Tile vs. Hardwood Floors in the Kitchen

Since it’s been almost five years since we remodeled our kitchen, I’ve had time to form opinions about some of our design choices.

Today, I’d like to share my thoughts on tile vs. hardwood floors in the kitchen.

*Please note that this post contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase after clicking my links below, I will receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

tile vs hardwood in the kitchen

If you are having trouble choosing between tile and hardwood floors for your kitchen, maybe my experience with both can help.

Back when we were planning our kitchen renovation, I remember searching online for the pros and cons of hardwood floors.  Sure, I was able to find flooring websites with very professional advice demonstrating the benefits of tile or even general articles comparing tile vs. hardwood floors in the kitchen.  Even though that advice was helpful, I was seeking real opinions from homeowners who have lived with hardwood for awhile.  At one point, I even wrote a blog post asking for opinions on wood floors in the kitchen.  Feel free to pop over and read that post and be sure to scan down to the comment section to see what people wrote.  Years later, it’s very interesting to read over comments on tile vs. hardwood floors in the kitchen.

For the first 15 years in our home, we had tan ceramic tiles running through our kitchen, foyer and back hallway.  We also had smaller white (very builder-grade) tiles in our downstairs bathroom and laundry room.  After several years, we replaced the tile in those two rooms with larger tan tiles but left the kitchen and other living areas.

Let’s take a look back to when we had ceramic tile in our kitchen:

Oak kitchen with tile floors

Sure, the tile was practical and it seemed to be the norm around the time our home was built (1999).  In fact, I think most of our neighbors had tile in their kitchens back then.  Since we were the first owners of our home, we were able to choose the finishes during the building process.  As I recall, the tile we chose was one of the least expensive options. Tile just felt very practical for us and became even more practical after we had kids and got a dog!  When I think back to all those high-chair days, I’m thankful that it was so easy to wipe up messes.

Overall, we were happy with our kitchen tile and it held up beautifully for the 15 or so years we had it.  In fact, I don’t think we had a chip anywhere!  Until we decided to renovate our kitchen, I didn’t even consider changing the tile.  Although, a few things weren’t perfect.  Standing on our kitchen tile for long periods of time wasn’t comfortable, especially when it was cold in the morning!  Our tile also got very slippery when wet so we had to be careful when mopping the floor.  Also, the grout was hard to clean.

Pros and Cons of Tile in the Kitchen:

(Please note that I’m sharing my own experiences)

Pros:

  • Practical with kids and a dog – usually doesn’t dent or scratch.
  • Easy to wipe up spills (and muddy footprints).
  • Cost – you can usually find a wide range of inexpensive ceramic or porcelain tiles in most stores.

Cons:

  • Cold and not comfortable to stand on for long periods of time.
  • Slippery when wet – yes, you can buy rougher styles but our tile could get very slippery.
  • Doesn’t give a continuous flow if you have other flooring in connecting rooms.
  • Grout can be hard to clean!  Although we were generally happy with these ways to clean our grout over the years.

Here is another angle of our kitchen with tile:

oak kitchen with tile floors

Like I mentioned, years later we ended up renovating our kitchen.

As you know, one thing leads to another… During that renovation, we decided to rip out the tile floors in our downstairs rooms and replace them all with hardwood flooring.  We kept the newer tile in our guest bathroom and laundry room, but replaced the tile in the kitchen, foyer and back hallway with hardwood.  While we were at it, we had our contractors remove the prefinished hardwood floors in our living and dining rooms along with the carpet in our family room.   Yes, it was a huge project!  After living in our home for years, we no longer wanted to define each room with different flooring.  Instead, our objective was to give the downstairs rooms a better flow.

Here is our kitchen with hardwood floors:

white kitchen with wood floors

Yes, a lot has changed from those earlier days!  I’d have to say, style was the main reason we chose to switch from tile to hardwood floors in the kitchen.  After years of living with oak cabinets and ceramic tile floors, we wanted a whole different look for our kitchen.  Like most of us, our tastes change over the years so a different style can feel so fresh and new!

White Kitchen with stained island and hardwood floors

So the big question…

Are we happy we chose hardwood over tile for our kitchen?

Yes, yes, yes!

Not only do we love how the hardwood floors look in the kitchen but we love how they flow from room to room.  Before, we would walk from tile to wood to carpet… When I look back now, it all felt choppy to me.  Now the rooms flow so much better.  With continuous flooring, our rooms even seem bigger.

White kitchen with stained island and rush seat counter stools

Also, we love how the floors feel when we walk barefoot.  No more cold, slippery tiles.  Overall, the floors are easy to clean too – and no more grout lines!

For our home, we chose to install red oak floors which were finished on-site.  I recall that we chose red oak for it’s durability and because our staircase was red oak.  Our flooring guy suggested that we kept those the same.  When we priced out the finished on-site floors vs. pre-finished, I remember that the finished on-site option was less expensive.  Of course, my husband pushed for that option!  Although, we did agree that those provided the look we were after for our home.

If you are going to choose to have your floors finished after installation, be prepared to move out for a week or two.  First of all, the dust is ridiculous and the smell from the stain and polyurethane is beyond noxious.  I never want to experience that again!

After five years of living with hardwood floors in our kitchen, we have noticed some scratches and dings here and there.  Of course, we do have a golden retriever so I guess we knew what to expect going in.

My List of Pros and Cons of Wood Floors in the Kitchen:

(Once again, these are my own thoughts as a homeowner).

Pros:

  • Style – I love the warm, classic look of hardwood.
  • Flow – If you have hardwood in adjoining rooms, continuous flooring helps connect the rooms.
  • Feel – Wood floors generally feel more comfortable to stand on.
  • Easy to Clean – We usually use Bona Floor Cleaner but I’ve heard people having success with vinegar and water too.
  • Can be Re-stained – If your tastes change and you want to update the floor color, you could always pay to have the floors sanded down and refinished in a new color.  As I mentioned, our floors were finished on site so feel free to read all about our floor stain options.  Apparently, pre-finished floors can also be sanded down and re-stained too.

Cons:

  • Dents and Scratches – yes, with kids and a golden retriever this was bound to happen.  I just try to overlook the scratches.
  • Risk of Water Damage – so far, we haven’t had any kitchen disasters that would cause damage to the wood floors.  Unfortunately, a friend of mine had a dishwasher problem that ended up damaging her floors.  I guess it could happen…so fingers crossed on that one!
  • Expense – hardwood floors aren’t cheap but there are many different price ranges just like anything else.
  • Fumes during staining and sealing – Like I mentioned, if you choose to have your hardwood floors finished on-site, be prepared to inhale some of the worst fumes of your life…I’m talking a lung scorching, eye tearing nightmare.  You really cannot stay in your house while they are finishing them.  Having said that, we did use the oil-based polyurethane at the advice of our floor guy.  I’ve heard the water based option isn’t as bad.

Hopefully, my experience with both tile and hardwood floors will help you make a flooring decision. 

Obviously, it’s a big commitment to choose kitchen flooring.  Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.  Even though I’m not a flooring professional, I can share my thoughts as a homeowner.

What are your thoughts on tile vs. hardwood in the kitchen?

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21 Comments

  1. February 26, 2020 / 3:07 pm

    Great topic and post, Shelley! I dislike our laminated wood floors because of their orange color– which I suppose is supposed to be cherry. I thought about trying to stain them darker myself but people discouraged me from trying it and I didn’t care for the sample board that I stained… So I just cover them up with area rugs as much as I can!

    Liberty from B4andAfters.com

    • calypsointhecountry
      Author
      February 26, 2020 / 3:22 pm

      Thanks Liberty! I don’t know much about laminated floors but the rugs sound like a good solution!

  2. February 26, 2020 / 5:17 pm

    I am loving your hardwood floors! Your new kitchen is stunning!
    Happy Wednesday to you!

    • calypsointhecountry
      Author
      February 26, 2020 / 5:30 pm

      Awe, thanks Nancy!

  3. February 26, 2020 / 7:52 pm

    I agree with you 100% in this. Well, the part about the hardwood floors, I haven’t had tile. We got rid of laminated and carpet on our main floor for a contiguous hardwood floor layout. My only regret was getting them in that awful honey color.

    • calypsointhecountry
      Author
      February 26, 2020 / 7:57 pm

      Thanks, Cristina! I’m glad you are happy with yours too. Having one type of continuous flooring really does make a difference, doesn’t it? Your home is so beautiful that I never even noticed the honey color! Thanks for swinging by!

  4. February 27, 2020 / 8:31 am

    I love the transformation of your kitchen. Even though we have been blog friends for a long time, this is the first time that I’ve seen your kitchen before you updated it. We have hardwood in our kitchen and I love it.

    • calypsointhecountry
      Author
      February 27, 2020 / 8:40 am

      Thank you so much, Paula! It’s fun to look back sometimes, isn’t it? Glad you love your hardwood floors too!

  5. February 27, 2020 / 11:34 am

    We have prefinished hardwood floors in part of our house but we went with a real light wood at the time and they are so scratched and through time those scratches have filled in with dirt and I hate how dirty they always look. Unfortunately our pre-finished floors have so many layers of urethane that re-finishing them (while possible) is not really recommended as it would take a very long time to sand all the layers off. That said; I still prefer them to tile or carpet!

    • calypsointhecountry
      Author
      February 27, 2020 / 12:16 pm

      Thanks for your input, Joanne! Yeah, I guess it would be quite a project to sand them down. I know my neighbor had some of hers sanded down to re-stain to match the flooring in the rest of her house. She didn’t mention any problems with all the layers of finish. Of course, hers could have been different. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. February 27, 2020 / 1:59 pm

    Your kitchen doesn’t even look like the same one!!! I LOVE hardwood floors and have them in every room in our house. They hide a multitude of sins, such as: paw prints! Have a wonderful weekend, Shelley!

    • calypsointhecountry
      Author
      February 27, 2020 / 4:16 pm

      Thank you! Yes, we did make quite a few changes…Glad to hear you like your hardwood floors too. Those paw prints definitely have be taken into consideration!

  7. Carol F Higgins
    March 1, 2020 / 6:55 pm

    I loved my hardwood floors continuously throughout the house, but, ALAS—we had a water disaster. The refrigerator sprung a leak and my hardwood floor in the kitchen began to buckle. We didn’t catch it in time and we had to redo the kitchen—this time we chose luxury vinyl plank flooring (looks like tile but much cheaper and no grout!). It’s a light color and makes the kitchen look bigger but doesn’t flow into the other rooms that still have hardwood. Really doesn’t look as luxurious, but—-Yea! —it’s WATERPROOF!!

    • calypsointhecountry
      Author
      March 1, 2020 / 8:35 pm

      Ugh, that does not sound like a fun experience! I’m glad you are happy with the vinyl plank flooring though. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we never have a water disaster. Of course, we never had any water issues when we had tile so it better not happen now! Thanks for your input!

  8. March 3, 2020 / 11:29 pm

    Hi! Thanks for your tips. I’m looking to get hardwood in my mostly open floor plan home (a half wall separates the kitchen and the family room) and would love hardwood in the kitchen. But my fridge has leaked in the past and my dishwasher recently had a leak! I’m not sure what to do.

    • calypsointhecountry
      Author
      March 4, 2020 / 7:19 am

      You’re welcome, Lauren! I think leaking appliances are a big fear for most people. Believe me, it has crossed my mind many times! Have you researched the tile that looks like wood? Of course it won’t feel as soft as wood but companies have come up with some amazing versions. My friend has the wood tiles in her bathroom and it looks amazing!

  9. March 4, 2020 / 10:43 pm

    Great post! We put hardwood in our kitchen in our previous home, and we loved it! It was such a difficult decision though. (And, I admit, I was always a little nervous about a dishwasher leak!) But I LOVED it and would recommend it. And, when we moved, guess what? — We chose a house with hardwood through the kitchen and family room. So we have hardwood in the kitchen now too. I’m featuring this post at Thursday Favorite Things tomorrow. Thanks for sharing!

    • calypsointhecountry
      Author
      March 5, 2020 / 9:36 am

      Thank you, Pam! Yes, the fear of those leaks…I know what you mean! I’m happy to take my chances for the look though. I’ve really been so happy since we switched to hardwood floors. And thank you so much for featuring me this week! What a nice surprise!

  10. March 6, 2020 / 10:21 am

    Excellent post on the pros and cons of wood flooring, Shelley. It’s funny how this post brought up memories from long ago when my parents had added an addition onto our home and I remembered the floors being stained and varnished.

    • calypsointhecountry
      Author
      March 6, 2020 / 10:55 am

      Thanks Rachelle! You probably remember it because the fumes were so bad! LOL! Thanks for stopping by!

  11. March 7, 2020 / 1:47 pm

    Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn

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