Wood Floors in the Kitchen?
Emily Hurley
February 28, 2014 in Polls
We see a lot of discussions about whether or not hardwood is an appropriate floor covering for a kitchen area with the potential for water always present. What do you think about it?

VOTE and share your experience in the comments!
Yes - Love them!
No - I'd never put wood in a kitchen!
Other - Tell us below!
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grannyduffy19
Love wooden floors in kitchen. What is on the other floor in the other picture as I too am trying to decide on flooring.
February 28, 2014 at 1:44PM   
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joycealaina
I have had wooden kitchen floors in 3 homes. I like the 'feel' of wooden floors on my feet and I am usually barefoot or in socks. They look great with any kitchen style. they last. if they are gouged they can be sanded or left as they add character. Lino can look cheap and it is cold. Tile has no give whatsoever, and is therefore is hard one'a legs. For a place we spend the most time in, you just cannot beat hardwood floors. Accidental water damage can be repaired, whereas linoleum and tile are not easily matched. If the entire kitchen floor is flooded, any floor requires replacement. My advice is to judge for yourself. Stand of every floor you are considering. How does it look and feel to you?
February 28, 2014 at 10:05PM     
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foxrenol
I do love woodfloors but have been reluctant on using it in the kitchen due to water and food spill damaging it. Totally agree about the feel of standing on wooden floor vs tile or stone; is so much nicer on the feet.
March 1, 2014 at 12:12AM     
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Chelsea Harry
Beautiful to stand on!
March 1, 2014 at 1:50AM     
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gail harvey
I love my wooden Jarrah floors, i have had them in my kitchen for 12 years and it is a high traffic area, lots of people comment on how loverly they are, i would never go back to tiles
March 1, 2014 at 3:51AM     
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Belle Chaise
I have hardwood floors in the kitchen and a bathroom. Wood and water don't mix well and I would never do it again.
March 1, 2014 at 5:18AM     
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wuff
Gail I also have jarrah floors right throughout my house except bathrooms, they are floor boards on stumped flooring, house late 50s, I love them, never tire of looking at them, or their feel. We moved to this house August 28 last year, the floors pulled me in. They add character and warmth. We had them sanded and sealed, they came up beautifully. A few were broken and they were able to matched and replaced. Keep enjoying your floors
March 1, 2014 at 5:38AM     
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sunnie2day
Done right (properly laid and sealed) there is nothing more cosy than a wood floor in the kitchen - I love it so much that I've even used vinyl to get the look (gasp) where I couldn't do a genuine wood floor (short term homes when we've lived away from home-base for a long enough period it was more sensible to buy than rent).

Then again, my tastes run to farmhouse and cottage - others with different tastes will prefer something else.
March 1, 2014 at 6:29AM     
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tarrah
I have had wood floors in my kitchens in 2 houses and would never go back to tile. They are so easy to keep clean and wear well. Plus, none of that aching back! As long as spills and leaks are fixed quickly, the water worries are not an issue.
March 1, 2014 at 7:46AM     
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hanna1984
Water issues and food messes drive me nuts just thinking about it! But, I would consider putting wood flooring in my breakfast room which is just adjacent to my kitchen. I have tile now and I'm very satisfied.
March 1, 2014 at 7:54AM     
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Oak & Broad
Wood flooring in the Kitchen is very common for most of our clients. If its laid well and sealed there should not be any issues.
March 1, 2014 at 7:55AM     
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gwnorth
I've had 5 different homes in 5 different cities and they've all had ceramic flooring in kitchen/baths/entry. That's the norm here. I don't know anyone who has wood flooring in the kitchen. The only place I see it is in design magazines and on Houzz.
March 1, 2014 at 3:14PM     
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printesa
We have wood floors in the entire house. The bathrooms have tile with the only exception being the powder room where we have wood floor. There have never been any problems.
March 1, 2014 at 3:20PM     
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laurienordin
Be sure to avoid laminate in the kitchen for flooring. Mine has nit stood up to wear and tear at all. It is comfortable to stand on though but I would never put it anywhere in my home again.
March 2, 2014 at 12:10AM     
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nancygulf
I was happy to see dark wood floors with white cabinets as I am planning dark floors with cream glazed cabinets, light backsplash and counters but wasn't sure of the look. I love wood floors. I have had wood and tile. I have a large rug on the tile in the kitchen and it helps with the aches!
March 2, 2014 at 12:50AM     
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plr831
We installed 1/2" yellow pine in 2/3 of our main floor (entry, hall, dining room, kitchen, breakfast room & 1/2 bath) 23 years ago. I still LOVE it! So much so that last fall we removed carpet from the family room and installed red oak, pine, sassafras, oak & maple in various widths. Now the main level of our home is completely hardwoods!
March 2, 2014 at 5:04AM     
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Dorette Norris
Just put engineered floors in kitchen and dining room. Love it.
March 2, 2014 at 5:12AM     
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PRO
TILE SUPPLY SOLUTIONS LTD
Porcelain wood effect planks look amazing now , and of course they are water proof and stain proof.
March 2, 2014 at 5:31AM     
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yytcm
Love the look but won't do it for several reasons: Primarily "blessed" with a small but very open floorplan 1986 Del Webb-built home in Sun City West, AZ. The design esthetic of the time, unfortunately still today, is to put a little tile here and a lot of carpet there or vice versa and end up with a layout that looks something like a #10 envelope with address labels and postage stamp. Tiled foyer opens to carpeted hallway to right and very long DR/pathway/LR to tiled kitchen. Nothing flows and the house cries for one consistent floor throughout. In addition, although I love the look of wood floors, don't feel they are right for every house. Would want a medium color, not dark, not light and not red, and feel, with the orientation of my home and the light play throughout the day, darker floors might "shade" the house further than it gets now. Although, with the ever-present Arizona dust, dust, dust and 3 white cats, my floors would almost never show their true color. Plus I have 3 cats who hork a hairball frequently and who are "cat-in-the wild" feeders, jerking and tossing their food everywhere, so I'd be constantly bending over to clean up the floors, not to mention noticing scratches from their claws. Plus, of course, the water and stain issues.

Have had tile in the kitchen for years without ANY problems and do love the porcelain wood-look tile, but again a darker color (which I'd want in a wood floor) would be an issue. Still undecided but definitely no real wood in my kitchen.
March 2, 2014 at 7:37AM   
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mbear2119
We updated our old 80's kitchen about 3 short years before Sandy flooded our entire first floor. The bamboo floor we had put down looked great even after the flood! Of course, due to mold issues, it had to come up. When rebuilding our home, we decided to use the same carbonized strand bamboo throughout the house not just because of how it looked after Sandy, but also because of how well it had withstood our everyday lives for the 3 years prior to the storm. It looks great and we are very happy with it.
March 2, 2014 at 10:51AM     
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gregbellamy
Have had wood floors for years. Never an issue and they look great. They also do not get as cold as ceramic tile in the winter. An added bonus this year.
March 2, 2014 at 11:18AM     
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PRO
By Design Custom Home Concierge
Now you have me on my "don't be afraid to put wood floors in your kitchen" soapbox! The new engineered wood flooring products today (and NO, I don't mean the "clickety-clack" type of floors) make having the beautiful, warm wood floors you enjoy in the other areas of your home easy to have in your kitchen. No need to bring the wood flooring from you adjacent living area to a screeching halt when you reach the kitchen. If you are worried about a dishwasher overflowing or ice-maker from the fridge malfunctioning, have the builder or remodeling professional install a drain underneath those appliances. I make that suggestion to all my clients who are building or doing a major remodel. Wood is good - if you want it - go for it!
March 2, 2014 at 12:20PM     
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kristymctee
Tile is cold, hard on your feet and destroys anything dropped on it, carpet is way too hard too keep sanitary, so wood is just right! We have rubber backed throw rugs in front of stand areas like the sink and cooktop.
March 2, 2014 at 12:29PM     
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beth101
We built 4 years ago and used engineered wood throughout our open floor-plan in the kitchen, dining and family room/ sun room. We have three medium size dogs and absolutely love the durability and clean up of the engineered wood. No scratches and extremely durable while giving a warm feel to the entire area. Far exceeds the durability of wood floors. I tested this myself before purchase by dropping a piece of silverware from the same distance to see what left a mark and what didn't. Engineered won hands down. Great product!!!
March 2, 2014 at 12:43PM     
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Anne
I see it all as I show homes as a realtor. I am not a fan of engineered or man made hardwood floors but the real thing in a kitchen is attractive. I've noticed that the dark wood floors popular now show footprints easily and it's hard to transition them to the adjoining rooms subtly. I just made this decision for the major remodel of my 1970's kitchen....vinyl floors for easy upkeep and kind on the cook cushioning.
March 2, 2014 at 2:18PM   
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houseatthelake
I love the look of wood floors in the bathroom and the kitchen but I am aware of the problems that water can create with them that is why we chose vinyl plank flooring which has the look of wood but won't be a problem with the water. I also like the look of consistent flooring throughout the house which is why we went with the plank flooring. Was very happy to get rid of the carpet in the bedrooms and livingroom. Like the ease of cleaning.
March 2, 2014 at 3:08PM   
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bungalowmo
I cannot wait to get mine sanded. 100 yo with original finish. I have a large funky area rug in there right now, but as soon as I'm ready to fix this room, the floors will be sanded & sealed, then covered with a heavy cardboard until the walls & ceiling are complete.

I cannot wait to see how beautiful they're going to be!!
March 2, 2014 at 3:13PM     
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PRO
Designing Richmond
The only issue is this...Refrigerators are not made well anymore. Last year two of my clients had purchased new refrigerators only to come home from work with water Pouring out of the water dispenser on the door. both had wood floors... The floors cupped, raised edges...

I now tell my clients they should consider a refrigerator without a door water and ice dispenser, if they want wood floors.
March 2, 2014 at 4:46PM   
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momvo
What would be smart is for the appliance maker to do an inside dispenser would that be to much to ask.... 5 kids and even with the lock doesn't work. Hard wood in the kitchen only if you have whisper wool underneath!! Helps with floors not being so tough to stand on as well as a great sound dampener. Awesome product under our Provenza Floors.
March 2, 2014 at 6:04PM   
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printesa
There are fridges with water dispenser inside. I have one. It's a Kitchenaid.
March 2, 2014 at 6:30PM   
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stocks
Unless you plan to leave large puddles of water standing on the hardwood for long periods of time....hardwoods in the kitchen are great! I've had mine for 18 years and wouldn't have anything else!
March 2, 2014 at 6:34PM   
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joycealaina
what a lively discussion on wooden floors! I picked up a few new things like having a drain put under the dishwasher. I would add the refrigerator as well. Mine is leaking and discoloring the wood just under it. Were I not awaiting a new refrigerator and floor, I would be upset. I also found some remarks were geographical in nature, i.e. 'what we do in our area.' This lead me to wondering where folks lived when making their comments.

I am in Southern California along the coast in my beach-y cottage on wheels. Inside it is very evident that it is coastal, mixed with fine furniture and extra beds for guests. As such the sea air must be considered in any choice of door, window, wrought iron furniture or adornment. There are many new products on the market such as insulting beadboard for the ceiling and walls. In studying how people handle different environments, I found how practical some cultures are in putting drains in every bathroom. One simply washes down the tiled walls, floors et al at the same time. there's so much more, but I have filled enough space.
March 2, 2014 at 9:15PM     
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benesse
We chose wood floors because a part of the kitchen is visible from other parts of the apt. where there are wood floors. It now has a nice flow, and the kitchen is in sync with everything else.
March 3, 2014 at 5:07AM     
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sunnie2day
I'd just like to throw in with those commenting a drain pan is a huge plus with wood floors, and add that a leak from any appliance if not caught in time will damage ANY floor covering including ceramic and slate tile (I've learned this from personal experience).

I always use a drain pan under any appliance in any room that could leak - I factor the cost of the pan into the anticipated cost of the appliance. Use of these pans has given me great peace of mind over the years. Not to mention saved me floor covering replacement costs on the rare occasion I've had a fridge, freezer, dishwasher, clothes washer leak onto wood, vinyl, and tile floor coverings.
March 3, 2014 at 5:16AM     
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chookchook2
Good tip, Sunnie. I'll look them up.
March 3, 2014 at 5:30AM     
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momvo
Great I havent seen those Printesa!! Will look them up
And Sunnie u are right water will ruin everything if left!!
March 3, 2014 at 5:43AM     
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Marilyn Wilkie
I can't agree. Water will damage a wood surface much faster than a tile surface, especially a strip floor. That is why showers are tiled. Wood wears in heavy traffic areas no matter the finish...and kitchens inherently have traffic aisles that are heavily traveled. The finish there will wear faster.
March 3, 2014 at 5:57AM     
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ellewiz
Having done it in my former house, I probably wouldn't do it again. Too much concern about spotting the floors with water or soap. Plus I want to be able to scrub kitchen floor with hot water when it needs it!
March 3, 2014 at 11:48AM     
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Lynnie
I presently have wood in the kitchen. I like it but I do find that you need to be on top of the water that slips. I had water dishes out for the cats, and that was not a good idea. And, you have to be careful of the type of mats you use. So, I am inbetween on the subject.

We are making some improvments to a new hope and opted to have tile. We do have wood in the dining area the same as the living room. I love wood, but when I voted, I said other, because it truly depends.
March 3, 2014 at 1:14PM     
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Cesar Sampaio
Maravilhoso toda ambientação
March 3, 2014 at 5:24PM     
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stephw1968
I loved wood floors in kitchen until water line on refrigerator broke and ruined them :( now I have tile that looks like wood :)
March 3, 2014 at 6:33PM     
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bungalowmo
I guess it's good I don't have water/ice maker in fridge...and "I" am my dish washer.
March 4, 2014 at 12:36PM     
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Lori Nusbaum
I have beautiful wide wood plank floors throughout the main rooms including kitchen. They clean up well and look gorgeous.
March 20, 2014 at 5:31PM     
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Oak & Broad
Another kitchen shot :-)
March 20, 2014 at 5:32PM   
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mixbee
I have them and they look beautiful for 10 minutes a day. Never again. The best floor I ever had in a kitchen was Pergo laminate.
March 20, 2014 at 5:34PM     
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daa07065
Had my wood floors over 12 years and they look like new. Just clean up if there's a spill....don't let it stay on the floor forever! No "no shoe" policy or no pet policy....it's our home and it looks great.
March 20, 2014 at 5:34PM     
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Carol Pearson
Beautiful and a bit more forgiving than ceramic and stone.
March 20, 2014 at 5:35PM     
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PRO
Stamps Design Services
I used to clean houses, caring for wood floors is easy! Swiffer, vacumn or sweep floors on a regular basis and a little white vinegar in warm water, and damp (not wet) mop, once or twice a month.
March 20, 2014 at 5:41PM     
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Melissa Mendenhall
I have wood floors in my kitchen and they have survived 2 kids, 4 dogs and 3 cats over the course of 18 years with every type of stain and damage imaginable. Not in perfect shape, but I still think they're the prettiest feature of my house.
March 20, 2014 at 5:44PM     
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condoquilter
love my hardwood in the kitchen - and I'm not neurotic about cleaning up every spill. They get washed once a week whether they need it or not!
March 20, 2014 at 5:57PM     
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anntodt
We're just finishing our kitchen renovation and while we love wood, we choose porcelain tiles that look like wood. The 36" 'planks' mirror real lengths of wood. The look is so great. The durability of tile was key for us. We have a cat and dog and a pool out back, which added to our decision. I like to clean my floors with a mop and bucket every few days and not be so worried about water. Even the act of emptying the dishwasher puts water spots on a floor. We have wood floors in our adjoining family room and dining room and it blends well with those. We feel its the best of both - look and warmth of wood with the durability of tile.
March 20, 2014 at 5:57PM     
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Margaret Lea
I have never been a fan of wood floors, period. They are just too impractical for life with dogs.
March 20, 2014 at 6:21PM   
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Liz Thomson
the wood floor looks like a bowling alley,
March 20, 2014 at 6:24PM   
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ccrayne
I love the way they look but when you have dogs and children I find myself constantly wiping and mopping.
March 20, 2014 at 8:08PM     
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thisisme1
If u value you feet and back go for wood ,this ismy 4th house with well installed wood floors, never a problem I would consider bamboo also but never stone..oouch!
March 20, 2014 at 8:17PM     
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PirateFoxy
The thing is, if you have enough water standing from a leak to damage a properly sealed wood floor, you probably have water in other areas also, like sneaking underneath the flooring or wicking up into the cabinet boxes. That kind of leak has the potential to be a major expense no matter what flooring material you have down.

This is good timing, though, as I was just wondering today about getting proper hardwood installed when we redo the kitchen, because the original wood floors in the rest of the ground floor are SO much easier on my joints. The only thing is that in the kitchen the wood would be laid over a concrete base unless we do a LOT of remodeling and basically rebuild the whole extension. Is it possible to do that and still get good wear from the wood and a nice amount of spring? (It isn't at or below grade, which I know is an issue. Floor level in the kitchen is ~6 ft above ground level outside.)
March 20, 2014 at 8:44PM   
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ebova
I love the wood floors in my kitchen.
March 20, 2014 at 9:51PM   
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chefjohnny
We did wood floors in our recent renovation and honestly couldn't be happier.
March 20, 2014 at 10:09PM   
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PRO
Pizzetti Design
Wood floors obviously have that warmth and feel that you will never get with tile. However a good compromise could be ceramic/porcelain wood-looking tile. They are stain, scratch and water resistant. And, last but not least, they are so easy to clean! I know sometimes homeowners have a hard time stirring towards this direction because they are afraid that wood-looking-tiles might look cheap and fake, however there are some manufacturers today that make tiles that look very much like wood, they come in many shades, sizes and smooth or distressed. Thin grout lines will barely be visible.
Here are some options:
http://www.arizonatile.com/MISINGI-SERIES-P774C72.aspx http://www.porcelanosa-usa.com/home/products/tile/parker---wood-porcelain.aspx/d=19084/title=Montana_Cottage http://www.bedrosians.com/catalog/p=CRDBARBRU440
March 20, 2014 at 10:10PM     
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mistercatcat
Got my wood look tiles and very pretty but HARD AS A ROCK!!!! Just like walking on the highway : ( !!!! Very pretty, many compliments, too late, the money is spent and wishing I had put in beautiful wood that I had wanted my whole life!!!! : (
March 20, 2014 at 10:54PM     
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Karin Madgwick
People talk about the problem of water in the kitchen and I would like to ask how much water do they spill as I have engineered floors and never have a water problem.
March 20, 2014 at 11:02PM   
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auntiebuzzybee
@piratefoxy- yes you can put wood on concrete. In Florida USA most homes from 1950 and newer are built on slab foundation. Time flies so I'm thinking they became really popular 20 years ago. They had more problems initially but I think now the vapor barrier thats part of the install has improved. Many many people have them now. I have original wood floors from 1953 but my house has a crawl space underneath. It is not on slab.
March 21, 2014 at 12:05AM     
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PRO
Mise en Place Design
I love the person who said "wood is good" as it's true! There's no reason that you can't have wood floors flowing from the adjacent room into the kitchen. There are fantastic engineered wood floors that you can refinish or go big will all wood. Water damage is only going to be a problem of water is left on the floor for extended periods of time. And it is repairable. My issues with tile are that one, it's really hard and cold on your feet and two, if anything heavy is dropped you risk cracking the tile, which can potentially create a much larger repair job.
If you really like the look of tile or wood but don't want to worry about the cons of each, consider luxury vinyl tile which can look just like it. It is also much softer, can get wet, and is very durable (you can use this stuff in commercial spaces). Check out Karndean for more information or send me a message.
March 21, 2014 at 10:24AM     
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elkeelisabeth
I love the look of wood, but, prefer easy care tile in a kitchen. Tile can also be heated, whereas wood shrinks when heated. Also is there reeeeally a difference between standing on wood or tile or is it psychological. And we don't stand in our home kitchens all day either.
March 21, 2014 at 12:02PM   
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PirateFoxy
@elkeelisabeth - there is definitely a difference in the feel of the floor between the original hardwood and the kitchen addition here - but I don't know how much of that is due to having wood and how much is due to the fact that the addition has concrete under the flooring material and the other floors are a more traditional wood-over-beams arrangement, which seems like it could inherently have a little more 'spring'.

It is definitely something I'm going to look at when we redo the kitchen (and we will be putting in drain pans under all necessary appliances after having too many bad experiences with things leaking) because I enjoy cooking but with my arthritis the wrong flooring can be very hard on my knees/ankles/hips, even in decent shoes.
March 21, 2014 at 12:57PM     
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Valvorie Dunn
We have engineered wood floors & my husband & I really live in our home. Not good for us! We are considering cork flooring. Should have that wonderful rich look but easy on the legs. Water resistant.
March 21, 2014 at 1:07PM     
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chookchook2
There are pros and cons for each. Thermal mass /cool will be more important to people as energy prices rise. More important even than broken glassware and dishes.
March 21, 2014 at 1:10PM   
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PRO
Mise en Place Design
elkeelisabeth, there are a number of engineered wood flooring lines that you can put radiant heating under. I'm actually going to be doing this exact thing for a current client. Same for luxury vinyl flooring. And yes there really is a difference in standing on tile versus wood for extended periods of time. Wood, although hard, is still a softer material than tile. As someone mentioned before, wood is a natural insulator meaning that the temperature is going to be a bit more consistent. However tile flooring, especially a natural stone or porcelain, is going to have thermal mass but unless you have radiant heating or you have windows that allow sunlight to shine on and heat your floors, thats really a moot point as tile will usually be cold. Just the nature of the material. And as you may not stand in your kitchen all day (unless you're a chef and thats your job, or maybe you just really like cooking), if you do any cooking, dishwashing, cleaning...etc you will be standing in the kitchen for a period of time. But that is part of the client program: how are they going to use the space? That will help determine the best material to use first, aesthetics come after.
March 22, 2014 at 10:54AM   
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PRO
Mise en Place Design
chookchook2, I totally agree that designing for passive solar heating is an important aspect of design but not everyone has the option. House orientation, how many windows, do you have geothermal heat in your area, what is your foundation, does it rain a lot...? There are a lot of other questions that need to be answered and solved before assuming thermal mass is always going to work in the most efficient way to justify the expense of implementing said design. And as tile has thermal mass, don't forget the importance of good insulation and insulating properties that other materials will have (ie. cork, wood, marmoleum...)
March 22, 2014 at 11:00AM   
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janbwill
we have hard wood in kitchen and love them...just put small rugs by sink, fridge etc.
March 22, 2014 at 11:06AM     
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