The 411 About Hardwood in the Kitchen
Baird Brothers’ Steve Stack discusses ways to incorporate hardwood in your kitchen design, and what to know before you install. “In the kitchen, hardwood is exposed to the worst of the worst — water, heat, spills, sharp tools and heavy foot traffic,” Steve said. “With a little knowledge and TLC, you can keep it looking gorgeous for generations.”
Hardwood flooring in the kitchen: planning and prevention is key
When it comes to adding warmth and homey comfort to a kitchen, nothing beats hardwood floors.
- Consult the Janka Hardness Table for hardwoods such as oak, hickory and maple that can stand up to wear in this heavily trafficked area.
- Water, water everywhere. If you do have spills, clean them promptly, and if an appliance leaks, get it fixed right away to avoid a standing-water disaster. Place a mat or small rug under dog/cat bowls.
- Dings and drops happen. Place rugs and runners near the sink, stove and prep areas.
- Color matters. Lighter or natural-colored hardwood is a good choice for kitchens — dust, food crumbs, etc. are not as visible as they are on darker surfaces.
Choosing a hardwood work surface
Hardwood on the counter or island top is sure to turn heads, but classic butcher block and plank (random width boards glued side-by-side) work surfaces require a greater degree of maintenance. “It will scratch,” Steve said. “You have to decide if you’re going for aesthetics or utility.”
- Aesthetics: Do not cut directly on the surface. Use a portable cutting board, in stock on our website or custom made to size.
- Utility: a workable surface is not treated with protective coating, instead with a food/user-friendly butcher block conditioner.
- It makes the cut. Butcher block is a superior work surface that won’t dull knives; to repair damage over time, light sanding and oil will restore it.
- Excessive moisture causes damage. Thoroughly dry hardwood work surfaces each and every time.
Cabinet fronts — an easy update
“Replacing cabinet fronts is a way to freshen up your kitchen without investing in new cabinets,” Steve said. Baird Brothers offers cabinet doors and drawer fronts custom made to size in the full gamut of species, in a variety of designs, including craftsman, shaker and raised panel.
- Don’t forget about appliances. Update the look of your kitchen by installing hardwood fronts on your dishwasher and refrigerator.
- Add some design detail with moulding.
- Give cabinets class by topping them with crown moulding or installing moulding underneath to conceal under-cabinet lighting.
Add pizzazz with wainscoting
“Wainscoting, either tongue-and-groove or raised panel, is an easy way to enhance a kitchen,” Steve said. “It can be painted to complement other hardwood in the room, clear finished to showcase the natural beauty or rough finished for a more rustic look.” Ways to add wainscoting into kitchen décor:
- Enhance the island by wainscoting the sides.
- Define the breakfast nook area with wainscoting installed on the lower third of the wall.
- Install wainscoting as an eye-catching backsplash.