is recommended to renew the protective coating every 3-5 years.
Solid hardwood floorboards are usually laid by well-trained technicians as the process is complex and requires specialized tools.
If installed and sealed as needed, herringbone wood flooring for kitchens will not bring any mess with maintenance. In a kitchen, it is best to install a covering where the planks join tightly to each other, and the floor is well sealed to keep moisture out. Occasional sweeping and wiping with a slightly wet mop or special solid wood cleaner is an adequate measure to maintain a genuine hardwood floor in a kitchen.
Remember that not all hardwoods are good for kitchens. For example, prefinished planks feature beveled edges, creating grooves that may allow water to retain between the planks. For kitchens, it is better to choose the covering that can be re-sanded and re-finished (engineered planks are not suitable for re-coating, except for expensive, upscale products with an extra thick veneer base).