A favorite flooring material for kitchens, wood is more forgiving on our joints than stone, ceramic, porcelain or concrete. It also looks and feels warmer than nonresilient flooring. Some drawbacks to wood are that it can get scratched and dinged easily, and it also must be protected from contact with water. In kitchens I recommend going with a site-finished wood floor rather than a prefinished floor. Yes, it’s a messy business sealing the floor after installation, but by sealing it after installation you also seal up the joints, preventing water and dirt from collecting in them.

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Material cost: $5 to $20 per square foot

More about solid wood floors and engineered wood floors

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