Wood Floors In The Kitchen

Q: What kind of floor do you recommend in my kitchen?  I really want hardwood floors.

A: There are two kinds of hardwood floors which may be good candidates for a kitchen:

1)      engineered and site-finished

2)      solid and unfinished (may require the installation of a plywood sub-floor)

Let’s take a good look at the important differences.  Engineered floors can be glued directly to a concrete slab or other rigid sub-floor, making the total floor very thin; about as thin as a standard tile installation.  Then there’s the solid wood floor which requires the installation of a plywood subfloor so the solid floor can be nailed in.  Note that most kitchens in the North Texas area are located on the first floor of a home built on a concrete foundation but I have seen exceptions.

Why is this difference worth discussing?  Answer: Thickness of the overall floor.  Because the thickness of the floor introduces the possibility of issues with cabinetry and appliances, the total thickness of the desired floor should be taken into account.  Some kitchens I have encountered will only work with a thinner solution while other kitchens aren’t restricted in choice.  If you are remodeling the entire kitchen including the replacement of cabinets, counter-tops, etc., you will may have the ability to plan for whatever floor you want.

Here’s some conflicts that I’ve seen as a designer/flooring consultant:

Fridge: If you have a built-in fridge, check to see if you have 1.25 inches of clearance above it.  Most don’t.  Blocking in your fridge is a no-no.

Dishwasher: The dishwasher will be sitting on the floor and they usually don’t have an extra 1.25 inches between the top of the appliance and the bottom of the countertop.  You’ll need a little wiggle room so if it’s too tight, then a decision must be made.  You can block in a dishwasher which means that servicing it might require a service call from a wood floor technician to remove and reinstall planks.

Range: Some kitchens have cooktops and some have ranges.  If your kitchen uses a range, examine it to see what it would look like if you raised it up 1.25 inches.

If any of the above issues are present in your kitchen, then an engineered floor is going to be the better option.  The engineered products will range in thickness from 3/8″ to 5/8″.

In the next article, I’ll discuss the pro’s and con’s of prefinished vs. unfinished wood flooring.

HSW Floors provides quality wood floors in Dallas, TX and surrounding cities.

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