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Kitchen remodeling and I need input on cabinets and floor

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Hi - I am remodeling my kitchen and am having trouble making some decision - so I am coming to the kitchen users community for advice. My kitchen is very small (8.5 x 9.5) and I am trying to use sustainably made products as much as possible.
My current cabinets are white (I painted them several years ago) and I would like the new cabinets to be white or cream (the light color actually does make the romm seem larger). Various vendors are saying that painted wood cabinets will scratch, mar and generally show a lot of wear. Several vendors are recommending Thermofoil as being very durable and easy to clean. Does anyone have any experience or comments to help me decide?
The floor - I want a floor that is easy to stand on. I cook a lot and standing on a hard floor is murder on my back. I am considering Marmoleum 1 x 3's which have a cork backing or cork. I am concerned about the water proof character of each. Also, I have heard that cork will not stand up to dog claws an my daughter's family brings their dogs when they visit every few months. Again - any comments or experience?
thanks very much - I expect this will not be my last question before this is over!

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  1. Have you visited high end cabinet displays? What do high end white cabinets have as their finish.

    I've never heard anything good about thermofoil; I consider it a cheap finish, but I may be out of date. I can't believe it is manufactured sustainably.

    They used to make laminate clad cabs which stood up fairly well.

    You should also be able to get cabs with a nice white stain, similar to chalk paint.

    You know I'd do some more checking around.

    1. I friend babysat (dogsat?) for another friend. After 3 weeks, she found significant damage to her cork flooring in the kitchen. Don't know if that's common or that dog had some industrial-strength toenails, but worth considering.

      1. I missed the floor question. I'd go for Marmoleum. I'd love to have it instead of the vinyl I have presently.

        1. We just had a full kitchen redo this year.
          We chose white cabinets. They're maple and of course painted and I am confounded as to why anyone would tell you they will scratch. Like what, more than stained wood?
          No. They're durable.
          Go with quality and you'll be fine.
          Consider a couple strategically placed glass cabinets and place in-cabinet and under-cabinet lighting if you can swing it in your budget. Huge impact on the perception of space and can make awesome focal points.
          We have oak floors that are decades old and shined like a new penny when we refinished them.
          They'll last forever, so there's sustainability for you.
          Here's a link to my Flickr set:

          3 Replies
          1. re: monavano

            I looked at your photos and your kitchen is lovely. I am definitely leaning toward the painted wood rather than the thermofoil - I just can't see what is essentially plastic in my house. I am also considering some glass cabinets and will have under cab lighting (I hope it is my budget).Thanks for your advice.

            1. re: monavano

              Nothing to confound you there. Paint will scratch more easily than a thermofoil finish. No two ways about it. However, it's easier to repair a paint finish than a thermofoil finish and unless it's a high quality product then I'd skip thermofoil.

              1. re: ferret

                Sure, anything can scratch. Just can't imagine my cabinets being in any way fragile or easily ruined by scratches. The finish is solid.
                They're not like painted cabinets like a DYI job. These have many layers via the factory process.

            2. We had maple cabinets in our last kitchen and loved them. It is a naturaly light colored wood that can be stained to about any shade you want. It is also a hard wood. Perhaps not as hard as oak, but close. As to sustainably made, pretty much all lumber is coming from tree farms these days.

              I can't comment on either of the floors you are looking at. I can say that one of the gel pads to stand on is an option for back relief.

              1. Solid wood cabinets. Egg shell or gloss enamel will clean easily for years. Kids and pets will mar floor cabinet paint due to toys and claws. Easier to clean and touchup with paint than varnish.

                Blonde maple, my choice for the same size kitchen, brightened everything up, but touching up the varnish for above reasons was a pain. I just love natural wood.

                A coir carpet over my tile on concrete slab floor looked good and helped ease my back. Easy to clean and relatively inexpensive to replace.

                1. Hi, The friends of mine that have put in kitchen flooring made of bamboo have been nothing but pleased. They each have different needs, but it seems to accommodate all of them whether it be something environmentally friendly, good looks, somewhat easier on the feet, being able to hold up to pet wear and tear, easy to clean, etc.

                  If I were to replace my kitchen floor today, something I would definitely consider is bamboo flooring.

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: sr44

                      sr44, you must have missed this portion of my reply. It states,

                      "being able to hold up to pet wear and tear"

                  1. People have had wood in homes for centuries, and I'm leaning that direction for my floor replacement. Nothing's 100% against everything, but wood's close enough. Handscraped or reclaimed wood wears quite well with pets and the occasional accident.

                    I looked at cork at several floor places. Not once has anyone recommended cork. They've spoken about it if asked, but never does it come up as a recommended product.

                    Stones and tiles, though durable, are very hard on the body frame and joints over long periods of use.

                    The best thing about true wood is it can be repaired or color changed without major redo work required.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Rigmaster

                      Against advice from the flooring contractor, I had wood in my previous home's kitchen--never had any problems with it. Stood up to a lightly damp mopping with no trouble at all.

                    2. I have Marmoleum in my Kitchen and I love it. Most folks ask about it because it is a bit cushioned and it is not cold( on bare feet).
                      It is wearing very well but I do not have Dogs. I have not had any issues with water proofness but at home I never flood my floors when cleaning.

                      1. Good quality cabinets with white paint should be jsut fine, my daughter has had them for years and they still look good.

                        Any manufacturer of prefinished wood flooring will not stand behind the warenty if pets are involved. Cork is easy on the body and fairly water resistant, but dogs could be an issue.

                        1. Thanks to everyone for your thoughtful advice. I am still wrestling with the dog issue on the cork floor - I may wind up with Marmoleum just because of the dog issue. I am pretty well convinced that painted wood is what I like.
                          Any additional advice is very welcome!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Fiona

                            The dog issue is a big one. We have 3! Lower sheen shine on wood vs. high sheen is the way to go to minimize scratches, just fyi should you choose wood ;-)

                            1. re: Fiona

                              Keeping the dog's nails trimmed really helps. We have wood floors and a 60lb dog. Surprised how much damage was done in places that we would run/jump before we figured this out.

                            2. Marmoleum is linoleum. It's not scratch proof and a grease spill has to be minor. It's waterproof enough for most applications.

                              Very heavy appliances can mar it just like regular linoleum.

                              Easiest way to tell is look closest at what's not included in warranty coverage. If pet scratches are excluded, it's likely because the maker doesn't think it will hold up.

                              Also, linoleum seems like it gets softer over time so the heavy appliance that didn't scratch before can easily cause slits and gashes after a few years.

                              1. A big huge caveat: we bought a condo that had whiteThermofoil kitchen cabinets that had been up only one year. Within five years the plastic coating was bubbling off in places that got a lot of heat (near toaster and coffee pot) and in other spots was scraping off. Looked awful. When I remodeled I couldn't get rid of those cabinets fast enough and went with solid wood with a stained wood finish.

                                1. We have cork floors and consistently get compliments on the looks. So far there have been no issues with liquids, although we had an extra coat of sealant (floor guys suggestion). We recently got a dog and I've as of yet seen any issues, but well see. The purported self healing properties are at least partially based in truth, I've had things drop and make a mark (which would have left a permanent mark on our wood floors) which over time became so minor that I have trouble spotting them even though I know where they are. I'd do it again in a heartbeat

                                  1. I recently remodeled my house. I have cork in my bedrooms. It's glue down tiles, vs. click together floating floor. Here is mine http://www.lumberliquidators.com/ll/c... With the glue down, being only 4mm thick, it really doesn't have any cushion to it when you walk on it. It has however not shown any wear and tear with my 80 lb dog.

                                    I really wanted Marmoleum for my kitchen. I love it, it is so warm looking and unique. It was unfortunately not in the budget. I instead went with VCT, vinyl composite tiles. It gave the retro look I wanted and is very durable, it's mostly used in commercial applications. But I can't imagine it's a very green option.

                                    1. Thank you everyone for your responses! They really helped me to make my decisions. I decided on the painted wood cabinets and Marmoleum floors. I am going over my budget to do this but I intend to stay in my house for a very long time, the kitchen is my favorite room because I love to cook, and sustainability is very important to me. The demo starts in one week. No cooking for me for about a month! I will post pictures when it is finished.
                                      Thanks again for your help!

                                      1. As far as flooring goes.Look into Tarkett Fibre Floor.It's a linoleum that's soft on your feet.Very durable.I refinised a customers cabinet's using Rustoleum cabinet tranformations.It's a three step process.I was skeptical. Worked beautifully,easy clean up,with a hard finish.Look into it.

                                        1. Wooden cabinets are better than thermofoil, because thermofoli get peal off when expose high heat.wooden cabinets are now available in white color with perfect finishes.
                                          Look at this site for more designs of white wooden cabinets: http://granitecreekcabinetry.com/