Many homeowners have studied her kitchen long and hard, scanning all sections of her home’s most important room and wondered, “What’s missing from this picture?”

The answer may be underneath her well-worn shoes.

According to Money Magazine, replacing flooring, particularly kitchen flooring, is the most popular home improvement project in America, with 5.2 million homeowners undertaking the cost-effective project in 2017. With an average cost of $3,283, the project falls within the financial wheelhouse of many homeowners looking for a low-cost upgrade for their kitchen.

“Flooring is one of the most important home improvement projects because it’s a way to transform the look and feel of the home without spending a fortune,” said Dan DiClerico, a home expert with HomeAdvisor.com. “We’ve seen the project really take off in the age of open floor plans in contemporary homes.”

Outside the instant immediate style and comfort upgrade, how do you really know when it’s absolutely time to repave your home’s most traveled and important surface? When you encounter …

1) Water Damage: Nothing beats up a floor like water, which takes a slippery H2O wrecking ball to hardwood floors.

2) Last Century Linoleum: If the floor still has the distinct, dated look of your Grandma’s kitchen floor, guess no more. It’s time to re-floor your kitchen.

3) Extensive Scratches: If your active kids, long-clawed pets and the daily wear and tear of family life have your kitchen floor looking like a natural grass NFL field after the Super Bowl, proceed directly from this blog to researching a new finish for your kitchen’s hardwood floor.

4) Large Gouges or Chips: There are scratches, and then there are gouges and holes. A deep gouge or chip in floors, particularly hardwood floors, will let water seep into the surrounding wood. Plus, it can also splinter and hurt your family.

5) You’re Standing on a Floor of Many Colors: Dis-colorization, fading, stains and shoe markings are sure-tell signs of a kitchen floor calling out for help, and most likely, retirement.

6) Worn or Splintering Floors: In short, if you’re standing on a floor in this sore shape, you’re standing on an unsafe kitchen floor. Splintering especially can cause injuries, especially for young children.

7) Failing the Water Test: For kitchens with hardwood floors, particularly older hardwood floors, it’s good to perform a periodic water test. This test makes sure the flooring is well sealed.

Pour a tablespoon of water on your floor, especially in an area that looks worn. If the water pulls into droplets or pools together, the floors are still sealed well.

But if the water seeps into the wood (an instant sign of the potential or presence of water damage), the floor needs to be resurfaced or replaced.

Replacing kitchen flooring, as Ehow’s Shauna Zamarripa stresses, “is not a project to be undertaken by the faint of heart.” But it’s a project that must not be put off if you find you and your family are standing on shaky and extremely stale kitchen ground.

For affordable vinyl, laminate, ceramic, cork or hardwood floors will give your kitchen not just a sure-footed and safe surface, but a fresh and contemporary new look. 

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