Hardwood in the Kitchen

Lots of people ask for hardwood in the kitchen.   Over time, the folks at the Tartan Design Centre have responded to this question in virtually every way conceivable.  If you had asked for hardwood in the kitchen at any particular time in the past, you would have received one of the following responses:

  1.  it is not permitted
  2.  it is an upgrade but you have to sign a waiver saying that you won’t complain if the finish seems defective
  3.  it is part of the standard specifications.

Depending on Tartan’s response, you might ask “why is it not permitted?” or “what’s with the waiver? Lots of houses have hardwood in the kitchen.  Other builders offer it..”

The story behind the story is a little bit complicated.

It’s true, hardwood in the kitchen is very popular.  I have it in my house.  There are a lot of benefits.  It’s softer and warmer on the feet.  With all the open concept designs, it makes sense to have the same flooring in the kitchen and dining areas.  Also, if you do drop a roasting pan you may end up with a slight scratch in the finish which is preferable to a cracked tile.

The problem is that the hardwood manufacturer, along with the Ontario Tarion new home warranty Corporation are very explicit in stating that hardwood flooring is not designed for use in kitchens, and therefore the warranty won’t be honoured if the hardwood finish seems defective during the one-year fixture and finishes warranty.

The manufacturer and Tarion argue that hardwood flooring in the kitchen is not subject to “normal wear and tear”.  There is more foot traffic, hard objects fall onto the floor, there is a much higher likelihood of water or other liquids spilling onto the floor, and so on.

However, we have to respond to the majority of buyers who ask for hardwood in the kitchen.  Saying no all the time doesn’t work.  We started offering it as an upgrade, with the waiver.  Over time we have found that our buyers are reasonable people who understand that there is much more traffic in the kitchen than there is in any other part of the house (other than the points of entry).  If a pot falls on the kitchen floor and leaves a little scratch, they understand that they cannot claim that the floor finish is defective.

For this reason, it is very seldom that our customers list kitchen hardwood flooring as defective in their inspection reports.

And for this reason, we’ve moved away from asking for a waiver, and now offer hardwood as a standard in the kitchen in addition to most of the main floor. This is a rare example where we knowingly sell a product that is not covered by the warranty. We inform our purchasers.   This is what people want. Furthermore, people know and accept the potential of greater wear and tear on their kitchen floors.