Wood Floors in the Kitchen — Good Questions Apartment Therapy

Wood Floors in the Kitchen — Good Questions Apartment Therapy

Wood Floors in the Kitchen?

Q. Let’s talk about wood floors in the kitchen. I am going to renovate my kitchen and I am thinking about parquet, but some people have said that it gets wet and needs too much upkeep. Additionally, I would like to hear people’s opinion on maple cabinets and grey soapstone. Too contrasty? What backsplash?

Janel Laban


It seems like if the wood is properly sealed and maintained, it wouldn’t be any more troublesome than other flooring types. I am also considering replacing the ugly and worn checkerboard linoleum in my kitchen with hardwoods.

I can’t really comment on the wood flooring part of the question, but as regards «too contrasty» worktops, I think in kitchens the cabinet fronts are so visually prominent that a contrasting worktop breaks it up a bit. It’s a personal preference, but I prefer the contrast, I think it saves a kitchen from (even a rich wooden version of) blandness.

I would worry more about the durability of the soapstone. I have been told by a few different people that soapstone stains REALLY easily. Hardwood does not like standing water so if you drip on it you should wipe it up right away even if it is sealed properly. My parents have hardwood in their kitchen and it needed to be refinished after about 10 years. They had a very high quality finish on it too.

My parents have a parquet floor in their kitchen — it’s been there for about 12 years and I’ve never seen or heard of any maintenance and upkeep issues with it.

I’ll be replacing the flooring throughout my first floor and am going to put engineered hardwood down — including the kitchen!

I personally don’t know that much about wood floors, so I can’t comment much. But I do know that some wood floors state on the box that they are ok in places with a bit more moisture like a kitchen.

www.flickr.com/photos/mnerd/4407816434/. I wasn’t there to supervise, or I would have had them lay out the tiles a little more randomly, but they look great, in my opinion.

I don’t see a problem with wood floors in a kitchen — you’ll be wiping up spills anyway, and the continuation of the same flooring from adjacent rooms will make your home feel more spacious and cohesive.

Also don’t have a problem w/ maple and soapstone — There’s nothing wrong with contrasting colors in materials.


When I bought my house I ripped out the old horrid kitchen flooring and found the original fir (quite soft) underneath. I had it refinished and was a little anxious because I’m in the kitchen a lot and I’m kind of a clutz, but so far it’s been great. It’s very pretty and is no problem in terms of maintenance; I keep a cloth under the sink to wipe up water spills when they happen and don’t spend any time beyond that worrying about it.

I have hardwood floors in my kitchen, and I don’t see any problem with it at all. The floors are very well-sealed, so that any liquids bead up and can easily be wiped off. I guess I’m not super clumsy in the kitchen, but it’s hard for me to see what I’d be spilling on the floor all the time anyway.

Soapstone is a porous stone (much MUCH more so than granite), and you have to oil it regularly to prevent staining, which will also darken its color. It’s softer than granite, too, so will also be more prone to slight dents, etc. if you’re the type of cook who drops heavy cast-iron pots on your counters. They’re still very durable, though, as long as you keep them oiled properly.

My folks have wooden floors in their kitchen. Put in 21 years ago and still look gorgeous. Nothing fancy either. They look a little worn, but nothing that a sanding and refinishing wouldn’t fix.

Personally i like how worn it looks. Adds so much character.

When we redid our kitchen last year, we added hardwood floors to match and blend in with the adjacent dining room and hallway. So far, so good! We’re careful to wipe up spills quickly and I think having the same flooring throughout makes the kitchen appear larger than it might otherwise.

I have maple cabinets and soapstone countertops. Also, soapstone does not stain. If you want the unoiled soft-gray look, it will take a bit of effort to remove an oily stain but I find that Oxyclean works fine. Mine are oiled, so they are a matte-black finish. It takes mere drops of mineral oil to freshen them up. (When I soak my soapstone sink in Oxyclean to sanitize it, I re-oil it)

Honestly? I had parquet floors in an apartment I rented, and while I hated them while I lived there, I appreciate them now. Dark parquet can look quite nice, and it’s definitely durable. Now that I’m in an apartment with wood laminate, I long for the parquet. this laminate scratches like crazy. Parquet’s easy to keep clean and pretty low maintenance in my books.

I’ve had pre-finished ash flooring in my kitchen now for 3 years. It’s easier on my feet, easy to clean and still looks great. Can’t even see the spot where my chef’s knife’s tip stuck in the board. thank goodness it wasn’t my foot. whew. it was close.

Laminate is noisy and fussy to keep looking nice. Ceramic and other «hard» flooring is damaging to the feet and knees (legs and hips, back, neck—-just don’t do it). But wood—glorious wood—is naturally forgiving. Cork—the bark of a particular kind of oak tree—is the best of all (and cork oak is one of our oldest renewable resources). Wood is easy to refinish. The other kinds of flooring cannot be refinished, only replaced.

I have hardwood floors in my kitchen, and they’re definitely sensitive to water. If your countertops have an edge that traps water, you’re probably fine. But mine have an unfortunate rounded edge that sends any moisture right over the countertop and dripping onto the floor. You don’t notice it as a «spill,» but over a few years, the boards near the sink/dishwasher are definitely bowed and squeaky.

Wood Floors in the Kitchen — Good Questions Apartment Therapy

I’ve had bamboo floors in my kitchen (and living space) for three years now, and so far no problems. I love them! My parents opted to do tile in their kitchen with hardwood in the rest of the space, and to be honest, I think it lacks a graceful transition. Everyone else I know with hardwood kitchen floors has been happy with their choice so far.

When we replaced the kitchen in our house, we uncovered beautiful 100 year old fir floors throughout the house and we love them. We have wooden cabinets and gray concrete countertops but haven’t yet decided on a backsplash. It all looks good but I may paint the cabinets white as the two woods and the gray countertop make everything a bit too neutral. You may find the same thing, depending on your taste.

i have hardwood floors in my kitchen and love it. i like the «warmth» of the material and and the «softness» of it. tile is so cold and hard.

i swear by BONA hardwood floor cleaner — it clears up water spots and dog drool effortlessly!

I’ve had wood and tile floors in kitchens and I strongly prefer wood. If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, wood is easier on your feet and back. Also, if you drop a glass, it stands a chance against wood, but will shatter against tile. Also, water on tile is far more slippery than water on wood (unless you have penny tiles or something very small) and therefore more dangerous.

Another vote for wood floor in the kitchen here! I have the same hickory wood throughout my home, and am so glad we continued it through the kitchen. The warmth and softness on the feet (vs tile, our other option) are great. I much prefer the seamless look between rooms, too. I’ve only had it for 2 years, but the finish on the kitchen floor is still just as good as that in the other rooms. How wet could it really get? You don’t leave a big spill sitting there for hours, and a little splash on a well-finished floor will not be a big deal.

I also second the recommendation for BONA cleaner, great stuff.

Hardwood floors are fine if your house is on a raised foundation. If your house is on a slab foundation there could be problems. We are on a slab foundation and when the dishwasher leaked, the floor buckled. That happened even though we had linoleum and a vapor barrier on top of the slab before the hardwood was installed. Bye bye hardwood, hello tile.

My choice would be cork. We had African Walnut in our last home, throughout the first floor (front and back foyers, great room, kitchen, laundry, powder room — 1100 square feet all together) and I wouldn’t do it in the kitchen again. It does dent; 1.) dropped a wine bottle on it and it left an impression of the grooves on the bottom! 2.) dropped a knife and it stuck into the floor, leaving a hole. and there were other dents from miscellaneous dropped items. Water was not a problem. I have to admit, the African Walnut was beautiful! However, the cork would be cool! My friend’s parents have cork throughout their ranch home — including the kitchen, it’s original from the 50’s and is still beautiful.

I have bamboo floors in my kitchen, and no problems at all with it. Just make sure they are properly sealed/finished, I think.

I had bamboo in my last kitchen and loved it. But remember, bamboo is softer than the marketing material might have you believe, and if you drop a pot on the floor, you will get a little dent.

I currently have maple floors and love them. Unless your dishwasher often overflows or you have a leaky fridge, there’s no reason not to put hardwood in your kitchen.

Wood floors in the kitchen aren’t that bad, unless you’re REALLY clutzy/accident-prone and like to wildly throw water everywhere in your kitchen! We have hand-scraped bamboo floors that stand up great; like someone said earlier, it will get dings and dents, but that’s not a kitchen-specific thing, that’s everywhere with wood. Standing water hasn’t been a problem, but we make an effort not to walk around the kitchen with drippy things. An excellent solution to wetness-issues for us has been just to put a nice long rug/mat in front of the sink/dishwasher/prep-counter areas to minimize floor damage and staining.

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