Solid Unfinished Planks
Installing a kitchen floor using unfinished planks is one of the best options. Why? The boards can be fitted tighter, sanded, finished, and sealed for a seamless fit. With no cracks or seams, water can’t penetrate the wood. Most unfinished lumber may still come with a beveled edge, but a good sealer will negate any water issues.
Finishing in place, or on-site means more mess and longer wait time before you can use the kitchen. It takes time to let stains and top sealers cure before you can add the next coat. The additional protection is well worth the wait.
Solid Pre-finished Boards
One solution to the problems of fumes from sealing the floor on-site is to buy pre-finished boards. It’s the most common type of floor plank on the market, whether solid wood or engineered.
The boards come already sanded, sealed, stained, and finished from the factory. The fumes have already dissipated by commercial ventilation instead of opening windows in your home. The downside is that most manufacturers add a beveled edge for consistency and durability. When installed, the edge can trap dirt and crumbs. For kitchens, you may want to add another coat of sealer across the floor to cover all the seams. Unfortunately, adding another layer usually voids the warranty, and you’re back to having fumes in the home.
Engineered floors are the modern way of having a wood floor in the kitchen without worrying about water damage. Engineered wood floors are thin veneers of real wood bonded to a substrate of plywood or synthetic material. They usually have a locking system enabling the floor to float over the subfloor without attaching it.
The disadvantage is that the veneer is thin. If it gets damaged, you won’t be able to sand and refinish it as you can with a solid wood floor.
Reclaimed lumber is wood salvaged from floors in old factories, homes, and bowling alleys. It’s an excellent choice for kitchens because the boards have some dings and scratches. Adding a few more over the life of your kitchen only adds to the character.
Reclaimed planks can be resurfaced and sealed like new wood to prevent water seeping in. They add a rustic charm you can’t get with new wood floors.
Some of these plank options may or may not be available depending on the species of wood you choose for your kitchen floor. They will also determine the cost of your new floor.