Should I Install Wood Floors In My Kitchen?

Absolutely! If you like and want a seamless look between rooms, then definitely install hardwood throughout your home, including your kitchen.

This question is one that I am often asked by clients. Whether renovating or building, there are a lot of decisions that need be made in regards to finishes and fixtures. The decisions can be overwhelming and narrowing down options even more so. Flooring is one of the most important decisions that clients will have to make in regards to their home. It is the foundation of a space! It will be in place for a very long time and will be used every single day. It is very hard and messy to upgrade flooring after installation so choose wisely.

Installing hardwood flooring in kitchens has been done for centuries. Hardwood never goes out of style, ever. There has never been a time in recent history when wood floors were not fashionable. Simply put, it is a classic beauty that is treasured in homes.

Hardwood adds value to a space. Homes with hardwood throughout sell faster and sometimes for 10% more than similar homes without hardwood. For a $400,000.00 home, that’s $40,000.00!

Looking at hardwood from an environmental perspective, it is one of the most sustainable floorings offered today. However, it is important to choose a flooring brand that respects the environment and utilizes sustainable practices. Stay away from cheap hardwood flooring and anything labeled “European” hardwood. These woods tend to come from China and overseas where sustainable practices are not utilized. The trip across the ocean alone will negate the sustainable practices if any in energy consumption.

Flooring brands with good sustainable practices choose North American hardwoods from forests that are being replenished at a faster rate than the wood is being harvested. Ensuring that only trees of a certain diameter are chosen and marked for cultivation. No longer are North American forests being clear cut. Trees are being replanted at a ratio of 1.6 for every tree harvested. Small, young trees absorb more carbon dioxide and produce more oxygen than larger trees. Ultimately, a tree is not immortal. It will die, rot or be taken by forest fire. The beauty of the tree can live on for centuries in our homes.

There are two types of hardwood flooring, Solid Wood and Engineered Wood. Solid Wood flooring is made from one solid piece of wood. It has maximum refinish ability. Solid Wood however, is more susceptible to movement and moisture and is not an ideal choice for humid climates. Because of this, wide planks are not recommended for solid wood flooring. Engineered Wood flooring is composed of multiple layers of wood bound by adhesives. There is a thicker top layer that may be refinished but the refinishing is limited. Engineered flooring resists movement and moisture and can be done in a wide plank. It is used a lot in basements and humid climates.

Two types of finishes to consider for hardwood flooring are Onsite Finish and a Factory Finish. Onsite finish allows for a custom colour and sheen that will last 7-10 years before it needs to be refinished. Refinishing flooring is messy, and requires multiple coats of the finish. The refinishing process will go on for days and homeowners must leave during the process, taking pets with them. A Factory Finish is more durable due to a controlled environment of baking or curing the finish to the hardwood. A Factory Finish can last 20-30 years before needing to be refinished. Multiple textures are available and the planks can be beveled. The job is complete after installation and homeowners can move right in.

The five most popular types of wood species for wood flooring are White Oak, Red Oak, Hard Maple, Hickory, and Black Walnut.

White Oak: All Oaks are not created equal! White Oak is by far gaining the most popularity for oak flooring. It has a consistent cream to light beige colour, it is very stable and versatile for taking finish, stain, and glazes.

Red Oak: This wood has been the North American Standard for oak flooring in the past. It has a prominent grain pattern and a pink hue. It is a very stable with medium bending strength.

Maple: Hard Maple has a very subtle grain pattern and is harder than oak but a bit more susceptible to moisture fluctuation and is not recommended for wide plank use.

Hickory: This wood is very, very hard! Hickory has a beautiful tight grain that flows in intricate patterns making each plank unique. Because it is so hard, it is difficult to work with and is susceptible to moisture.

Black Walnut: This one of the softest domestic species of wood that will scratch but is highly sought after because of it’s unique figured grain and beautiful rich purple and brown tones. It is considered an American Exotic because it is quite expensive. For this reason it is often used in small space that don’t take a lot of abuse like home offices or custom walk-in closets.

Take the time to consider the flooring that you will install in your home. It is the foundation of your home and is should be viewed as an investment. Take the time to ensure that you are choosing a good quality flooring.

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