Back when we were in the midst of our massive house renovation, one of the biggest decisions to make was which type of flooring to put down in our ground floor extension. Was it a good idea to put wood flooring in a kitchen?
The room in question was to be a multi-functional space housing the kitchen, dining area, and living area / kids play space. We wanted the flooring to be the same throughout the room, so as not to break up the space too much.
This was the first renovation we’d ever undertaken, and the first time we’d had to choose flooring. The decision was not an easy one. Especially because the room in question was going to contain a kitchen, and we’d heard that wood flooring, kitchens, and water just don’t mix.
The options we considered for flooring in our kitchen / living / dining space were as follows:
Tiles are perhaps the best flooring option for a high traffic area. Not only are they completely water-resistant, but they are easy to clean and do not suffer the same wear and tear as other types of flooring. Tiles would probably be my first choice if we had a standalone kitchen. However, as our kitchen is part of a larger room, including a living area, I really wanted flooring that would not detract from a cosy, warm feel – and I wasn’t sure that tiles would give us that.
Engineered wood flooring
Engineered wood is texture rich and gives a great look to any room. I wouldn’t hesitate to put engineered wood down in a living room. But is engineered wood suitable in a kitchen? We loved the look of wood floor, but worried that wood wasn’t the most sensible of flooring options to put in a kitchen, where water spillages and cooking stains are most frequent. I remember spending hours googling ‘real wood floor in kitchen’ in an attempt to find examples of real-life houses with engineered wood flooring in the kitchen – not just unlived in show rooms.
In hindsight, laminate flooring was a good compromise between all the pros and cons we considered when choosing flooring for our kitchen / dining / living room. More water-resistant than real wood flooring, and with the same easy to install click system, perhaps we didn’t spend enough time searching for a laminate flooring that we loved.
We had vinyl tiles in our previous house, and I never enjoyed that they always felt slightly sticky underfoot. When pricing up our options, I was also surprised to learn that some brands of vinyl tiles weren’t dissimilar in price to wood flooring – I had initially assumed they would be the more budget friendly option. These factors, combined with the complex installation process (concrete screeding, etc) meant that vinyl tiles were my least preferred flooring option for our extension.
We opted for engineered wood in the end, the clincher being that it was aesthetically our favourite look. After losing sleep over the sheer amount of renovation decisions we had to make, our flooring decision became simply a case of falling in love with the sample in the shop and following our hearts. I adore our flooring, it looks great, and it feels warm and solid underfoot – important factors for me
But that being said, if we were to undertake a multi-functional space renovation again, I’m not sure if we’d make the same choice to put wood flooring in our kitchen.
Some of the pros and cons of the flooring types we were considering just don’t seem as important now that the floor is in. For example, I’m not as against tiles as I used to be, having visited kitchen extensions with tiles throughout that have felt just as homely as ours.
Two years later and most of the wood flooring in our kitchen looks pristine, despite our busy family household. But, we have seen small amounts of water damage to our engineered wood flooring in the kitchen area, mainly around the sink area and by the cat’s water bowl.
Anywhere that water is prone to ‘sit’ for long periods without being detected will suffer from warping and discolouration. The cat’s water bowl was purposefully put on a mat to avoid water marks, but when the mat gets saturated before you have time to realise it, the damage has already been done. In our experience, water damage on engineered wood seems to be pretty unavoidable, even when you are actively aware of what causes it and how to prevent it.
Although we have seen the effects of water on our engineered wood floor, I actually don’t mind it too much. With three young children and pets, we figured we would need to embrace a ‘lived-in’ feel to our flooring, and knew that dents, scratches and watermarks to our wood flooring were all bound to happen as part and parcel of family life. But we’ve only had our wood floor for two years, and the thought of how our flooring might fare over the next decade and how many more water marks we might see is a little daunting.
If we ever find ourselves undertaking another renovation, I might be more inclined to choose a water resistant laminate flooring or tiles for the kitchen area. I wouldn’t rule out putting engineered wood flooring in a kitchen again, as I do love the look and feel of it so much. But our final decision would come down to price – I wouldn’t pay MORE for engineered wood flooring over other flooring types, because it might not end up being the longest lasting option.
Very often with renovation decisions, it comes down to striking the right balance between what you love aesthetically, and what it the most practical choice. After two years of living with engineered wood flooring in a kitchen, my concluding opinion is that wood floor in a kitchen is OK if you really want it and don’t like any other flooring, but it’s not the most fool-proof choice you could make.
If you really love engineered wood flooring for your kitchen, go for it (we did!) – just accept that you can’t be too precious about the odd watermark here and there.
Disclosure: Thank you to Direct Wood Flooring for partnering with Sorry About The Mess