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May 9, 2007 09:08 AM

Need advice on baking station & kitchen flooring


My husband and I are building our dream kitchen. I've spent days on Chowhound threads reading all sorts of valuable information on counter tops and appliances. But I have two specific questions I am hoping you can help me with:

1) We've decided to go with Caeser Stone for the countertops in our kitchen. But we are dedicating a 3 feet portion to a baking station. I know Marble is the age old surface of choice, but when talking to a salesman, he said that was just an old wives tale and that Caeser stone will stay as cool as marble. Fact? Fiction?

2) We've heard that wood floors aren't a good idea in a high traffic, with potential water spill area - but its attractive and cheap. (more than half the kitchens I see in magazines have wood floors!).

Stone/granite gets slippery and is hard on the feet and if anything falls, its sure to break.

Tiles should be a good option, but I HATE HATE grout and all the crap that gets trapped in grout and how hard it is to keep looking good because the grout lines are dirt and stain magnets.

Concrete is beautiful, but also hard on the feet.

What is a cook to do?

Thanks for your advice!

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  1. Wood. Absolutely. The finish on the wood floors in my kitchen looks as good today as it did 21 years ago when we redid the kitchen.
    I said goodbye to the Mexican tile floor with a song in my heart for all the aches and pains of hours on my feet. The look was great but even fatigue mats don't make it the equal of wood for comfort.
    Sure, you have to wipe up spills, but on stone or any hard surface, you have to do that anyway for safety and hygiene.
    A major, major plus is the difference in the noise level. Wood is just quieter than the hard surfaces of stone, granite, tile, etc. and with kids, dogs, kitchen equipment, TV and sound equipment, and all the other cacaphony of modern life, that should not be discounted.
    The cost should seal the deal. Then you can buy some great Oriental scatter rugs with the savings for work stations and high traffic areas.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MakingSense

      MakingSense, could you be a little more specific. Did you install pre-finished wood floors? If not, do you know how many coats of poly were applied? What do you do for routine cleaning/maintenance? We, too, are also planning a complete kitchen remodel but the main entrance will be into a mud room/laundry area. There's a small porch but the driveway is gravel. The mudroom opens into the kitchen. Also in the kitchen will be an antique wood cookstove (which I have to learn how to use). I love the tile in the house we have now and don't have any problem with the grout but my legs/feet ache when I do a lot of cooking for the holidays.

      1. re: dfrostnh

        The floor man referred to it as a "Swedish Finish" - not sure what that is - but he recommended against polyurethane as many do. Poly sits on the surface and the more coats you put on the worse it gets.It can just peel off, wears unevenly and can't be touched up without showing. I did have to have one spot retouched and we couldn't even tell the diff. We dust/sweep the floors, mop with plain water or add a bit of white vinegar. Occasionally, Murphy's Oil Soap. I'm good about cleaning up after my spills so the floor doesn't get gross. Frankly, the care is easier than it was for the tile or for a stone floor in a kitchen I had once. They showed dirt far worse and were harder to clean.
        Gravel tracked in stuck to shoes could be a problem for any floor if your family doesn't deal with their shoes in the mudroom.
        You will have to put something fireproof under the wood cookstove for fire code - not to mention common sense - but a simple brick or slate inset should blend pleasantly with wood.
        My neighbors have heart pine that is just oiled and it's fabulous, no-sweat care. She just reoils wear spots periodically. Her floors look as good as the day they were installed and the wood was already over 100 years old.
        Wood is sooooo much easier on your back, legs and feet.

    2. We have a fixer-upper, and the floors in our kitchen are warped from water damage. The only real concerns you should have would be if something were to happen to the dishwasher, sink or a water pipe. If you take care of your wood floors, you shouldn't have to sweat the small stuff. That being said, if we cannot save our wood floors when we remodel our kitchen I thought of looking into cork flooring. Although I think the concerns you have about wood floors would be the same for cork.

      2 Replies
      1. re: lizzy

        You only have to worry about long term water problems. My DW gap popped a few weeks ago. Water everywhere. Just mopped it up and no problems.
        We did have a slow leak that I finally traced to the fridge icemaker which caused some buckling of seams near the fridge. Once I fixed that, the seams slowly dried and went back to normal after a few months. Important thing is not to panic. Wood is very forgiving unlike tile and stone. Once they're cracked or chipped, it's forever.

        1. re: MakingSense

          You know when I typed my reply in my mind I was thinking long term problems...apparently that was lost somewhere between my mind and my fingers.

      2. I'd encourage you consider a product called "Marmoleum". We've put it in two kitchens and will use it forever. It's comfortable underfoot, which is most important if you cook, and it is indestructible; it also comes in about a zillion colors. Without intending to be disrespectful, it's an unusual wood floor that doesn't eventually show its age; and it's not always the most comfortable stuff to stand upon if you're cooking for hours.

        1. I have been in kitchens and remodeling for 30+ years and I the number of "salespeoples' lies" that I hear goes up every year.

          There is no "old wives tale" about marble -- it is absolutely a PHYSICAL property of marble that its heat conduction properties make it desirable for bakers.
          What I do not know, is the thermal properties of "Ceasar Stone" -- it has some quartz, which is technically slightly better than marble, but it also has resin/plastic/binder, that is way way way worse. I seriously doubt that physical properties of Ceasar Stone are not more like plastic than they are like marble -- when I lay my moist hand against marble I can instantly feel that there is heat transfer, not so with Ceasar Stone (which is not to say that it is not a good product, that works as designed, only to say that this guy is stretching the truth...


          Similarly I have the heard the "wood is not good in a high traffic area" -- well, my friend that is a pretty darned unqualified warning. I personally have installed wood floors in commercial establishments that have far more foot (and baby stroller, and delivery cart) traffic than ANY home. These floors have held-up with normal dustmop care for 10+ years. I have also heard the "wood is no good around water" comment -- by first reaction is "and no boats were ever made of wood...". Guess what, if you install wood floors where they are going to get an occasional spill or splash I can say with certainty that a good product, well installed will look FINE for at least 5-7 with ZERO maintenance other than wiping up the spills. After that time period, if you have kids and dogs and run from the pool to the kitchen dripping wet you MIGHT want to recoat the floors with a sealer and/or refinish them. This is SO not an issue that there are several floor finishes that have 30 year warranties. If you want wood (and believe me, for warmth, comfort, acoustics, and appearance it has NO equal) get wood! There are other options (like bamboo, cork, natural linoleum) that have many similar qualities, but none have the total track record of wood. I disagree that is is "cheap" -- a top quality wood floor, installed by people who know what they are doing, and then finished with high quality products is probably only little less expensive than tile or stone -- those have few/no finishing steps and can sometimes be installed faster (depending on subfloor prep & trim) but the negatives of standing on a tile floor are well known, as are the other draw backs cited.

          I cannot emphasize strongly enough how important it is to get quality work done by quality firms...

          2 Replies
          1. re: renov8r

            Thanks for the information/link about marmoleum and feedback on wood floors. We definitely plan to use wood in the dining room and breakfast nook. The stove will have proper flooring under it (it will back up to an exposed brick chimney). It presently sits on ceramic tile. Last night I looked at the wood floor (maple I think) that's been down about 100 years (was a bedroom, has been a dining area since the middle 70s) and it looks very good esp considering it has been a rental apt for about 30 years.

            1. re: renov8r

              Thank you so much for taking the time out to share such valuable info with me and other readers!

            2. I have tile and I wouldn't recommend it. As you said, the grout is hard to clean. Plus, when you drop glass, you find shards of it everywhere, months after thinking you got it all. When the old owners replaced their refrigerator, it broke a few tiles on the way in. Our floor is over 25 years old, we just bought the house a few years ago and are seriously thinking of replacing it but it'll cost us more to remove it than the hard wood floors to replace it cost. I love cork, that it's easier on your feet and it's more environmental, but it depends on the style of your house and whether it would work with it. So, when we do replace our floors, it'll probably be wood.

              BTW, a baking station is my dream--one where the counters are a little lower and I can knead w/out standing tip toe and a pull out drawer where a kitchen aid stand mixer can pull out w/out having to move it.

              4 Replies
              1. re: chowser

                Ahhh, a baking station - that is my beautiful dream too. I have a granite topped mobile kitchen island that I use for rolling out dough and kneading, but it is slightly too high. (I have a butcher block mobile kitchen island as well. Great for rolling out pasta dough...) Sometimes I use my kitchen table, but that's slightly too low... and my stand mixer is kept on a big stainless steel shelving unit I have against one wall in my kitchen so I am constantly luggin' it off the shelf and onto my counter. It's just too big to stay on the counter 24/7. What I wouldn't give for one of those pull out drawers.

                We also have tile floors - I love the way they look but I agree about the grout and how unforgiving they are. (I just dropped a glass the other night and even after vacuuming, swiffering, mopping etc., I'm still finding pieces of glass all over the kitchen.) We put in the floor before I really became aware of issues like these (I cook and bake a lot more now then I did then because I'm home more.) Now I'm stuck with it because there is no way we are going through the expense of removing and replacing it. At least not for a very long time unless we win the lottery or something.

                1. re: flourgirl

                  Dear Flourgirl,
                  I have a question for you: despite your island being too high, how is it using granite to roll out dough? Do you have to use extra flour? Is it as good as marble?
                  Thanks for your response.

                  1. re: Lynndsey Rigberg

                    Granite doesn't have quite the same physical properties as marble, but in practical terms, it works really well for me. For instance I make rolled and cut cookies fairly often, and anybody who does that knows it can be harder than it sounds. But I have very few sticking problems and I can roll the dough as thin as I need it to be without adding an excess of flour. Granite stays fairly cool, and the polished surface helps keep things from sticking as well. (I love that because I hate rolling out dough between sheets of plastic like so many books tell you to do. It just feels very awkward to me.)

                    I also have a square breakfast bar that is topped with stainless steel. Another great, smooth, cool surface. It's bigger than my granite topped cart so I can roll out much larger pieces of dough if I have the need.

                  2. re: flourgirl

                    I've been using my BOSU (half a stability ball on a platform) when I knead dough. It works great and I work my core at the same time.