An Introduction to Hardwood Flooring
Oak and maple are common choices for kitchen flooring; pine is often used to give a worn effect. The wood is typically installed prior to the cabinets and laid in planks, narrow strips, or patterned parquet squares.
A floor finished on-site with penetrating oil and wax gives you the classic look of hardwood floors and an even surface. However, it will need to be waxed annually. This type of treatment is more appropriate for the drawing room than a high-traffic, high-spill zone like the kitchen.
A floor treated on-site or at the factory with a penetrating sealer like polyurethane won't need to be waxed regularly. It can be kept fresh with a vacuum or broom and with a recoating every five or six years.
Don't get stuck with a bad finish job. Look for bubbles, paper, and dust that may have been trapped in the finish; a wavy look or feel along the strips; deep swirls or sander marks; and splotchy areas. While you may see some imperfections in isolated areas, they shouldn't appear throughout the flooring.
Recommended flooring support
Polyurethane-coated wood floor can be clean with a vacuum or broom
Wood provides a variety of looks
Long-lasting and durable
If water seeps between the boards, it may cause warping and buckling
Floors with wax finishes require maintenance and may not be practical for the kitchen
Can be slippery
Entire floor may need to be refinished to get rid of scratches
You have to guard against fading; be careful where you place throw rugs and mats as sun can fade the floor around them, leaving a darker area underneath
About $7-$100 per square foot.