New Kitchen Flooring question

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New Kitchen Flooring question
« on: 29 Aug 2008, 05:55 pm »
We put down a maple hardwood floor in our kitchen some years ago. As time went by the cracks in between the boards kept getting bigger and bigger in the wintertime, so it generally looks pretty separated these days. The wife wants to redo the kitchen countertops and replace some appliances, and I'm inclined to do something about the floor at the same time.

We're considering putting down one of those Pergo like floors, or a real wood version of the same, right on top of the old one. I really don't want to take out the cabinets to put the floor completely under them, like the real original floor was done. I think that might be best, since these new "floating" floors are locked together and expand and contract at the edges, right to the kickboard of the cabinets. Yes, they are apparently not nailed or glued down but just sit on top of the old flooring. I would guess we still need to go under the stove and refrigerator and perhaps the dishwaher too.

There will be a transition step to the other wood floor in the dining foom and living room, but an edge molding can take care of that I suppose.

So, I'm looking for suggestions and opinions:
 - real wood or Pergo laminate
 - up to the cabinet kick board or underneath
 - same for fridge and stove and dishwasher (yes, I know counter top height needs to be considered here)



Re: New Kitchen Flooring question
« Reply #1 on: 29 Aug 2008, 06:10 pm »
Go real wood or very nice tile.

Pull everything and do it right the first time so you have no regrets or wind up redoing it later.



Re: New Kitchen Flooring question
« Reply #2 on: 29 Aug 2008, 06:43 pm »
How is the current wood floor installed?  (Nail down, glue down)  What is the subfloor?  How big are the gaps?  Is the current wood floor a solid product or engineered.  Is it possible that the floor can be sanded, filled and refinished??  Perhaps an up-close photo with a card placed between the gaps for scale.


Re: New Kitchen Flooring question
« Reply #3 on: 29 Aug 2008, 07:21 pm »
I installed a good number of pergo, wood, and tile floors when I was a professional flooring installer (10+ years), and I've never been a fan of either real wood or wood laminate floors in kitchens.  They never hold up to the increased moisture, cleaning, spills and mopping in a kitchen in my experience.  For longevity and durability you would be much better served by some sort of tile floor.  If your maple is solidly attached and sound you might be able to install a cement backer board over that, and tile or stone on top of that.  I wouldn't do this if your maple is glued down over a concrete sub-floor, though.  You might have some moisture trapping problem in this case.  I would definitely check it out with a local reputable contractor. 

If you do decide to go with a wood floor, I think the laminates are a better choice than real wood in a kitchen.  Even better would be a laminate with glued joints.  This helps to keep moisture out of the joints.  A laminate floor with swollen joints due to moisture looks ragged awfully fast. 

I've only seen a couple of real wood floors in kitchens that I thought still looked good after 5+ years.  Generally they are pretty beat up and show lots of gaps.  It is possible, but takes impeccable care.

Definitely go under the refrigerator if you can.  Makes moving and cleaning beneath it much easier.  It is better to go under the stove if you can, but not critical.  It's easy enough to lift the stove up over the small step.  Dishwashers are tricky, as sometimes they won't fit underneath the counter top if you add additional flooring thickness.  If you have the room by all meas run the material under, but you may not have a choice.

So long as you can live with losing a small amount of counter height, up to the toe-kicks is fine.  Make sure the trim used at the floor perimeter is sealed in well to the floor with flexible caulk so water can't seep around and underneath the floor at the edges.  This kind of water seepage will wreck a laminate or engineered wood laminate floor real fast.

Good luck with whatever way you decide to go. 



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Re: New Kitchen Flooring question
« Reply #4 on: 29 Aug 2008, 07:56 pm »
What about cork flooring? I'm curious about this myself since I'm about to floor my kitchen too. I'd like to avoid tile, if possible, since it's relatively hard on the back according to my sister who just replaced her wood kitchen flooring with tile. Does cork hold up well to abuse?



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Re: New Kitchen Flooring question
« Reply #5 on: 30 Aug 2008, 02:28 am »
I noticed your mention of gaps growing in winter. This may be due to a lack of humidity during the heating season causing you planks to shrink. If so, you might save yourself a lot of money and trouble by humidifying in winter. Does it look O.K. in the summer?


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Re: New Kitchen Flooring question
« Reply #6 on: 30 Aug 2008, 03:15 am »
I strongly agree with tile, and strongly recommend an electric heat weave system under the tile.  Perfect time to install it (DIY easy; I've done it) .  High comfort level, energy efficient unless it is a huge kitchen.

Pergo-style must float so you'd probably need base trim to cover the gaps.  You can't pin (or pinch) it under the cabinets.  Easy enough to put under fridge, I suppose, and roll the fridge back on.


Re: New Kitchen Flooring question
« Reply #7 on: 30 Aug 2008, 01:56 pm »
We used a manufactured tile called "PermaStone". 

It is extremely long wearing, but more foregiving than regular tile.  It has "grout lines" on the tiles and looks beautiful when installed - most folks believe it is a stone floor when they see it.  It is set on a special adheasive that is simply painted on the subfloor.  It is easy to cut - no saw required.  Compared to regular tile, it is much cheaper to install but about the same price for materials.

We did our kitchen, pantry, ajoining bath and a bedroom and closets with this product (a total of over 700 sq feet.  The removal of the old flooring and repair of subfloor (we had some water damage) took one day.  The installation of underlayment and tile was finished the next day.  It is a beautiful floor and has stood up to 3 large dogs and farm dirt for several years and looks like new.  If you drop something, it doesn't dent or crack and sometimes even glass doesn't break.  It cleans up quickly.

When we did our floor, we had already installed 1000 sq feet of large Italian tile in our finished basement.  That was more expensive for labor and the grout lines have proven hard to keep "like new".  We like the PermaStone product much better.

I would pull up the wood flooring.  Then I would add underlayment that is glued and screwed for a final floor that is level with the dining room and living room.   


Re: New Kitchen Flooring question
« Reply #8 on: 30 Aug 2008, 02:59 pm »
Check what is being said about PermaStone:

Porcelain tile is the way to go.  Extremely durable and extremely practically imprevious to moisture.  No wonder why pro kitchens usually use it.   


Re: New Kitchen Flooring question
« Reply #9 on: 30 Aug 2008, 03:25 pm »
Thanks everyone. Now to answer a few of your questions ...

- We are considering tile but have the same caveats that we had long ago - hard on the back and cold in the winter. We're getting older so that is a concern, and barefoot is the norm around the house.

- The cracks get fairly large in the winter, but have started to remain open int he summer time too. These floors were filled and refinished once already, but a filled crack opening up is not a pretty sight at all. Better to leave it unfilled and let it open up in my opinion.

- The maple is nailed to a subfloor, slats, not solid plywood.

- Yes, we could pull it up and put down something else, but that yould mean pulling out the cabinets, and I really want to avoid that if possible.

- Thanks for the tips about filling the edge gaps with a flexible silicon to keep moisture from getting under the laminate. That's one I wouldn't have thought of. Also about gluing the seams instead of just using their manufactured inter-locking mechanism.

- I also feel that a Pergo like synthetic would be better than real wood. Cheaper too, which means if it goes bad in 5 years it's cheap enough to throw down another one at that time. After seeing what abuse a real wood kitchen floor takes from moisture and such I think synthetics might hold up better. Our kitchen is also the portal to the backyard and deck, and we have a dog (Lab), so everything gets on it.

- I am a bit concerned about the transition step between rooms, so I am seriously considering the thinnest one I can find to keep that to a minimum. Any thoughts on thinner vs thicker?

Thanks again,


Re: New Kitchen Flooring question
« Reply #10 on: 30 Aug 2008, 04:07 pm »
Hi Bob
We put in tile in our kitchen last year, and put in a floor heating system.

It uses heating wires, which are embedded in a rubber pad.  The pad is layed under the tiles.  Really nice in the winter.

There are options where you can put the wires directly down on the floor, but installation would cost more.

Randy  :drool: (emoticon curtesy of my daughter)


Re: New Kitchen Flooring question
« Reply #11 on: 30 Aug 2008, 04:19 pm »
Also about gluing the seams instead of just using their manufactured inter-locking mechanism.
Just remember the manufacturer sometimes have a reason for not recommending gluing the joints, I have seen floors buckle in places where heavy appliances anchor the two horizontal sides of the planks which essentially eliminated the expansion gaps.

In your circumstances (wide humidity environment swings) an artificial (less impervious to moisture) material may just be the ticket. Tiles come in so many forms these days its hard to keep up, visit a few specialty tile dealers(not the big box HD or Lowes)...whatever you choose, try standing on samples of it barefeet to get the feel...if the feet don't like it, you won't be happy in the long run.


Re: New Kitchen Flooring question
« Reply #12 on: 30 Aug 2008, 04:33 pm »
As far as just need to make sure to use a system that is designed to be glued.  Some of the interlocking systems are designed to be installed dry or glued, and all of the non-interlocking (not many of these left anymore) need to be glued.  The non-interlocking systems are a PITA to install, so I would stay away from those anyway.  I'm not sure if I remember correctly, but I think Mohawk makes an interlocking system that is designed to be glued in wet locations.  I thought their product looked top notch when I was installing it, too.

Most of the engineered laminate floors come up to under 1/2" overall thickness including the pad, and there are ready made trim pieces to transition down to a neighboring floor.  A 1/2" step it not very big, and looks fine properly trimmed.

Don't skimp on the underlayment system.  This ends up defining the sound and feel of the floor.  Cheap, lightweight underlayments usually sound very hollow and artificial and feel like walking on a thin sponge.  Also, make sure you fully check out the manufacturer's specs for guidance into what kind of underlayment system to use for your requirements. 

Rajacat--I have seen cork flooring tiles used in some commercial buildings (shops, stores) around town and liked the way they looked.  They seem to hold up well to large amounts of foot traffic, but this is highly dependent on the clear coat they use to seal and treat the floor.  In a kitchen, I would think an install then finish type of system would be better than a pre-finished system. Finishing after installation would help to seal the joints between cork tiles, and avoid dirt gathering and water absorption there.

Even though I haven't installed floors in about 5 years I still suffer from a professional curse.  I keep my eyes on the ground wherever I go.