Hardwood Floors in the Kitchen: Are They Practical?

The main concern over using hardwoods in the kitchen relates to the flooring’s lack of moisture resistance. Prolonged exposure to moisture can lead hardwoods to swell or warp. Wood floors can also scratch or dent if you drop something on them. Still, excess moisture isn’t a problem in most kitchens, so hardwood floors prove practical and a popular flooring choice.

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: Wood flooring comes in an endless amount of colors, plank sizes, and wood grains.
  4. Increased Home Value: Hardwood flooring contributes to higher home value, as it’s desirable to most homebuyers.


  1. Scratches and Dents: Wood 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: Hardwoods are more expensive than other flooring options.
  4. Not Water Resistant: Wood 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. All sealed hardwood floors can handle small amounts of moisture for short periods of time. Engineered hardwoods may offer enhanced water-protection depending on the sealant or top layer the company uses.

Solid Hardwood Flooring

Solid hardwood flooring is made from a single piece of wood. It comes in planks that fit together. Homeowners can sand and refinish solid hardwood flooring multiple times over its lifespan.

  • Prefinished Hardwood Flooring: Solid prefinished hardwood flooring arrives already finished (with a stain and sealant) from the factory, eliminating the need for on-site finishing. 
  • Unfinished Hardwood Flooring: Unfinished hardwood flooring is completed on-site, giving you control over the finish color and sheen. 

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Engineered hardwood is layers of real wood veneer bonded to a plywood core. 

While offering the authentic feel of real wood, some engineered hardwood boasts enhanced durability but it depends on the brand and treatment. 

Exotic Hardwood Flooring

Exotic hardwood flooring comes in 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. Finish and Sealant

Use a high-quality, water-resistant finish to extend the hardwood’s longevity. Unsealed hardwoods will not last long in a kitchen.

3. 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 affect the appearance and lifespan of your hardwood flooring.

Alternatives to Kitchen Hardwood Flooring

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring comes in styles that mimic wood and tiles. Vinyl is easy to clean and water resistant.

Ceramic Tile Flooring

Tiles are popular for kitchens due to their durability and water resistance. 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.