Wood floors extending into the kitchen from throughout the rest of the house is an excellent way to create a seamless design and is a growing trend, but unless you understand and accept the limitations of a wood floor in a kitchen environment, it is best to use a different complimenting material such as stone or tile.
The challenge: Kitchens have a high amount of traffic, stuff gets dropped, and liquids are often spilt, all of which a wood floor can react to negatively. Most people focus on the durability of the finish, which is critical and is covered in this article, but there are other things to consider as well which are also pointed out.
Consider the following if you choose to use wood flooring in a kitchen:
Durable and repairable finishes will have a more positive outcome in the long term. See more detail on the different finish choices later in this post.
Textured Surfaces will hide damages from dropped objects and general wear and tear.
Avoid white or very light coloured floors as they will show stains and wear and tear more quickly (critical point if you are fussy!).
Select Grade wood floors will show damages faster than character grades.
Wipe spills up immediately to avoid stains or liquid penetration.
Place breathable floor mats in front of sink and cooktop areas where grease or oil may splash onto the floor (do not leave the mat on the floor if it gets moist).
Maintain the surface regularly as per manufacturers instructions to ensure long-term durability and protection.
A more in-depth look into some of the different finish choices:
No matter what type of finish used on the wood, it will be more sensitive in a kitchen environment.
Lacquer finishes are hard, durable finishes that tend to keep liquids and stains out for a longer period, but once the liquids get in the joints or underneath the finish, it will start flaking, peeling and virtually have no protection whatsoever. Repairing liquid or other caused damage to a lacquer finished floor can be an extensive and painful process usually involving complete sanding and refinishing or board replacement.
Traditional penetrating oil finishes have the ability to be easily repaired and protect the wood from within, but liquids can more easily penetrate and stain the wood. These stains can be spot repaired easily with a spot remover and touch up oil but requires more attention to ensure liquid is wiped up. Prevent stains from happening in the first place.
Hardwax Oil (particularly the OSMO 2 layer system) is the ideal finish to provide longevity and maximum protection from stains and liquid penetration as well as ease of repair in the case of stains or damage to the finish. The hardwax layer acts like a lacquer in resisting penetration of liquids, stains and dirt, but still allows the wood to expel moisture without flaking, blistering or peeling to ensure long-term protection. The oil in the hardwax oil also penetrates into the wood beneath the surface adding protection, depth of colour and beauty. OSMO Hardwax Oil brings you all the benefits of both lacquer and traditional Oil finishes ensuring you get the best possible outcome you can receive from a wood floor in any living environment.
If you choose aNorthern Wide Plank wood floor, you are selecting a prefinished Hardwax Oil finished floor that will be either UV Cured or Air Dried in our factory, depending on the product. In the case of using one of our hardwax oiled floors in your kitchen, whether UV Cured or Air Dried, we recommend applying an additional coat of OSMO Hardwax Oil after installation.
The following are benefits of an additional application:
Sealing of the joints in the floor preventing damage from liquids
Reviving the finish from any micro-scratches that occurred during construction
Added layer of protection to enhance long-term durability and keep the floor looking desirable!
With the above in mind, anyone should be able to have an impressive looking wood floor in their kitchen that performs to their expectations if your expectations are suited to the choice you make!
Watch The Video and Learn more about the difference between Hardwax Oil vs. Lacquer vs. Traditional Oil Finishes