Published at Saturday, 02 February 2019. Kitchen Floors. By Gerda Andersen.
Not all species and cuts of wood will adapt well to a radiant retrofit. Most vulnerable are soft woods like pine and hickory, especially if they are flat-sawn. If you are installing new flooring over radiant, opt for strip flooring rather than plank, and allow plenty of time for the wood to acclimate to the setting. Installing wood flooring with a high percentage of residual moisture over radiant heat can lead to early failure. For best results, look for a radiant product that puts out heat at a low, gentle setting, such as a low-voltage membrane.
Wood floors are an old-house staple—but in the harsh environment of the kitchen, wood will splinter, flake, and warp when exposed repeatedly to water. That's why early Americans quickly learned to seal wood floors with whatever was available, from homemade paint to wax and tung oil. Similarly, Victorian homeowners jumped at the chance to install water-resistant materials like linoleum and mosaic tile as soon as they became widely available in the last quarter of the 19th century.
Mosaic tile came on the scene in the United States in the 1860s and remained popular well into the 20th century. Most commonly seen in bathrooms, it is also a legitimate choice for kitchens. Choices range from classic 1" hexagons and penny rounds (often with inlays or borders) to more sophisticated patterns such as herringbone, double basketweave, and pentagon. Think of them as tile rugs and you have got the idea. For the most authentic look and a slip-resistant surface, choose mosaic tiles with a matte finish.
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