Hardwood or Tile Flooring choices for a kitchen Essence Design Studios, LLC

Hardwood or Tile Flooring choices for a kitchen Essence Design Studios, LLC

Hardwood or Tile? Flooring choices for a kitchen:

One of the most popular questions (and concerns) clients have for us, is what type of flooring to use in the kitchen.  When choosing a flooring for your next kitchen remodel, the features you want to keep in mind are durability, ease of cleaning, and of course aesthetics.

The most popular debate on flooring choices is between hardwoods and tile floors.   I will be listing a question from one of our clients and then a few solutions for those concerns.

CLIENT QUESTION: “Any ideas what to do when someone wants tile and someone else want hardwood? My husband wants tile and I would prefer hardwood…I don’t like tile because it’s cold and I don’t want to worry about cleaning grout ….and he doesn’t like hardwood because he’s afraid our bulldog and our future kids might destroy it one day.  Should we go with something completely different as a compromise?….Are there any other options that would add value to our home aside from tile and hardwood?” – Meg, Cincinnati

What a great question, as this has been asked all the time of us.  It usually depends on the reason for not wanting one or the other.  Therefore, I will address each of these issues and hopefully find a solution!

Cold tile:   The fix for this is to install a radiant heated floor system under the tile.  It usually costs less than most people expect, and makes a huge difference when walking around barefoot.  From an energy stand point installing a heated floor system will save on energy bills in the future.  The radiant floor will ensure improved insulation and heating properties while reducing heat loss from the subfloor.

Hard to clean grout:   There are a few ways you can handle the grout issue.  The first thing we recommend is going with a larger tile to cut down on amount of grout lines, while also making the grout lines themselves smaller.  A typical grout line is anywhere from 1/16 “  to ¼” grout on normal tiles.  You can go larger depending on the style and type of stone, but usually it is not recommended.  In this case, sticking with a 1/16” or 1/8” grout line would be recommended.

Choose a grout color that is a neutral tone, and similar to the type of tile chosen.  For example, if you chose a natural travertine in a tan family, choose a grout that is similar to the colors chosen.  Avoid a grout that is too dark such as a chocolate, or too light such as white. Picking a neutral color will minimize the look of dirt overtime, and make it less noticeable overall.

Lastly, if you are using normal sanded or unsanded grout… you will need to seal it.  This is very important as it will lock in the color of the grout, while making it non-porous and easier to clean.  The grout would be less likely to absorb dirt and stains once sealed.  Another grout option is the use of urethane grouts.  Urethane grouts (brand name StarQuartz) come pre-made, are easy to install and do not need sealed.  They are manufactured with all of the benefits and all you need to do is install it accordingly.

Scratched Hardwoods:   This is usually unavoidable, but there are definite ways that you can cut down on scratches.  Some woods such as Brazilian cherry, Brazilian walnut and bamboo lend themselves to be harder woods than oak, heart pine and maple flooring.   Bamboo is growing in popularity due to the economical price points, beautiful finishes available, and sustainable features.

You can opt for a distressed floor, and a lower sheen on the finish.  The distressing with scrapes and dents will make any scratches from the dog less visible.  While the lower sheen on the finishing coats will also cut down on the scratch visibility.  Keep in mind that ¾” hardwoods can be sanded and refinished many times over their lifetime.  Wood is also more likely to hold its value over time, due to its natural beauty and characteristics.

Hardwood or Tile Flooring choices for a kitchen Essence Design Studios, LLC

COMPROMISE :  A good compromise for you both may be a hardwood look tile, with small grouts and the radiant heated floor.  You get the look of wood, with the durability of tile.  Hardwood looking tile is relatively new, and gaining popularity.  I  have seen many applications where people don’t even know the tile is not hardwood.  What do you think?

Finally, some other options are cork flooring, or laminate flooring.  Laminate flooring can be a good alternative, because it is less likely to scratch, is priced lower than hardwood, and is easy to install.  If laminate is the way you want to go I would recommend a high end laminate as real hardwoods are still more likely to add value to a home.  Laminate can also be difficult for animals as they slip and slide more so than tile or wood.

Cork flooring has its own unique look, while adding comfort and durability.  This is a good alternative to tile and wood, as cork will stand up to scratching better than hardwoods. Like bamboo, cork is also gaining popularity due to its environmentally friendly properties.

As you can see, the flooring options can be both subjective and objective.  When it comes to selecting the right flooring for your next kitchen or bathroom remodel  it is important to also keep in mind your overall style, look and feel you want in the newly designed room.  Which flooring is right for your kitchen design?

Feel free to ask additional questions as there is so much information when it comes to flooring options!!


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