What on Earth? The Story of Granite

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According to Webster’s dictionary:

Definition of granite

1.       A very hard natural igneous rock formation of visibly crystalline texture formed essentially of quartz and orthoclase or microcline and used especially for building and for monuments

2.       Unyielding firmness or endurance

Why do we use granite for monuments or, more aptly in our case, countertops?  Webster sums it up nicely… granite is enduring and beautiful.

Granite is the most abundant rock - making up to 70-80%, in the continental crust.  Granite is an igneous rock (born of volcanoes) with grains large enough to be visible by the naked eye.  It is formed by the cooling and crystallization of magma beneath the Earth’s crust, occurring over a long period of time.  Within granite is found quartz and feldspar, mixed with smaller amounts of mica, and other various minerals.  The smaller minerals are what give granite its infinite variety of colors.  The force of gravity and tectonic earth movement are what give granite its texture and pattern.

Granite is anywhere people want strength and beauty.  Granite is used for countertops, floor tiles, paving stones, stair treads, building veneers, and monuments.  Granite is known as a “dimension stone.”    Dimension stone is natural stone or rock that has been selected and finished (trimmed, cut, ground) to a specific shape or size.  When deciding on which dimension stone to use, color, pattern, texture, and surface finish are all taken into consideration.

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Granite Facts

1.       Granite is the oldest igneous rock, most of which was formed as long as 300 million years ago.

2.       Granite is also known as ‘plutonic rock,' meaning it was formed deep underground.

3.       The white mineral in granite is feldspar.

4.       The word ‘granite’ comes from the Latin, ‘granum,’ meaning ‘coarse grain.’

5.       Granite is one of the hardest substances in the world, second only to diamonds.

6.       The base of the Statue of Liberty is made from granite.

7.       The third highest mountain in the world, Kangchenjunga in the Himalayas, consists mostly of granite.

When deciding on materials for a new kitchen, think about granite countertops.  Millions of years, countless minerals, and forces beyond imagining all came together to form something functional and beautiful for your home.

TOP TRENDS IN CABINETS

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Trendy or classic?  Modern or old-fashioned?  These are questions we ask ourselves when designing a new space.  Our suggestion is: do your research.  Buy current design magazines, use the internet to see what is new in the remodeling world.  Resources are easy to find if you know where to look.  The other option is to contact Founder’s Choice and speak to one of our experienced and talented design professionals.  With their help, you will be empowered to design the kitchen or bathroom of your dreams.

Consider these top trends to personalize and make your kitchen or bath space smarter!

Light & Simple:  White or even off-white doors create a light and clean looking in a kitchen or bath.  Cabinets in tones of white are enduring and versatile, appearing in cottage, traditional, and even modern design schemes.  Consider the simple lines of Shaker styled doors to complete this light and airy look.

Efficiency Storage:  We offer an extensive variety of options that go beyond lazy Susan’s and built-in spice racks.  Consider the latest options of pullout trays, removable cutting boards, and even customized smartly placed storage for cookie sheets and pizza stones.

Rethinking the Island:  Instead of a typical stand-alone rectangular island try a high table with chairs or stools to create a cozy space.  Easily versatile by pulling the seating away to make room for additional meal prep room.

Customized Drawers:  Drawers can now declutter your kitchen by offering inserts for dishes, cutlery or flatware.  Cabinet doors can be attached to shelves to make smart spaces for garbage, recycling or even composting bins.

Glass Fronts:  A wonderful way to add dimension to your space and break up the wall to wall cabinetry look.  Great for displaying your favorite pieces or collections.  Even just adding a few glass front doors will create a light and fresh look.

Floor-to-Ceiling Cabinetry:  When storage is at a premium and more is needed floor-to-ceiling cabinets are an excellent option.  These can also be considered in high ceiling spaces to fill out the space proportionately…add in some glass to further dramatize the look to create built-in hutches!

Pet Food and Water Station:  Rex and Fifi can own their corner of the kitchen with built-in food and water bowls with storage ideas for their supplies (food & treats!).

Built-In Appliances:  For a richer and more cohesive look consider concealing your fridge or other appliances with matching planted on false cabinet doors.

Mix and Match Cabinets:  A section of cabinets or the center island in a color or wood that’s different from the rest of the kitchen works like accent pillows on a sofa!  More than a finishing touch, this idea can break up the monotony to become a pivotal design piece.

The Look of Furniture:  Customize your kitchen cabinets with furniture-style details. … Cabinet-style cupboards and islands feel like fine furniture, but offer all the amazing perks of modern cabinetry.  Turned legs, freestanding buffets and built-in china hutches are some of the most popular ideas.

Colorful Accents:  Add a pop of color to glass front cabinet interiors or open shelving with bright paint or even bold wallpaper.  Complete the look with contrasting accessories to compliment the rooms color scheme.  Using a bold color in a small area offers high-impact and an alternative to the color-averse.

Embellishments:  Easy to add to your kitchen or bath space to personalize to your taste.  Undercounter corbels, planted on false doors to the end of cabinet, wooden legs/posts and even arched openings provide focal points to differentiate your space.  Carvings, cutouts and moldings add emphasis to the decorative aspect of the cabinets.

Open Shelves:  What’s old is new again.  Sometimes polarizing, they are becoming a frequent feature in remodeled or new kitchens.  Perfect for displaying your favorite items or even having your most used pieces within easy reach!

Convenient Compost

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We hear a lot about compost these days: how it is great for gardens.  It is, hands down, the best cheap (free) kitchen garden fertilizer.  We’re told that compost is also great for the environment, keeping landfills free of unnecessary trash; however, keeping your collected food scraps in the kitchen can be smelly, messy, and inconvenient.  One of the questions we hear often is: is there a good way to store compostable material?  The answer is yes!  We have a solution.

Try a compost bin.  They fit in a modified 18” base cabinet, along with a traditional garbage bin.

Lift the lid and drop your food waste into the eco-friendly, biodegradable bag.  Most modern bins come with a replaceable charcoal filter to cut down on smells.  The ambitious recycler could install two 18” base cabinets, the other holding bins for aluminum cans and glass.

WHAT IS SO GREAT ABOUT COMPOST?

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Compost creates beneficial humus for gardens and even lawns.  It brings nutrients to plants and, with water at a premium, helps soil retain moisture.  Compost does for soil what yogurt does for the body.  It introduces the right mix of microscopic bacteria which help aerate soil, breaking down organic materials that help plants grow and stay disease free.

Decomposed food waste helps to preserve our environment. Fully one-third of landfill waste is comprised of compostable materials.  By using compost instead of chemical fertilizers, you are replacing organic material with new organic material, rather than introducing possibly toxic chemicals into the environment.

WHAT GOES INTO THE COMPOST BIN?

You can compost pretty much any kitchen food waste, except for meat, bones, fish scraps, or pet manures.  Peeling carrots and potatoes for dinner?  Throw the peels into the bin.  Cracking eggs for a Sunday omelet?  Throw the shells into the bin.  Do you arrange flowers?  Put washed cuttings into the bin.  Wood ash, tea leaves, coffee grounds, table scraps; they all go into the bin.

WHAT DO I DO WITH MY COLLECTED COMPOST?

Start a compost pile in your back yard!

  1. Create a small area in a corner of your yard. Clear the ground so that your compost pile is built on bare earth.  This allows for worms and beneficial organisms already in the soil help in the decomposition process.
  2. Lay down some twigs or straw. This is for drainage and aeration, preventing too much mold and allowing your compost to properly decompose.
  3. Throw your bags of compostable waste onto the pile. Do the research to ensure the bags you use breakdown quickly.
  4. Keep the pile damp. If you aren’t having a rainy fall and winter, just hose it down every few weeks.  Toss the bags around a little with a pitchfork every month.
  5. By the following summer, you should have a pile of lovely, nutritious humus to spread all over your rose garden or across your lawn.

Bottom line, composting can help your bottom line by allowing you to use a smaller garbage can (the utility company will change less for a smaller can) and providing free fertilizer for your garden and lawn.  Keep your compost and recyclables hidden from view by installing specially designed base cabinets in your new kitchen.

How much should you spend on a new kitchen?

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That’s a good question and not one that is easy to answer; because there is no set answer.  Several variables need to be taken into consideration.  The most important variable is: how long do you estimate living in your current home?  If you are selling right away, the odds that are that you will only recoup 70 cents on the dollar for money spent.  The longer you remain in your home, the more the money spent on your new kitchen will be wrapped up in the total price of your home.

So, how do you make the decision on how much to spend?  Do you want to go for the ‘value’ remodel or the ‘quality’ remodel?  Who are you remodeling for?  Your first thought might be ‘me, of course,’ but if you plan on selling your house within the next two years, you will actually be remodeling for the new owner.  Most homeowners do not differentiate between ‘value’ and ‘quality.’  Their goal is to end up with something that looks new and fresh, not really concerned with what goes on behind the scenes, if the finished product is functional and suited to their needs.

Do you know the average home value in your neighborhood?  For instance, if you live in a $325K home and homes selling in your area are averaging prices of $325K, spending $75K on your kitchen will price you out of your own market.  On average, most homeowners report that a kitchen remodel costs $21,633.  Smaller projects will run between $10K and $15K, which might include a fresh coat of paint, refaced cabinets, a new sink, and installing a tile backsplash.  A higher end remodel might cost more like $30K, which could include custom cabinets, hardwood floors, granite counters, and new appliances.  Will a higher end kitchen out-pace your neighborhood market price?

Here is an example of how the costs breakdown:

35 percent: cabinets

20 percent: labor

20 percent: appliances

10 percent windows

5 percent: fixtures

3 percent: fittings

7 percent: other + 20% for the unexpected.

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The rule of thumb is that you should spend between 5 and 15% of your home’s value on a kitchen remodel.  Where you fall in that range depends on how important a kitchen is in your family life and how long you plan to remain living there.  Remember, in remodeling, as in most things, you get what you pay for.  If a beautiful, highly functional, hard-working kitchen is your dream, your costs will be on the higher end.

The kitchen is the heart of the home.  It is where your family meals are prepared, where the family gathers on holidays, and where friends congregate at parties.  Of all the home remodel projects, kitchens can be the most complex, the most expensive, but the one adding the most worth to your home, whether you plan to sell or plan on living there for years to come.

A Kitchen to Be Thankful For - By Thanksgiving Day

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Hosting Thanksgiving at your house this year? It can be nerve-racking to entertain your in-laws at your home! You’ll already be balancing your concerns with your cleaning skills and what they think about your meal, so why not let us handle the kitchen? Owning a brand-new kitchen by Thanksgiving is easier than you think! You may be thinking, "November is months away. There’s plenty of time!"

Not exactly! For a successful kitchen remodel, you want to allow plenty of time to plan up front to avoid any costly delays or surprises. Follow our timeline and you’ll be guaranteed to have a kitchen worthy of your in-laws approval by Turkey Day.

 

Planning Out Your Thanksgiving Vision

First things first, let’s collaborate!  What are your wants and needs?  Are you looking for a simple update of your current materials (remodel) or will we be re-configuring or expanding your current space (renovation)?  There is time and cost associated with each version.

We will take a tour of your space and provide you with rough budget and time ranges for each scenario.  If we are in line with what you are prepared to invest, we can proceed to our design phase.

Confirm Your Design

The design phase covers the overall layout of your kitchen.  We may suggest several designs that fit your space, needs, and budget.  Each design will have a more precise budget range to help you make the best decision for you and your family.  This phase takes on average between 3-4 weeks…and we encourage lots of personal contact to ensure you receive the absolute best kitchen design possible.

What to Expect When You're Expecting...

After the design phase we will sign a fixed price contract.  Then we will order all of the materials.  When we have a confirmed date for the materials to be completed, we can begin demolition…and then quickly move into installation of cabinetry and new countertops.   A custom reconfigure or expanded kitchen may require a little more time to have your contractor outfit the new layout for wiring and plumbing.

What does this mean for your Thanksgiving timing?  Let’s go backwards. If we want to complete installation by November 15th – we need at least a week for demolition and installation. So we must begin demolition around early November.  We need 6-8 weeks to order materials so we should sign our fixed price contract by September 20th.  It takes 2-3 weeks during the design phase so we must start selections early September.

We look forward to hearing from you soon with any questions or to talk about your project!

Stain vs. Paint - What Cabinet Finish Should I Choose?

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Finding The Cabinet Finish Perfect for You

When designing your kitchen, the cabinet finish you choose will be the first thing that catches the eye when you look at your kitchen. The most popular options are stains and paints which come in many varieties. There are benefits to each and you can easily decide the best fit for you and the style of your home.

Stain

Staining brings out the natural grain in the wood. Stains vary in color and tone, giving a natural earthy feeling to your kitchen while magnifying the visible elements of nature. We let the stain soak all the way into the wood instead of simply covering the surface. Because the stain deeply infiltrates the wood, the this cabinet finish is long lasting and prevents visible scratching. The stain supplies a clear protective coating which catalyzes to preserve to wood.

When dealing with stains, you can feature your selection of wood, allowing beautiful species like cherry and maple to shine.  Whether it's a natural stain or a rich merlot stain to add red undertones, you can always find what your looking for. When you can't find the right color in our selection of stains, we offer custom options to match your color preferences.

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Paint

Painting creates a clean, polished look, covering the grain of the wood to create a uniform cabinet finish. Coating the outside of the cabinets, paint itself to a more dramatic and stark look. Rather than displaying the organic patterns of the wood, painting can give a modern and clean look. This finishing style ensures all your cabinets are the exact same tone and color, avoiding the variation created by wood grain.

With the smooth simple surface paint provides, you can place more style emphasis on the door style you choose. Paired with paint, simple door styles will often give your kitchen a modern look. More detailed and layered door styles can give an elegant, antique look. Like stains, when we don't have the color you want, we can color match. Paints have the versatility for custom options such as different colored doors from the frame. This customization adds a retro look to your space.

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Annual Nothing But Networking Event - Master Builder's Association/Pierce County

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We had a fun crowd join us for some great Food, Beverages, and Product Giveaways and a last peek of our current manufacturing facility!  Everyone at Founder's Choice will be moving to a new larger facility in Tacoma in the next few months!   More details about our new location soon...make sure to follow our blog as more information emerges about our new BUILT IN TACOMA location!

GRILLING, SOCIALIZING, AND TALKING TACOMA

To celebrate Tacoma manufacturing, we had giveaways from several pillars of the local community: Johnny's Fine Foods Seasoning Salt/Caesar Salad Dressing and The Harmon Brewery (Tacoma's first Microbrewery) with an IPA and a Blond...plus we also gave away several $50 gift cards for The Hub.

 

Planning Cabinet Heights

When planning your kitchen, its easy to be overwhelmed by all of the options. You've got choices to make on the flooring, the appliances, and even the wall color! After considering all of these things, the heights of your cabinets may seem inconsequential. However, putting careful consideration into the height of your cabinets can take a project from bland and monotonous to beautiful and functional.

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Adding Functionality

These days, kitchens come in all shapes and sizes. In order to fit all of them we offer our standard wall cabinet in three heights: 30, 36, and 42 inches. Remodelers generally should choose one cabinet height to use throughout their kitchen. However, there are a few situations where mixing heights would be a good option!

Appliances vary in height and may end up being too tall to fit under the cabinets. For example, that fully loaded blender you bought for your new home might not fit underneath your kitchen cabinets. Rather than hiding it away in a closet or cabinet, you may choose to use a shorter cabinet to get the full use out of it!

Styling Different Heights

Too many kitchens suffer from a bland appearance. At Founder’s Choice we attempt to mitigate that in many ways. A popular defense is to stagger the heights of cabinets to help break up the monotony. This can be referred to as creating a "castled look" in your kitchen, and can add a grand appearance to the finished look of your kitchen.

Be careful when planning out this look though! Work with a designer to ensure that it doesn't end up looking haphazard.

3 Easy Solutions for Kitchen Storage

Many kitchen countertops become cluttered with appliances that we can't seem to put away as fast as we use. However, it is possible to have a functional and efficient kitchen that is also visually appealing. Here are three features that will utilize your kitchen storage while hiding appliances, ingredients, and waste in your kitchen.  

Cabinet Pullouts

No more reaching around in the dark abyss of your cabinets, searching for that one last ingredient. There are easier options for all your sauces and spices. Cabinet pullouts compliment your cooking and provide easy reach to your cooking ingredients. Pullouts turn your half hazard spice storage into effective and neat rows. This provides an organized and efficient kitchen during baking and cooking. Sliding right into your cabinet run, pullouts are a variety of sizes and fit in both the wall and base cabinets. Save time and space with this easy kitchen storage solution.

Cabinet Base Recycle Center

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Many kitchens have that awkward trash can in the corner, intended to be out of sight but remaining an eyesore. Some try and solve the ugly trash problem by buying a really nice can, cradling their trash in decorative elegance. Even a nice can will look ridiculous when the milk jugs and banana peels start to overflow. The recycle center solves all these problems. Inserted directly into your cabinet run, the recycle center slides conveniently in and out. This provides easy access to you garbage and recycle cans and improving kitchen organization. Best of all, this specialized cabinet merges perfectly with your cabinet run, camouflaging your trash.

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Mixer Stand

The mixer stand provides a great way to save counter space and hide your trusty mixer from sight. Instead of having to lug around your heavy mixer, the stand allows easy kitchen storage. Your mixer will be easily accessible whenever you need it. Simply pull the mixer shelf back and up and watch it gently click into place. When you're done mixing, lower the mixer back into the cabinet and out of sight. The sturdy build of the mixer stand allows it to support your mixer with a full bowl full of your next baking masterpiece.

The Enthralling History of the Lazy Susan

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No doubt you've heard the term "Lazy Susan" in shopping for new kitchen cabinets. Have you ever wondered how this popular cabinet feature came to be, or how they picked the name?

American Origins

It is popular belief that Thomas Jefferson brought the concept of the "dumb waiter" to the United States after a trip to France. These first concepts of the Lazy Susan were serving trays on wheels. One guest of this president later recalled, “By each individual was placed a dumbwaiter, containing everything necessary for the progress of dinner from beginning to end.”

Another thought is that the turntable was introduced by Thomas Edison. Hardly a surprise considering he introduced many useful inventions to the United States.

"Lazy Susan" Becomes A Household Name

After years of proving a useful household item,Webster's Dictionary finally added the Lazy Susan  in 1933. Though we can trace the origins of the invention back, the origins of the name itself remains a mystery to this day.

The name was first seen in a Vanity Fair advertisement in 1917. The Lazy Susan flourished at the time as a result of WWI. Many housewives at the time were seeking solutions to the shortage of servants.

The first official model was manufactured by a company called Ovington. Customers could buy their Lazy Susan for a whopping $8.50 ($176.91 in today's money). It was marketed as “an impossibly low wage" for a "good servant". Scottish carpenter John B. Laurie was called the “resuscitator of ‘lazy susan’” in a piece that said, “‘Lazy Susan’ is a step toward solving the ever-vexing servant problem. She can be seen, but not heard, nor can she hear, she simply minds her business and carries out your orders in a jiffy.”

 

 

 

 

Adjusting Cabinet Drawer Guides

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Your Founder's Choice brand cabinet drawers should glide effortlessly on the guides as you open and close them. However, over time the wood of the cabinets may expand or shrink, causing the drawer guides to move out of place. This may cause one side of the drawer to stick out farther than the other. Should this happen to your cabinets, you may need to adjust your cabinet drawer guides. Follow the simple steps below to adjust your cabinets.

Step 1 - Removing the Drawer Box

Place your hands underneath either side of the drawer box and feel for triggers. These triggers will allow you to remove the drawer box from the drawer guides. Press them in, and pull our the drawer box.

Step 2 - Adjust the Drawer Guides

Each drawer guide is affixed to the back of the cabinet by a sliding plastic clip. These are normally centered, but can move to the left or right over time. Reach to the back of the cabinet and slide the affected drawer guide back to the center.

Step 3 - Put the Drawer Back In

Once complete, place the drawer box back on the guides. The audible clicks will let you know that you've secured your drawer back into place.

Why You Should Hire A Professional Cabinet Designer

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It may be tempting to think you can handle your new kitchen project on your own. However you will find that the process will go much more smoothly if you hire a professional cabinet designer.

A Quality, Unique Design

There are many risks you take on when coordinating your own project. Finding quality materials, picking out the right style, and making sure they fit into your house are all things you have to take into consideration. It's easy to make a few mistakes along the way if this is the first time you have done something like this.

However, when you hire a professional you are getting someone who has been through the process many times already. They are familiar with what products will work best in your home to be both functional and beautiful.

Professionals will take into consideration your home's layout, your lifestyle, and your personal preferences to create a unique design that is truly tailored to you. This is the best way to get long-lasting value out of your project.

Simplify the Process

Your cabinets go through many different hands between design and install. Manufacturing, to finishing, to delivering them to your home: it all requires coordination. But a Cabinet Designer takes over all of the stressful coordinating. No extra stress for you!

You will have to act as the middle man between all of these parties when you handle it yourself. However, a professional cabinet designer would act as a general contractor. They'll take care of all of the moving pieces for you. Now all you have left to do is to enjoy your brand new kitchen!

Save Your Time

Finally, they will help you save your most precious resource of all: time. Designing cabinets is a long process that goes through many stages, as we mentioned above. When you work by yourself you end up spending a lot of time coordinating the project. But professionals have the rhythm down, and will streamline the process so that it can be completed as soon as possible.

How to Maintain Your Kitchen Cabinets

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Your kitchen cabinets get dirty pretty quickly. Just think about it: hands are constantly opening and closing the drawers, and food can often slip off of the counter. However with proper care, your cabinetry should provide a lifetime of use and satisfaction. Routine cleaning, with the appropriate materials, will help prevent long-term damage to your cabinet door and finish.

Basic Cleaning

Don't worry about buying any of those expensive store bought cleaners. The best way to clean your cabinet surfaces is just plain old soapy water. Just use a clean cloth dampened with a solution of mild dish soap and water to remove oil, grease, food residue or daily spills. Use a soft cloth to promptly “blot” dry.

Preventative Maintenance

One of the worst enemies to any cabinet is prolonged exposure to moisture. This is mostly seen around the sink from excess water caused by hand washing dishes or basic food preparation. Water can pool and flow off the countertops down into the base cabinet doors and drawers.

Avoid Excessive Moisture

  • Clean Spills Promptly – Your cabinets finish is resistant to household foods and liquids. But prolonged exposure to moisture will wear on the finish over the years.
  • Inspect your drawers – A spill can sometimes find it’s way into cabinet drawers. This moisture may damage or discolor your cabinet over time if it isn't taken care of.
  • Ventilation and appliance placement – When boiling water, steaming vegetables or making the daily pot of coffee, your cabinets are subject to humidity extremes. Proper use of ventilation hoods and open placement of appliances is highly suggested.
  • Wet dish towels – Avoid using cabinet doors and drawers for hanging wet items to dry

Avoid abrasive or chemical cleaners

  • Chemical Cleansers – Cleaning supplies might claim some great benefits. But the fact is that mild soapy water has been proven the safest for your cabinetry.
  • Abrasive cleaners – Abrasive cleaners have a gritty texture. Using these type of cleaners the fastest way to scuff or scratched your cabinets.