Hardwood is considered to be one of the most desirable flooring materials, and almost always adds value to a house. But it is also well known among professionals that hardwood floors are high maintenance and are a bad choice for wet places.
Some flooring manufacturers claim that factory finishes make their products waterproof, but it is worth noting that they are never described as waterproof. Hardwood is easily discoloured by water and the fibers swell, which can cause the entire floor surface to bend. Manufacturers always warn against the installation of hardwood in rooms where there are likely to be wet conditions, and even installation against concrete slabs is questionable, since moisture can migrate through concrete.
Purchase and installation of solid wood flooring
But there is a gray area when it comes to kitchens, because they are wet areas. It is possible to use hardwood as a flooring material, but much depends on the nature of your home. A very busy house or a house designed for traffic to reach directly into the kitchen from the pool terrace or garage is probably not the best place for a wooden floor.
If you’re considering hardwood floors for the kitchen, you’ll need to take some precautions and also consider some of the other qualities of hardwood that could cause you to reconsider its use.
- Attractive surface
- Can be restored
- Increases the value of housing
- Softer, warmer than tile
- Susceptible to water damage, scratches, dents
- High maintenance
- Hard to install for DIY enthusiasts
Types of wooden flooring
Many aspects of hardwood floors (costs, maintenance, installation, etc.) vary depending on how it is used. Hardwood floors used in kitchens and elsewhere are usually divided into one of several types:
Unfinished solid tables
Installation of solid hardwood boards, then staining and finishing them in place, gives the best possible wooden floor for a kitchen. With this installation, the boards are tightly attached and covered with a layer of sealant covering the entire surface, providing protection that will not be penetrated by water or staining materials.
Solid wood planks have a huge advantage: they can be sanded and re-polished several times over the life of the floor. Solid wood floors are known to last a century or longer. This is the best form of hardwood for kitchens, although increasingly rare.
Pre-finished solid planks
Many manufacturers now offer pre-finished solid wood planks, which remove some of the additional work from the installation of the floor. Prefinished floors have increasingly replaced unfinished floors like favorites.
Planks are sanded, sealed, stained and finished in the factory, which means that the installer does not have to do it after installation. However, pre-finished wooden floors are sometimes ground so that the boards have slightly beveled edges, and this design can be problematic in kitchens.
This type of flooring is created by attaching a thin hardwood veneer to a plywood base. This type of flooring is always pre-finished and often created with a “click lock” system in which the boards are nestled at the edges. This makes it possible to install it as a “floating floor” without attaching it to the subfloor.
This hardwood shape is the easiest to install for DIY enthusiasts. Designed hardwood is quite stable thanks to the plywood core, and many types are suitable for installation against concrete slabs.
There is a growing market for the use of reused hardwood flooring, such as materials recovered when factories, office buildings or bowling alleys are demolished. This option is very attractive to anyone interested in eco-friendly building practices, because it uses recycled materials.
Most larger communities have retailers who specialize in reused building materials. If it is installed carefully so that the boards are tightened tightly and a good sealant is applied, the recovered planks can be an acceptable option for kitchens.