All About: Hardwood Flooring

updated May 2, 2019
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(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

If you’ve already renovated a kitchen or are just beginning the process, you know how overwhelming the details can be. Our Fittings and Material Spotlights are quick guides to basic kitchen fixtures and materials to familiarize you with terminology, pros and cons, and relevant reader reviews. Today we look at the pros and cons of hardwood flooring in the kitchen.

Material: Hardwood

Overview: Classic, warm, and natural-looking, wood floors are beautiful in the kitchen. Because kitchens are high traffic areas, though, hardwoods like ash, walnut, mahogany, oak, and poplar are recommended over softwoods like pine and cedar. Additionally, darker woods are more likely than lighter woods to show dirt and scratches.

Installation: Usually installed as planks, wide strips, or parquet tiles.

Pros: Comfortable and warm underfoot; often chosen to provide a seamless look between the kitchen and the rest of the house; when properly maintained, wood floors can last a lifetime. They’re considered a very good investment and can increase the value of a home.

Cons: Susceptible to water damage (beware of leaky appliances!) and scratches; spills and leaks need to be addressed immediately to avoid warping; exotic hardwoods like teak or rosewood can be very expensive; while easy to clean, they must be frequently cleaned; should be sanded and refinished periodically to keep it looking good; while it’s much more comfortable underfoot than concrete or tile, it’s not quite as comfortable as cork or linoleum.

Cleaning: See this post: How To Clean Your Hardwood Floor.

Price range: $5 – $12 per square foot, uninstalled.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Kitchn Reader Reviews:

We have wood floors in our kitchen. Keeping them clean is not an issue at all, and they are much easier on the back than a stone/concrete material. Water is a real concern, though. Plumbing mishaps can be disastrous, and there are a lot of ways those can happen. (Refrigerators with water dispensers, I’m looking at you.) – Bubba 451
My main floor of my tiny house is a small open concept multifunction lr/dr/kitchen/foyer. I went with hardwood throughout for a unified look. At first I was semi terrified about moisture spills in the kitchen, but it’s been a complete non-issue. I once spilled an an ENTIRE pitcher of water. I soaked up what I could asap, but some seeped through the seams. I plugged in a fan, cranked the AC, crossed my fingers, and went to bed. The next morning I had some cupping at the seams, but it flattened back out to normal within a week. Moral of the story – don’t be afraid of using hardwood in the kitchen. – CHZPLZ
Ugh. I dent my beautiful wood floors whenever I drop anything. There are thousands of fork-tine marks in them, the tread from the bottoms of pepper jars, you name it. You can trace the history of my clumsiness by my floors. – Mimee23
I have hardwood floors in my kitchen, and I don’t see any problem with it at all. The floors are very well-sealed, so that any liquids bead up and can easily be wiped off. I guess I’m not super clumsy in the kitchen, but it’s hard for me to see what I’d be spilling on the floor all the time anyway. – GeckoToes1
Wood floors in the kitchen aren’t that bad, unless you’re REALLY clutzy/accident-prone and like to wildly throw water everywhere in your kitchen! We have hand-scraped bamboo floors that stand up great; like someone said earlier, it will get dings and dents, but that’s not a kitchen-specific thing, that’s everywhere with wood. Standing water hasn’t been a problem, but we make an effort not to walk around the kitchen with drippy things. An excellent solution to wetness-issues for us has been just to put a nice long rug/mat in front of the sink/dishwasher/prep-counter areas to minimize floor damage and staining. As far as flooding and leaking appliances go, who plans for stuff like that? If you expect flooding, you might want to worry more about your appliances than your flooring, but I guess that’s a personality-thing. If you want wood in the kitchen, DO IT! – Conchasycafe

Readers, do you have wood floors in your kitchen? Tell us what kind and what your experience has been!

Related Kitchn and Apartment Therapy Posts:
• Hot or Not: Wood Floors in the Kitchen
• How To Refinish Wood Floors
• Homekeeping 101: Cleaning Your Hardwood Floor
What Kind of Kitchen Floors Do You Have?
Good Question: Wood Floors in the Kitchen?
• Good Question: How Can I Protect Hardwood Floors from Water Damage?

Other Recommended Reading:
An Introduction to Solid-Plank Wood Floors | Houzz

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(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)