Hardwood flooring for kitchens — does it make sense

Hardwood flooring for kitchens - does it make sense

Reasons that hardwood flooring is so popular for kitchens in Westchester County NY

1. Hardwood flooring is easier on your feet.   This is especially important for those that cook a lot or spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  Tile is much harder on your feet and tires you out faster.

2. Hardwood flooring makes your space look larger.  Most homes in Westchester County have hardwood floors for the main common areas (living room, dining room, family room), so by continuing hardwood into the kitchen, it makes your space more continuous and it just looks larger (and more cohesive).

3. Hardwood floors are in style.  Yes, its feature in all the home magazines as well as Houzz and Pinterest.  Hardwood is so en vogue.  Its timeless, and it is here to stay!

4. Hardwood flooring is warmer.   This is especially important here in the northeast and during the colder months.  Tile absorbs the heat from your feet, and it just feels colder than hardwood floors.

5. Hardwood flooring is usually less expensive than tile.   This is a surprise to many of my customers in Westchester, but its a pleasant surprise since most would prefer hardwood anyway.  Most of the homes in Westchester are built on plywood which makes it more cost effective to install hardwood than tile (since hardwood is nailed into plywood.  Tile, on the other hand, should never be directly installed on top of plywood as the tile will crack.  So, tile requires an extra step of either adding a mud job or cement board.  And, of course, if your floors are uneven, tile will require even more subfloor prep. All of these costs will add expense not to mention the labor for installing tile is more expensive than the labor for hardwood.

6. Most believe that hardwood flooring is easier to clean than tile.   With tile, many of my customers get frustrated with how the dirt collects in the grout (and over time the grout gets dirtier and darker).

7. Hardwood floors will last longer and will never go out of style.   As time goes on, and often due to poor and improper tile installations, tile cracks.  Most often its due to improper floor prep, but sometimes its due to houses settling and sometimes due to customer dropping items on the tile.  Hardwood is much more flexible and there are fewer issues. Yes, over time, you will need to refinish the floors, but when you do, the floors will look good as new!  Even if tile doesnt crack, over time, styles change and often the tile looks dated.  Hardwood never goes out style. The color preferences may change a bit, but these are easy enough to change during the sanding and refinishing process.

8. New homeowners strongly prefer hardwood, so this will also help you when you are ready to sell your home.  Further, different homeowners have different color preference, and with hardwood flooring, not only are you appealing to a wider audience, but you are also giving the next owner the flexibility to change the color of the hardwood.  Conversely, if you have tile and the buyer does not have the same taste, they need to rip it out completely.

Concerns (and solutions) with hardwood flooring in kitchens

1. Hardwood floors do not do well with lots of water.  This is very true -hardwood and water dont mix well.  In the kitchen, its ideal to have a mat next to the sink.  And, if you have pets with water bowls, its best to have a mat here as well.  Also, its important to note that if you do have some water damage (assuming you have solid hardwood), you can usually weave in new hardwood, and then sand and refinish the wood, and it looks good as new.

Hardwood flooring for kitchens - does it make sense

2. Hardwood flooring can scratch and needs periodic maintenance .  Yes, this is very true, but once you refinish the floors, they will look good as new.  And, when you sand & refinish the hardwood, you have the option to change the color as well.

3.  If you have mid tone wood cabinets, it can be challenging to find a good contrast color for the hardwood floors.  White or painted cabinets are usually the most flexible options and will work with dark, light or even mid-toned woods.

Considerations when adding hardwood flooring to your Westchester kitchen

1.  Wider planks Wider planks are more stylish and tend to make the space look larger.  As long as the hardwood is the same species and color of the adjoining rooms, it will help make the space look more cohesive.  Sometimes, you can also change the direction of wood so that this is a much more natural break.

2.  Diagonal layout can add visual intrigue, and also make your space look larger.  This is also a consideration if you are changing widths as the new layout gives you permission to go wider in the planks.  Diagonal layout tends to look better in spaces that are more square (rather than rectangular).

3.  Refinish hardwood on site (rather than installing prefinished hardwood).  By refinishing the floors on site, the polyurethane covers the entire amount of wood and has more protection vs. prefinished hardwood.  Often prefinished hardwood is missing stain or poly on the micro-beveled edges (often the pieces are either not full coated or get damaged during transit.  Also, for kitchens which get heavier traffic, an extra coat of poly is very helpful.

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