Hardwood floors for kitchens are considered by many people to be the ultimate floor choice for their kitchens and their homes.
Hardwood floors are a classic choice that will add warmth and a rich sense of natural beauty to your kitchen. Although wood floors are not the most comfortable floors for cooks to stand on for long periods of time, strategically placed area rugs and mats can go a long way towards cushioning the feet. Where hardwood floors really stand out is in their ability to repel stains and spills (which are inevitable in a working kitchen) and the fact that a good hardwood floor never goes out of style.
Hardwood floors are often installed throughout a house to create a continuous flow and a integrated look that is hard to beat. Though hardwood lasts for years, you can always make it look like new by sanding, refinishing and staining it in a new color that updates it.
Hardwood Floor Essentials:
What Is It? Hardwood flooring refers to floor boards manufactured from timber. Many different kinds of trees are used to create hardwood floors from tropical varieties to more familiar species like Oak, Beach, Maple and Walnut. Each tree species will take stain in a different way and present its own look.
Durability: With the proper treatment, hardwood floors will last a lifetime. Threats to hardwood floors include standing water, high heel shoes, unprotected chair legs, pets and direct sunlight, which can bleach floors. Nevertheless, some of these can add character to a floor and you can always sand and re-stain (or even paint) if the cumulative wear and tear becomes too great.
Cleaning and Maintenance: Although wood floors are typically resistant to short-term moisture, it is important to wipe up spills as soon as they occur. Wood floors are easy to keep clean by regular sweeping, dusting, or vacuuming and it is good to occasionally wipe the surface with a damp rag or mop. Try to avoid abrasive cleansers, and oil-based sprays, waxes, and polishes.
Underlayment: Underlayment provides a base for a wood floor while it increases insulation and reduces noise. Soft materials such as foam and cork are very good for this purpose. In damp climates, plastic underlayment is ideal.
Types of Hardwood Floors:
Solid hardwood is cut from a single piece of wood and offers a continuous grain. Since this a solid piece of wood, this type of floor can be sanded and refinished over and over again. Since it is susceptible to humidity, it can’t be installed in damp spaces, which could be an issue if you are prone to water spills or pet drinking bowls, etc.
Solid hardwood comes prefinished (for easier installation) or unfinished (for on-site finishing, which can offer more stain options). It is usually nailed or stapled to a wooden subfloor, though very thin types are sometimes glued.
Engineered Hardwood is an alternative to solid hardwood and is manufactured by bonding several layers of hardwood together. Engineered hardwood is generally more stable than solid hardwood and can more stress from humidity. Also, engineered hardwood can be installed over concrete subfloors.
What to Consider When Choosing Hardwood Kitchen Floors
There are so many types of hardwood flooring that you are certain to find something that suits you and your style. The following are some additional considerations:
Tree Species: The actual species of tree used to create a hardwood floor is what determines its color, hardness, grain and strength. For domestic species, oak is generally the most common; other options include maple, cherry, maple, walnut, hickory, and birch. Many homeowners love the look of tropical hardwoods, such as Teak, Tigerwood, and Brazilian cherry.
Plank Width. Wide planks (more than three inches) give a kitchen a rustic and country look. Smaller strips that are 3 inches wide or less give a kitchen a more contemporary look. Wood parquet floors are yet another option for more formal kitchens.
Color. Hardwood colors range from blond to caramel, burgundy to brown, and even black. Please note that very dark and very light floors will sometime have a tendency to show spills more visibly.