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Hardwood flooring for kitchens – does it make sense?

Does hardwood flooring makes sense for your kitchen in Westchester?

Hardwood flooring in kitchens westchester countyBelieve it or not, hardwood flooring is currently the most popular flooring choice for kitchen remodels and new construction in Westchester County NY.  We install all types of flooring – hardwood floors, tile, cork, laminate and vinyl.  But, hardwood flooring seems to be the most popular…and we are often ripping up tile floors (that are in good condition) and converting them to hardwood floors.

Please note that this article may contain affiliate links.  You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.

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.



westchester hardwood flooring in kitchens2. 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, it’s feature in all the home magazines as well as Houzz and Pinterest.  Hardwood is so en vogue.  It’s 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.


does hardwood flooring make sense in kitchens5. Hardwood flooring is usually less expensive than tile.  This is a surprise to many of my customers in Westchester, but it’s 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).


Westchester NY kitchenOak hardwood flooring 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 it’s due to improper floor prep, but sometimes it’s 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 doesn’t 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.
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Concerns (and solutions) with hardwood flooring in kitchens

westchester wood flooring in kitchens1. Hardwood floors do not do well with lots of water.  This is very true -hardwood and water don’t mix well.  In the kitchen, it’s ideal to have a mat next to the sink.  And, if you have pets with water bowls, it’s best to have a mat here as well.  Also, it’s 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.


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 pre-finished hardwood).  By refinishing the floors on site, the polyurethane covers the entire amount of wood and has more protection vs. site finished hardwood.  Often pre-finished 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.

Related articles:

Which is better for kitchen floors – hardwood flooring or tile?

Hardwood flooring vs tile planks that look like hardwood – pros and cons

Best places to buy tiles that look like hardwood

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Complementary products that will prolong the life of your hardwood floors

12 thoughts on “Hardwood flooring for kitchens – does it make sense?”

  1. I would love to know your opinion on what type of hardwood floor and pre-engineered wood floor is the best or least likely to scratch from 50 pound dogs running around the living room. Which is the hardest or least resistant to those type of scratches? Also, what are your thoughts on bamboo floors?

    1. Hi Kelly. First, I would definitely do solid hardwood and NOT engineered, and for sure I would stay away from bamboo. Bamboo will not hold up well at all – either to scratches or to water. Engineered hardwood is very iffy. I would do solid so that you can sand & refinish when you need to.

      There are many options. First, oak is your basic wood and it does tend to hold up well, especially since it tends to hide the scratches due to the strong graining. Hickory is even better as it’s harder (and also has strong graining to hide scratches), but some don’t like the color variation on hickory and they feel it’s a bit more rustic; others love this. Brazilian cherry and brazilian walnut are beautiful and extremely hard, but they do tend to show the scratches more.

      I hope that helps.

  2. Thank you for your tips on concerns to. I do like wood for the natural look and even if it gets banged up a little it adds to the charm. BUT not so fun when there’s a leak. I prefer cleaning it over tile for sure. One section of our bamboo has gotten black around the seam. We can’t seem to get it up and not sure what it’s from.

  3. Wood flooring is beautiful but when you have wood cabinets, a different wood trim then even a different wood floor, it looks weird. I think if you are going to do it, make sure it all matches and complements each other. Great tips for wood flooring in the kitchen, Debbie! 🙂

      1. We just had our floors refinished and did a 50/50 special walnut/dark walnut blend on red oak. Now we’re talking about refinishing the cabinets which are currently early american on oak (countertops will be a white/light granite with black & brown accents, walls are kilim beige). We’d like to stay with stained cabinets, but are trying to make sure it looks good with the brown floors. Any thoughts?

  4. Natalie Kiernan

    Flooring Dilemma:
    In a new construction home:
    White oak common grade wood boards, 4 in. were installed. The walls are Edgecombe gray with white trim.
    What is the most durable, long-lasting finish/sealer ( and stain if necessary) that will keep the natural color of the wood
    ( deepening the natural color looks great too if nothing will keep it the same exactly as is ).
    Please compare the answer to Natural Oils ( linseed, tung, (others?) ).
    Could I use anything on the natural oils to get the scratch resistance they lack?

    If I must use oil-based poly for long lifespan, what brown stains do you recommend that go best with Edgecombe gray and white – from lightest to darkest colors ?
    (The look is very important and the oranging from using only oil poly won’t do.)

    1. Natalie – You have several competing priorities here.

      from a look perspective, with your gray walls, I would recommend doing a dark to mid toned brown. I might test from 50/50 ebony/jacobean to special walnut. Stain colors that could work would be the 2 I mentioned, jacobean, dark walnut, antique brown, coffee brown. Those will go best with the gray (as they are cool colors) and will drown out the yellowing or orange. I would do an oil based poly with that.

      On the flip side, if you want to go most natural color, I would natural (i.e no stain) and used water based bona traffic. That will yellow the least and it will also give you strong durability. I’m not so crazy about this with gray walls, but it might work. Natural w/ oil based will look too amber.

      Tung oil will give you a more natural look, but won’t hold up as well and will require a LOT of maintenance.

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