Wood Flooring in the Kitchen


Columbia Flooring for Kitchen

Are wood floors are a good idea in the kitchen?


Well, maybe.


Without a doubt you may choose to install wood floors in your kitchen and enjoy them for a lifetime. But this doesn’t mean you must or should have them. Like all other flooring choices, tradeoffs exist.


We also get this question. What is the best floor for our kitchen?


This depends upon your personal preference considering these factors (TIP: this is a great list for any room):

  • Comfort – At one end of the scale, concrete and tile that are hard on your feet and transfer hot and cold. Wood floors are in the middle and cork is the easiest to stand on and provides the most insulation.
  • Sound – Kitchens tend to echo to begin with. Tiles and laminates don’t help the situation. Wood and cork tend to be the best choices to absorb the tinny sounds prevalent in kitchens.
  • Durability – The harder surfaces are more durable though some tiles can crack. If you drop a glass or bowl, it’s going to break. Hardwood flooring is more durable but it will dent or scratch if subjected to severe blows. Cork is going to be the least able to stand up to gouges.
  • Stains – No surface is completely immune to stains. However, the harder, less porous surfaces are less likely to stain. Properly finished wood floors resist discoloration well so long as liquids aren’t allowed to pool on the surface.
  • Ability to Hide Dirt – This has more to do with the color and sheen of a floor than the material. Generally speaking, really light or really dark colors show more dirt and the higher the luster, the more dirt the floor will reveal.  Find more info on how to protect your floors here.


The good news is that because of the variety of hardwood floors out there, you can almost always satisfy your wish list.


What should I consider in buying hardwood floors for my kitchen? You want to balance design with function. It does no good to purchase a hardwood floor that falls short of achieving your motif. So along with the factors above, we’ll help you think through the look you want to achieve.

  • Species – Most of you choose harder woods like oak, maple, ash and hickory among the domestic species. There are plenty of exotics like Santos Mahogany and Tigerwood, too. Because they’re harder, they resist dents and scratches better. However, if you’re going for a more rustic look, pine is fine. It will look more “rustic” over time as it gathers bumps and dents from use.
  • Finish – Regardless of type it is best to insist upon a water-base finish. These retain the natural color of the wood and can be touched up. The manufacturer’s acrylic impregnated finish outperforms any other.
  • Edge – Square edges match up most precisely. They resist dirt and water better than other types. Water is the enemy of hardwood floors. A leaky dishwasher or refrigerator will damage a floor. The best deterrent is to buy and maintain top quality appliances. The square edge is a deterrent to spills but no wood surface is waterproof forever. Micro-bevel edges work fine. You can even use beveled or scraped edges but they will be more of a cleaning hassle.
  • Width – The narrower the width, the more seams and the more places for dirt to go. The wider the width, the higher the chance of cupping if you encounter problems with water. In our opinion, this choice comes down to design aesthetic. Compromising on width shouldn’t be a consideration as long as you are willing to clean up spills immediately and sweep and mop the floor weekly. We know of someone that thinks of their Black Labrador as a mop but won’t disclose her name. Her mother would be mortified.
  • Grain – A pronounced grain will hide dirt somewhat better, but again, you should let your look determine the choice of wood. The more pronounced the grain, the more you draw the natural beauty outside into your home.
  • Sheen – The easiest choice is a satin sheen. It is in the middle of the spectrum of choices providing a gloss look without showing dirt. It can be used in most any type of design and you don’t have to worry so much about balancing out the overall feel of the room. With a high gloss or matte finish, it is important to consider the color and sheen of the walls, cabinets and appliances.


There’s lots to consider but that’s the great thing about hardwood floors. You have plenty of options to achieve your design goals without ending up with a floor that hurts your feet or echoes sound. By incorporating mats in front of the stove and sink (or getting a dog…just joking) you can address concerns about durability, stains, and cleaning.


Except for high-stress environments with lots of water, dirt tracking, and clumsiness, you can bring that unique, natural beauty of hardwood into your kitchen without fear.