The Best Hardwood Floors for Your Kitchen
Solid hardwood flooring has made its way into the kitchen, and we think it’s here to stay. Wood flooring is now a bigger trend than ever when it comes to your kitchen floors. You’ve seen it look incredible in home magazines, on decor websites, and on Instagram, but you might be wondering—is wood flooring in the kitchen the right (and realistic) choice for me?
If you’re looking for a kitchen floor option that is timeless, easy to clean, and adds plenty of value per square foot to your home, a hardwood floor is a great choice. Natural flooring options like hardwood and bamboo offer a timeless, natural appeal that never goes out of style. And with new technologies and finishes, you won’t have to worry about potential damage for wood floors in the kitchen.
There are pros and cons to every type of hardwood you could consider for your kitchen. In the end, it will all come down to your unique kitchen needs.
Some of the most common wood flooring options for the kitchen are solid hardwood flooring, hand-scraped hardwood floors, bamboo flooring, and engineered hardwood.
Solid Hardwood Flooring for Kitchens
Solid hardwood flooring is flooring that is milled from a single piece of wood. The flooring is entirely made of wood, with no man-made materials. The wood can be almost endlessly sanded and refinished.
This traditional hardwood looks beautiful in kitchens. Deep, rich colors can highlight lighter cabinets, contributing to a tuxedo kitchen effect. Or, light finishes create an airiness that begins at the floor, lifting your entire room up a level.
But there are often concerns about moisture level when it comes to installing a hardwood floor in the kitchen. It is well known not to install wood in bathrooms because the moisture will bend and warp the wood beyond repair. Since the kitchen deals with moderate amounts of moisture, too, many people hesitate to install hardwood—despite its stunning looks.
The truth is, unless your dishwasher or fridge leaks a large amount of water, regular moisture from cooking or quickly-cleaned spills are not enough to damage your hardwood floor.
It is more likely that your hardwood kitchen flooring will be damaged by scrapes—a dropped dish, running kids, or frequently-moved furniture like kitchen chairs or barstools. That still doesn’t mean that solid hardwood is impossible for the kitchen, though.
The key is to choose a hardwood species that scores high on the Janka hardness score. A high score means that it takes more force to scrape, indent, or damage a particular species of wood.
Some of the most durable hardwood kitchen floor species are:
Aside from hardness, it can also be helpful to consider the grain of the wood. For example, oak flooring has a distinct, pronounced grain that makes it easy to hide knicks, dust, and dirt.
What is Hand-Scraped Hardwood?
Hand-scraped hardwood is a popular wood flooring option created with intentional markings as a contractor scrapes and sands the wood to create an even surface. Hand-scraping can be done with both solid natural and engineered hardwood.
Hand-scraping used to be how any hardwood floor got its even surface. But, as technology advanced, machines took over and our wood floors became shiny, smooth, and markless.
Hand-scraped hardwood is coming back into style after years of this high-gloss, perfectly smooth wood occupying the top of trend charts. The effect can be created by hand, as once was standard, or by machines designed to be imperfect.
The appearance of hand-scraped hardwood is not quite distressed, but has a warm, vintage feeling perfect maintaining the spirit of older homes and lending character to newer ones.
So, is hand-scraped wood a good choice for kitchens? It’s a favorite. The natural, intentional markings and scratches of hand-scraped wood make it easy to hide the wear and tear that comes from daily kitchen use. If a dropped plate creates a dent in the floor, it only adds to the existing character of the wood.
If you are looking for a classic, old-world wood floor that will hold up in the kitchen, hand-scraped hardwood floors might be the right fit for you.
Eco-Friendly Bamboo Flooring
Bamboo flooring has become a popular choice for kitchen hardwood thanks to its beautiful appearance, durability, and eco-friendliness.
Bamboo floors come in a broad spectrum of colors, so it’s easy to get the look you want. Any aesthetic or style will be complemented by bamboo flooring, whether its deep and rich, light and airy, or in between.
Bamboo is also a favorite choice for those looking to help the environment without sacrificing the quality and visual appeal of their flooring. All wood flooring is considered a renewable resource, but bamboo grows especially quickly—up to an inch every forty minutes. With this rapid regrowth rate, harvesting bamboo for flooring is considered to be an eco-friendly practice.
But will this fast-growing wood hold up to the heavy use most kitchen floors receive? Comparing the Janka hardness scores of hardwood and bamboo is useful for determining your floor’s ability to stand up to scratches and dents. The higher the Janka score, the harder the wood.
According to Lumber Liquidators, natural bamboo has a Janka rating of 1380, while carbonized bamboo has a rating of 1180. This means that natural bamboo is a bit harder than the industry standard red oak (1290), while carbonized bamboo is a bit softer.
While both natural or carbonized bamboo are excellent flooring choices, bamboo floors for the kitchen should be a bit harder than average. For that reason, we’d recommend choosing a harder bamboo, like natural bamboo, to make sure your kitchen floor is protected against drops, scratches, and heavy foot traffic.
What is Engineered Hardwood?
Unlike solid hardwood, engineered hardwood is made by bonding layers of hardwood together overtop of a high-quality plywood base. The result is a more stable, durable, and low-maintenance hardwood floor.
Engineered hardwood is more humidity-resistant than solid hardwood thanks to its plywood base. The engineered material is less likely to expand and retract dramatically with changing moisture levels in the air.
So, if you live in an area that experiences a lot of humidity fluctuations, or a spill-prone kitchen, engineered hardwood may be a better choice for you than solid hardwood.
However, keep in mind that engineered hardwood can not stand as much sanding and refinishing as solid hardwood because the hardwood is a thin wear layer, rather than a whole plank. The flooring typically comes pre-finished and is available in many species, colors, and finishes.
Engineered hardwood can be installed over concrete subfloors with a variety of installation techniques. Depending on your kitchen, a contractor will staple or glue the wood to the subfloor, or float it above the subfloor.
With engineered hardwood in the kitchen, you can enjoy the timeless beauty of hardwood, with hassle-free maintenance and care.
Free In-Home Kitchen Flooring Estimate
If you’re ready to take the next step toward beautiful wood floors in your kitchen, contact us for a free in-home estimate. No obligations—we will measure and estimate the cost of your flooring project for free!
Next Step – Learn More and See the Options
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