The Pros and Cons of a Hardwood Kitchen Floor

    Kitchen with hardwood floorPhoto: Debra Drummond,

    Many homeowners enjoy the natural beauty, warm tones and springy feel of hardwood flooring. But is a hardwood floor suitable for a kitchen, with its high foot traffic and risk of spills -- particularly if there are small children and pets around? What are the pros and cons of installing a hardwood floor in the kitchen?

    The Pros of Installing a Hardwood Floor in the Kitchen

    It’s gorgeous. It’s breathtaking. It’s awesome. Hardwood floors give homes a natural and timeless look that never goes out of style. 

    It’s an investment. Hardwood floors, when properly installed and maintained, can increase the value of a home.

    It feels amazing. Walking barefoot on a hardwood floor is a pleasure just about any time of year.

    It’s easy to keep clean. If the floor is properly sealed, sweeping and wiping up spills is a breeze. If you hire a cleaning service for your home, the workers should not have to spend much time cleaning the kitchen floor, and they'll be free to move on to areas that need their attention more.

    It’s relatively forgiving. If you drop a breakable item on a ceramic tile floor, that’s pretty much the end of the glass or plate. Since hardwood floors are softer, you may just get a second chance. (No guarantees, though.)

    Now that we’ve covered the good points, let’s look at the other side....

    The Cons of Installing a Hardwood Floor in the Kitchen

    It’s expensive. Hardwood floors, particularly ones made of exotic wood such as teak or rosewood, can be quite pricey.

    It’s susceptible to water damage. If you install a hardwood floor in your kitchen, be extremely careful about leaks from appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers, which can warp a wood floor. You may need to be careful about flood damage, too – many flooring contractors won't advise installing a hardwood floor for that reason. Also, even if you're careful about spills, moisture in the air can cause the floorboards to warp over time.

    It needs babying. Hardwood floors are susceptible to dents, scratches and stains. You must be careful if you are moving furniture, and you’ll have to put down mats in areas of the kitchen that are particularly prone to spills, such as near the sink or dishwasher or under your pet’s water bowl.

    It needs frequent cleaning. While a hardwood floor is relatively easy to maintain, you will need to clean it regularly. Wipe up spills as soon as they happen, and sweep or vacuum often.

    If You Choose a Hardwood Floor

    If you decide to go with a wood floor for your kitchen, choose a hard wood such as maple or oak for durability. Softer woods such as pine or cherry are less durable and more prone to scratches and dents, so go with them if you prefer a floor that has character to one that looks pristine.

    No matter which material you select, be sure to hire a reliable professional to install your kitchen floor.

    Updated May 2, 2018.

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