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Q.I have a customer who insists on having red oak strip flooring in her kitchen. I’ve tried to talk her into a more durable, scrubbable flooring, but she won’t hear it. Is there anything that the floor finisher should do differently to protect the oak floor?

A.Wood flooring contractor and consultant Howard Brickman responds: I’m assuming that the objection is to a wood floor in the kitchen regardless of the species. Without a doubt, the kitchen is the most demanding area in the house for wear and appearance. Traffic patterns tend to concentrate around islands and work stations. Yet we have installed over 100 kitchen floors with excellent long-term results.

A wood kitchen floor requires durable finishes as well as careful maintenance for good long-term performance. The floor should be installed at a low moisture content (you’ll have to use a moisture meter). This will minimize spaces between boards. Also, using narrower floor boards will further lessen shrinkage.

To create an easily cleanable floor, the finished surface should be as smooth as possible, with all defects properly filled before finishing. You should also apply additional coats of finish to ensure that the finish film is thick enough to stand up to spills and normal cleaning.

Finally, some clients are just not suited to living with a wood floor in their kitchen. If the customers’ current kitchen floor is showing signs of wear though it’s relatively new, they will probably wear out just about anything.