Flooring decisions for a home in a tropical climate are different than choosing a floor in the Midwest.
In Florida, humidity is a huge factor. Our home here is about fourteen years old and except for carpet in the bedrooms, the flooring is a neutral tone, twenty-inch square tile. We are fortunate that the tiles are a bit larger than what was typically used in the early 2000's. They were most likely an upgrade fourteen years ago and for the most part,they still look good today.
We were surprised to discover that when they installed the tile they did not run it under the kitchen cabinets. This creates a real issue for us as we prepare for our kitchen remodel. The fourteen-year-old tile isn't available any longer and we do not have any left over tiles. Because the cabinet footprints will be changing, we are looking at a new floor and this floor will also need to be carried into the open plan family room.
Fortunately, there are some easy transition points at the two kitchen doorways where the new floor will meet up with the old.
Even with those transition points, I could only envision a wood floor partnering up with the existing tile. Since we began planning this remodel I have learned that not just any wood flooring will work in this humid climate. Old school, solid wood flooring is not an option.
A solid wood floor has a lot of pores or paths for moisture/humidity to enter.
If the expansion is too great the board will warp and either cup or crown. In some situations, this expansion has even caused floors to buckle.
Then came the engineered woods which are much less susceptible to humidity because of the way they are made.
This engineered wood makes it possible to enjoy the beauty of natural wood floors even in tropical climates.
So with this new information in hand, we knew we needed to limit our choices to engineered woods.
We also knew we were looking for a light finish in a warm gray or taupe color and we liked the look of a wider, roughly seven-inch plank. Something like this Lighthouse sample from The Medallion Collection of Naturally Aged Floors.
The color is great and it has a lifetime structural warranty and a UV Polyurethane finish.
The downside for us is the product is made in China.
We also liked this Greystone Maple from Uptown Floors.
It is a superbly made product but the sales rep advised us to stay away from maple, saying it would dent easily and the smooth grain would make those dents very apparent. They didn't offer this color in an oak or hickory.
The color and texture of this Rosina from Legno Bestone is stunning but it has an oil rubbed finish that needs to be buffed and re-oiled every few years. We want something that we can install and forget.
Q Wood's Wedding Cake and Picket Fence are two more intriguing options.
They are made in America, have a durable protective coating, and they are oak.
I like both of these shades.
We are fortunate to have so many choices and I don't want to over think this since there are a lot of decisions ahead when it comes to this kitchen remodel. This is a big one to be sure, in terms of visual real estate and dollars. So we are doing our homework and should be able to make our choice quickly and with confidence.
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