Wood Floors in the Kitchen
A popular trend is to install wood floors in the kitchen. Wood floors give a rich look, provide beauty, color and luster in the kitchen to match or contrast the cabinets or decor.
There are a number of different types of wood flooring that can be used;
3/4" traditional hardwood in oak or maple is a good choice over wood decking. Each board is stapled to the base decking or can be glued down.
5/16" hardwood is also available and can be stapled or glued down.
Engineered Wood, which is multi-ply, with hardwood on the top layer - a good choice on concrete decking. Boards can be glued down or float on a pad over the concrete decking. There are special staplers if you want staple to wood decking. Please understand that concrete is porous and water does seep thru. Moreover, concrete expands and contracts with temperature and moisture more than wood. Engineered wood is designed to compensate/handle for both these attributes.
Laminate flooring is a multi layer "laminated" ( glued ) product with a thin veneer that either is or looks like hardwood. There are many types and qualities available , thickness is expressed in Millimeters (mm). Some laminates come with their own backing in rubber of felt while others require a pad to sit on. Almost all laminates "float" i.e. not attached to the decking below. A few laminates come with self stick adhesive. Most laminates boards connect to each other to form a continues floor. Since the entire floor floats you must tack down ends, usually with shoe molding at the base of the walls. Remember to allow for expansion and contractions by not running the floor all the way to the wall!
I think the major issue with wood flooring in the kitchen is WATER! By definition there is water in the kitchen and some of that water will inevitably end up on the floor. Moreover, kitchen floors get dirty and must be cleaned, with water. Almost all the floors described above come with a finished coat that is waterproof. However all have joints between the boards that can allow water to penetrate. If water reaches the native wood it will expand and buckle.
One solution that I have used on real wood floors and suggested to others, is to paint additional layers of polyurethane over a finished floor. This helps to seal the joints between the boards and allow you to mop the floor with a damp mop for cleanups. Use Polyurethane with semi gloss or satin sheen to match the original finish. Be sure to test a sample board before proceeding, to make sure the polyurethane will take properly and doesn't bubble.