The Conundrum of Kitchen Flooring

Posted by on Jun 13, 2018 in Kitchens | No Comments

Choosing a Kitchen Floor in Calgary: Would (and should) you do a hardwood?

Kitchen flooring can be one of the toughest choices of any kitchen renovation project.

Time and time again, I see our customers struggle with this big decision – and I can’t blame them one single bit. Decades of experience have proven that a kitchen’s appearance and long-term lifespan literally lays in its flooring!

Photo of a nice Calgary kitchen floor

“Paralysis by Analysis”

Choices in kitchen flooring have never been better, which is a bit of a mixed blessing… On the one hand, homeowners have amazing number of options to choose from to complete the ambiance of their new kitchen.

But on the other hand, homeowners have an overwhelming number of options to choose from to complete their new kitchen!

It’s with this in mind that I’m dedicating a blog series to reviewing 5 of the most popular kitchen flooring options on the market today: hardwood, laminate, bamboo, cork, and tile. (And, just so you know, I’m concentrating on these from a Calgary kitchen renovation perspective because Calgary has some very unique climate considerations!)

In this post, we’re reviewing the tried, tested, and true beauty of hardwood kitchen flooring.

Getting More From Your Hardwood Kitchen Floor

Photo of an oak kitchen floor in Calgary's Chinook Park neighbourhood

A true classic when it comes to flooring for almost any indoor space, hardwood floors are an absolutely beautiful option that can last many lifetimes. (Fun fact: The world’s oldest hardwood basketball court was built in 1895 in a Paris YMCA and is still in regular use today.)

Hardwood flooring comes in two options: solid hardwood and engineered hardwood. We’ll look at both these types here.

Solid Hardwood Flooring

Made from solid planks of milled wood, these floors are the true classics of the flooring world.

With a board thickness of around 3/4 of an inch (just over 19 millimetres), these floors can be refinished and sanded down for the lifetime of the home (which is good since hardwood floors tend to be more susceptible to dents and scratches from dropped pots, pans, etc.)

As a general rule, you’ll want to stick with the hardest hardwood you can find, like ash or oak. These will endure dropped pots, pans, and dents significantly better than their softer cousins while looking fantastic over many years of wear, tear, and maintenance.

You could also go with Jatoba (AKA: Brazilian Cherry) or Santos Mahogany, which are even harder than ash and oak. These are two types of hardwood that are very well-suited for Calgary’s unique climate. But be aware that their colouring may change over time.

Photo of an exotic hardwood kitchen floor

A big thing to know about installing solid hardwood floors is that they are both an art and a science. This is because natural wood expands and contracts with temperature and humidity. Different types of wood also expand in different ways, adding to the complexity of installing this type of kitchen flooring.

This is just one of the reasons for why you really, really want to hire an experienced and knowledgeable contractor to install this type of kitchen flooring – because these solid hardwood floor boards need a precise amount of space between them in order to accommodate Calgary’s climate and the hardwood’s corresponding seasonal expansions and contractions.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Created from layers of wood that have been adhesively bonded together using extreme heat and pressure, this type of flooring is not prone to the expansions and contractions of its solid counterpart. However, it tends to be more expensive than solid hardwood flooring.

A key consideration for choosing any engineered hardwood flooring should be the brand that you are looking at using.

I say this because not all brands are created equally – some brands have a reputation for being durable, well made, and environmentally friendly; others have the reputation of having a limited lifespan and even causing potential health issues.

Yes, health issues. I say this because of a process called “off-gassing”, which tends to be a unique situation when it comes to engineered hardwood floors. The biggest off-gassing concern for engineered hardwood floors is formaldehyde, which can leech out over time from inferior engineered floors (yikes!)

But here’s a really helpful tip: you can avoid potential off-gassing in engineered hardwood floors by doing the following

  • Do your research to find quality manufacturers who create floors that don’t contain formaldehyde and/or solvents.
    • One way to quickly find out if a potential engineered hardwood contains these chemical is to ask, “is the top coat acid-cured?” You should keep looking if the answer is anything other than a hard “no”.
  • Use staples or nails to attach your hardwood floors to the subflooring. However, if you have to use adhesives then choose a low- or no-VOC adhesive.

Which Wood Works Best?

Generally speaking, engineered hardwood floors are the better option for kitchens. This is because they are better able to withstand moisture and humidity levels, which tend to vary in rooms like kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements.

But if you have your heart set on a solid hardwood floor for you kitchen then the best thing you can do is contact us to discuss the ways you can best install and take care of this flooring option.

My team and I have decades of combined experience in renovating Calgary kitchens – floors included! We can help you figure out the best kitchen flooring options for your space and situation.

Looking to remodel or totally renovate your kitchen? Then you’re come to the right place! Copper Creek Developments is a Calgary home renovations company that specializes in kitchen renovations. We can take your old kitchen and transform it into a fully functional space where you can cook, eat, and spend quality time with those you most care about. Contact us today!