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Remodeling kitchen advice

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Hello -

My wife and I are looking to remodel our kitchen. We cook 6 nights a week, so it is definitely more of a workshop than museum/fashion statement. ont eh other hand, it is a fairly small house and the floorplan means you see the kitchen from living room and dining area.
We know we need to switch out/upgrade our countertops. The person we spoke to said while quartz looks nice, it stains easil. Any experience?
We'll also need an upgraded dw, fridge, and range. They had an absoultely lovely Bertozzini range. Anyone had some experience? I doubt we have room (or budget) for sub-zero fridge. Any suggestions on smaller sized appliances?
Finally - what flooring do my my fellow hounds prefer. Att eh moment, we have vinyl. We are thinking either Pergo or cork. Any experience welcome.

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  1. You should sign up to gardenweb.com and go to the kitchen forums on the Home site. I couls not have renovated my kitchen without them. The people who frequent the site are smart, experienced and knowledgable. And they're TKO (totally kitchen obsessed) so there are frequent, numerous posts and responses.
    Really, they're wonderful.

    3 Replies
    1. re: helou

      Interesting. I am a pretty avid gardener (my lemongrass, Thai basil, etc.. are all coming in nicely.

      1. re: Westy

        Well then you'll really be set with advice for everything you could want to know.

      2. re: helou

        We recently remodeled our kitchen and used the gardenweb kitchen forum extensively. They really know there stuff and give great advice. There is also a separate appliance forum where people can give you advice regarding the appliances you are interested in (although they will do this in the kitchen forum as well.)

        The kitchen forum is primarily about design and layout of a kitchen for efficient use of space and to help it function best as a place for cooking.

        If you upload a plan of your space, let them know a bit about your family and personal habits, they will guide you well. I did this and couldn't be more thrilled with how my kitchen functions. I good friend that cooks more extensively than I do, along with lots of canning, jam making, and serious baking, used my kitchen once and was just gushing about how much better it worked than her own.

        There is also a Finished Kitchen Blog used by members of the forum to show off what has been accomplished in their space and to give others design ideas.

        I've seen them help anyone from single folks in small NYC apartments to farm families with 8 kids. It is truly a worthwhile place for kitchen help.

      3. When we remolded the kitchen on our previous home, we went with a Kitchenaid bottom freezer refrigerator. We were quite happy with it and would consider it again on our new home. One feature about it we liked is it did not have a water\ice dispenser on the door. Ugly and takes up space.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mike0989

          Agree! The ice/water dispenser is a waste of space.

          1. re: mike0989

            We got the KA bottom freezer with the water in the door. Love it. Wouldn't spend my budget on a SubZero, but hey, if that floats your boat!

          2. For a small space, a French door fridge is the way to go, no question. The doors, when open, intrude into the kitchen space only half as much as a standard fridge. A side-by-side would do the same thing, but at higher energy costs.

            I agree with mike0989 about in-door water/ice dispensers. We don't have one. Our French door fridge has the icemaker in the upper left area of the freezer, where it takes up very little room and is easy to access. We have an inline water filter hooked up to the icemaker hose from the wall. It's very simple to slide the fridge out twice a year for filter changing.

            4 Replies
            1. re: DuffyH

              We have a side by side in our new home and I hate it. It makes for very limited usable shelf space.

              1. re: mike0989

                I concur. My French door model has much more space, in both the fridge and freezer.

                1. re: mike0989

                  We had a built-in side by side and would never replace with another one. PITA to see anything.

                2. re: DuffyH

                  I admit they're ugly, but I miss my water/ice dispenser. I now have an ice bin in the freezer and a filtered faucet at the sink that provides chilled water. Much more of a hassle.

                3. I, too, cook 6 nights/week and my 5-year-old Cambria quartz countertops have nary a stain. Splashed juice all over one area last weekend while seeding pomegranates -- no stains. I've never heard of quartz staining. You might want to consult a different countertop person.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: pikawicca

                    We were told this about granite, too, and never had a problem in the 11 years we lived with it. If it's well-sealed when installed, you will never have a problem with any natural stone.

                    1. re: pikawicca

                      We had no problem with our quartz countertops either. I would absolutely get quartz again.

                    2. The advice you've gotten doesn't sound right. Most quartz products even tout their stain resistance in comparison to granite and other stone/cement products. Several homes in my area have quartz, and no one's ever complained about stains even on the white/light-colored installations. Anything can be stained under the right conditions. Almost all stains need time to set so a quick wipe pretty much eliminates staining from sealed and non-porous surfaces.

                      As to your redo, the GE Profile line of products are stylish yet very functional. I have GE fridge (albeit I did go for a Monogram model because I liked that it's full stainless, not just on the front), a stainless dual-oven stove, and an upgraded stainless hood vent.

                      You can get sealed granite at a decent price by simply visiting the granite yards and going with a reputable fabricator and installer. The guy who did my work used to subcontract for some of the big box stores - the price difference was about 50% cheaper when the big box store is cut out.

                      I didn't do my floor (wish I had), but I'll probably just do wood because it's durable and versatile. I looked at cork, but I just prefer a hardwood's durability.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Rigmaster

                        I must disagree on the Monogram. Unless they've upgraded their ice maker (ours had a rust problem because it wasn't true stainless) and fixed a few other glitches in the past 10 years, I'd look at another line. During the 11 years we owed our Monogram, we had service people out 5 times. We now live in a house with a 15 year old Sub-Zero, and neither we nor the previous owners ever had a problem with it.

                        1. re: Isolda

                          On the other hand, we had GE Profile Performance appliances (fridge, cooktop and dishwasher) for 8+ years and only needed the plastic water line on the fridge replaced once as it dried out and cracked. No other service calls. Our Subzero's fans broke down after 3 years, which Wolf recommended we simply disconnect and not replace since they're a problem. We also get some ice buildup in the freezer.

                          1. re: emily

                            I loved my GE Profile gas range. It had a brushed SS top that was a breeze to clean. Not as easy as a smoothtop electric, to be sure. But much easy then the normal porcelain found on gas ranges, and the brushed finish didn't show scratches like the Jenn-Air pro-style I used for a while. Who puts a mirror finish on a cooktop, for crying out loud?

                      2. Recently helped my Mom re-do her kitchen and we had all the same issues.

                        STOVE: While we absolutely loved the Bertazzoni, the oven is TINY. The 30" model's oven is just over 23" wide and I think all the models have only 13.5" depth (and only about 18" height). So you can't even do things like bake two bundt cakes in there at once. It also doesn't produce enough BTU's for really good wok cooking which was a consideration for us. We went w/ the BlueStar, and have been delighted with it. (It helped we got a deal on the previous year's model at an appliance liquidator. New models seem to come out in August/September). At my house, I have a much cheaper Frigidaire gas stove. It doesn't have nearly the same power as the BlueStar, but I love it -- easy to clean, oven holds temp OK, and it has more metal in the construction than much more expensive "professional" GE models. (I find that whole GE "Cafe" or "Pro-Series" lines to be a bit of a scam)

                        REFRIGERATOR: I agree that the ice maker just eats up too much floor and freezer space. We went w/ the KitchenAid flat-front, side-by-side w/out ice (KSRS22MWMS) and have been really happy. Most dealers don't keep it in stock, but can order it easily. (Be sure to check for the lowest online price and ask them to match it. They will.) It holds temp really well and is considerably less deep than the GE and Frigidaire models of the same capacity. You also have one less thing that can break or leak w/ out the ice feature. If you have the lateral space, I'd definitely go w. side-by-side over the under-drawer. The drawers just don't hold as much for the cubic footage as shelves do. The only downside with the KitchenAid model we bought has been that sometimes (maybe once every three months) my Mom really has to tug at the door to open it. A vacuum occurs, I guess, but to me, this is just evidence of a good, tight seal on the doors.

                        COUNTERTOPS: We've had no problems whatsoever w/ cream-colored quartz counters staining, and she cooks w/ tons of turmeric, beets, and stuff like that. A little vinegar or Soft Scrub seems to take care of everything. I wonder if the dealer meant problems w/ melt marks? We're pretty careful not to put hot pots directly on the counter, but I can imagine that might mar the surface. Another option I priced out and found very reasonable was stainless steel. If you like the look of it, it's super durable, can be heat sterilized , gives you the option of a totally seamless welded in sink, and can be custom-fabricated for about the same cost as other countertop options (or less if you live in a steel town). Most fabricators will come out and give you a free estimate. People usually use 16 gauge 304 stainless steel for countertops. Stainless steel is not really stainless, though. Acidic foods will chemically react with it and alter the color, and scrubbing will make fine swirly scratches, but in a short time both these things lead to a really nice patina.

                        FLOORS: I'd just go w/ a matte ceramic tile that's dimensionally stable (rectified) so you can do a very fine grout line. It's more durable and cheaper than hardwood or slate, and super easy to clean. If it's laid properly it won't crack even if you drop heavy things on it (being an extremely clumsy family, we've had lots of evidence of that). The cork floors I've seen aren't nearly as durable as dealers say, and bamboo tends to warp and crack. Pergo and other laminates scratch up very easily and can't be refinished. They also warp if water gets under them or if the humidity levels shift a lot. Both these things tend to happen in a kitchen.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: ninrn

                          I'm with you 100% on bamboo. Avoid it like the plague. When we did a remodel on our last house we looked at bamboo for the main living areas. After the third independent flooring wholesaler told us "we sell bamboo, but don't recommend it", we took note. It's notorious for warping with just a little moisture coming into contact with it.

                          1. re: ninrn

                            I had lovely bamboo floors in a previous kitchen, and had no issues with scratching or warping. They were wide plank and thick... not the cheapo kind that was just a laminate layer of bamboo on top of particle board or whatever it is. Easy to clean too.

                          2. When SIL and family moved in their current house... had definitely 60's kitchen... and was the FIRST project. They have several friends in "the trades"... tile, electrical, plumbing, etc. She cooks most nights and worked out of a make-shift kitchen in her laundryroom. Two sturdy tables as "counter"... a little low but worked. She bought a few small appliances... a few nice burner units, a nice electric skillet, a beefy toaster over. Moved old fridge (that was gonna be replaced) down there, too... along with microwave, coffee maker, crockpot(s), etc. Had to forgo dishwasher for duration, but had nice big utility sink available.

                            Think whole project took 2-3 months (friends working when they could) and she said there were time when she wanted to tear her hair out... but everybody survived.

                            1. Cork scratches like crazy, but it's soft under your feet and dishes won't break when you drop them, usually. Don't get engineered cork, it can't be refinished. Just get the old fashioned cork tiles.
                              If you're a real cook, there's only one option: stainless steel countertops. They're awesomely durable and people won't automatically judge you on your income and social aspirations like they do with stone, quartz, and other "luxury" surfaces.
                              The coolest material of all for countertops is lab grade black soapstone (you can use lab grade black epoxy resin countertops as well).
                              Fancy ranges are a waste of money because the ovens are small, they break down frequently, and you have to wait forever for parts to come from some obscure part of Europe.
                              Sub Zeros are another one of the ways the appliance industry separates rich people from their money. They don't hold much and they're expensive as heck to fix. Just buy a counter depth GE or Whirlpool or whatever. If you want something awesome, get under-counter refrigerator drawers.

                              18 Replies
                              1. re: Big Eater

                                "If you're a real cook, there's only one option: stainless steel countertops. They're awesomely durable and people won't automatically judge you on your income and social aspirations like they do with stone, quartz, and other "luxury" surfaces.
                                The coolest material of all for countertops is lab grade black soapstone (you can use lab grade black epoxy resin countertops as well)."

                                Wait a minute, I'm not sure now if I am a real cook. I have soapstone and quartz and no stainless.

                                I thought it was what came out of my kitchen that made me a real cook.

                                "Fancy ranges are a waste of money because the ovens are small, they break down frequently, and you have to wait forever for parts to come from some obscure part of Europe. "

                                How do I know if it is a fancy range?

                                "Sub Zeros are another one of the ways the appliance industry separates rich people from their money. They don't hold much and they're expensive as heck to fix. Just buy a counter depth GE or Whirlpool or whatever. If you want something awesome, get under-counter refrigerator drawers."

                                I don't get the math here. $2-3K for 5 cubic feet, more or less a fixed configuration, with drawers vs $7.1K for a 23 cubic foot SZ frig that can be arranged to suit your needs.

                                1. re: wekick

                                  You are correct.
                                  What comes out of your kitchen is the only thing that matters.
                                  But I've done two kitchens now and come to the conclusion that 60-80 percent of kitchen remodels are about our social insecurities and our need for the approval of others; otherwise all kitchens would be white Formica, painted cabinets, and rotary-dial appliances.

                                  The point I'm trying to make is that you have to look at a kitchen from a real-world point of view, not from beneath the psychic weight with which we have freighted it—it's a place to cook and get drunk before dinner, not a shrine to your ego.

                                  Now, how does that apply to stainless steel countertops and fancy ranges? Well, stainless steel is what you find in most professional kitchens for a reason. It's easy to clean and looks better the more you abuse it.

                                  Stone surfaces look nice but they annoy me because people get so boastful about them, like they quarried the stone themselves and carried it over the Apennines on their back. Plus, no matter what rare and exotic stone you install, next year your neighbor will install something even more esoteric. It's a no-win game.

                                  And I didn't mean that you should have refrigerator drawers instead of a regular size fridge but as an adjunct to it.

                                  Finally, a fancy stove is one that is built overseas and costs more than you paid your maid last year—an exception of course is made for Aga cookers.

                                  1. re: Big Eater

                                    <60-80 percent of kitchen remodels are about our social insecurities and our need for the approval of others; otherwise all kitchens would be white Formica, painted cabinets, and rotary-dial appliances.>

                                    Well, that's harsh. Silly me, I thought that the reason we spurn white formica is because it's ugly and boring. Stepping into the real world you mentioned, for many of us the kitchen is the heart of the home. We spend a lot of time in it, and increasingly, it's integrated into our family living space, not the 50's version that's cut off from the rest of the spaces.

                                    We want kitchens that are a joy to work in. That means utilitarian isn't enough, it must also be visually pleasing to us. If that makes me socially insecure, I'll own the charge, happily.

                                    Let's not forget, either, that our homes are an investment. For many, that means choosing kitchen cabs and surfaces with an eye to eventual resale. This makes good sense, since kitchens make or break home sales. If stone counters are the standard in your neighborhood, and you're not planning to live in your home forever, it would be penny wise and pound foolish to install white laminate.

                                    1. re: Big Eater

                                      I've got white Formica countertops and I hate them. They're cheap and completely scratched up now after 6.5 years of living with them. I also rarely (like maybe once a year) invite people over. I would love to change the countertops and definitely not because I'm socially insecure. People just have different tastes. I've seen verrrrry expensive kitchens that were ugly and DIY kitchens that are lovely.

                                      1. re: Big Eater

                                        I hate white formica because it stains, not because I am a snob. My current kitchen has some type of laminate (not sure what it is) and I often wonder why the previous owner was willing to spend $$$ on a Subzero fridge and a Thermador cooktop, but not shell out for stone or wood or stainless or, heck, any practical material for the countertops. I have to scrub them with Soft Scrub almost daily to get the stains out, and I'm a fairly neat cook.

                                        1. re: Isolda

                                          I inherited black stone in my current house. What a nightmare. Streaking! It has to be virtually buffed every night to look clean.

                                          1. re: blackpippi

                                            Oh man I can relate to that. Our current house, we inherited a black kitchen. The 'fridge isn't too bad as it has that crackle\pebble finish. The smooth black cooktop and black granite counter show every little streak or spot.

                                            Throw one more item out there re: diswashers. The place came with a GE Proflie dishwasher. You no what, it's not bad. It's not a quite as the Bosch we had in our last place, but it's close. It's also a lot quieter than a Kitchen Aid we've owned in the past.

                                      2. re: wekick

                                        And people who have Range Rovers are far better drivers than me, I guess.

                                        1. re: monavano

                                          I've got a baby BMW, and you know it's The Ultimate Driving Machine. BMW says so. Ergo, I'm clearly a superior driver. Well, that's the story i'm going with, until someone who knows me finds me here and tells the truth. :0

                                          But I'm stuck living with ugly beige formica until next year. And I'll probably replace it with a new faux-stone Formica. So I can't be a very good cook. But I look cool on the highway. ;)

                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                            Ha! Convertible? 'Cuz they are kewl.

                                            1. re: monavano

                                              Nah, Emily is a 135i sedan. Someone (I hate my Hubs!) convinced me it was a good idea to be able to carry at least 3 of my grandsons at once. Not enough room in the drop-top. But she's fast! Cute as all get out, too. Like a little white pot-bellied pig. :)

                                              Now Christine, my little SLK, was a roadster. And like the other Christine, she was self-repairing. Gotta love a girl who fixes her own fenders. I drove her for 10 fun years before Emily showed up. Got 3 speeding tickets, too. My kid said I got them because I was driving a red roadster. Maybe I should have gone for black or white? LOL

                                          2. re: monavano

                                            Actually, Range Rovers are another way that dumb rich people are separated from their money. They are one of the most breakdown-prone cars in the modern era, right up there with some of the Cadillacs from the early 2000s.
                                            But my point is, you have to really understand your motivations in what you put into your kitchen.
                                            Renovating your kitchen is a chance to understand yourself better, to think about what your values are. Examine your relationship to material goods, think about how much of your self-worth is influenced by others, and what you really want out of life—will it make you happy to spend $20,000 on beautiful handmade cherry cabinets lovingly crafted from wood harvested from your property? Or will Ikea cabinets do the job?
                                            That's all I'm saying. You need to make decisions based on the real inner you, rather than what magazine writers or floor salesmen think you should do.

                                            1. re: Big Eater

                                              I totally agree and found the process deeply personal and revealing. We "fired" our first designer/firm because the process was actually painful and frustrating. The designer and contractor we wound up hiring for the job allowed us to walk through the process in a way that let us be true to ourselves and our vision, not led around by the nose like novice boobs with a wallet.

                                              1. re: monavano

                                                There are desingers and there are desingers. Most I can do with out. When we did our baths, We worked with a good contractor that undersood where we were coming from. We got every thing we wanted. Materials, cabinet, fixtures, the whole nine yards. At i/4 the price that a "designer" was looking to charge for the same thing.

                                                1. re: mike0989

                                                  Oh you betcha! We could have never done our kitchen without our wonderful designer because it was quite involved, but our bathroom will be pretty straight forward.
                                                  Friends of ours were redoing their kitchen with stock cabinets at the same time and they've run into fit problems because a designer wasn't involved from the start.
                                                  Sometimes, designers are great investments. I know ours was.

                                              2. re: Big Eater

                                                Actually, it’s more than just what comes out of it. A kitchen remodel is arguably the most significant improvement one can do to their home. You can over improve, and you can under improve. Under improve, and you have reduced the value of your home, and its potential for resale. Ikea cabinets and a formica counter tops may be just fine. But if the neighboring homes have custom or semi-custom kitchens, you just hurt your portfolio.

                                                1. re: mike0989

                                                  It's very important to know your house's market and "sweet spot". In my neighborhood, I felt comfortable going for semi-custom cabinets and granite, knowing the competition*.
                                                  Viking ranges, SubZero refrigerators and Carrera marble were not even a consideration (not that our budget could afford them!).
                                                  *also getting what we wanted without getting ripped off royally. Sometimes you can afford more than you think if your shop around.

                                                2. re: Big Eater

                                                  <But my point is, you have to really understand your motivations in what you put into your kitchen. >

                                                  I couldn't agree more. I've been fortunate enough to build 2 custom homes from the studs out and remodel a 3rd kitchen to my specs. Two of my designers questioned my judgement at times, because I wasn't following "accepted" design, but agreed that the final product was indeed quite functional and made perfect sense when all was said and done. Both told me that I was one of the few clients who knew exactly what she wanted. One of my builders tried to hire me to handle his in-house design.

                                                  Bottom line, knowing ourselves and how we cook and move around the kitchen is the best thing we can do to make sure that, at any budget, we get the kitchen we want.

                                          3. Countertops: Silestone. Equal to granite in durability, but I think a little cheaper. LOVE THIS PRODUCT. I would buy this over granite even if I had all the money in the world.
                                            Stove: Check out the slide-ins. I missed them on first walk through at Sears. They're just regular stoves, but have a professional look with controls in front. Actually fooled a friend who thought it was a high end appliance. Also, I found that I don't really need six burners, but what I really use a lot is the high output burner which gets heavy use. I sure wouldn't mind two ovens though!
                                            Fridge: I completely disagree that a water dispenser is ugly. I use mine every day and I don't have to have a Britta taking up space. French door bottom freezer is the only way to go.
                                            Dishwasher: Any dishwasher will clean fine, but if you need a quiet one you MUST look for a Consumer Reports rating of Excellent for noise. I had a Kenmore Elite rated Very Good (wasn't) and now have a Bosch rated Excellent (I can hear it, but it's not intrusive). Dont cheap out on yourself if you MUST HAVE QUIET. You'll be sorry.
                                            Floors: Whatever happened to plain old hardwood? Happy with mine.

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: blackpippi

                                              Okay, I have a question about Silestone, because I hope to replace my scratched, stained laminate countertops someday. Can you take pans out of the oven and put them directly down on the Silestone the way you can with granite? How is it for stains? Ease of cleaning? I just assumed we'd do granite again, but if there's a cheaper option that is as practical, I'd love to hear about it.

                                              Oh, and ITA about the quiet dishwasher. We love our Bosch, but also loved our Kenmore Elite. However, the floor matters almost as much as the dishwasher, as wood floors absorb more of the vibrations, which can make your dishwasher seem quieter.

                                              1. re: Isolda

                                                I think often with man made products you have to sacrifice something, but really with a quartz countertop (aka Silestone) you sacrifice nothing. Yes, you can put a hot pan directly on it. Also, I had a white stone in my old house. It got a red juice stain on it and I thought uh oh. Then I took a little Ajax and it came right out with no hassle.
                                                Unfortunately, my current house came with black stone and it streaks like the dickens. I assume black granite would have the same problem. Don't get black countertops! It's ten years old though and doesn't have a single scratch, nick, or stain.

                                                Per the dishwasher: I've lived in 3 houses/ owned 4 dishwashers all on hardwood floors. My current Bosch is the only one I would call "quiet enough" My last kitchen remodel was built to spec for the Kenmore Elite and honestly it wasn't remotely quiet. I just wish someone would do a scientific survey on why the same machine can give vastly different results. I threw out the old Jenn Air that came with my current house and the Bosch has inch gaps on every side, so I feel that its quietness is pretty impressive considering.

                                                1. re: blackpippi

                                                  We have a noisy dish washer and I love it. We wait and start it at bed time. The white noise makes me sleep like a baby. Seriously.

                                                  1. re: kengk

                                                    I seem to always live in small houses so the living room is next to the kitchen and I have to crank up the volume on the TV with the noisy dishwashers.

                                                    However, like you, I tried running it at night and it's a joyous noise to me. I like to have it on right when I'm falling asleep and I think "ah, a machine is washing my dishes." Seriously! Unfortunately, my husband doesn't share my enthusiasm.

                                                  2. re: blackpippi

                                                    Thank you for the Silestone info. My parents are also putting it in their condo. I just want to replace my annoying, fragile laminate (or whatever it is) with something practical. I already have a marble slab baking counter, so something like quartz would look nice with that.

                                                  3. re: Isolda

                                                    From the Silestone website

                                                    The warranty and exclusions

                                                    I have Silestone on my island and love it. I occasionally after 5 years use a little baking soda as an abrasive with a soft cloth as it darkens slightlt around the
                                                    faucet. I have occasionally gotten beet juice on it, and it comes off with the baking soda. I have the leathered surface(smooth and matte). The baking soda is more gentle than what they recommend. I would avoid any products with bleach as per the instructions. They claim that they have built in bacteriostatic protection but this is only meant to keep mold/bacteria out of the product and avoid discoloration. It does not avoid pathogens on the service.

                                                    1. re: Isolda

                                                      Copied this from the Silestone website
                                                      "Although Silestone can withstand high temperatures for short periods of time, its performance varies with respect to different factors like thickness, color, location, etc. For this reason, it is not recommended that the product be exposed to sustained contact with a heat source, nor should hot saucepans, frying pans, deep-fat fryers, etc be placed on it. The use of a hot pad or trivet is recommended in such situations.."
                                                      I've had granite for years and have never had a problem putting a hot pot directly on it. It did take me a while to feel comfortable doing that.
                                                      We have a bottom of the line four year old Bosch dishwasher and it is very quiet. We're moving to a new home and will get another Bosch.

                                                    2. re: blackpippi

                                                      Loved my wood floor until a circuit board burned out on my refrigerator's ice maker/water dispenser. We were out for the evening and came home to a flooded kitchen floor. It warped so badly that we had to have it sanded and re-finished. I've had wood in most of my kitchens for the past 20 years but I'm not sure I'd use it again.

                                                    3. If I may offer some general advice. First, determine your budget. It can be four, five or six figures. Probably won't be seven!!! We did our entire kitchen - floors, cabinets, counters, farm sink and appliances for about $8k. And I ADORE how it works and looks. But that was vinyl floor (looks and feels like wood), Formica counters (a new product that is actually photos of things like granite, woods, etc.), Ikea cabinets (pullout shelves, three lazy susans, self-closers on all the door and drawers), and medium end appliances including an induction range. I doubt that anyone could do one for any less than that. So determine your 'real' budget.

                                                      The other thing is your space. Unless you're planning on moving walls, the space is going to dictate the design. Ikea has great click and drag software that you can use even if you don't buy their products.

                                                      After you've done those two things, you can find more detailed info here than you can shake a stick at :) Rather than asking general questions, get real specific. Like what 30" induction range do you like the best. Etc. Honestly those questions get covered SO well here. Once you set your budget and your design, you'll probably find just about everything you want to know already here :)

                                                      Have fun.

                                                      24 Replies
                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        I have that formica that looks like granite too. If you're on a budget it's a great product because it does actually look pretty good. It doesn't have the durability of granite... you can't set hot things on it, and it's not as good for rolling out pastry... but for the price it's a pretty good option. And the #1 thing I like about it? It hides spots :)

                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                          When my kids were little, I picked the floor in my kitchen by bringing samples home and sprinkling debris over them. The one I picked was "fieldstone" and looked like gray stones. It hid a multitude of sins.

                                                          1. re: wekick

                                                            Yup... we have a dog that is a messy eater so thankfully the floor in the kitchen also hides lots of "sins" too.

                                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                                              We've got 4 cats and found that, oddly enough, the best carpet for us is a dense, VERY short plush, in a slightly dark chocolate. Coupled with a really cheap Hoover upright that CR rated excellent for pet hair (and most other stuff) it's a dream carpet. Hides all manner of stains and lint and pet hair are virtually invisible.

                                                              That vacuum is amazing. Got it for about $90 at BestBuy, and although it's not self-propelled, it feels like it is, there's that much suction. Best and least expensive vac we've ever owned.

                                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                                Yeah the carpet we do have is a very short plush in a tan color, and the dog is white with brown spots (basset hound) so you can't see the hair too much on it. Which is sometimes bad cause I get lazy about cleaning it up :) The worst is his food though... he likes to throw the little bits of it all over the place and then chase after them. Only he doesn't eat them all so I find bits of food all over the dining room.

                                                                We have the Dyson Animal. Well, it's SO's, he likes fancy toys and I was delighted to see it when I moved in. Not sure I could ever bring myself to spend $500 on a vacuum but I'm glad we have it since he sheds so much.

                                                                1. re: juliejulez

                                                                  I'm presuming it;s the hound and not the SO who's doing the shedding.

                                                                  1. re: juliejulez

                                                                    My husband brought a Dyson with him when he moved in. I never would have spent that much on a vacuum but its amazing! So glad we have it.

                                                            2. re: juliejulez

                                                              I have a second home and we redid that kitchen about seven years ago and the Formica (and it is the Formica brand) is still like new. The stuff here is amazing looking. Kinda even has a texture to it. Professionals have been shocked to find out it wasn't "real."

                                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                                  I don't have the file handy but here are a couple of pix. The repeat is every twelve feet so it really looks nice. Installed it was only $1500 and I have a goodly amount of counter space. Note: these photos were taken when it was just barely done (I notice some upper cabinet trim pieces missing.) It's never been that tidy since - nor would I want it to be!

                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                    That is one pretty counter, c! Currently, I'm torn between a Formica (Basalt Slate, left pic) and a Wilsonart HD (Luna Shadow, right pic). Both are gorgeous and will work in our kitchen as we take it from European traditional to beach-y contemporary. Well, I've got until next year to decide. We're midway through our semi-whole house tile job right now. We finished the kitchen 2 days ago and laid almost half the living room today, woohoo! Another month should see us done.

                                                                    Then I've got to decide whether or not to paint our existing cabs, and if we do paint, what shade of white to use. I miss the days when I hired a contractor, pointed, and said "Install that, please." But early retirement means that we DIY everything now, and I'm more pressed to get it right the first time. We can't afford any do-overs!

                                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                                      Those are both GORGEOUS!!! I don't know why people have an aversion to the product. I don't cut on my countertops and even when I've used granite etc. ones, I don't put hot pots on it. The options, as you and I know, are almost limitless and the price so reasonable. Looking forward to seeing more as time and money permit :) We did the early retirement thing some years ago and pinched a lot of pennies. Now that we're of "legal" age we're not doing as much DIY but we're still frugal. Allows us to do more with what we have. Have fun.

                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                        I DO cut on my countertop - my island. I refuse to deal with cutting boards so installed a larger 3' x 6' island and put a maple block on it. I still use a nylon board for raw meat, and for watermelon (too wet! runs everywhere!), but everything else gets cut right on the counter. Love it. :)

                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                          <I don't know why people have an aversion to the product.>

                                                                          You know, I've had tile, granite and laminate. My objections to tile can be summed up in one word - grout. Solid surfaces are spendy, an investment I'm no longer willing to make. Laminate is cheap and lately my biggest complaints - ugly edges and the need for an over mount sink - have been solved. Even square-ish edges no longer have that brown line, and it's now possible to install an indermount SS sink in laminate, yippee!

                                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                                            Granite is so ubiquitous now they are putting it in mobile homes. Formica, the new retro cool counter material.

                                                                            1. re: kengk

                                                                              Formica and Wilsonart are awesome because not only are they durable and relatively inexpensive, but they come in almost limitless varieties, colors, and textures. You can express yourself with laminate in a way that other materials don't let you. For instance, if you love red, you can make your entire kitchen (cabinet faces included) a riotous celebration of crimson glory. But you could also search out one of their tasteful, whispery patterns that will give just that little hint of interest to your countertops.

                                                                              The other great thing about laminate is that there are now pretty good systems to add an undermount sink. We've had our sink in place for about 5 years and there hasn't been any problem with warping or leakage.

                                                                              So yes, it's time for a Formica renaissance. Let the post-forming begin!

                                                                      2. re: c oliver

                                                                        Ha, I think that is the exact same counter I have c oliver! Note, my picture was taken before I moved in and livened up the place with pretty red accents everywhere... it was ultimate bachelor pad before I showed up. My SO purchased the house already built because the original buyers couldn't get financing, so I don't know what the name of the counter is either.

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            If only I could claim it as my idea! But alas it was there when I showed up. At first I thought it was ugly, "earth tones" are not my thing, but it's definitely grown on me.

                                                                            I'm the type that picked black granite for my old condo cause it looked cool, not knowing what a nightmare it was to keep it clean. Never again.

                                                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                                                              Before I realized it wasn't in the budget, I lusted for dark grey granite, but I'd never do polished stone again. Honed is the way to go. No streaking.

                                                                              My bro has black granite and hates the streaking. His other beef with it is that it can be hard to find things on it. Things like his black cell phone.

                                                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                We have friends who have very light tumbled granite that I at first thought was marble. Very attractive in their very traditional home.

                                                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                  Yes I love the look of honed. I actually have an interior design educational background (work in real estate though) and did some consulting work for some developers when I lived in Chicago and I always convinced them to do some version of honed black something. Buyers loved it but it wasn't done too often. This one in particular was great, it was called "Virginia Mist"... hard to tell in the photo but it was a charcoal grey with some white/light grey veining throughout. Looked a lot like soapstone, but still had the mass appeal (people are scared of soapstone). This developer in particular thought I was nuts when I told him what I ordered but after he saw it he loved it and actually did the same in another home he was building out in the 'burbs.

                                                                                  Also love that tumbled look of granite that coliver mentioned.

                                                                      3. re: c oliver

                                                                        We are fifteen years into our formica countertops and they still look fine. Anything else would really look kind of ridiculous in our house. I could see concrete countertops finished to look like plain formica though.

                                                                  2. Remodeling a kitchen is a very personal thing. There are so many ways to go and the best thing is read, read read to get an idea of what appeals to you. Think about how you cook and what is important to you. There may be some great feature of an oven but if it has no utility for you, you are wasting your money.

                                                                    Gardenweb was mentioned above and they have an appliance and kitchen forum. Now is the time to read all the threads about "the best" thing and "the worst" thing I did when I remodeled.



                                                                    Here is one on regrets with links to other threads

                                                                    Best of luck!

                                                                    1. Another recommendation for GardenWeb. It's a treasure trove of information.

                                                                      1. 1. Your countertop salesman is full of BS. Quartz does not stain. He's trying to sell you a material that is nore profitable for him. It's all in the look. Quartz and granite look different. Go to a place that has lots of slab samples and see for yourself. Either one is a good choice. Any formica cannot take heat. Quartz and granite can.
                                                                        2. I'm not a fan of Bertozzini. Looks great but, as mentioned , not practical. If you want a little fancy, try DCS. Very good quality.
                                                                        3. If you choose a french door reefer, buy ONLY a Whirlpool brand. Whirlpool, Amana, Maytag or Kitchenaid. They have by far the best door seal made for the long haul. I'm not a fan of SXS reefers as both compartments are narrow.
                                                                        4. Quietness is a huge consideration in buying a dishwasher. Second only to washability. Bosch is the leader with any Wirlpool brand a close second. I also recommend consulting the leading consumer magazine.
                                                                        5. Floors. Cork is quiet and soft, but high maintenance. Grout in the kitchen is also high maintenance (tile). If you go tile, get the grout colored. I prefer tile with carpets on top or hardwood with carpets on top.
                                                                        I'm not a fan of GE appliances. Mabye Monogram, but I'd have to research it. They are not known for using high quality parts. On that note, avoid Frigidaire too.
                                                                        This comes from a person who sold appliances and consulted on kitchens for over 25 years. FWIW.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Enigma3

                                                                          3. I've had a Samsung FD, freezer on bottom, fridge for seven years now and couldn't ask for anything better. So I'll disagree with your "ONLY" comment.

                                                                          4. Quietness is NO consideration for me for a DW.

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            +1 for 3. My LG FD is 9 yrs old and has given me zero problems, with the seal still going strong. Long haul? I can't say, but they've only been available here in the U.S. for 10-11 yrs, IIRC, so who's to say?

                                                                        2. Very happy with counter depth GE French door fridge. Cold water is inside the upper. Seems to me to provide colder water than in door models. The Bosch bottom of line DW cleans well and is pretty much silent. The fifteen year old Corian knock off counters are very functional. I have worked in restaurant kitchens and am not a huge fan of SS counters. Actually if I had my dream kitchen I like marble, white marble. I have ceramic floors and gravitate to the gel mat. I'd like rustic wood floors. I got a KA gas stove. The burners are one great, one ok, and two "you must be kidding" weak ones, but I like the oven a lot. If I were doing it from scratch I'd find a Pre-circuit board Wolf and vent the heck out of it. I have the mother board blow twice. Ridiculous to have a gas stove that can't be lit by hand!

                                                                          14 Replies
                                                                          1. re: tim irvine

                                                                            Love the big window over the sink.

                                                                            1. re: tim irvine

                                                                              Oh yeah...I didn't do this kitchen, but cabinets all the way to the ceiling are nice if you don't like having to wash the the things stored on top before each use due to dust, etc.

                                                                              1. re: tim irvine

                                                                                Somewhere along the way I got the advice, at least in a remodel vs. new construction, to not put the cabinets ALL the way to the top. Leave an inch or two because it's the rare room that's completely square. I thought that was good sense.

                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                  that seems harder...but every region is different. normally you install cabinets aligned with the lowest point in the ceiling and shim the others then cover the gap with molding if necessary.

                                                                                  1. re: Big Eater

                                                                                    Ooh, I'm not into molding :( Little too matchy-matchy for me.

                                                                                    1. re: blackpippi

                                                                                      Stunning! Are those frosted glass cabinets at the top?

                                                                                      1. re: blackpippi

                                                                                        Stunning, indeed. We were fortunate to live in a rental with a big-end kitchen. Our uppers had clear glass fronts, perfect for displaying our pretty-but-seldom-used glass and serving bowls.

                                                                                        Well done!

                                                                                      2. re: c oliver

                                                                                        Too true! Also you don't see a lot of dead straight walls in the early 80s tract homes like we live in. As you can tell, however, I personally am not bothered by a fair amount of kitchen clutter. I like to be able to grab things. However, I know a lot of real estate agents, and they always say that if we ever sell, we will need to store all of the stuff that is now on top of the cabinets. And here I thought, apparently wrongly, that the vinegar crock and tinned fish poacher added to the ambience... Go figure. Dang but kitchens are personal!

                                                                                        1. re: tim irvine

                                                                                          Gratefully our San Francisco house sold relatively quickly. Cause every morning I was hiding everything in the kitchen. As our agent said, buyers have ZERO imagination.

                                                                                          1. re: tim irvine

                                                                                            You should try a 30's era farm house. It's tough to hang curtains in our house the floors and walls are so out of square and level. Have blocks under the front of the sofa legs because the floor sags so much.

                                                                                            1. re: kengk

                                                                                              I still LOL over the first time my best friend tried her hand at wallpaper. She put it on the fireplace wall in her family room, the absolute focal point, really noticeable. She chose a plaid pattern (it was the early 80's, don't judge) and began at one corner, dead even with the ceiling.

                                                                                              Well, you can imagine what happened. The wall was only about 14' wide, but by the time she'd reached the other corner it was so badly out of plumb that it was REALLY noticeable. Especially with that nice horizontal mantle to make it obvious.

                                                                                              When I saw it I explained to her the virtues of a plumb line, a level, and working from the center out to both walls. She stuck to paint after that. :)

                                                                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                We lived in a 200 year old house with horsehair plaster walls. I selected a plaid for my kitchen (very muted) and a bolder pattern for my son's room. The wallpaper guy I hired took one look at them and told me to take them back because the wavy lines on the very uneven walls would make us all sick if we stared at them for too long. Paint is the way to go unless your walls are near perfect, and in a kitchen, it's easier to wipe, too.

                                                                                                1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                  Back when I was a young teen, 60's pop art was all the rage. Mom let bro and I choose our own wallpaper. Bro chose a black and white optic checkerboard with different size squares, graduating from small to tiny and back to small. Mom and I hung it, but couldn't spend more than 15 minutes working with it without a break. It made our eyes hurt!

                                                                                                  Mine was a very tasteful hot pink, black and lime design of fashion models. LOL

                                                                                                  Mom also made Dad hang wallpaper on the kitchen ceiling. The walls were painted, but the ceiling had paper. It worked!

                                                                                    2. Things I like:
                                                                                      Meile Dishwashers, with 3rd rack for silverware
                                                                                      Backsplash that is easy to clean (not paint, not textured tile)
                                                                                      Faucets with pull-out sprayer hose
                                                                                      Smaller, efficient design
                                                                                      Induction stove
                                                                                      Convection oven
                                                                                      Good lighting to your work areas
                                                                                      Convenient garbage can position
                                                                                      At least one cupboard that is big enough for my KitchenAid mixer, big stock pot etc. And a cupboard with slots for sheet pans, big platters, etc.
                                                                                      I'm happy with my SxS fridges, but like them big
                                                                                      Wood floors
                                                                                      Granite counters

                                                                                      Things I don't:
                                                                                      SubZero (mine had needed a lot of maintenance)
                                                                                      Tile floors (hard on the feet, grout hard to clean)
                                                                                      Poor user interface on appliances (for example, my brothers GE Monagram (or Profile?) induction stove takes instructions plus 3 or 4 hits on the panel to turn a burner on, much prefer my KitchenAid controls).
                                                                                      Sinks with a small basin for the garbage disposal (prefer 2 equal sized basins, I have a Kohler with a low partition between the basins which works well).

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: firecooked

                                                                                        Bosch has stolen Miele's cutlery tray. Having owned both, I prefer the Bosch. Seems to dry better, especially the cutlery, and is quieter.

                                                                                      2. I think it's been an interesting discussion thus far.

                                                                                        When I was starting up on the reno I did the lists of what I wanted to have but had to give up after the kitchen floorspace requirements hit 700 square feet and the appliance budget was well and significantly into six digits (first digit not a 1). Ergo things got dialed back a bit otherwise I wouldn't have been able to renovate the rest of the structure.

                                                                                        Given the limitations of the design (floorspace, two "walls" being floor-to-ceiling glass), cabinetry is custom. There's storage above all the appliances and everything else is a drawer to take advantage of all available space. To refer to another ongoing discussion, I do have a custom knife drawer where all blades are held horizontally on magnetic strips on two levels.

                                                                                        Flooring is a mix of bamboo and Finex (fibre-cement) panels - no issues with warping or traffic.

                                                                                        Countertops are stainless steel; there was a lot of discussion going on with this with the original proposal being Corian but I had this dream of being able to break down whole beasts and a seamless countertop and integrated seamless sink does wonders towards allowing me to do so. I also saw this episode of CSI (Vegas) where they spray luminol on a stainless prep table and I thought I'd like to do that too.

                                                                                        Stainless and stone both wick heat really fast so if you're setting up something like a circulator tank for sous-vide, have it propped up on some insulating material so it doesn't touch the countertops directly.

                                                                                        Appliance-wise I went with Miele for pretty much everything except the cooktop and that decision was due to having pots too large for the central hob. The others can debate whether or not I overpaid by buying a Euro-designer brand but the commentary is irrelevant because I'm the one who lives with the decision and I happen to like my purchases. Take a look at what's available to you and how service options might need to be carried out - I live in a city where Miele has a demonstration gallery and distribution point.

                                                                                        One special comment about the dishwasher: everything is open so it was necessary to purchase the quietest dishwasher available. At the time, the Miele LaPerla dishwasher had the lowest decibel ratings of any unit available; I can't hear it in operation. The new top of the line from Miele is even quieter than this unit.

                                                                                        I have two regrets and both are due to limitations of space: no small refrigerator for beverages and fruit, and only one dishwasher.

                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: wattacetti

                                                                                          < I also saw this episode of CSI (Vegas) where they spray luminol on a stainless prep table and I thought I'd like to do that too.>

                                                                                          LOL! Everyone's got a dream, now we know what yours is. :)

                                                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                            One must act on one's dreams.

                                                                                            I've now broken down a doe from last hunting season (I didn't do the hunting - just the processing to save the animal from becoming 100% ground venison). Exceptionally easy clean-up as we worked clean seeing as the rest of the kitchen is white, though we did horrify some neighbors walking by while I was taking off the hind legs.

                                                                                            I'll have to borrow some luminol from a friend of mine.

                                                                                          2. re: wattacetti

                                                                                            Ran into an acquaintance of ours who builds custom homes. He was doing a new house and the kitchen cabinets alone were costing $138K!!!!! So any number is possible. Another custom home/kitchen that an architect/engineer friend did had a 15' long range hood. It sucked air out of the whole house so they had to redesign the ventilation system for the house. There are limitless ways to spend money.

                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                              Too true. Mine's a custom from the studs rebuild but my builder came by for coffee and showed me a new project his team's working on. I think just their kitchen extension is actually the cost of my overall renovation.

                                                                                              1. re: wattacetti

                                                                                                That's why my first advice to OP was to seriously define their budget. I know someone who bought a Wolf (I believe) induction cooktop that alone cost more than my whole kitchen!

                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                  That is such good advice. Budget first! Then decide what items simply are NOT subject to negotiation. Everything else follows from there.

                                                                                                  That's how we decided to go with laminate counters. Replacing the worn out carpet and heavy European tile took first honors, chewing a big hole in the budget, leaving no room for the granite I wanted. The decision was a no-brainer, given the bang for the buck we're getting out of our new wood tile floors.

                                                                                          3. Countertops - I am looking at Cambria, but I haven't decided on a style yet. I do hope to sell the house within the next 5 years or so so am looking for something that will add to the re-sell value my house. I am not completely sold on anything but thinking something that will really bring the whole room together.

                                                                                            Appliances - Given the limited space that you have to work with, if it was me I would pick a 30 inch range and go with a french door bottom freezer. I have been doing some research of my own for my upcoming remodel and came across your post. I am considering the D3 line of products by viking range. I just love the color options that they offer. I haven't found too many reviews on it yet, I think it is fairly new. I do know that it is much cheaper than their original professional line so maybe it is an option that is worth looking in to. I am not still undecided on a dishwasher, but looking for something that accepts a custom panel and doesn't have a handle. I am also looking at kitchen aid,ge cafe, and samsung.

                                                                                            Flooring- for a cheaper option..... have you considered stained and sealed concrete? you can make it look pretty good at a fraction of the cost for hardwood.

                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: flamingfoodie

                                                                                              The operson we spoke to said she thought the difference in utility in going from a standard to a slightly larger range was negligible and not worth the expense. Plus, wile we cook often, and sometimes ahve guests, I can't think of more than 1 or two times I have run out of burners.

                                                                                              I bought a tabletop convection oven when we were overseas (made by a Japanese company), and it is a great addition. Bit of a pain to clean, but fantastic. No real need for a second oven.

                                                                                              1. re: Westy

                                                                                                I have a really large Samsung convection/MW that is perfect. I don't need a second oven very often so this works for me.

                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                  A standard 30" range has always been sufficient for us but I surely do wish I had a place to put a wall mount oven.

                                                                                                  We recently bought a new five burner range and the extra burner has not been as excellent as I thought it would be. I don't think they are arranged properly as far as BTUs.

                                                                                                  1. re: kengk

                                                                                                    We have one of those big, stainless steel shelving units that Costco sells and a space at the end of the kitchen where it fits perfectly. The MW/convection sits on it.

                                                                                            2. No shortage of information and advice here! Let me add to the confusion.
                                                                                              a) Quartz is known to be stain resistant, not sure why you were told otherwise, it doesn't even need to be sealed like granite. Doesn't mean I like it better than granite, we have both and I don't, but that doesn't change the fact that it's stain resistant.
                                                                                              b) Appliances, you want a larger cavity in your oven, there are plenty from which to choose. You mentioned sub-zero, does that mean you want full side by side freezer and fridge? If so, look at Electrolux Icon, much less expensive and nice units.
                                                                                              c) Kitchens are a wet environment, choose accordingly, that means no Pergo, laminate, bamboo; carefull with hardwood as well. Unless you are careful, very careful, avoid porus natural stone such as travertine, they stain if not sealed properly and regularly. Porcelin tile, especially through color tile, is exceptionally durable and water resistant. Cork is supposed to be good and easier on your legs and feet than tile, but I don't have any first hand experience.

                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: mikie

                                                                                                Over the years I have had kitchen floors that were crappy linoleum (married students' hovel), various qualities of vinyl tile, kitchen carpeting, ceramic tile, and (for the past ten years) solid oak. The oak is absolutely the easiest to maintain, no comparison, not even on the same planet. It is sealed with polyurethane. I wet-mop it with water only and every couple of weeks I mop it with Minwax. I hope never to have anything else.

                                                                                                1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                  If you've sealed it with polyurethane, then IMO it's hardly even wood any more. It's pretty much plastic. But that's not a bad thing. But a pretty expensive way to get plastic. To each his/her own.

                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                    <If you've sealed it with polyurethane, then IMO it's hardly even wood any more.>

                                                                                                    Good morning, c oliver. :)

                                                                                                    I'm not at all knowledgeable about wood floors; what are they usually sealed with?

                                                                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                      We wanted a low sheen floor because it doesn't show the wear as much and it just goes better in our home because we have a lot of vintage/antique furniture depending on the piece and how it will be used. My husband also refinishes furniture and uses both oil types of finish but sometimes a polyurethane. We considered various wax and oil finishes but ended up with polyurethane. We chose white, quartersawn oak for the floor and seeing grain of the wood is very important to us. You further have the choice with polyurethane of job finished which is not as durable but you control the color of the stain and the sheen of the finish or factory finish. There is also water and oil based polyurethane. The sheen can range from matte to glossy. Our floor replaced a waxed floor and I grew up with waxed hardwoods and did not really want to go that route. At the time we read a lot about the pros and cons and have been very happy with the polyurethane. Our floors get a tremendous amount of use and so far after almost 6 years they show little wear and the grain shows beautifully. I probably could have gone with some sort of an oil finish as you can easily recoat it and been happy with either but I think at the time, the flooring guy, the kitchen cabinet guy, the general carpenter and my husband all thought the poly was the way to go since we were using hardwood in the kitchen. I can't compare to the oil but I love what I have.

                                                                                                      1. re: wekick

                                                                                                        Thanks, wekick. I feel much smarter now. :)

                                                                                                        1. re: wekick

                                                                                                          Thanks for a wonderful explanation. I also feel much smarter now :)

                                                                                                        2. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                          Hardwood flooring can be either factory sealed or site sealed. Factory sealer tends to be urethane with an aluminum oxide to make it more abrasion resistant. Polyurethane is simply a similar finish that can be applied on site. Advantages of a polyurethane varnish vs. an alkyd (also a plastic) varnish is that polyurethane is more chemical resistant to things that might be in your kitchen. I put polyurethane on a bathroom vanity in my mothers house about 45 years ago. The vanity had woden towel bars on it and when she passed away a few years ago, the towel bars were still in very good condition.

                                                                                                          The problem with wood floors in a kitchen isn't the surface water or small spills, but the potential for leaks that may go undetected for an extended period. Things like the line to the ice-maker in the freezer, or a slow leak in a faucet connection under the sink. If these get under the finish, it can cause serious damage. White oak happens to be very good at resisting the effects for water, so that's an excellent choice for a wood floor for the kitchen. Everything is a trade off and the trade off for wood in the kitchen is water resistance. That same leaky ice-maker line on a porcelan tile floor would do no damage no matter how long it took to show up so you could fix it.

                                                                                                          1. re: mikie

                                                                                                            We've had maple flooring in our kitchen since we remodeled it 24 years ago. About every 7 years we've had the floors re-sanded, and had a new polyurethane finish applied. Leaks are a problem, although we've never had the kind of slow leak that went undetected -- rather, we once had a complete melt-down of the contents of our freezer, resulting in puddling on the floor that lasted for about a week because we were gone on vacation, resulting in some warping of the boards next to the fridge. Also, we've had occasional leakage from the DW when we've had a blockage in the pipes (because it's an old house, not that the DW malfunctioned).

                                                                                                            We've been happy to accept that trade-off, as wood flooring is far softer than porcelain tile, so it's easier on the feet if you are cooking (and/or cleaning up) for extended periods. And, we like the warmth that the wood imparts to the overall look of the house. It's more in keeping with the style of a house built 100 years ago, than tile, for example.

                                                                                                            Even without the flooding, the floor would need re-sanding about every 7 years from wear in high traffic areas.

                                                                                                            (NB, Bosch DW's have a feature that automatically cuts off the machine and prevents flooding if it detects any failure to drain. If you get wood floors, this is a DW feature you might want.)

                                                                                                            1. re: masha

                                                                                                              Not sure what type of sheen you have or poly but both of those things will play into how often they need to be refinished. Higher sheen floors will show wear a lot faster.

                                                                                                              1. re: wekick

                                                                                                                It's not a high sheen. (Sorry, can't be more precise as to the technical description.)

                                                                                                                1. re: masha

                                                                                                                  Sheen can run the gamut from glossy to matte. I'm just saying if you have less shine, you won't develope wear patterns as quickly. We have very low sheen floors and have no wear patterns after 6 years and heavy use. I also have a friend who's floors are 30+ years old without refinishing. It just depends on the look you are going for and comfort level.

                                                                                                        3. re: c oliver

                                                                                                          That is so overly exaggerated! Sealed wood is beautiful. What should one rather do to protect it on a kitchen floor, mop with the flowing tresses of virgins??

                                                                                                    2. We have vinyl flooring in our home. Granite, quartz, concrete mixed with glass all looks great you can use any ffor countertops. Looks for appliance with energy stars logo.

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