Has anyone had problems using wood flooring in the kitchen with water?
December 18, 2013 in Design Dilemma
My husband is hesitant to use wood flooring as he has heard stories of water damage from dishwasher breaking ruining the floors, ice machines etc. He thinks the entire floor would buckle and have to be replaced.
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my husband is a flooring installer
we wouldn't use hardwood in kitchen due to dropping articles on the floor then denting the wood. This is very personal depends on the look you like. With ceramic/porcelain the article breaks instead of the floor denting.
December 18, 2013 at 4:24AM   
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I am so conflicted! Thank you.
December 18, 2013 at 4:59AM   
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Hi jmp, we just installed brand new natural maple hardwood in the kitchen for a whole-house remodel. If you have VERY serious water damage from the dishwater, the faucets, or the fridge, etc., it will also damage other kinds of flooring. Before the remodel, the kitchen also had hardwood, for over 30 years. No water damage.
As alan said, if you drop something very heavy or sharp, it will dent wood flooring, but it could break tiles. So every material has its pros and cons. All we can do is try to minimize the accidents. (With good quality faucets, plumbing, dishwasher, fridge, etc.) And with good maintenance and good care of the kitchen.
I also had to make the same decision: wood or tiles for the kitchen. This is one of the most popular questions here on Design Dilemma. I had exactly the same concern as you: water damage.
But I decided on hardwood after weighing the pros & cons of each material.
So unfortunately, it still comes down to a personal call for you. :)
December 18, 2013 at 5:00AM     
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D.C. Snelling Limited
I have installed hardwood floors in a few kitchens and not had a problem. I have had a problem with cork and laminate floors in kitchen - just from the normal water/liquid dropsy that happen.
If you have any concerns, step up on the finish you select for the floor. For a sanded floor go at minimum with a "gym" finish due to its greater strength and durability. With a prefinished flooring, go with a upgrade/premium product with a tougher finish.
If a dishwasher leaks - normally you will notice it, mop up the water quickly, and the solid wood usually will return to it previous condition in due course. If you have a "special" flood, you have to deal with the larger issue(s) and may be replacing the floor no matter what happens..........
December 18, 2013 at 5:15AM        Thanked by jmp80816
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S&K Interiors
We have been using wood in all of our kitchens for years and have not had any complaints. Our clients love them!
December 18, 2013 at 5:21AM        Thanked by jmp80816
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As long as water spills are cleaned up in a timely fashion there wouldn't be as severe damage to the wood flooring. Not sure the chances of dishwasher or ice machine breaking if they are new.
December 18, 2013 at 5:27AM        Thanked by jmp80816
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I've had wood floors in my kitchen for 15 years and there are no dents in my floors due to dropping things. The kitchen gets lots of use--not a show kitchen. Also, the urethane coating that is put on over the stain doesn't let water seep into the wood. It pools and stays on the surface til it evaporates. I love wood in the kitchen. Tile can be very hard and cold looking plus hard to stand on.
December 18, 2013 at 5:37AM        Thanked by jmp80816
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Our white oak kitchen floors are 85 years old and still going strong.
December 18, 2013 at 5:39AM        Thanked by jmp80816
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I have had pre-finished maple floors in the kitchen for 18 years. There are pros and cons. I am not installing wood floors in the kitchen of the new house but it's more a design and lifestyle choice.

Pros - I am not a careful cook. I drop things, bang things, get water all over. With both people working we don't clean a whole lot. The wood takes a lot of abuse no doubt, but it is still solid. No warping. Dog nails, cat claws, and winter grit have all taken their toll but when they are cleaned up they look pretty decent actually. We will refinish them before we put the house on the market.

Cons - ours was a mid price pre finished maple in a gloss finish. The finish was soft and the dogs nails really did a number on them. They looked worse right after we moved in because you could see every scratch and indentation. Now they look evenly worn, and more like an antique patina than pet damage. But I find them hard to clean. Bucket of soapy water - hands and knees - buff them dry with an old towel. This routine is getting old. Or I am! But for some reason I have found this the only way to get them clean.

Stick with a higher quality product in a matte finish if you go wood.
December 18, 2013 at 5:52AM     
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Very helpful! We do not have any pets..just grand dogs and grandchildren. :)
December 18, 2013 at 6:01AM   
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Doug Lewis Remodeling
If you like the look of wood but are still concerned about damage you could go with a wood-grained porcelain tile. They look beautiful and can stand up to wear and tear!
December 18, 2013 at 6:07AM   
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My family home had wood floors - get a durable finish - theirs never buckled but there are black stains in the grain from water penetrating (mainly in front of the sink) I also wouldn't go get the cheapest pre finished wood from home depot etc because the savings will probably cost you in the long run. We installed all new hardwood in our house and it has held up fine (it was birch from Kent for 3.79 cdn per sq ft) great deal but if we had put it in the kitchen I know it would be a mess. We are building new now and I'm happy I learned my lesson on quality while we are living in what will become a rental :)

We are looking at getting seasons north plant flooring prefinished for our new build - I tried with all my might to scratch and dent the sample we had and had no luck! Must be the finish because I've never come across that before. I also agree with JN3344 on the gloss - the higher the gloss the more obvious damage is.
http://seasonsflooring.com/?page=products-northplank&lang=en http://seasonsflooring.com/?page=our-finish&lang=en
December 18, 2013 at 6:14AM   
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I have hardwood in the kitchen. I'll never do it again. I hate it. The seasons have affected the joints. Wood is wood and no matter how well it is laid, the wood will expand and contract. We had a water-based sealer put on it and oil spills go right through. We also had some leaking from the ice maker and although it wasn't severe it has left a black spot. Once the joints open, that leaves it vulnerable to other damage such as smaller oil and water spills.
December 18, 2013 at 6:19AM   
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Our Town Plans
I prefer wood to tile. To me, tile is cold, too hard, and everything that gets dropped splatters in a million directions. I'm not the biggest fan of prefinished wood flooring either, but I have to admit, there's some nice stuff out there.

There are many things to consider about wood, though.

When installing wood in new construction, the boards need to be in conditioned space and allowed to acclimate before being installed. For instance, if it's summer, hot and humid out and the wood is installed in unconditioned space, the boards will shrink and have large gaps between them later when it's cool and dry.

Dogs can be a problem (so can high heels) - especially on softer woods like pine. For some people that's not a problem and the wear becomes part of the patina. Other people hate to see any dents or wear.

The finish is another thing to consider. It would take way too long to go into all the finishes that are out there. My advice is to do you homework! I used Briwax on my antique pine floors. That is probably the highest maintenance finish on one of the softest woods - and we have big dogs. I loved those floors, but they needed to be buffed and spot waxed every year or so and spills in the kitchen needed quick attention. I knew all that going in and the floors aged very nicely IMHO. I know they appealed to others too, because they played a big part in selling the house almost immediately in a not so hot market.

Most of our designs are built with wood floors in the kitchen. When they're done right, they look great and last forever.
December 18, 2013 at 6:58AM     
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If you have a dog the nails will scratch the hardwood also. You can get full bodied tiles that if they chip you don't see it as much as the colour goes all the way through the tiles, a little more expensive but not that much. I have had tile flooring in my kitchen over 10 years and the tiles have never broke, if you don't go to cheap on your tiles. The article breaks before the tile breaks.
They have tile that looks like wood. However if you have a serious water problem the glue under the tile can come loose, but would take a serious flood for a long time for the glue to come loose.
December 18, 2013 at 10:33AM   
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PepperJack Interiors
Many of my clients successfully and happily use hardwood in the kitchen. Truthfully, if there is a plumbing accident your kitchen will take a beating of some sorts regardless of the flooring.!
December 18, 2013 at 11:02AM     
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