hardwood flooring in kitchen

Hardwood or Tile in the Kitchen?

by rhoda on June 6, 2012

One of the many decisions to be made during the course of a home remodel or custom home construction project is whether to put hardwood or tile in the kitchen. Looking through our Bay Area home remodels and custom homes, hardwood flooring is selected more frequently than tile. In our home, we have tile and I’m still quite happy with that decision. And of course there are many other flooring options such as cork or concrete. Installed hardwood typically costs about one third the cost of a tile installation.

Asthetics: Today’s open floor plans can also drive the flooring choice because a transition of flooring type from a family room area to the kitchen area just wouldn’t look quite right. At the same time, a change in flooring type can also help to define the space. The image above features maple flooring in the kitchen that extends to the family room our major home remodel in Saratoga.

Comfort and Durability: Hardwood is softer than tile underfoot and some hardwoods are harder than others. You can learn about the relative hardness of woods by checking the Janka scale. If a hard item is dropped on a hardwood floor, it can dent the floor (creating an emblem of a busy kitchen). As water is the enemy of wood, you might want to put a placemat under your pet’s water bowl. The good news is that you can give worn hardwood floors a facelift by refinishing them. While tile holds up better to traffic than hardwood, tile is harder underfoot and dropped items are more likely to break. Tile floors are also colder underfoot than hardwood, but this can be remedied with an investment in radiant heat.

tile in pool house kitchen
Tile in the kitchen is an ideal choice for this pool house

Radiant Heat: About half of our projects these days also have radiant heat. Although tile is an excellent conductor of heat, hardwood flooring over radiant heat is a popular flooring choice as well. Installation of hardwood flooring over radiant heat must be done properly to prevent expansion and contraction of the flooring, which can create gaps between the floor boards over time.

Tile that Looks Like Wood: Within a few months we’ve installed Parker – Wood Porcelain by Porcelanosa Tile on two different projects by two different interior designers, so it has got to be good, right? It looks like wood but has all the advantages of tile, including being better suited for radiant heat applications. And, it even feels softer underfoot than regular tile – something I noticed when we were photographing the projects. Could it have been my imagination because the floors were nice and warm? So, I phoned our local Porcelanosa Tile showroom, who shared their secret that isn’t posted on their website – the pattern on the tile actually makes the tile feel like it has a little give to it. Wow!

parker wood porcelain floor by porcelanosa tile
Parker Wood Porcelain by Porcelanosa Tile in a Bay Area home addition.

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