The vast majority of today’s homes are built with the living area flowing into the kitchen area. Having flooring that blends seamlessly from one room to the other is highly desirable, with more homeowners installing hardwood flooring in both the living area and in the kitchen area than ever. We have written in the past about dampness being the enemy of wood flooring. So you might think that wood flooring should never be installed in a kitchen where spilled water and drips are common. With today’s wood flooring, that simply isn’t true.

There are, however, some unique considerations when selecting the right wood floor for your kitchen including wood species, color, finish and sheen.

Hardwood Floor Species

Selecting a wood species that ranks higher on the Janka wood hardness scale1 is best for kitchens because of the wood’s ability to withstand the high foot traffic and use that kitchens experience. Hardwoods, such as oak, maple and cherry are the most durable.2 Oak is generally the most common domestic hardwood used for kitchen flooring.3 Red oak has a rating of 1290 on the Janka scale, while white oak rates at 1360.

Other domestic hardwood options include walnut with a 1010 Janka rating, hickory at 1820, and birch at 1260. Teak at 1155, tigerwood at 2160 and Brazilian cherry (jatoba) at 2350 are all popular exotic hardwoods which are hard enough on the Janka scale to work well for kitchen flooring.

Wood Floor Color Options

Selecting the color of wood for your floor can also be a consideration since kitchen floors tend to need more maintenance than other areas of the home due to cooking mishaps, spills and foot traffic. Spills, debris and scratches and dents tend to be more prominent on extremely light or dark wood floors. The cabinet and countertop colors also play a large role in your choice of floor color.

Most people desire a contrasting look between their floor and kitchen cabinets, rather than keeping cabinets and flooring in the same color scheme. Remember that available light, both natural and artificial, plays a part in how your floors will look. When selecting a floor color, examine flooring samples both during the day and at night. The trend for 2020 is moving toward lighter floors, including white-washed, beachy looks.4

Hardwood Floor Finishes

The finish and sheen on your wood kitchen flooring can also play an important role in masking dirt and imperfections and making clean-up easier. Dark, shiny hardwood floors tend to show these imperfections and dirt to a greater extent. The best finish for a kitchen floor is a factory-applied, acrylic-impregnated finish that permeates the wood instead of just coating the surface.5

These factory-applied finishes are more expensive but in the long run are more durable and require less upkeep. Oil-based finishes have a distinct disadvantage in the kitchen because they tend to fade to an amber color over time. If you try to touch up the floor it is difficult to match that aged wood look.

The trend is moving away from shiny floors to more matte finish floors. This works well in the kitchen as dirt and debris are less prominent on matte finish floors. Choosing a texture treatment, such as wire brushing, is an ideal choice for kitchens, as the etched design of wire brushed wood features a subtle textured look on a smooth surface.6

Other treatment that are popular and also mask imperfections and dirt include distressing the wood or hand scraping the wood. Since high variation in floors are hot right now, selecting any of these techniques for your wood floor or choosing a high variation hardwood can pay off in the long run in terms of less maintenance and a more lasting appearance.

The timeless beauty of hardwood makes it a good flooring choice for the kitchen, as well as any room in a home. With today’s species, color and finish choices, there is no reason for concern that you won’t be able to find a suitable floor that makes a unique design statement in your home.

Picking the floor of your dreams can be daunting, with so much to choose from its important to rely on the advice of a hardwood flooring professional. That professional will have the expertise to help you explore all your options to find the best floor for your kitchen and home.

Cameron the Sandman has the experience and expertise to help you make the right choice for the perfect hardwood floors for your home. Our Services include flooring sales, installation, floor repair and restoration, and more! We are a family owned business serving Michigan since 1936 and we manage each flooring project from start to finish and everything in-between. Call us today for a consult and to learn more about our hardwood flooring services!

1 Janka Wood Hardness Scale

2,5,6 What’s the Best Wood for Your Kitchen Floor? Better Homes and Gardens

3 Hardwood Flooring in the Kitchen, HGTV