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New Build - Advice on hardwood vs eng hw vs vinyl plank in kitchen?

Angela Ferris
January 11, 2019


I'm building a custom, new home & want to stay with the same flooring throughout for a cohesive look but I've never had wood in my kitchen before. The products I'm looking at are light oak:

Woodland ReserveMontpellier Oak Distressed Engineered Hardwood,

TimberclickAgate Oak Distressed Solid Hardwood, or

Aquaguard Laminate Flooring

Can anyone share with me their thoughts on spills and grease splatter on real wood? I originally didn't want to install a cheap product such as vinyl but I understand it's becoming much more popular because of this reason. There are no small children in the house. We are located in DFW. Thank you so much in advance!

hardwood & engineered hardwood

Comments (19)

  • Missi Smith

    I have always had wood in my kitchens and never had any problem with spills or grease splatters. I love having a cohesive look and as long as you don't let something sit for a long time and wipe it up, it should be no issue.

    Angela Ferris thanked Missi Smith
  • PRO
    My Beautiful Floor .com

    Generally engineered hardwood is recommended in spaces where moisture is present -- like kitchens. The good news is that solid can perform in these spaces as well but can be a little more temperamental.

    Today's luxury vinyl offerings, especially WPC which tends to offer the most realistic visuals of the category, is often waterproof and provides outstanding performance and cleanability.


    Angela Ferris thanked My Beautiful Floor .com
  • SJ McCarthy

    When choosing wood in a kitchen, you are choosing to become more proactive with oil splatter and spills. This is the choice you WILL BE making.

    I love wood. I love cork (which is the softest hardwood in the world). I am fully capable of taking care of it. I know what I'm getting into when I choose it as a LIVING floor finish.

    Oil is TRICKY. Oil can and will penetrate a traditional hardwood floor finish such as urethane or polyurethane (oil based or water based makes no difference). Once oil hits the "wood" (underneath the finish) the wood will discolour (get darker...like you would expect). Once it is there, there is no way to get rid of the discolouration until you have a full sand/refinish done. The refinishing usually takes place around year 20. If you have an incident on day one (not likely but let's pretend for a moment), it is possible that stain will remain for the next 20 years.

    The good news is factory finishes have MULTIPLE LAYERS of finish (some as high as 15 coats of Aluminum Oxide Urethane). That means it will take a LONG TIME for oil to penetrate to the wood surface. This gives you much more time to deal with the oil splatter....but you still have to deal with it. And that means knowing HOW to clean and with what.

    If any of these concepts make you cringe (the 20 years with an oil spot especially) then perhaps wood in a kitchen is not for you. You are the homeowner. You have to live with yourself and your tendencies and the tendencies of your floor. You have to know/understand how EACH OF YOU will react to each situation.

    Finding out about wood and wood finishes and how they act in certain situations is easy. We have THOUSANDS of years of history with wood floors. And I mean thousands of years.

    Finding out about how you react to the same situations is a bit more difficult. I always say:

    Homeowner, Know Thyself.

    Angela Ferris thanked SJ McCarthy
  • lovemybabyl

    We have had oak wood floors in our kitchen for seventeen years, and they’re still going strong. I love them. I wouldn’t have anything else in my new home. Our wood floors have went through four boys, and they still look pretty good. They do have some dings and some minor scratches here and there, but I believe it adds character to the floors. The key to having wood floors for us was to always clean up any spills or messes immediately. Water will ruin wood floors if they get wet for too long. I have seen it in other homes. After having wood floors for so long, I can walk into a new home with engineered wood floors or laminate and immediately tell the difference in quality. A sales lady tried to push engineered wood floors on us, and I pushed back and said no. Lol. Anyway, here is a picture of our 17 year old oak wood floors In our current kitchen. They do need cleaned. They have not been refinished or anything done to them. We are getting darker oak wood floors in our new home!

    Angela Ferris thanked lovemybabyl
  • Susie .
    In our previous home, we had traditional oak hardwoods finished in place. I never had any problems with oil discoloring them in the 20 years we lived there. They were refinished once in all that time. Our two kids and many dogs grew up in the house. Our fridge leaked once while we were at work and warped terribly. Put a fan on it, and it dried and was back to normal within 24 hours. In our current home we have engineered wood and so far, so good. We use vinyl plank in our rentals and it has been really great except where a candle fell over and melted the floor. It fools most people, but I prefer real wood myself.
    Angela Ferris thanked Susie .
  • Ondre'a
    Just remember that over time that floor glue will loosen.
    Angela Ferris thanked Ondre'a
  • jill302

    A vote for engineered wood. We have engineered wood oak floors in most rooms in our house including kitchen. Love it, easy to take care. Grew up with solid wood and had planned to use solid wood until we found out that we needed to use engineered as our house has a slab foundation. In our last house when we added the wood floors we chose a slightly distressed style, to allow any scratches from active kids and dogs to mix in. Kids added a couple small scratches by time we moved out 12 years later, but the floor still looked great. Liked the engineered wood so much that my husband and I agreed that we would add it to our next house, worked out that this house already had engineered wood in most rooms.

    Angela Ferris thanked jill302
  • josephene_gw

    Engineered wood? NO

    roof Leak and floor had to be replaced

    what the wood was attached to swells

    chemicals in the glue, what are they?

    I would never install engineered wood.

    Angela Ferris thanked josephene_gw
  • C Marlin

    I've had hardwood in my kitchen for years, never a problem. I also like the cohesive look.

    Angela Ferris thanked C Marlin
  • PRO
    Oak & Broad

    josephene_gw , a Solid floor would have swelled too.

  • Amber
    I just sold our house that had 3/4” solid hardwood sanded and finished in place. 3+” wide boards, A-grade maple so no knots. Loved that floor and so many compliments! We’ve had it down for 19 years and it’s survived three dogs, two cats and I had a barn full of horses so the occasional mucky boots etc. There have been many parties with spilled drinks and food and as you can see they held up great! If there’s a spill wipe it up if food falls on the floor wipe it up. Same as You would any other flooring you would any other flooring. I washed them with a damp wet mop and no product either. Sure there’s scratches and dings after 19 years but a light buffing and a coat of poly would bring them to pristine new condition. Also by sanding and finishing them in place you can slide around in your socks like ice skating! I originally had 12 inch ceramic tile throughout the kitchen ( a concession to my husband because we had radiant floor heat and he did not think it would work well under wood). The tile never seem to get clean and I could not wait to rip it out and put down the wood. Incidentally wood flooring over radiant heat is awesome!! The pictures were from the day we moved out. We have since moved into a smaller home and I replaced the vinyl flooring with prefinished three-quarter inch hardwood in White Oak. I figured it would go down faster and that’s why I went with prefinished. As nice as it is I should have had the natural boards sanded and finished in place because there are many of the cut ends of the boards that are not completely level and I can feel them scraping under my feet. Annoying. I never considered engineered because I did not like the idea of just a veneer of wood over some other layers of material and all the glue etc. If you ever had to buff them the person doing it really needs to know what they’re doing because you don’t have any room for error on such a thin piece of wood. I also did not want to deal with any offgassing from the glue. In my area of southern New Hampshire the price for a prefinished solid hardwood, engineered wood, or finish-in-place solid hardwood is basically the same so I would go with the solid hardwood and decide whether or not you want to finish it in place for a smooth finish, or have pre-finished so it can go down quicker. Good luck!
    Angela Ferris thanked Amber
  • chisue

    Our site finished oak floors w/poly finish are now 17 years old. They are everywhere but the bathrooms and back hall (porcelain tile). Our passage doors are 36" wide, with no thresholds. We had the floor installer throw out the short boards in his bundles of oak because we didn't want the cut-up 'patchwork' look.

    I don't care for a material that mimics some other material -- 'wood-pattern' tile, for instance.

    Angela Ferris thanked chisue
  • floorfreak

    No issues with any of the three but would strongly discourage the installation of the click solid hardwood unless you have the ability to manage the RH levels in your home.

    Angela Ferris thanked floorfreak
  • suseyb

    On a slab, you will likely want to consider engineered or vinyl plank. The engineered will likely give you more return on your investment. Is the aqua guard from floor and decor?

    Angela Ferris thanked suseyb
  • floorfreak

    Also, consider that floors installed with a click installation (AquaGuard) can typically only be run no longer than 30 feet without a transition break so if this is an open floor plan, you might want to consider the Engineered option as a glue down installation.

  • Angela Ferris

    Thank you for the feedback. What are RH levels?

  • floorfreak

    Relative Humidity... most floors sans vinyl must live in a moisture-stable environment (typically 30-50% RH). Almost ALL floors must live in a cooled-heated environment.

    Angela Ferris thanked floorfreak
  • lookintomyeyes83

    we did a gorgeous sheet vinyl in our kitchen and bathrooms ,and engineered hardwood in hickory for the rest of the house - but I'm someone who regularly drips water on the floor!

    Angela Ferris thanked lookintomyeyes83
  • floorfreak

    @Angela Ferris, if you message me, I might be able to help with the product. I'm local to DFW.

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