Hardwood Floors in the Kitchen: Are They Practical?

Hardwood flooring in the kitchen complements various modern designs. Installing hardwood floors enhances the natural feel of the kitchen. But, hardwood flooring in the kitchen requires regular maintenance and care to prevent moisture damage. Most professionals recommend using engineered hardwood for better moisture resistance.

Kitchen hardwood floor

Pros and Cons of Kitchen Hardwood Floors


  1. Easy to Clean: Hardwood floors in the kitchen are easy to clean and require minimal upkeep. Regular sweeping and mopping are sufficient to maintain their appearance.
  2. Longevity: With proper maintenance, hardwood kitchen floors are durable and last for decades.
  3. Aesthetics: Hardwood flooring creates a cozy and inviting atmosphere in the kitchen.
  4. Increased Home Value: Hardwood flooring contributes to higher home value, as it’s desirable to most homebuyers.


  1. Scratches and Dents: Hardwood flooring is prone to scratches and dents from dropped objects or heavy furniture.
  2. Maintenance Requirements: Hardwood floors are easy to clean but need regular maintenance to ensure longevity.
  3. Installation Costs: Hardwood flooring is more expensive than other flooring options.
  4. Not Water Resistant: Hardwood flooring isn’t water-resistant. Kitchens are prone to spills and moisture, which damages the wood.

Considerations Before Installing Kitchen Hardwood Flooring

Consider the wood type, traffic, finish, and indoor humidity before installing kitchen hardwood flooring.

1. Type of Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring types include solid, engineered, reclaimed, and exotic wood.

Solid Hardwood Flooring

Solid hardwood flooring is made from a single piece of wood. It comprises wide planks that are seamlessly fitted together. Solid hardwood can be sanded or refinished multiple times for durability.

However, it’s not suitable for kitchens due to moisture vulnerability. The flooring, finished or unfinished, comes in various widths and lengths, offering customization options.

  • Prefinished Hardwood Flooring: Solid prefinished hardwood flooring arrives already finished from the factory, eliminating the need for on-site finishing. The planks are angled for a uniform look and are ready to install immediately.
  • Unfinished Hardwood Flooring: Unfinished hardwood flooring is completed on-site, giving you control over the finish color and sheen. Professional finishing is needed after installation, resulting in a smoother surface that accumulates less grime and dust.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Engineered hardwood comprises real wood veneer layers bonded to a plywood core. It provides better resistance to humidity fluctuations than solid hardwood.

While offering the authentic feel of real wood, engineered hardwood boasts enhanced durability. This makes it a suitable option for kitchens with high humidity levels.

Exotic Hardwood Flooring

Exotic hardwood flooring comes in various rare wood species. These types of woods are available in unique colors, grain patterns, and textures. Exotic hardwoods tend to be pricier and may require professional maintenance.

Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring

Reclaimed hardwood comes from old structures like barns, warehouses, or factories. It’s an ecological option that provides a unique, weathered appearance.

2. Traffic and Usage

Assess foot traffic, usage, and other needs before installing kitchen hardwood floors. Balance aesthetics and practicality to match your lifestyle.

3. Finish and Sealant

The right finish and sealant enhance the wood’s resilience, appearance, and lifespan. Use a high-quality, water-resistant finish to extend the hardwood’s longevity.

4. Climate and Humidity

Climate and humidity impact the performance and longevity of your kitchen’s hardwood flooring. Various hardwood species react differently to changes in humidity and temperature. Consider the weather fluctuations in your area before choosing a wood type.

5. Subfloor

The subfloor serves as the foundation for your hardwood flooring. It impacts the installation process, floor stability, and hardwood performance.

Before installation, ensure your subfloor is level, dry, and in proper condition. Moisture issues in the subfloor can adversely affect the appearance and lifespan of your hardwood flooring.

Alternatives to Kitchen Hardwood Flooring

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring, produced through lamination, offers durability comparable to engineered hardwood. Scratch resistance makes it an excellent choice for high-traffic zones. It’s a reliable option for spaces prone to moisture.

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is known for its various designs and durability. The flooring option comes in styles that mimic wood and tiles. Vinyl is easy to clean, water-resistant, and softer underfoot than tile or hardwood.

Ceramic Tile Flooring

Tiles are popular for kitchens due to their durability, water resistance, and various styles. They come in various colors, patterns, and sizes, allowing you to achieve modern and classic styles.

Cork Flooring

Cork is a renewable and ecological alternative that’s soft underfoot and provides sound insulation. It’s fairly moisture-resistant but requires periodic sealing in kitchens.

Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo flooring is ideal for high-traffic areas such as living rooms, kitchens, and entryways. Bamboo, like hardwood, is a sustainable alternative. It’s durable and comes in a variety of shapes and colors. However, like hardwood, it’s prone to moisture damage.

Kitchen Hardwood Flooring Tips

  • Use hardwood with a high Janka hardness rating for the kitchen.
  • Seal the hardwood floors after installation.
  • Use an oil-based polyurethane sealer.
  • Place padding on furniture legs.
  • Lift heavy items instead of dragging them.
  • Clean up spills immediately.
  • Don’t allow wet shoes or an umbrella to sit on the hardwood.
  • Never use a steam cleaner on hardwood floors.
  • Turn off the water and call a plumber if you find a leak.
  • Consider engineered hardwood if you are hesitant about installing wood floors in the kitchen.