Clippings by IowaCommute

 Sort by: Last Updated Post Date Post Title Forum Name 

RE: Deeper kitchen cabinets anyone? (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: fori on 08.06.2014 at 12:28 pm in Kitchens Forum

I"m 5'1" which is why I did 18" over 30". When mounted at standard heights, it allows one to reach the exact same amount of cabinetry as if the cabs were "standard". (Plus my cabinet guy didn't charge extra for materials since it still added up to a sheet of plywood. I'm sure the drawers were extra though!)


clipped on: 01.23.2015 at 09:31 pm    last updated on: 01.23.2015 at 09:31 pm

RE: Help need inexpensive classic shower and floortile for small (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: mongoct on 01.14.2015 at 09:22 am in Bathrooms Forum

Definitely shop the box stores. At most of them, you can buy by the box and/or by the single tile.

You can save on the tile, but I recommend you spend a little extra on the grout. The newer grouts are a little pricier, but you'll save on maintenance.


Good advice
clipped on: 01.16.2015 at 03:47 pm    last updated on: 01.16.2015 at 03:47 pm

RE: Plaid - yeah, you read that right. (Follow-Up #15)

posted by: cloudbase on 04.09.2012 at 02:51 pm in Bathrooms Forum

This is not a project for the faint of heart.

Each tile is removed from the original paper, rinsed, dried, inspected, dressed of any stray paint blobs, and sorted.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Each square foot is arranged carefully. The two dark shades are oriented with vertical tile ribs, and the two lighter are horizontal. The \ diagonal tile is oriented vertically, the / horizontally. As an added touch of awesome, I matched the grey shade of tile precisely to the paint color on the walls.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Our tile guy did an amazing job with the field tile and the shower pan (including the appropriate lip for the slat shower floor).
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I am so in love with this Ottimo tile - it was everything I hoped it would be.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

So, the mosaic installation begins today - the Gardenweb captive audience will have semi-finished pictures by the end of the week, and you can all help me pick out grout!


Love this glass plaid tile mosaic.
clipped on: 01.03.2015 at 07:53 pm    last updated on: 01.03.2015 at 07:54 pm

RE: Would you buy your Silgranit sink again? (Follow-Up #32)

posted by: bahacca on 01.11.2013 at 01:43 pm in Kitchens Forum

I love mine other than the fact that it has a hairline crack in it. I have anthracite, so i'm not sure if it came in like that or if it happened during install. All I can say is that a week after I sent pictures and proof of purchase, I was sent a BRAND NEW SINK. The crack is in a spot where it doesn't matter to me and isn't clear through, so until something happens or the sink gets very old, the new one is in my garage. It is undermount, so not exactly an easy fix;-) If you get a dark color, take white flour and dust the whole thing with it. Swish it around and if there is a crack, it will show with the flour. I was told to do this by SIlgranit. As far as function, look, etc, I'd buy one again in a heartbeat, even with mine coming(or becoming) flawed.


Use flour to dust dark silgranite sink for cracks
clipped on: 12.04.2014 at 10:23 pm    last updated on: 12.04.2014 at 10:24 pm

RE: flat or semi-gloss for wood ceilings? (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: sombreuil_mongrel on 06.18.2013 at 10:04 am in Old House Forum

Whatever you choose, brush it out after rolling, because the roller texture will look like h3II, even from my house.
I'd do enough prep work to be able to use semigloss.


clipped on: 11.23.2014 at 05:04 pm    last updated on: 11.23.2014 at 05:04 pm

RE: Wood Ceilings in Bathrooms (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: energy_rater_la on 09.29.2014 at 03:01 pm in Building a Home Forum

I like wood ceilings, especially installed on the diagonal.
the diagonal really shows off the wood & adds to any room IMO. however, when you do wooden ceilings inside the conditioned space, you should be aware of how much air leaks through them. even t&g wood.

the way we deal with this situation is to put housewrap on
the ceiling joists, then install wood on top of housewrap.

I first encountered the excessive air infiltration when testing
homes in an upscale subdivision. builder was known for the beautiful wood ceilings in his homes. however they were expensive to heat/cool, so I was called in to do some diagnostic testing. the ceilings were the issue, as they allowed excessive amounts of hot humid air from attic above to enter the house/room.
not much we could do, after house was completed & attic
but from then on, builder would use housewrap first, then
beadboard on top.

I've done this same install, beadboard on diagonal in a guest house for BIL. cathedral ceiling, housewrap, beadboard. beadboard was clearsealed so that wood could be seen. really beautiful, and with the air barrier made by
housewrap, the leaky individual boards were not an issue.

back to advice from others, just wanted to let you know
the problem with these types of ceilings & the easiest
way to address them.

best of luck.


tip on doing wood ceiling in house
clipped on: 11.23.2014 at 05:01 pm    last updated on: 11.23.2014 at 05:01 pm

RE: I want this kitchen! Have a few questions. (Follow-Up #25)

posted by: nancyjwb on 11.22.2014 at 10:55 am in Kitchens Forum

I thought this might be helpful. A little more traditional styling, with a wall behind the range but windows on either side. A little smaller windows but the overall effect is the same. The same neutral tones and similar countertop. The refrigerator in this kitchen is to the right, so the work triangle is nice and handy and the cleanup zone separate. I still think you could have a prep sink on the perimeter countertop between the refrigerator and range, if you want your island clear. In this kitchen, the everyday glassware and plates are on the island across from the cleanup sink.
This kitchen is one of my favorites!


really pretty
clipped on: 11.22.2014 at 12:15 pm    last updated on: 11.22.2014 at 12:15 pm

RE: Looking for layout help? Memorize this first. (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: marcolo on 11.22.2014 at 08:50 am in Kitchens Forum

Here's what the NKBA says:

3. Distance Between Work Centers: In a kitchen with three work centers*, the sum of the distances between them should total no more than 26 feet. No leg of the work triangle should measure less than 4 feet nor more than 9 feet. When the kitchen includes additional work centers, each additional distance should measure no less than 4 feet nor more than 9 feet. No work triangle leg should intersect an island or peninsula by more than 12 inches.

* The distances between the three primary work centers (cooking, cleanup/prep and refrigeration) form a work triangle.

4. Separating Work Centers: A full-height, full-depth, tall obstacle [i.e., a pantry cabinet or refrigerator] should not separate two primary work centers.

5. Work Triangle Traffic: No major traffic patterns should cross through the work triangle.

6. Work Aisle: The width of a work aisle should be at least 42 inches for one cook and at least 48 inches for multiple cooks.

There's extra useful info in there. I bolded the most important bit. I think the four foot minimum is a bit doctrinaire. You can have a range across a 42" aisle from an island in a small kitchen. And if the fridge is next to the sink, it does not need to be four feet away. Etc.

My question is, where's Ice? If it's next to Fire, then Stone will be on the island, so the island will need a prep sink. If Ice is next to Water, you're all set.


work triangle
clipped on: 11.22.2014 at 11:33 am    last updated on: 11.22.2014 at 11:33 am

RE: Wall Mounted Faucets & counter depth (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: enduring on 11.20.2014 at 12:42 pm in Bathrooms Forum

In my soapstone sink, which is about 8-9" deep from the counter top, the faucet is about 3" above the counter. The sink is 18" square. It all works very well.

In my other bathroom sink, that has a deck mounted faucet, the opening of the spout is about 4" above the counter. The sink is about 6" deep and then another 1.25" counter on top.

I would probably go with around 4 or 5". What is the sink shape, how far will the faucet reach into the sink?

With the deck mounted version of your faucet, what is the elevation of the spout from the deck? That is probably where I would look to make my determination. The sink shape may influence the height as well.

I just looked up your Delta deck top version and it is 3-3/16" from spout to countertop.


Dimensions for Endurings 18" deep bath sink with wall mounted faucet. Earlier post from Enduring also has another thread a out shallow vanities with wall mounted faucet.
clipped on: 11.21.2014 at 10:16 pm    last updated on: 11.21.2014 at 10:18 pm

sort of example: (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: allison0704 on 11.11.2014 at 03:35 pm in Home Decorating & Design Forum


like the sink and console
clipped on: 11.15.2014 at 12:14 am    last updated on: 11.15.2014 at 12:15 am

RE: Leaking ADA compliant shower stall (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: mongoct on 02.21.2014 at 05:12 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Is there waterproofing under the tile that is outside of the shower footprint?

Did they put in a capillary break under the marble saddle?

I'd hope that with a shower like that they'd have used a topical membrane on the floor and tiled right on the membrane.

If the entire area is waterproofed and then they simply thinsetted the tile in the shower, thinsetted the saddle, and thinsetted the tile outside of the shower, water could be wicking out of the shower via the continuous bed of thinset. Or mud bed or cement board if there's mud/board under there.

There should have been a capillary break under the saddle to essentially isolate the shower floor from the bathroom floor.

In your first photo, the floor to the left (in front if the fixed glass panel) looks wetter than the floor to the right (in front of the shower door).

If the shower head is on the left behind the fixed panel, I'd guess that it's more of a capillary break issue than a leaky door issue.

But that's in internet diagnosis. Could be sketchy at best.


Need capillary break if building a curbless shower
clipped on: 11.14.2014 at 10:11 pm    last updated on: 11.14.2014 at 10:12 pm

RE: Honey Oak + UbaTuba: which backsplash? (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: Jillius on 11.01.2014 at 04:56 am in Kitchens Forum

What about this color for the walls. It would go right along with the back splash ideas you mentioned, and you can see in the picture that it looks nice with yellow oak:


like this livingroom and especially the wall color with oak.
clipped on: 11.02.2014 at 11:44 am    last updated on: 11.02.2014 at 11:44 am

Mini-splits throughout the house?

posted by: jagoe1 on 01.12.2014 at 07:24 pm in Heating & Air Conditioning Forum

Hi there. Has anyone put in mini-splits throughout their home for air-conditioning? We originally planned mini-splits in the basement, along with high velocity for the first and second floors in our 1895 D.C. rowhouse (approx. 2,500 sq ft total) in an attempt to eliminate bulkheads and preserve some of the tin ceilings. And we are keeping the radiators.

Our contractor then suggested that we switch to a mini-split unit system for the top two floors - essentially putting mostly ceiling cassettes or compact cassettes - in each room. (We do not want wall units in the upper floors.) Has anyone gone this route? Would live to hear your thoughts, good or bad. Thank you!

* Here's what the original (high velocity) plan called for:

Space-pak high-velocity system for first and second floors. Manual J-load calc to be done for HVAC system. There shall be at least one return air grate and digital programmable thermostat on each floor -- i.e., the first and second floors shall operate as independent zones. He priced the installed system at $16,000 in the contract.

* Here's what the contractor is now proposing:

Manual J-load calc
Cassettes or compact cassettes

The first floor would likely be ceiling cassettes for the dining room and kitchen, and a slim duct installed in the wall for the living room, where the ceiling is tin and access is limited. Second floor would all likely be ceiling installation, with the coolant lines running through the attic.

The units would be sized to the individual rooms. (He hasn't yet said how many he plans to use.) Wall-mounted options range from 7k - 24k BTU; compact cassettes from 9k - 18k; slim duct 9k - 24k. The mechanical guarantee is 7 years on the outdoor units; 2-5 years on the indoor ones depending on which ones.

Contractor says mini-splits are way more efficient, up to 27 SEER, and allow control by individual room. He says two downsides used to be cost and appearance of the wall-mounted units, but notes prices have come down and that the cassette provides an alternative to the outside-of-the-wall installation.

We are leaning against mini-splits for the upper floors, mainly because the concept is so unfamiliar to us - also, we're not sure how attractive these cassettes will look. But we wanted to make sure we weren't dismissing a good alternative.


clipped on: 09.06.2014 at 04:55 pm    last updated on: 09.06.2014 at 04:55 pm

RE: Best way to build shower pan? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: mongoct on 11.30.2012 at 08:39 am in Bathrooms Forum

There are two families of thought, both are fine. The most important thing to remember is that your membrane needs to be sloped.

I prefer a topical membrane over a membrane buried between two layers of mud. Simply because it affords better control over moisture within the pan.

Here's the "old way", with the CPE or CPVC membrane buried between two layers of mud. Courtesy of Harry Dunbar.

My preslope is thicker than Harry's, a little over an inch at the drain then sloping up towards the walls. And I don't use latex admix in the mud.

Shifting gears to the "second" method:

With a topical membrane, you can use one sloped layer of deck mud. The membrane gets installed on the sloped mud. Then you tile on the membrane. A couple of types of topical membrane:

You can use Hydroban over sloped mud. If you can get a magic trowel like they use in this video, your installation will be a breeze.

Or Kerdi Membrane over sloped mud.

There are a few other topical membranes, but in general they are intended for use on walls only. To use them on a shower floor requires fiddling with the mud around the drain and the drain itself, etc. Hydroban and Kerdi fully warrant their materials and methods when used as shown above.

If I had to chose a "best way" I'd use Hydroban with the flanged drain.

If I needed "bulletproof vapor control for a steam shower" then I'd use Kerdi.

If you want the "best way to do a CPE/CPVC shower", follow Harry's methods.


clipped on: 08.29.2014 at 02:40 pm    last updated on: 08.29.2014 at 02:40 pm

RE: Need help with kitchen (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: tracie.erin on 08.19.2014 at 02:45 pm in Kitchens Forum

I see what you mean. It's something I struggle with in my dining room, too. I don't have the space or layout you have, though, so I do have some ideas for you.

You need to do some things to make that dining room stand out from the rest of the open space. I would suggest at least a rug as well as the biggest and/or statement-making chandelier that doesn't look oversized for the table. You can google how to size the chandelier to the table. Also the rug should be 2 feet wider than the table on all sides so that when the chairs get pushed out the chair legs are still on the rug.

By the way, you will need to move the table more toward the stairs. If one square is one foot, and it looks like it is, 3.5 feet is not enough room between the island and the dining table - especially when there are people sitting at one or both. Those people will stick out about 18" into the aisle, so there needs to be room to get between them, and therefore it should be more like 5 feet from island counter edge to table edge. Here's a pic - note I added another 18" to the 44" example because you would have individuals sitting on both sides of the person walking by.

FYI, pushing the dining table away from the island 1.5 feet will then put it only 2.5 feet from the wall with the stairs. Your table is sized for only two people to sit on that side, which is good. If you had 3, the person in the middle would need at least 3 feet between the table and the wall to be able to sidle behind the people next to them to get out to go to the bathroom or whatever. If he can't do that, one of the people on either side of him would have to get up and out so he could also get out - what a pain! If you plan to get a longer table and seat 3 on that side, you would have to shrink the width of the table by at least 6" to get that space. If you keep two seated on that side, you might think about doing a high-backed upholstered bench or sofa against the stair wall - now THAT would give some presence. Here's some examples:

Regardless, your space is tight, and you should note that you definitely don't have room for any furniture such as a sideboard on that stair wall. If it's a solid wall (doubtful, given the stairs..), perhaps you can hang some art or a mirror, which would further help with defining the dining area.

Good luck! I wish I had the space you have :)


clipped on: 08.19.2014 at 03:58 pm    last updated on: 08.19.2014 at 03:59 pm

RE: Water Seepage Basement Floor- Interior or Exterior Drain?? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: worthy on 09.26.2013 at 06:25 pm in Basements Forum

Tiles or carpet with rubber backing or vinyl flooring are about the worst things to put on a basement floor. There is a constant vapour drive upward. Normally, that vapour is dispersed in the air and noticed as high humidity. But when you put those impermeable materials on the floor, the vapour is trapped and may condense into liquid water. And then run and collect in the lowest spots.

A dehumidifier is necessary in most climates to keep the relative humidity (rh) below 50%. Be sure to keep yours running.

If, with the tiles gone and the rh controlled, you're still getting water accumulation, it may be from the leaky walls. And even if the water comes up through the floor, it may simply be from water accumulating on the walls with no place to go or overwhelming the ability of the weepers to drain it. For instance, during heavy storms a homebuyer of mine complained of water running under the basement floor. You could hear it and actually see it around the basement drains. Turns out the source was the downspouts. The water ran down the foundation wall and accumulated in the five-inch gravel bed under the concrete floors. Since then, I always run the downspouts into underground drain pipes running far out into the yard.

The plastic on concrete test has long been outmoded by moisture meters. You're almost always going to get moisture under the plastic because of moisture drive.

This post was edited by worthy on Thu, Sep 26, 13 at 18:32


Good info about basement waterproofing.
clipped on: 08.16.2014 at 09:37 pm    last updated on: 08.16.2014 at 09:38 pm

RE: Overhwhelmed by lighting..need some direction (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: virgilcarter on 07.23.2014 at 05:36 pm in Building a Home Forum

I sense from your posting that you are really seeking names of manufacturers of lighting fixtures. Since there as so many different types of lighting and lighting fixtures, much less manufacturers, it's rather difficult to point to one or two manufacturers as "best", since their respective line of fixtures may be strong in one type of fixture, but weak in some other type of fixture.

Thus, when it comes to lighting, the first step is to figure out where one wants or needs lighting, and secondly, the type of lighting (ambient, task-oriented or accent/decorative) in each location.

This requires a close analysis of your floor plans and a confirming walk-through of your house under construction. The analysis should be to identify where your furniture will be located, circulation paths, and the type of activity taking place in each room--work, recreation, relaxing, etc. Your lighting plan and fixture selections should be based on this analysis.

In many cases, well illuminated spaces may have some or all of the major categories of lighting--ambient, task-oriented and/or accent/decorative.

When you have all of this worked out on your floor plans, you are ready to start looking for lighting fixtures that fit your needs. Until you have done this, looking at lighting fixtures may be a waste of time.

I'm ignoring the subject area of line-voltage vs. low-voltage lamps, etc., and lamp types, as being over-kill to this conversation.

While I'm at it, I'll suggest you consider lighting control types and locations. Where do you want to control your lighting fixtures and how much variety in lighting levels do you want? As a minimum, I'd suggest all of your major fixed, hard-wired lighting fixtures be controlled with rheostats (or dimmers if you prefer the term), to give you as much flexibility for lighting intensity and mood-setting as possible.

Finally, design and budget are highly personal, so it's hard to recommend something specific without knowing you and your house. For me, and my house, I'd always keep the finishes and colors of lighting fixtures, hardware and other miscellaneous metals the same--at least in each room, if not the entire house. I believe the overall aesthetic--harmony and unity--is much more important than every item with its own disparate finish and a feeling of busy diversity everywhere. I've always believed that the purpose of lighting is to illuminate spaces, and not to be attention getting objects in the interiors, unless there is a need for a specific accent/decorative fixture, based on the design of the house. Just my personal taste and preference--other's milage may vary!

Good luck on your project.


Good outline on how to figure out the types and layout of lights for a house.
clipped on: 07.24.2014 at 06:16 pm    last updated on: 07.24.2014 at 06:17 pm

RE: advice/opinions on solid surface shower pan (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: kgwlisa on 07.03.2009 at 11:05 am in Bathrooms Forum

We have the krbs pan, but opted for corian rather than the acrylic. It has only been installed a year but so far no issues. I think the adhesives they use will last as long as the material itself. It looks fantastic - not like a shower base at all but like a floor.

I don't have any great pics but here is one before the tile was grouted and base was cleaned up:

and here is a partial after the shower was done:

I bought the corian bench top and niche shelf from them too, it was only like $60 - a fraction of the cost of stone.


clipped on: 07.10.2014 at 05:37 pm    last updated on: 07.10.2014 at 05:37 pm

RE: Is my shower floor ruined? (Follow-Up #21)

posted by: mongoct on 12.12.2012 at 11:18 pm in Bathrooms Forum

In your next shower I'd recommend you look into using a topical membrane with a flanged drain.

I've used Kerdi with the Kerdi drain, and Hydroban with the laticrete drain. For a Steam shower I'll force you towards Kerdi. For a non-steam shower, Hydroban.

With these showers, your installer will put down a sloped layer of deck mud, and the flanged drain will be set in that mud. On that sloped mud bed goes your topical membrane; Kerdi or Hydroban. The same membrane goes on the walls. You then tile right on the membrane.

The advantage? With a topical membrane, all that can get wet is the tile, the grout, and the thinset used to set the tile. There is no deep wetting under the tile.

With your problem shower, you have tile, then an inch or two of deck mud under the tile, then your membrane. So your tile, grout, thinset, and the one or two inch thickness of deck mud can get wet.

Big difference.

Here's a little primer on a Kerdi Shower. To do a Hydroban shower, all the prep work is pretty much the same. But instead of thinsetting sheets of Kerdi to the walls and floor, you apply Hydroban to the floor and walls with a roller, brush, or trowel.


clipped on: 07.10.2014 at 04:39 pm    last updated on: 07.10.2014 at 04:39 pm

RE: Replacing main water service line - copper? PE? PEX? (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: lazypup on 01.25.2012 at 09:42 am in Plumbing Forum

Everyone seems to be struggling with the fact that they are specifying a 2" line, but in all truth, we simply do not have sufficient information to determine the actual size.

How many fixtures are in the house?
Do they have irrigation?
What is the static head pressure at the municipal main?
What is the elevation differential from the municipal main to the house?
Keep in mind that the length of run is 275'

Out of curiosity I did a workup for a common house with two bathrooms, laudry, kitchen with dishwasher and only one outside hose bibb. That works out to a peak demand of 32.75gpm (code requires we size for peak demand in a residential structure).

Now I examined the friction head loss tables for P.E. pipe @ 30gpm

1.25" pipe the loss is 11.8psi/100ft (0.118/ft)

1.5" pipe the loss is 5.6psi/100ft (0.056psi/ft)

2" pipe the loss is 1.7psi/100ft (0.017psi/ft)

For the 275ft run the friction head loss would then be:
1.25" pipe = 0.118 x 275ft = 32.45psi loss

1.5" pipe= 0.056 x 275ft= 15.4psi loss

2" pipe = 0.017 x 275ft= 4.67psi

The minimum allowable static head pressure at the main water shutoff in the structure is 40psi so in order to achieve code minimum with 1.25" pipe the static head pressure at the meter would have to be 72.45psi. (code minimum + friction head loss) and this does not even consider any vertical static head losses whereas with 2" pipe the minimum static head pressure at the meter would only need to be 44.67psi, which is about typical for a municipal main.

Due to the length of the run a 2" line makes perfect sense to me and I am in full agreement with Alphonse on the choice of materials. P.E. pipe would be my first choice only I would specify that they use stainless steel clamps on all the fittings.

If you do elect to use copper I would insist that they use roll copper, which comes in 60ft rolls at 2" diameter and I would insist that all joints be brazed rather than soldered but in truth, P.E. pipe has a much longer anticipated service life than does copper.


clipped on: 07.09.2014 at 11:28 pm    last updated on: 07.09.2014 at 11:28 pm

RE: What is best pipe for service line (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: lazypup on 03.17.2009 at 12:44 pm in Plumbing Forum

The Georgia Plumbing code is modeled after the UPC (Uniform Plumbing code). Let us begin our discussion by examining your options under the UPC.

Pipe Approved by the UPC for domestic potable water "Supply Lines" (Note- Supply lines are defined as the line from the municipal water main or well to the structure).

List of approved materials:

1.ASBESTOS CEMENT PIPE-commonly used for municipal water mains but rarely seen in a residential supply.

2.BRASS PIPE- Extremely expensive and labor intensive because it requires cutting and threading in the same manner as iron pipe. Expected service life is 150+yrs. (In my entire career in the plumbing trade I never encountered a brass service line).

3.COPPER PIPE Type K & L (no type L)
Both "Hard drawn copper" (rigid 10' or 20' lengths) and "Annealed copper pipe" continuous roll pipe available in 60' & 100' rolls. Annealed copper continuous roll pipe is the preferred material for supply lines because it can be bent to conform to slight changes in direction or elevation and it minimizes the number of joints below grade. Expected service life 60+ yrs. Disadvantage is the high cost of the material.

4. CPVC-both pipe and tubing. CPVC pipe is made to conform to the sched.40 IPS (iron pipe standard). It has the same overall dimension and pipe wall thickness as sched.40 PVC & Iron pipe. Generally only available through a commercial plumbing supply house by special order. This pipe is generally not sold to the public because the pipe dimension is the same as sched.40 PVC and there is a great risk that untrained installers might co-mingle CPVC pipe with PVC fittings. (code prohibits gluing dissimilar plastic pipes and fittings.
The CPVC commonly found in the home supply stores is CPVC-CTS (CTS=Copper Tube Standard). While CPVC-CTS is approved for supply piping, in my humble opinion the tubing wall is too thin to hold up to the rigors of direct burial, and being a rigid material it would require numerous joints. Failed joints are the leading cause of problems with a supply line.

5.GALVANIZED IRON PIPE- Expensive, labor intensive to install, highly succeptable to mineral buildup and internal corrosion. Generally not considered a good choice today.

6. PE PIPE (Polyethelene Plastic tubing). Available in 50', 100' & 250' rolls. Uses standard "Bsrb" fittings which are pushed into the pipe and held in place by stainless steel clamps.
a.Very inexpensive.
b. No buried joints.
c.Flexible so it will easily conform to an imperfect trench or change in direction or elevation.
d.Proven service life 65+ yrs.
e.Requires no tools other than a pvc snap cutter or common utility knife to cut the pipe and a common flat tip screwdriver to tighten the clamps.

7.PEX (Cross linked Polyethelene pipe). PEX is a relatively new material in the plumbing industry. It has all the advantages of the PE pipe with the exception that it requires special tools to make the joints and it may not be code approved by your local jurisdiction.

NOTE: both PE & PEX pipe can be installed with a minimal invasion of your landscaping by means of a ditch-witch type trenching machine using a 4" or 6" wide cutter bar. Some trenching machines even have a special pipe rack that will hold a roll of PE or PEX and a dispensing system on the cutter bar so that the pipe is laid during the trenching operation. This method only requires digging a small hole at each end of the run to make the final connection or feed the pipe through a footer wall.

8. PVC pipe-available in 20' rigid lengths. Requires couplings to join additional lengths and fittings to make changes in direction or elevation.
a.PVC is relatively inexpensive
b.pvc is impervious to scaling or mineral fouling.
a.Requires numerous joints which are the leading cause of direct burial pipe failure.
b. requires good straight line trenches.

In my professional opinion my choices in order would be;
1.PE pipe
2.PEX pipe
3.PVC pipe


clipped on: 07.09.2014 at 11:24 pm    last updated on: 07.09.2014 at 11:25 pm

RE: icf, sip, geothermal, overwhelmed!!!! help! (Follow-Up #14)

posted by: lzerarc on 08.30.2011 at 09:45 am in Building a Home Forum

being a 'hardcore green designer', I am very familiar with all of these systems, but more importantly, how they perform in certain climate regions. This is the most important part of choosing your efficient shell...something that works in the south will not work in the north. (obviously)

To focus on the types at hand:
ICF is a great product, but you have to use it to its benefits for your area. Being in the midwest (I am from Iowa, zone 6) and Indiana is zone 4 or 5, depending if you are more northern or southern. The first thing you need to figure out is what are the most important factors to you. If you want sound and high STC rating, strength and storm resistance (note- resistance, not proof. I have designed several FEMA 361 rated saferooms, and trust me, typical ICF construction will no where near meet these requirements!),
and air tightness, then ICF is for you. If you are after energy savings, for zone 5, you are going to gain about 5% tops over standard good wood frame, code min. construction.
This number is based on true real world case studies of ICF structures built around the US by ORNL as well as Building Science. A 5% energy savings will result in an extremely long payback. ICF walls, in a heating dominated area, perform marginally above the r value of their eps foam. Most are around an r-24. That is basically what you will get out of your wall. You have an expensive, yet high strength r-24 wall. This is just r-3 above code. Higher r stick framed walls (r-30 plus) can be had at a lower cost, and will save you more on energy consumption. However regardless if you use it from footing to roof, I think ICF can not be beat for basements. Superior wall is also a good option too. Either will perform better then a typical 8" poured foundation even with a typical 2x4 batt interior frame wall (netting around an r-11 vs r-23-30), not to mention to very high potential to mold growth.

SIPs are also a very good, strong product. However their install is extremely critical. Forgetting to caulk 1 single joint, or a joint that is not very tight can throw off the infiltration ratings for the entire shell, throwing your added costs out the window. Another criticism for SIPs are the potential for rotting exterior osb and how you fix that since it is part of the structural skin. rotting osb on a frame wall, you simply cut it out and replace it. You can not do that with a SIPs panel. However know I am not suggesting it will rot, it is just a possible downside that many are leery of. SIPs should price out slightly lower then ICF, but it also depends on your thickness. Standard 4" panels are below code min, and 6" panels barely get you there. If you are looking for higher r, consider 8" panels, or possibly urethane panels. A 6" urethane panel will hit around r-40s while the 6" EPS will be around r-30 for similar cost.

Geo prices, I have found, are obviously extremely regional. In my area, a 3 ton high end system can be installed for $20k, which is considered very cheap. Other areas its double. Remember, your shell is #1, hvac is second. The tighter and higher r you make your shell decreases not only your upfront hvac costs, but obviously your bills for the life of your house. With the right shell design, your 2000 sqft house should not need anything higher then a 2 ton system, max. In fact depending on your shell, you could get by with a min split system. My 3400 sqft house (under design) has estimated heat loading, in zone 6 with 7400 HDD at only 19k BTU. The house I live in right now, an older 1300 sqft (total conditioned space) required nearly 30k btu.
Estimated geo heating is about $40/month, plus some hot water generation (in summer months) via DSH.

Also realize your hvac system will need an ERV or HRV, whichever they typically recommend in your climate zone. Most in heating zones will recommend HRV, but that is not always the case. Some still prefer ERV claiming it does not transfer the outdoor humidity that the HRV does.

Along with the shell comes other items such as your roof. windows and doors, basement and slab insulated values. Design and placement of openings can also make a world of difference on the total cost of the project and energy consumption. If you have a strong southern exposure, design for TRUE passive solar designs will practically heat your house come winter during the day. A number of years ago I designed a passive solar house, and when it was 5 degrees outside on a sunny day, the furnace ran a little in the morning and typically did not kick on until around 4-5 at night. This was with correct windows and a high r/tight shell which is easily within your reach if you do not do ICF. Window selection, side, placement, overhangs, glass types are all extremely important for all elevations of your house. The sprawling wall of glass you see a lot these days is about the worst thing you can do. Every sqft foot of glass is roughly the same as 10 sqft of wall surface, heat loss-wise. North glass should be minimized to be useful. Windows 10' up on the wall are not useful. You can not see out of them, and the lighting they let in in is marginal compared to typical egress windows. Heat loss is 10x the light gain benefits.
North elevation glass should be the best you can afford, triple pane windows with low u values. u values should be below .2. Energy star .29-.3 windows are NOT that great at all. An energy star window is only an r value of around 3.3. Compare that to your wall value of 25-30...big heat loss.
However on the south side, if you want high solar gains, you will not be able to get an energy star window at all. Which is fine, since their rating system makes 0 logical sense in terms of super efficient structures. An ES rated window will not perform the best on a south elevation. Which is interesting because you would think their goal would be maximum performance?! For south windows you need to look for glass with the highest SHGC you can find, yet still maintain lowE glass. SHGC numbers around .5 is your target. However your u will be typically around .35, so not an ES window. Pella is about the only 'big guy' that makes a specific solar glazed window, however Marvin and other high end windows probably do as well, but you will pay for it. Look for LowE hardcoats for solar elevations, soft coats for north and west. I would imagine if you asked a contractor or someone at the Lowes window desk they would just stare at you.

You house also has 6 sides, all of which are important to heat loss. Your roof I would recommend r-50 cellulose min., r-60 if you are feeling frisky. The cost difference will be extremely marginal, and thicker roof insulation have very fast paybacks. Also consider r-10 rigid XPS foam below your entire basement slab.
For high r houses, I typically use the 10-30-40-60 approach...10r below slab, 30r basement, 40 r exposed walls, 60r attic. For a climate zone 5, you can bring those down slightly.
Like I said, air sealing and your shell should have the most money put into it you can. This is where your payback lies, not in your geo system. Extra air sealing and insulation pays you back...expensive granite counters do not!

I would also recommend alternative wall types besides SIPs and ICF to hit similar and higher efficiency values for lower upfront costs. As you stated, the basement can serve as your storm shelter if you consider these other routes.

One option is 2x6 advanced framing with exterior sheathing of rigid foam. True OVE framing omits the wood sheathing, but I still like to use it for added peace of mind and strength. I also like the Huber ZIP product for wall and roof sheathing, as it gives you an near instant air barrier and water tight enclosure, especially on the roof as soon as its taped off.
For your climate zone, going with exterior foams and preventing the risk of trapping moisture and mold in your wall, you need to hit roughly r-7.5 of continuous exterior insulation. this is 1.5" of XPS, the sweet spot for foam construction. Include wet blown cellulose in your wall, and you will be netting a wall performance of roughly r-25 for a much lower cost then ICF or SIPs. With seams taped on both XPS and ZIP, your infiltration will also be very low and similar to either system. Adding additional exterior foams only make your situation better, however you start to encounter additional costs and issues for the building since thicker foams complicate the detailing and cladding attachment more.

However my favorite, and most cost effective high r assembly is the double stud 2x4 wall. This is what I am using in my own house hitting around r-45 for a LOWER cost then exterior foams of around r-35-40.

Regardless of the wall type you choose, do a blower door test to check your infiltration ratings and to find and seal the leaky parts. I typically spec this to be done before the insulation goes in so they are easier to find.

Sorry for the super long post, but hopefully it sort of answers some of your questions, but I am sure will only rise many more! that is good, do your research. It blows my mind people will spend $200k++++ and take a builder's word for it without research. The more you do, the better off you will be. Good luck!


clipped on: 07.09.2014 at 06:27 pm    last updated on: 07.09.2014 at 06:27 pm

RE: Rainfall Showers (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: enduring on 05.31.2014 at 02:59 pm in Bathrooms Forum

I love my rain shower. I've used it a week now. I was thinking that a rain shower head would be very nice for children as it is not so strong and scary. It is a fairly gentle rain.

Mine is a Hansgrohe Raindance with an integrated waterfall. It is 8"x17" and really encases one in a shower experience. I have a handheld as well for more shower power. But my overhead shower is great and I am finding that I use the handheld only to rinse down the shower. I would always want a handheld regardless, for cleaning purposes.

The set up I have would not be what you would want for a bunch of boys :) But I bet they would love a rain shower.

 photo raindanceHansgrohe_zps2e668637.jpg

 photo raindancehansgroheprofile_zps2d3b7c96.jpg


Rain shower head Mount s like regular shower head plus a handheld for more power and rinsing the shower.
clipped on: 06.03.2014 at 08:02 pm    last updated on: 06.03.2014 at 08:03 pm

RE: Rainfall Showers (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: cat_mom on 05.31.2014 at 12:06 pm in Bathrooms Forum

We have Hansgrohe "air" rain shower heads in our two upstairs bathrooms (they make different models/sizes). Ours are wall mounted, like "normal" shower heads.

The "air" feature gives the shower head more oomph than typical rain shower heads (good for rinsing hair), while still providing a relaxing, rain shower feel. Ours have three settings; rain, mix, pulse/massage. I typically dislike massage-shower heads--never use the massage feature, but I like the one on this shower head, and do use it when I have an achy back, neck, shoulders...

 photo IMG_4040.jpg

 photo IMG_4103.jpg

This post was edited by cat_mom on Sat, May 31, 14 at 15:29


Good info about a hybrid air/ rain shower head mounted like a regular shower head.
clipped on: 06.03.2014 at 07:57 pm    last updated on: 06.03.2014 at 07:59 pm

RE: Pros and Cons of Encaustic Cement Tiles as Bathroom Floor (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: mongoct on 01.26.2014 at 10:43 am in Bathrooms Forum

The pluses are that the look can be unique. When you chip a glazed tile you can see the body color underneath. Typically a cement-encaustic will have a depth of color, so a surface chip will show the same color underneath.

A couple of things to consider.

Some tiles are hand-pressed, others machine pressed. The hand-pressed can be more delicate or fragile because the pressing can be inconsistent. I'm not saying all hand-pressed are to be avoided, you can simply get better consistency when they are hydraulically pressed. If you're getting them from a large manufacturer, they are likely hydraulically pressed.

Floor deflection is a consideration. The larger the tile the stiffer your floor needs to be.

Being cement-based, they are very prone to damage from acids. Etching, etc. Some also have marble dust in the design. Again, marble can etch or dissolve from acid.

They can be very porous. See what the manufacturer recommends for sealing, they may have a particular product that works best for their particular tile. If you have an installer set and seal the tile, you'll probably need to educate them about cement-encaustic tile, especially with regard to the sealing.

As far as installation, again, if your installer has never set them before, see if the manufacturer has a tip sheet. Some basics:

1) I cut the tiles with a wet saw. I don't score and snap.
2) I soak the tiles in water prior to setting to prevent them from wicking moisture out of the thinset.
3) When the tiles are set, back-butter and use hand pressure, don't tap with a mallet.
4) Prior to grouting, seal
5) After grouting, seal, seal, seal
6) Consider a renewable application of wax as well for added protection.

In a kid's bathroom, you need to be prepared for the tiles to get etched or stained, even if sealed. If your kid's will ever be into coloring their hair, teen lotions and potions, etc?

Your floor may survive unscathed or it may earn a few beauty marks with use.


clipped on: 05.23.2014 at 01:07 pm    last updated on: 05.23.2014 at 01:07 pm

RE: PEX tubing instead of copper??? (Follow-Up #17)

posted by: lazypup on 06.06.2007 at 09:41 pm in Building a Home Forum

Most people are under the false assumption that PEX must be run with the manifold system. That is not true. PEX may be run in the same main and branch configuration as is used for galvanized iron pipe, copper pipe or CPVC pipe and conversely there is nothing in the code that would prohibit installing a galvanized iron pipe, copper pipe or CPVC pipe in a manifold configuration if one so desired.

As a Plumber I have rather mixed emotions about the manifold system. On the one hand it is very convenient to be able to close a valve and isolate one fixture for service while still maintaining full water service to all the remaining fixtures in the house, but on the other hand when they install the manifold system many installers do not put the angle stop valves at the fixture end. I find it quite inconvenient to go from a second floor bathroom all the way down to a basement to turn the water supply off to make a minor repair on a toilet or faucett. When one considers the nominal price of angle stop valves (typically about $4ea.) I would insist that they be installed at the fixture end. In this manner if you have a problem with a toilet or faucett you can easily reach down and turn the water supply off right at the fixture or if there is a problem with the supply line it could be isolated at the manifold. On the other hand, if you opt for a main and branch configuration, regardless of what type of pipe you select, make it a point to have your plumber install numerous Zone valves. With zone valves if you should happen to have a problem with a line to one area of the house you could close the valve and zone off a single bathroom, kitchen or laundry area while still maintaining full water service to the rest of the house until the repairs can be made.

In regions that have problems with acidic water causing pin holes in copper pipe PEX is often recommended, however I would point out that there is a copper stub out at each fixture that is made of the same grade of copper as the copper pipe system, and which would be subject to the same pin hole problems.

It must also be noted that even in those regions that have acidic water, if your water is supplied by a municipal water supplier the ANSI/NSF standard 61 Safe Water Act requires that all municipal suppliers must treat acidic water to render it neutral. In the case of the home well system with acidic water I have to ask myself what are the long term health effects of consuming that water? Would it not make better sense to consider installing a water treatment system to correct the problem rather than looking for a piping material that is more tolerant?

While it is true that the PEX tubing itself is not damaged by freezing, it must be also be noted that the copper fixture stub outs are copper and are subject to the same freezing problems as copper pipe. It must also be noted that when water freezes it expands by approximately 9% by volume. If the freeze should happen to occur at a joint on a PEX system the expantion would stretch the PEX connector crimp ring, thereby rendering it useless and a leak or blowout will most likely occur as soon as the line thaws out.

While it is true that PEX tubing is much easier to run than copper pipe, it must also be noted that if the PEX system is run in the Manifold configuration you use so many additional feet of PEX that the material and installation labor cost will ultimately work out to about the same price. (This explains why many plumbers will offer the homeowner the choice of PEX or copper for the same price).

Although it has not been given much public attention there is some concerns about the long term health effects of plastic piping of all forms, PEX, CPVC, PE,PB etc. Under some rare circumstances such as with a home well and untreated water there is a concern that "biofilm" (Biofilm is the source of a number of bio pathegens including Legionella which causes legionaires disease) can grow in pipes that contain stagnant water for extended periods of time, such as the line to an outside hose bibb during winter months or a seldomly used utility sink. The industry recommendation is to have the whole system sanitized at least once every 4 years. (This is normally not a concern if your water is from a chlorinated municipal source.) On the other hand, as copper pipe ages it forms a layer of copper sulfate corrosion on the inner wall of the pipe. Copper sulfate is one of the best anti-bacterials known to man, therefore generally a copper water system will not support biofilm.

Copper or CPVC piping systems can be easily repaired with fairly inexpensive tools and equipment which are normally already present in the home workshop, whereas PEX tubing requires the use of special PEX crimpers. You would need a separate crimper for each size of PEX tubing used in your system, typically three sizes, and the PEX crimpers currently run about $125each plus you need a PEX "Go-No go" guage to check the crimp, which is another $25.

And finally, for reasons known only to the critters involved, rats, mice, rabbits and opossums seem to have a sweet tooth for PEX tubing. This would be a very big concern if you are running water lines under the floor through a raised crawlspace.

Now in response to a previous comment:
"The only obvious downside I see is that if a line is punctured during the construction process, the entire run has to be replaced."

This is incorrect. We can cut a PEX line and crimp in a repair section the same as we would with copper or CPVC.


clipped on: 05.15.2014 at 06:14 pm    last updated on: 05.15.2014 at 06:14 pm

RE: Tight house, what about indoor air quality? (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: energy_rater_la on 05.14.2014 at 12:05 pm in Building a Home Forum

--Are we going to find out in a few years that our very tight houses are trapping harmful air pollutants inside?

we have already, homes that were sealed & no provision for make up air installed. build tight and ventilate right. lots of ways to do this...
--If you have to install a system to bring fresh air inside, doesn't that additional cost offset some of the savings of insulation?
here in hot humid La. we take our required measured fresh air and duct it to return air. dehumidified & cooled before entering living control where it enters, how much enters..its all about measured controlled fresh air.
here it is erv, or my favorite...ventilated whole house dehumidifier.
--How do you know if your HVAC contractor has adequately calculated replacement air needs for a really tight house? Is it one of those things that a few years down the road we find out that another variable needed to be in the equation? (This point really weighs on my mind.)
don't rely on hvac company. have independent load calc...duct sizing & duct design. then bid these unbiased calcs to hvac companies. inputs control sizing...if they are inaccurate...the sizing of the system...duct design & sizing will all be off. you have to provide details...types of insulation & projected air tightness of house. then have air tightness of house & ducts tested at proper stage.

best of luck


clipped on: 05.15.2014 at 02:38 pm    last updated on: 05.15.2014 at 02:38 pm

RE: Tight house, what about indoor air quality? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: Brian_Knight on 05.13.2014 at 09:44 am in Building a Home Forum

Great question and replies so far. Congratulations and thanks for learning more about the key strategy for energy efficiency in homes.

Are we going to find problems with tight houses?

We already are and it depends, as always, on the details. So many variables and specific situations but the take away should be this: You will have more control over your conditioned air and Indoor Air Quality with a tight building envelope. Leaky, poorly insulated envelopes could be making the IAQ worse by introducing more soil gases like radon, CO from garages, or creating mold problems inside walls by sucking humid air past cold framing. With a tight building envelope, you can control where the air comes from, where it is going and how much fresh air is being introduced.

Will fresh air introduction increase energy costs?

Yes. But usually not more than having a lot of air infiltration and exfiltration and its usually a healthier result. ERVs and HRVs are not the only way to introduce fresh air to the house but they address this concern with air to air heat exchangers to help capture the energy spent to condition the indoor air. I think its important to choose a ventilation device that uses an ECM motor as they use a fraction of the energy of more typical fan motors. Currently, this means going with an HRV.

How do you know if HVAC contractor did the right calculations?

Generally, you should never rely on the HVAC contractor to do your load calculations. Hiring a third party energy rater or certifier is usually money very well spent. The minimum calculations should be a Manual J. I suggest getting Energy Star certified to alleviate much of the concern in this area.

People should be aware that blower door test proven, tight homes are required by international building codes. So is fresh air introduction namely through the ASHRAE 62.2 ventilation standard. Search; Understanding Ashrae 62.2, if youre not familiar with it. Local codes generally dont enforce these important details. I think people in the future will look back on Blower door tested airtightness as we look back on insulation requirements. "They used to require insulation without ACH50 numbers?.. Amazing!" The best thing about blower door testing is that the resulting numbers and measurements are so much more meaningful than R value, which is very tricky to accurately evaluate.

Blower door proven airtighness is fairly solid science at this point and will be enforced hopefully in the near future. Things will really change in the coming years regarding ASHRAE 62.2 and fresh air introduction. Health science is trickier to pin down but I feel the take away in this area is to build a balanced ventilation system that can be easily controlled (turned up or down). The bigger and less open the floorplan, the more important it becomes to keep fresh air ventilation ducts separate from heating and cooling ducts.


clipped on: 05.13.2014 at 12:06 pm    last updated on: 05.13.2014 at 12:07 pm

RE: New Construction Sheetrock Primer Recommendation (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: paintguy on 10.17.2010 at 11:50 pm in Paint Forum

You may not need to prime, but why spend $38 per gallon for Behr paint and use that as the primer when primer can be purchased for much less? You can have the primer tinted towards your finish color. Zinnser 123 is a good all around drywall primer.


clipped on: 05.02.2014 at 11:36 pm    last updated on: 05.02.2014 at 11:37 pm

RE: New Construction Sheetrock Primer Recommendation (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: sombreuil_mongrel on 10.18.2010 at 08:35 pm in Paint Forum

Wipe down the new drywall with a wet (but not dripping) drywall sponge, this gets the layer of dust off the newly sanded joints. I've always found it helps adhesion. Then, let the first coat really dry hard before recoating. Most blistering and peeling problems down the line are from not letting the first coat cure dry.


clipped on: 05.02.2014 at 11:36 pm    last updated on: 05.02.2014 at 11:36 pm

RE: Cleaning Dust from Newly Installed Sheetrock for Painting (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: mongoct on 04.25.2006 at 08:54 am in Remodeling Forum

Prior to painting, I'll wipe down the sheetrock with dampened grout sponges, the big orange ones.

Rinse often, squeeze fairly dry.

It's a simply wiping motion over the surface. Goes very quickly. Don't scrub and don't get it too wet, as you don't want to pill the drywall paper.

The damp sponge method is also good for feathering out any minor flaws in the drywall mud that were missed when sanding. We call it "wet sanding."



clipped on: 05.02.2014 at 11:32 pm    last updated on: 05.02.2014 at 11:32 pm

RE: Anyone live in a SIP home? (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: buzzsaw on 02.05.2008 at 11:55 am in Building a Home Forum

I live in a SIP home I designed and built myself. I also did the electrical work. W/o question it is more work, but not that hard. However, it is definitely much more expensive materials-wise for the electrical. For starters, you are likely to use different boxes with metal brackets that cost over a $1 each rather than $0.30 nail-ons. You will use 2-3x the wire because you find yourself wanting to run the wire down (or up) into the floor system and then back up (down) to the next box. Although there are channels in some cases, it is not always feasible or desirable to use them. On the other hand it is very flexible to put in an outlet box where ever you want; just cut in a channel w/ a router and a 1/4 inch bit, insert the wire and then fill in the slot w/ expanding foam. No need to use metal plates anywhere as mentioned above if your channel is deep enough.

You can get around plumbing on outside walls by building a second stud wall (either partial or full height) walls on the interior to run your plumbing inside. I did this in our master bath on a wall that even has a window on it. It simply adds to the artistic look if planned and done right.

Be wary of how your corner systems get put together. After assembling my house, I hate the simple way my corners are put together. Other than the top plates criss-crossing, the only thing holding the corner together is the sheathing (e.g. no studs connected from one wall to the perpendicular one next to it).IOW, the only thing holding the corner together is the strength of the sheathing from any lateral load (e.g. wind or dirt if on a basement wall). I have had to re-enforce mine.

If you have a SIP ceiling, make sure to include locations for smoke detectors when laying out your lighting plan.

I have a 12 inch thick ceiling. It was only $1,100 or so more than a 10 inch one. I have wider overhangs, but figured it was cheap insulation on the space that exhausts/loses the most heat.

I don't understand the use/need of self expanding foam and tape with the joints. We used a healthy bead of Manus 'caulk' or sealant. It is great stuff, but oh so sticky/messy. It creates your airtight seal between panels and stays pliable - it never hardens/dries like regular caulk.


clipped on: 04.11.2014 at 10:44 pm    last updated on: 04.11.2014 at 10:45 pm

RE: anyone with cork in the kitchen, shout out! (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: feisty68 on 04.02.2014 at 01:51 pm in Kitchens Forum

from a blog -

Here is a link that might be useful: Installing Cork Tile Flooring in the Kitchen


love that floor
clipped on: 04.02.2014 at 08:26 pm    last updated on: 04.02.2014 at 08:26 pm

RE: Keeping unglazed hex tile clean? (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: nutherokie on 04.12.2009 at 12:20 am in Bathrooms Forum

For what it's worth, I have 80-year-old white, 2-inch unglazed hex in one of my bathrooms. I don't find it at all difficult to keep clean. On the other hand, I also have green (!) glazed 2-inch hex in my master bathroom. After 80-some years of use, the glaze is worn through in the traffic pattern and although I'm partial to it, it definitely shows its age.

I'm planning to use the unglazed hex in the new house we're building. I ordered samples of 2-inch unglazed hex from Bungalow Tile and laid it next to our old floor. They are identical. The 80-year old stuff looks just as good as the brand new. That confirmed my choice for me. Good luck!


good point for using unglazed tile. Bill V says just to use hot water to clean the tile and unglazed and glazed are supposed to be equally easy to clean
clipped on: 03.28.2014 at 02:59 pm    last updated on: 03.28.2014 at 03:00 pm

RE: Stacked cabinets (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: hollysprings on 09.09.2012 at 10:33 pm in Kitchens Forum

There's only a seam and molding if you are using partial overlay cabinets. It doesn't show with full overlay cabinets as long as a full height decorative side panel is field applied.


clipped on: 03.18.2014 at 11:11 am    last updated on: 03.18.2014 at 11:11 am

Finally - Elizpiz's Finished Kitchen

posted by: elizpiz on 03.25.2009 at 12:04 pm in Kitchens Forum

Well, here it is � I am finally posting my finished kitchen. A quick "before and after" � full album linked below.

So, before....

View from basement stairs

And after...

The beautiful Horsefeathers bookshelf

Some background and few details:

Our house is almost 100 years old and as such, the original kitchen was quite small � about 9x10. We have an unusually shaped lot, and the shape allowed for us to be able to knock down an exterior wall and build out. Here is the original floor plan:

Original floor plan

I love to cook but for all of my adult life I have never cooked in a kitchen that was bigger than 9x10. I've never had a dishwasher before, unless DH counts (we didn't have one in my family home either) and the efficiency in our "zone" came from being able to reach everything because the space was so darn small!

The objective was to make the kitchen look like it was always there, with more up to date appliances. To achieve that, we had the cabinets hand painted and distressed and chose heritage colours. We used reclaimed oak planks for the island countertop; the hardware is a combination of hand forged cast iron from England and finds from architectural salvage. Countertops and the main sink are soapstone.

An imperative was to find a home for my 300+ (and counting) cookbook collection. We achieved that through clever cabinetry and the acquisition of a beautiful old hutch.

But most of all, we wanted the kitchen to be the heart of the house, and it really is. I can honestly say that we don't sit in the living room anymore!

We started the project in May and it was completed in December. The past few weeks have been spent getting the finishing details (stools, etc). Along with the kitchen, we rewired the house, excavated down to a new laundry room, added storage, repainted everything, redid the bathroom in the basement etc etc... It was a house reno disguised as a kitchen addition.

We didn't work with a designer - the ideas were ours, brought to life by our GC - and primarily me spending *hours* right here with all of you dear GWer�s. So THANK YOU for all of your generosity, your advice, your wisdom and your passion for all things TKO � I wish I could throw a giant GW party to give you all a big hug!

Top notes (feel free to contact me if you have questions):
Soapstone counters
Custom cabinetry
Liebherr fridge
TurboChef double ovens
BlueStar cooktop with centre grill
Modern-Aire hood
Walker-Zanger backsplash
Miele Excella full dishwasher
FP Dishwasher Drawer
Kohler faucets: potfiller, main sink, prep sink
Hardware perimeter cabinets: Whitechapel
Hardware island and fridge: architectural salvage from Old Good Things in NYC
Bar stools from America Retold

Fair warning � my album has lots of pix � I just couldn�t bear not to include the details.


Here is a link that might be useful: Elizpiz's Kitchen Slideshow


clipped on: 01.27.2014 at 04:17 pm    last updated on: 03.17.2014 at 08:01 pm

RE: Marmoleum - Who has it, who loves it, and would you do it aga (Follow-Up #31)

posted by: oldhousegal on 10.04.2010 at 03:17 pm in Kitchens Forum

I used the Marmoleum Click panels in my kitchen/mud room areas. I love it! I put Whisper Wool underlayment underneath it, and this is the most comfortable room in the house.
I broke my back 2 years ago, but love to cook, so needed a comfortable floor to stand on. This one does the trick, not to mention it is warm in the winter, so much more so than the old hardwoods throughout the rest of my house. I keep it clean by running my vacuum over it a few times a week, and spills easily clean up with a wet rag. I don't use any chemicals on the floor, just a wet mop with with vinegar water.
The pet's water bowl leaked a few months ago and I didn't notice it for a few days. It appeared the water got between the click and it swelled just a bit, but after a few weeks it dried out without any noticeable damage. I got one large scratch after scooting a cabinet across a piece of dirt or gravel that traveled in on someone's shoe. Granted it was a heavy cabinet, and the scratch is pretty deep, but it is the same color, so I'm probably the only one who notices it!

I'm pretty impressed by how easy to care for it is, and it functions nicely in my home.


Marmoleum click with wool underlayment for warmer floor and softer for kitchen and bathrooms
clipped on: 03.04.2014 at 02:01 pm    last updated on: 03.04.2014 at 02:02 pm

RE: Hexagon tiling help!!! (Follow-Up #33)

posted by: mongoct on 02.21.2014 at 02:10 pm in Bathrooms Forum

"Any tips on installing hexagon sheets? Should we use thin set mortar or tile adhesive?? Is one better than the other? Can we even use the adhesive on a floor? Is there a special technique or tools that would help us?"

Layout: Mark the floor. The following is simply a technique. You can do it any way you choose, or not do it at all. You'll probably have to fudge things to make them fit your space.

First square up the room to see if the walls are straight and square to one another, and to see if the tub is square to the right side wall. From your photo you started with full sheets of tile against the right side wall.

Tile sheets, grout lines between sheets, and gridding a floor:

Let's assume your sheets are all perfectly square, and the sheets are 11-7/8" wide from the outside edges of the tiles. Let's assume you're going to set them 1/8" apart. We're going to "grid your floor" in two-sheet increments.

A tile width plus a grout width is 11-7/8" plus 1/8", or 12". We're going to grid your floor in two unit increments, or 24" increments.

You've already squared your room, let's assume all went well.

Yup. Lots of "assuming" here.

So mark out two tile sheets plus two grout widths (24") from that right wall and draw a line from the tub to the doorway.

Measure 48" from that right wall and draw another line from the tub to the door, You'll now have two lines parallel to the right wall, one 24" from the wall and one 48" from the wall.

That'll straighten your layout lengthwise.

Then measure down from the tub in two sheet width increments (24") from the tub and draw horizontal lines, left-to-right, across the room. You should have five lines; 2', 4', 6', 8', and 10' from the tub.

Your floor should now be gridded in 24" square boxes. You'll have partial boxes against the left wall.

Now you're going to dry set your tile. No adhesive.

In our example we'll have four sheets of tile inside each grid box. The way I work with a grid is when I set my tiles inside each individual grid box, I set the sheets tight to the bottom line and tight to the left line. In our example, the other sheets in the box would get set 1/8" from each other, and that should result in the sheets being 1/8" from the right grid line and 1/8" from the top grid line.

Does that make sense? If not, I'll try to post a drawing. I did have something about gridding in a post way back, but it was about a herringbone layout. Here's that post.

Again, you don't have to grid. But it can help.

Regardless, dry set all of your full sheets on the floor. Make sure the gaps all look fine. If any look wacky, make sure the hex sheet itself is square. Some can get deformed in the box. If a sheet is wacky, you can sometimes rotate it and that can help with the gaps. If not, you might be able to use it against a wall with the wacky edge against the wall. You can also set the wacky sheets aside to be cut up for later use as fill-in sheets.

With the full sheets set, go back and cut and fill your partial sheets against the left wall. If you had any wacky deformed sheets, those can be cut and used as fill sheets.

With all the sheets dry set and the gaps all looking good, put a strip of painters tape on each sheet and number each sheet. Make sure you mark the orientation of the sheet as well so the sheets get reset exactly as they are dry set. No rotating allowed.

Adhesive. I usually use thinset over mastic. Since your tiles are not natural stone and you are not tiling a wet area, you could use mastic. In general it's easier to use than thinset. Your choice.

You probably already know this, but mastic comes ready-to-spread in resealable plastic tubs. Thinset comes in dry powder form in bags. Use a modified thinset, or modify it yourself by using unmodified and modifying it with an acrylic latex admix.

Trowel. The starting point for most installations is a 1/4" square notch. With small hex you'll probably find that trowel to be spreading too much thinset/mastic. I recommend using a 3/16ths "V" trowel as a starting point

Starting in the upper right grid in the room, spread adhesive within that grid. Spread it using the flat side of the trowel, then comb it out with the notched side of the trowel, with the trowel held at a 45 degree angle to the floor.

By combing it out with even pressure (with the trowel teeth touching the SLC) and with the trowel at an even angle, you'll leave a measured amount of adhesive on the floor. No thicker spots and thinner spots. Perfect depth everywhere.

Set your four sheets of tile within that grid:
1) The bottom left sheet is set touching the bottom grid line and the left grid line.
2) The bottom right sheet is touching the bottom grid line and gapped 1/8" from the bottom left sheet. That should gap it 1/8" from the right wall.
3) Top right sheet set tight to the left grid line and set 1/8" from the bottom left sheet. That should put it 1/8" away from the tub.
4) To right sheet set 1/8" from the top left sheet and 1/8" from the bottom right sheet. That should put it 1/8" from the tub and 1/8" from the right wall.

After the four sheets are set in each grid and with the gaps looking good, you can pad the sheets down into the adhesive by tapping them vertically with a rubber grout float.

Once set and padded, run a strip of painters tape from one sheet to the next. That'll prevent them from floating.

If you have excessive adhesive squeezing out between the hex tiles, you can apply less adhesive by holding your trowel at a lower angle to the floor.

If you set a sheet and see a wacky hex, one that is crooked within the sheet, take a utility knife and cut the single hex free from the sheet. Pop it out with a screwdriver. You can then add a dab of adhesive to the back of the hex and reset it by hand, then tape it in place so it doesn't shift. When you reset it, be careful of how deeply you set it. You want it flush with its neighbors.

Then move on to the grid to the left or right, depending on which way you prefer to work. Repeat. Work your way out of the room, grid-by-grid.

Or do it differently. No worries. I'll be offline for a few days, good luck!


How to lay tile floor
clipped on: 03.04.2014 at 01:23 pm    last updated on: 03.04.2014 at 01:23 pm

RE: Buckling walnut veneer (Follow-Up #27)

posted by: Siloxane on 02.12.2014 at 04:38 pm in Kitchens Forum

Oh thank you Akshars! Yes, Ann Sacks lucian. It was supposed to be white. I knew it would take a blue hue, but not that much. But it's pretty, and very cleanable! My whole house was redone and is modern, but a toned-down modern, lol. We gutted the whole house.


Love those horizontal windows around the ceiling
clipped on: 02.17.2014 at 05:15 pm    last updated on: 02.17.2014 at 05:15 pm

RE: Experience with handmade ceramic tile for backsplash? (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: phylhl on 02.05.2013 at 03:57 pm in Kitchens Forum

our backsplash just went in so I can't say I'm experienced.... but, we used Red Rock out of Nashville, purchased through a local dealer here. Took under a week to get a sample, about 6 weeks to receive the order. Love the handmade look!


Beautiful handmade tile.
clipped on: 02.02.2014 at 08:43 pm    last updated on: 02.02.2014 at 08:44 pm

RE: How are you customizing your house on a budget? (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: Bethanysmom on 01.26.2014 at 03:19 am in Building a Home Forum

I am a huge fan of Home Depot's daily deals. You can sign up on their website to get them emailed to you each day. Being a savvy shopper, I have literally saved thousands of dollars already and we haven't even started building yet!

I keep up with everything that I buy in a spreadsheet that I use to not only keep up with what I've bought and what I still need, but I also keep track of the regular price versus the price I actually paid for things.

I had mentioned on another thread about my desire to save around 50% on all my lighting, fixtures, etc, etc, and I kinda got laughed at like that wasn't possible. I just updated my spreadsheet tonight with some orders I placed today, and I am now at exactly 50% saved! Included in those figures are all the light fixtures, faucets, ceiling fans, one tub, two toilets, over half the doors, several windows, furniture, sinks, vanities, cabinets, hardware, etc, etc.

We are building a 4 BRM, 2 BA, 2200+ square foot house for less than $100,000. I am serving as the general contractor, which is going to save us quite a bit. I have overseen construction projects before and have helped build two houses and have remodeled several, so I'm fairly confident this is the way to go for us. Our goal is to not have a mortgage when we're finished. We're able to do this because we recently sold two homes and will be selling the home we live in now along with about 9 acres of land that we own outright. We'll be building on the remaining 6 acres that we have.

Another tip: If you're shopping online, always shop through (or - there are several websites like this) where you earn cash back on your purchases. I also buy gift cards through places like So, for example, when I want to order something from, I log into ebates, and then put in Then at, I purchase discounted gift cards (that can be used online within a few hours of purchasing.) Then I go back to Ebates and enter Home Depot, then click thru the link to place my order at Home Depot. I know it sounds like a lot of steps, but it's just second nature for me now.

My best find this week is was a hammered copper sink for my kitchen. I had looked at a lot of places where they were well over $1,000, but that just wasn't in my budget. Home Depot had one exactly like I wanted on one of their daily deals one day this week for $399. I had gift cards that I had bought through already and went to order it online, but their website wasn't cooperating, so I called and they agreed to give me an extra 5% off because I wasn't able to go through ebates to get the cash back on my order. So, when all was said and done, after you take into consideration what I saved by purchasing the gift cards through and all the discounts, I paid around $330 for the sink. And it was exactly what I wanted!

I've taught workshops on how to save money, and the first rule I tell those in attendance is to buy when it's at it's lowest price, and then figure out a way to get it cheaper through using tools like Ebates and Of course, when it comes to doing this for a house, you have to be extremely detailed and organized, and I've found that my spreadsheets and pinterest help keep me sane...when I purchase something, I add it to my spreadsheets and also to my pinterest boards (I keep several private boards just for this.) That way, when I'm out and about, all I have to do is pull up pinterest on my phone and I can be quickly reminded of what I've already bought, even if I don't have my spreadsheets with me.

I realize that's doesn't exactly answer your question regarding customizing, but I thought I'd share those tips in hopes it will help some of you.

As for what we are doing to customize our home on a budget, we are doing a lot of the finish work ourselves. I've also purchased things like tile from Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. Before purchasing it, I looked up the tile on my phone and it was still in-stock at Home Depot, but by buying it at the Re-Store (still in the boxes even), I saved about 1/4 off the retail cost at Home Depot.

I'm not sure if I really answered your question, but I hope that someone will find my tips useful.


How to fins deals on furnishings and fixtures.
clipped on: 01.26.2014 at 10:13 am    last updated on: 01.26.2014 at 10:14 am

RE: Opinions/Experiences loading Dishwasher when Sink Placed Forw (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: rococogurl on 01.25.2014 at 03:37 pm in Kitchens Forum

If you have enough space on each side of the sink base and they can do those vertical pull outs, that's brilliant. My kitchen is 10 y.o. and those built-in refinements weren't developed when I bought cabinets so you are all way ahead.

Here's how the Dw looks fully extended when I'm standing against the front of the sink for loading.

Just for reference, I have a 33" sink base with a 30-inch Rohl sink. Only thing I would love more than this sink is an even bigger one LOL


clipped on: 01.25.2014 at 09:34 pm    last updated on: 01.25.2014 at 09:34 pm

RE: Southern yellow pine floors- thoughts? finishes? (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: sombreuil_mongrel on 01.16.2014 at 10:03 am in Building a Home Forum

Wide pine will shrink and expand with the seasons. And 9" of movement (which for flat-sawn pine is like 1%) will be concentrated at one seam. That is why you do narrower strips, to spread that movement over more joints dividing it into smaller amounts, and it becomes negligible. To me a 1/9" gap at every board all winter would not be acceptable. The old-timers could get away with wider boards because the virgin timbers were slower-grown and stable; if quartersawn the movement was greatly diminished. If you nail down the wood tightly in hopes of stopping the movement, you will only succeed in getting it to split at the nails. If you want a lasting soft wood floor, you have to go with reclaimed material, like they sell at Mountain Lumber.


clipped on: 01.21.2014 at 10:42 am    last updated on: 01.21.2014 at 10:42 am

Great blog entry about off-white paint

posted by: kathec on 02.11.2011 at 11:35 am in Kitchens Forum

It can be a major source of frustration. You Google 'til the wee hours of the morning, should I do White Dove, Mayonnaise, Cloud White, Marscarpone, Blah, Blah, Blah. Megan from Frugal Farmhouse Design posted about how she picks off whites. This is probably one of the most informative. I never would have thought to have the store print out the formula. Based on the tints, you can better determine which undertones it will have. Or maybe, narrow the field WAY down. I've been buying samples and have a list of samples I want as long as my elbow. Don't even ask me how much I've spent so far, LOL! So, take a look.

Here is a link that might be useful: Frugal Farmhouse Design Off White Paint


clipped on: 01.16.2014 at 04:48 am    last updated on: 01.16.2014 at 04:48 am

The Most Half-a$$ed Reveal Ever

posted by: danielleg on 01.08.2014 at 01:31 pm in Kitchens Forum

Am I gonna get banned for that title? I hope not.

Hello everyone. I'm strictly a lurker around these parts...more active in the Home D�cor forum (if you can call what I do over there "active"). I had big plans for this reveal. Big plans. I was gonna go buy flowers...and go down to the little butcher shoppe that sells organic milk in those cute little glass bottles...and put cookies under my cake dome...and generally stage this place to within an inch of its life. But, then I didn't.

I am in a major rut. Is it possible to have a midlife crisis at 34? I just don't have any energy right now. I'm just outside of Boston, so seasonal depression may very well be a factor in this. Regardless, I did want to document my finished kitchen somehow, for the sake of posterity. So, here is the one picture I have of it so far (which is really just a cell phone pic I sent to my mother). Sorry for being such a wet rag. I need some encouragement to finish this job.

If anyone would like info on any of the details, just ask. This was what I would call a high/low reno. The cabinets, countertops and stools are all from Ikea. Most of the appliances are Jenn Air, except for the range, which is the 48" Wolf DF. I really am gonna try to get some more pics. I was pleasantly surprised by our hardware (Amerock), so at the very least I'll try to get a close up of them. Thanks for "listening" to me vent like a crazy woman.

 photo kitch_zpsf74a16fe.jpg


Really like this kitchen. Its very white, but the wood island gives a lot of warmth. I also love the dark window trim. Its not just for modern spaces.
clipped on: 01.09.2014 at 11:15 pm    last updated on: 01.09.2014 at 11:16 pm

Getting there from here, or how did it go so wrong?

posted by: live_wire_oak on 11.18.2011 at 03:20 pm in Kitchens Forum

You start your brand new journey into madness with a magazine pic. Your inspiration. That's IT! The ONE! I want my kitchen to look EXACTLY like that!

And yet, when you are done, your kitchen looks like this:

What the heck happened? Why doesn't my kitchen look like my inspiration?

1. Layout schmayout. Why do I need to move anything around? Yeah, so I only have 18" between my sink and stove and stand in that corner for everything I do in the kitchen. I've lived with this for 10 years and gotten used to it. It's fine.

2. Wow! cherry is expensive! I'll save $1200 by going with oak instead. It's close, so it'll be fine.

3. Full overlay doors are $800 more than partial overlay doors. No one will will ever notice the difference. It'll be fine.

4. I know the KD is recommending honed Absolute Black, but black counters are just so DARK! I want my kitchen to be light and bright. I'll go with a light countertop instead. It'll be fine.

5. Wood floors in a kitchen make me nervous. What if it leaks? Tile will stand up to a flood much better. I'll go with tile. But I hate cleaning grout, so I'll pick a dark grout that won't show dirt. I'm all about easy care and this will be fine.

6.That black crown molding is going to be dated at some point and I'll wonder why I spent my money on it. I'll just do the plain wood. It'll be fine.

7.I'll go ahead and replace the fridge, because the ice maker is shot, but why should I buy new appliances when the others I have are still working? It'll be fine.

8. Undercabinet lighting? Recessed lighting? Are they serious? I've lived without it all these years and I'm not spending money on that now. It'll be fine.

9. Wrought iron knobs? Nah, the black will show all kinds of dirt. Nickel will be a lot easier to clean. It'll be fine.

10.OMG! My kitchen is so beige and brown and boring! And it's dark with that dark wood. I'll hang that light in the spare room above the sink. And I'll paint the walls red for a POP of color. It's fine.

And, it's---well, fine. It's a new kitchen. With the selection of decent quality products, it will last you a while. It's not BAD. It's not ugly.

It's just not ANYTHING like it could have been!


clipped on: 01.09.2014 at 12:05 pm    last updated on: 01.09.2014 at 12:05 pm

Baking Center: Why, How, What, And Where?

posted by: johnliu on 02.12.2011 at 09:16 am in Kitchens Forum

''I don't bake.'' I believe I've said that before, and it was the truth, so I've been designing my kitchen with no special provision for baking.

Now things have changed, a little. Thanks to the inspiring folks over in the CF, I've started baking bread, and if I can ever get decent at it, want to move on to croissants, eclairs, madelines, tartes, and the like. I bought my first-ever stand mixer, and bags of different flours are starting to accumulate.

I think it is time for me to apologize to the bakers and learn about baking centers.

What is desirable in a baking center? What features and dimensions? For the space-limited, what is the ''minimum useful'' list? How about the ''dream works'' list?

Can the baking center comfortably multi-task with - co-exist and share space with - another zone?

Why have a purpose-designed baking center at all? What is the biggest aggravation of not having one?

I don't really know if I can make particular accommodation for baking in my kitchen, but feel as if I need to consider it instead of simply dismissing the black art of baking.


clipped on: 07.30.2013 at 08:38 pm    last updated on: 07.30.2013 at 08:38 pm

RE: Consumer Reports not high on Bluestar (Follow-Up #86)

posted by: gtadross on 04.11.2013 at 07:26 pm in Appliances Forum

As far as changing the burners, it's a snap. Just take the bowls and grates off then pull off the whole burner and the Venturi tube. After that, you'll need a 1/2" deep socket and 6" extender to remove the brass orifice located behind the knobs. You cannot access it by just pulling off the knobs. You have to access it with the socket wrench from underneath the plate setter above the knobs.

Each burner uses a different size orifice. The 15k burners use a size 48 gauge orifice; the 22k burners use a size 47 gauge; and the simmer burner uses a size 49 gauge. The gauge refers to the size of the hold in the brass orifice. The smaller the home, the less gas flows and vice versa. (I don't know why the sizes get bigger as the hole gets smaller but that's just how it goes I guess).

If you want to switch the 22k from the front to the rear and move the simmer to the front, there'll be one additional step as the front burners have shorter venturi tubes than the rear burners which have longer venturi tubes. You'll have to unscrew the Venturi tube off the 22k and simmer burner and switch them. Very easy. Just two screws that hold the tubes in place.

Once that's done, just use the socket wrench to switch the brass orifices correspondingly.

Then put the burners back in by sliding the Venturi tube over the brass orifice and plug the igniters back in as well.

You may have to adjust the air shutters slightly to let more air in or less air depending on what you need. The air shutters are at the end of the Venturi tubes.

I sounds complex as all hell. But it's really very straightforward.

I just switched out a 15k burner for another 22k burner I bought aftermarket to bring my total 22ks to three. It took me about 10 minutes to make the switch.

I believe mojaveen (an excellent contributer on this forum) on here has a YouTube video about all this and it's definitely worth viewing. Just google "how to hotrod a bluestar" and it should come up in the first page of searches.


How to swap burners on a bluestar
clipped on: 07.10.2013 at 10:48 pm    last updated on: 07.10.2013 at 10:49 pm

RE: Backsplash Grout Help please (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: sayde on 08.21.2011 at 12:35 pm in Kitchens Forum

Your tiles look a lot like mine. I used the 2x6 Walker Zanger Gramercy Park in bone china, which are really ivory in color. I used the grout color "Summer Wheat." I think it is a TEC Grout color. It is a mid-dark color, looks scarily dark on the tester stick but dries to a good mid-color. I was going for the 1920's service kitchen look, and it works in my vintage kind of kitchen. If you want to see how these same tiles look with a matching lighter grout search for Mamadadapaige's kitchen -- back in 2008. Same tile but a much more refined look with the lighter grout.

I can't seem to post photos but if you search the GW KF for gumwood kitchen sneak peak you'll get a link to my photobucket pictures.


Great info about the tile and grout she used. 20s service kitchen look.
clipped on: 06.27.2013 at 10:38 am    last updated on: 06.27.2013 at 10:40 am

RE: Will this look good - open shelf under cabinet (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: marcolo on 09.27.2011 at 08:10 pm in Kitchens Forum

I'm planning on doing something like this, should I ever get to my kitchen reno. The other benefit is that these shelves are great for all sorts of other uses, like frequently used spices, or a place to put a prep bowl full of chopped onions or whatever while you're cooking.

Resolving the height issue is paramount. In my case, I will do cabs to the ceiling and may just set a shelf where the bottom of the cab would normally be.

Also be careful when you plan out your undercab lighting.

Keep us posted--several folks here have talked about doing that.


Good comments about shelf under cabinet
clipped on: 06.25.2013 at 01:24 pm    last updated on: 06.25.2013 at 01:25 pm

About the Design Around This threads

posted by: cawaps on 01.06.2012 at 03:18 am in Kitchens Forum

This thread is intended to be a reference for the Design Around This threads. It has information about the threads and how to create a mood board. We'll be linking to this from each new DAT thread. If you have techniques or personal stories about how you got started that you want to share, please post them here. Part of the goal of this thread is to make it easier for people to get started creating and posting their own designs.

Introduction to the "Design Around This" thread
"Design Around This" is a series of threads on the Kitchens Forum that encourage people to improve their design knowledge and skills while exchanging ideas and having fun. Everyone is welcome to participate. You don't need any experience to start; that's what the threads are for: to build experience. I'll provide some tips for getting started later in the post.

Each thread starts with a topic to "design around." This can be a house style (e.g. Tudor), a home vintage (e.g. 1920s), a material (e.g. patterned Formica) or some other common element for posters to build a design around. I maintain a long list of ideas that various people have proposed (if I ever fall off the face of the earth you can pull it off an old thread), adding new ideas as they are suggested and taking off the ones we've already done. When a thread starts to wind down, posters to the thread start to discuss the topic for the next thread and usually reach some sort of consensus. The preference has been to mix up the different types of topics (so, don't do three different home styles in a row; break it up with a material or other theme).

Then through a process of nomination/volunteering, someone gets the task of posting the new thread. It's nice if there is an educational component to the post--information and/or pictures to give participants some information about the topic. Some topics deserve a lot of background information and others not so much, but it's nice to come away from each thread with some new knowledge.

People can participate at different levels: lurker, commenter, or posting designs. One of the goals of the threads is to move people up that ladder: lurkers become commenters, commenters start doing their own designs.

Rules, such as they are
Some people like rules, some people don't. We haven't felt a need to harp on these as people have gotten more familiar with the threads and what we're trying to do. If you prefer, think of them as guidelines. Suggestions, even. General expectations.

1. Do your homework first. If the topic is Tudor Revival and you don't know what that means, go find out before offering up a design. This is part of the learning process. Once you know, you can break all the rules you want.
2. Be unique. This is your design; don't slavishly follow someone else's.
3. Put the design in context. Your design should relate to the style of the house.
4. Use a realistic budget. Go high or low, but keep it real.
5. Use materials that are actually obtainable. Custom is fine, but pipedream isn't terribly useful to people reading the thread for ideas.
6. Show your work. Explain and rationalize your choices. Many of the threads have been enhanced by some creative writing by creative posters who spin tales of homeowners and their kitchens (Power struggles! Revenge fantasies! Adultery! Divorce! It's like a soap opera!). While not mandatory, these can be quite fun.
7. Critique others and accept criticism yourself. You spend a lot of time on your design, and you deserve some constructive feedback, good and bad. Don't make criticisms personal, and don't take criticisms personally. This isn't a finished kitchens thread so nobody has to pretend to like something they don't.

History of the Design Around This thread
The idea for the design around this threads started in this post with Marcolo posting images of a couple tiles and asking why no one on GW designed around something like them (Fri, Nov 4, 2011 at 9:12). That question prompted a mini "design around this" exchange with Palimpsest posting some great designs, leading Marcolo to ask, "I wonder if this should become an ongoing feature. Pick something unusual to base a kitchen around, and then try to make it work in 'mood boards'" (Sat, Nov 5, 11 at 12:21). Everyone on that thread seemed to agree it was a great idea. Next thing you know, Palimpsest was posting the first "official" Design Around This thread, and Bob's your uncle.

Benefits of the Design Around This threads
1. They show how to look at kitchen design holistically rather than as a series of independent or sequential choices, which is one way kitchen design can go wrong.
2. Specifically, they show how to use mood boards to plan a design. Since the threads started we've seen a lot more mood boards on other Kitchen Forum threads.
3. They provide inspiration pictures that fall outside the boundaries of current trends.
4. They provide examples of how to relate kitchen style to home style.
5. They put materials that might be unpopular or unfamiliar in the spotlight and let people see them in use in good designs.

Getting Started
1. Do not be intimidated. Most of the posters on these threads had never put together a mood board before they tried it here.
2. Do your homework, especially if the topic is a home style, era or design style.
3. Collect images of stuff you want in your kitchen.
4. Finalize your choices of what you want to put in your mood board.

At this point, you have a number of different options. You can link to individual photos in your thread (see instructions for posting pics on the Kitchen Forum FAQ). Or you can use one of a number of different software tools to create a collage showing the various elements of your kitchen.

Tools include the online tool Olioboard, something as sophisticated as Photoshop, or something as simple and ubiquitous as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint.

Here's how I do it in Word (2007) (I expect to see some additional posts from others who use different tools, choose the one that works best for you):

1. Starting with a blank document, choose Insert Pictures, and select the desired image files from wherever you have them saved.
2. Format each image using Format-Position-More Layout Options-In Front of Text. This will let you drag your picture around wherever you want it.
3. Resize images as desired. Duplicate images as desired. Drag them around where you want them. Use "bring to front" and "send to back" to get them in the right order front to back.
4. You can "paint" cabinets any color you want by starting with white cabinets then inserting a rectangular shape over the top of it, increasing the transparency of the rectangle to 25-40%, and then formatting the rectangle to the desired color. The transparency lets the contours of the cabinet show through, but the color of the rectangle will dominate. It will look like the cabinets are colored. You can color other things this way, too.
5. When it looks the way you want, save it as a PDF. Then save the PDF as a JPEG. I think you need Acrobat Standard (not just Reader) to make this work. Alternatively, you can take a screen shot (prnt scrn) and paste the image in Paint, crop the frame, and save it as an image file. Someone also suggested this site as an option for converting to an image. There's additional information, including how to do a screen capture on a Mac, here.
6. Once you have your board as an image file, it's like posting any other picture. Upload it to a photo hosting site on the Web, then link to it in your post.

I had never done a mood board before the Colonial Revived thread (Design Around This #2). Heck, I'd never really figured out how to post pictures. But I figured it out for that thread, and posted a design (posting links to individual elements rather than doing a collage).
I found doing a mood board to be addictive, so I kept participating. I posted a few designs on the 1920s thread, and never looked back.

I like to think my designs have improved, and my skills putting together a mood board certainly have.


About the Design Around This... Threads. A couple of the posts link directly to the DAT threads.
clipped on: 06.20.2013 at 05:17 pm    last updated on: 06.20.2013 at 05:18 pm

Gray Kitchen Reveal! (Follow-Up #47)

posted by: elsewhere on 06.14.2013 at 07:17 pm in Kitchens Forum

Just a follow-up to post a few pictures of our completed kitchen. The work was done by Trimitsis Woodworking here in Boston; Milton and his team are fantastic. Design was by Carol Marsh (also fantastic!), of Helios Design Group in JP.

Couple of high level points:

  • Cabinets - Crown Point, in Farrow and Ball Cornforth White.
  • Countertops - White Rhino Marble
  • Ebonized oak floor in custom stain.
  • Tile - Ann Sacks
  • Table - custom, from Western black walnut that a relative had sitting around in a garage for 40 years.

Shout out and many thanks to
Milton (more pictures here) and Carol!


Love the windows
clipped on: 06.18.2013 at 08:42 pm    last updated on: 06.18.2013 at 08:43 pm

old house blog

posted by: lov_mkitchen on 11.07.2012 at 06:36 pm in Old House Forum

I need an old house blog like the MCM at retrorenovation. Does anyone know of one?


Has lots of blogs for early bungalows.
clipped on: 06.15.2013 at 02:35 am    last updated on: 06.15.2013 at 02:36 am

Hexagonal floor tiles-classy or cheap looking

posted by: nerd on 11.14.2012 at 01:32 pm in Old House Forum

We are remodeling the bathrooms in our 1940s era home. We are considering replacing the gray and maroon 2 inch hexagonal floor tiles with bone or off white hexagonal tile from Adex (we are looking at a beleved subway tile for the walls). Our designer has said that the tile we like is from the 1970s era and we should be looking at "rounded edge tiles" v straight. She also also given us the "installation will cost more than the tile " speech and is trying to steer us towards more expensive brands--sonoma tilemakers for example. What has been your experience with adex tiles? C They are very reasonably priced which is a plus.


Good thread about rounded vs straight edge tile and 4.5" tile in running bond pattern.
clipped on: 06.15.2013 at 02:32 am    last updated on: 06.15.2013 at 02:33 am

RE: Is buehl's thread awol? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: ThePaintedLady on 06.13.2013 at 07:24 am in Kitchens Forum

if you want to write in italics you have to use some basic HTML tags

So, you use <.i> to open what you want to start in italics and <./i> to close it.

Please note I have put a period in the tags above so that the tags will show. Remove them and you can put what you want in italics.

This works for bold. Too, just use b rather than i.


clipped on: 06.13.2013 at 07:48 am    last updated on: 06.13.2013 at 07:48 am

Any regrets with shorter countertop height?

posted by: smallkitchen on 05.10.2009 at 09:49 pm in Kitchens Forum

I am 5'1" and currently have 36" tall counters in my rented apartment. While these are not uncomfortable, I feel a couple of inches lower would make my cooking tasks easier. The rented kitchen is 8' tall and has 21" tall wall cabinets with almost 25 inches spacing between the cabs and the countertop. I have to use a step stool to reach anything beyond the lowest shelf of the wall cabinets.

I am considering 34" height for the countertops for my condo kitchen remodel. This will also allow the wall cabinets to be lowered a few inches (I am planning on 18" spacing between the wall cabs and the countertop). What other factors should I taking into consideration in deciding on shorter counter heights? We don't plan to move or resell if we can help it. But I am a little nervous that I might regret the shorter countertops as I have never used anything less than the standard heights before. Anyone on this forum with shorter height countertops? Are you happy with your choice? What aspects of the shorter height do you dislike? Do you regret your decision?


Great thread about lowering counter height
clipped on: 06.12.2013 at 10:39 pm    last updated on: 06.12.2013 at 10:39 pm

Finished Kitchen: Circa 1840 Working Farmhouse, IKEA Budget Reno

posted by: brickmanhouse on 08.19.2010 at 01:46 am in Kitchens Forum

Hi all,

Well, we've finally got a (mostly) finished kitchen! This kitchen's been in the planning stages for 8 years and I've been in and out of this forum for just about that long-- wow, time flies! Whether I've posted or just lurked, the information I've gotten here has been INVALUABLE.

I can unequivocally say that my kitchen would not look anything like what it does without this Forum, and for that I offer my profound gratitude-- there is, quite literally, no way I could have done it without all of you, past and present.

So, here are the photos of the finished result:

From 2010-0818

From 2010-0818

From 2010-0818

From 2010-0818

From 2010-0818

From 2010-0818

From 2010-0818

For the entire album with detailed photos, just click on the link below any of the photos above!

Here are the details:

Cabinetry: IKEA Lidingo White (with glass uppers) for the perimeter, Tidaholm Brown/Black for the island
Island Knobs & Pulls: Anne at Home Farm Collection and Lewis Dolin Glass Cup Pulls (from
Perimeter Knobs and Pulls: Anne at Home Horse Collection, generic polished chrome knobs, cup pulls, and bar pulls (from
Wall Paint: BM Revere Pewter
Trim, Hood, and Fireplace Paint: Valspar Bright White (from Lowe�s)
Perimeter Counters: IKEA Butcher Block, stained Black with India Ink and sealed with Waterlox
Island Counter: IKEA Butcher Block, sealed with Watco food safe butcher block sealer
Main Sink: Whitehaus 36" farm sink (from
Island Sink: IKEA single Domsjo, undermounted instead of the usual overmount installation
Faucets: IKEA Hjuvik
Refrigerator: Because we grow a lot of what we eat (so we don't need to store much) and have a large fridge in an adjacent laundry room, we chose a generic small undercounter fridge (Home Depot, off the shelf)
Wine chiller: Sunbeam (Home Depot, off the shelf)
Dishwashers: Kenmore and Hotpoint, both existing and 5-7 years old
Microwaves: 8 year old Kenmores
Island Oven: IKEA Datid 30"
Hood: ProLine 36" range hood (from eBay)
Range: IKEA Praktfull Pro A50
Backsplash Behind Range: Handthrown Williamsburg brick (local brickyard, left over from another project)
Flooring: Lumber Liquidators, Hand Scraped Teak
Island and Sink Pendants: IKEA Ottava
Cabinet lights: IKEA Grundtal single puck lights
Chandelier over the Table: Progress lighting, black 5-light chandelier (Home Depot, off the shelf)
Fireplace: Style Selections 36" Vent Free LP fireplace (Lowe�s, off the shelf)

A few notes about the remodel, just to hit some discussion points I see come up a lot in this Forum:

Our kitchen lives in a big old 1840 farmhouse, which has been part of a working farm since the day it was built. Originally it was soybeans, but now it's part of a gentleman's farm (horses, heritage gardens and poultry), so everything has to be hard wearing and practical. It needs to stand up to heavy traffic, mud, hay, tools, and the occasional chicken (though usually when they wander in, they don't go much further than the family room, because they like the television). That definitely informed our choices for surfaces-- they needed to be hard cleanable, and ultimately easily refinished or replaced down the line.

Because the entire house already has strong architectural elements (huge moldings and built-ins), we worked within the style we already had-- all the kitchen moldings, mantels, panels and cabinets match (or are closely styled after) what already exists in the house. We definitely didn't do a period kitchen (we wanted a 2010 layout with all the conveniences), but we wanted the kitchen to look like it belonged in the house.

The big thing for us was budget-- believe it or not, the entire kitchen was done for UNDER $20K. Four big things contributed to that:

1/ We DIY'ed the ENTIRE project, start to finish. The only thing we hired out was the gas line install for the fireplace and range, because state law requires it. Other than that, all planning, demo, sourcing, and construction was on us. Might be why it took us 8 years. . .

2/ We reused what we could, and scrounged a lot, especially construction materials (which could have been buckets of money, considering all the custom work we did in the space), and kept what appliances we could. It was also a great way to be environmentally responsible on a project that, let's face it, has a lot of non-necessities involved.

3/ IKEA, IKEA, IKEA. If you're anywhere reasonably close to an IKEA, and you're on anything approaching a budget, go check it out. The cabinet quality for the price can't be beat (except for a few pockets of custom cabinet makers), and there are a lot of great accessories, appliances, lighting and other things to be had for a terrific price. As always, you have to pick and choose your items for quality and value, but at least in our experience, it is definitely there to be had for the buyer with a good eye.

4/ We didn't go for major appliance upgrades. Our whole family LOVES to cook (and eat!), and we wanted a great looking, functional space to do it all in, but we just weren't convinced that we needed more than the basics right now. If we want to upgrade down the line, it's easy enough to do, but right now our Wolf budget is standing in our barn eating hay, and our LaCanche budget is steered towards this Show Hunter prospect I have my eye on . . .

So there's our formula for a great kitchen that works for us considering the (kind of odd!) parameters we had. Hope you all can take at least something useful away from our experience.

I've submitted the kitchen to the FKB, and I'll answer whatever questions you've got. . .

Thanks again, everyone!


Black stained India ink perimeter counters. All word counters in this working farm kitchen too.
clipped on: 06.05.2013 at 10:50 pm    last updated on: 06.05.2013 at 10:51 pm

White/white/white kitchen refresh FINISHED

posted by: wi-sailorgirl on 06.04.2013 at 11:39 am in Kitchens Forum

Hopefully the subject warned you that if you're not a fan of white kitchens, you definitely will not like this one. Fortunately, I am (and have been as long as I can remember).

This was more of a refresh than a reno. The cabinets, counters, sink and backsplash are all new. The floors and all appliances are not (we've replaced them all slowly over the last 11 years of owning this house). Although we only changed a few things in the kitchen in this latest go-around, I don't think there's anything left save for the basic layout that is the same as it was when we bought the house. So maybe this was really an 11 year reno!

Anyway ... photos (and lots of them). Details at the end.

Before (about three years ago). I know, it's not really bad looking, but the cabinets were in rough shape and I hated the dust-collector shelf on top of them.
 photo kitchen1_101211-1.jpeg

The inspiration picture (from Coastal Living magazine):
 photo 1529596720_1-1_zpsdd98beb5.jpeg

 photo newkitchen6_zps88637037.jpg

 photo newkitchen11_zpsaa6152e9.jpg

Walnut trim on the mantel hood (thanks to Katieob for the inspiration). The panel above the mantel flips open for additional storage around the vent.

 photo newkitchen10_zps8f027a1d.jpg

The hutch and upper cabinets flanking the sink also have glass sides and I'm so happy we did that. It makes it feel so much airier. Dimmable LED lighting in the cabinets. The lighting looks a bit sickly green in some of these photos but it's actually a slightly cooler white (we didn't want to go too warm with the lights).

 photo newkitchen7_zpsd564273c.jpg

 photo newkitchen17_zps795471ac.jpg

When we bought the house, a stackable washer and dryer were walled in next to the fridge. We move the laundry several years ago and used the area as a pantry but the half wall on one side sort of stuck out into the space. We removed that and did a built-in pantry around the fridge. The difference in depth was probably less than a foot but having that protrusion into the room gone makes a huge difference in a small kitchen.

 photo newkitchen3_zpsceb1ac47.jpg

Pantry area (we weren't planning to light it but we had extra LED strip lights left so we stuck some in there. Love the area for the roll-out dog food and step stool and of course I love having my microwave in there where we're had it for several years).

 photo newkitchen5_zps837269a3.jpg

Vertical storage over the fridge. Should have done more of this.
 photo newkitchen4_zps9c4dc2cd.jpg

Probably my favorite thing in the entire kitchen (other than the backsplash). I love not having stuff on my counters.
 photo newkitchen13_zps3599106a.jpg

A shallow drawer pulls out for cutting boards and oven mitts.
 photo newkitchen12_zpsa8925451.jpg

By the dishwasher we need a spacer so the hutch would match up with the cabinet above but I told our cabinet guy to find some kind of storage to stick in there. I think it's really meant for spices but I obviously don't need spices there so we use it for various dog potions and pills and the big bottle of Advil.

 photo newkitchen15_zps9dfc4e9a.jpg

 photo newkitchen14_zps7a2d498c.jpg

A few detail shots:

We planned the double molding around cabinetry as a design element but it ended up really saving us when it came to the molding because our ceiling is incredibly out of level. We took up the difference in that second piece of molding and you can't even tell now that the room is horribly crooked.

 photo newkitchen9_zps29c50a4c.jpg

The glass knobs. Love them SO much.
 photo newkitchen16_zps5c398969.jpg

Close up of the backsplash (with my little walnut tray).
 photo newkitchen18_zpse54f1504.jpg

And lastly, the other side of the kitchen, which is where a lot of the color comes into the room. I painted the door black on a whim this winter and love it. The barn light over the sink was originally white but I spray-painted it black after the cabinets went in because I thought it would be good to pull the black over to that side of the room. This is our back door so we walk straight into the kitchen, so it's not just a functional space but a major thoroughfare as well.

 photo newkitchen8_zpsd9f33c2e.jpg

I took off all the window treatments (nice lined bamboo roman shades) to paint but I kind of like it with them off. I could, however, stain them a walnut color to match the other accents in the room. So I'd love to hear opinions on whether you think they should go back up.

Cabinets: Custom cabinets made by a local cabinet maker (he's done other things in our house too and always does a great job). Painted (several times, but let's not talk about that) Benjamin Moore Cloud White

Countertops: Caesarstone Eggshell (aka Osprey if you're outside the U.S.) Island is walnut butcher block, I think from Blockhead Blocktops in Michigan.

Hardware: Emtek Georgetown glass knobs (1.25") and Restoration Hardware Aubrey pulls in polished nickel (and yes, we had the problem with the screws breaking off and replaced them all).

Cabinet glass: Bendheim glass, mouth-blown clear soft seeded (a splurge but I'm so happy we did it). I need to take a better picture of the glass so you can see it to appreciate it.

Backsplash: 1-inch mother of pearl mosiac, purchased through Key West Tile (the source listed in the article I used as inspiration), but I've seen the same or very similar tile online through Glass Tile Mosiacs. Polyblend grout in Bright White.

Vent hood: Kobe 36-inch insert. We have an existing downdraft but when we replaced our range several years ago we had two ranges to choose from that would work with that venting situation, so we installed the overhead vent now so when it comes time for a new range (hopefully many years from now) we aren't limited in our selection. Plus, it works MUCH better than the downdraft (both vent outside).

Appliances: All existing Jenn-Air

Paint colors: Anything white is Cloud White. Walls are Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray (previously they were Revere Pewter which is still a favorite color but I felt it was too dark with the tile).

- Large Thomas O'Brien Hicks pendant in polished nickel over the island. Even though this like is rather ubiquitous, I couldn't help myself. I still love it even if it's everywhere. It is polarizing though: people either love it or hate it.
- Barn Light Electric sconce over sink. It was white for several years but I spray-painted it black
- Roost glass cylinder lights over kitchen table.
-UCLs and in-cabinet lighting is LED strip lighting purchased locally. Sorry, I don't know the brand.

Sink: 32-inch single-bowl Kraus stainless steel

Faucet: Hansgrohe Talis S (DO NOT buy this from Home Perfect. I had a horrible experience, ended up filing with the credit card company and just buying the faucet for $10 more through Amazon.)

Let me know if I've forgotten anything. Special thanks to the helpful folks here, particularly the friendly voices on the Small Houses board as well as some of the experts here. It's no secret that I drew a lot of inspiration from many of your kitchens including Breezygirl, Katieob and Beekeeperswife.

This post was edited by wi-sailorgirl on Tue, Jun 4, 13 at 11:52


Great kitchen. Love banquette.
clipped on: 06.05.2013 at 10:25 pm    last updated on: 06.05.2013 at 10:25 pm

1850s Finished Kitchen Pics

posted by: AnneNJ on 04.03.2012 at 05:33 pm in Kitchens Forum

Kitchen has been done and we've been living in it and loving it for a couple weeks now. I didn't ask a lot of questions here, but got some great help when I needed it. Never would have gotten my hood vented without you guys! I also found searching the archives and finished kitchens blog incredibly helpful. Thanks!

Some things GW inspired: Drawers (see spice and baking drawer pictures--super convenient). Zones--prep at one end of kitchen, clean-up at other. Rangecraft hood off their discount rack. Blanco sink (love the black anthracite sink-it always looks clean).

I also found the suggestions on FAQs to have a vision and stick to it very helpful. I wanted a very functional space that looked like it had evolved over time. Peaceful, neutral colors since the kitchen is always filled with vegetables etc to add color but with enough contrast to not be monotone. Not too much brown wood! Having a vision in mind gave me the confidence to argue with my kitchen contractor whenever I was going against the norm.

And if you are looking for a kitchen that won't show dirt, take a close look! I chose the floor tiles with a piece of paper with a muddy pawprint on it in hand :)









I like the look of this kitchen. Cherry cabinets with a black glaze with yellowish paint and gray tile floor.
clipped on: 05.14.2013 at 04:49 pm    last updated on: 05.14.2013 at 04:56 pm

RE: Rain shower ? Want to decide if I should install one (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: mongoct on 04.06.2013 at 01:32 am in Bathrooms Forum

I could draw up a diagram, but it's absurdly simple.

Just take a "T" off your hot and cold supply tubing for the second valve.

In my case, I ran the rain head tubing from the supply valve up the shower wall, and up in the shower ceiling (attic floor) joist bay. There is a finished attic space above, though this part of the attic floor is behind a kneewall. For that horizontal run through the attic joist bay, the pipe is pitched for drainage, so when the rainhead valve is turned off the horizontal pipe does hot hold water. The bay is also insulated above the pipe.

You could have exposed tubing within the shower if you wanted.

If you want to have a traditional shower arm, you can do it. But these heads can be rather unwieldy at the end of a horizontal shower arm that extends out of the wall. You could always fashion a bracket to secure it to the shower ceiling too, that would prevent drooping.

The reason I usually install rain heads from the ceiling is that I like them to be in the middle of the shower, not near a wall.

You are correct that a true rainhead, you want it horizontal, not at an angle.

Do understand there are no hard and fast rules as to how it's plumbed. I simply have my preferences. If you want the rainhead close to the wall, no worries!

If you want to keep the plumbing out of the ceiling but still get the head towards the middle of your shower, I did a search for "rain shower head ceiling bracket" and got these three hits, they might give you an idea on how to make up your own solution:


Goof info about a good rain shower head.
clipped on: 04.22.2013 at 11:33 am    last updated on: 04.22.2013 at 11:33 am

RE: Help design face of sink area (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: marcolo on 03.12.2013 at 12:03 am in Kitchens Forum

You can still do a curtain.


Very clever pull out drawer under sink with curtain
clipped on: 04.18.2013 at 03:14 pm    last updated on: 04.18.2013 at 03:19 pm

RE: cabinet latches - difficult to use? (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: janie-k on 04.16.2009 at 12:16 am in Kitchens Forum

We have the RH latches in our kitchen. I have mixed feelings about them... I LOVE the way they look and almost everyone who comes in our kitchen comments on how lovely they look. I had a coupon for Restoration Hardware (plus they were on sale) and the price I paid for them was significantly less then any others I found. The quality of the latches seems to vary from latch to latch... some are quite easy to open while others are pretty hard to twist. Luckily I had way overestimated the amount we needed, so I was able to pick through them and return the stiffest ones. We are hoping they will loosen up with time. Would I use them again? Probably, because I really didn't want to spend anymore on hardware, but really wanted the look. I'd rate them as mildly annoying to open, but in my opinion it's worth it....

After reading the above responses, I just now realized that all of our frequently used uppers are single doors. So I really only have to deal with the double door situation on the sink cabinet (and yes that one is a little more annoying then the rest). Here are a few pictures of ours. Please excuse the missing molding and trim... we're still a work in progress :)

White Kitchen



Layout very similar to ours but without. The extra doorway. Also would have real vent hood with micro on low upper shelf and pantry space would be to the left of fridge.

They also do not have recessed lighting.the placement ofnthe lights would definitely require under cabinet lights.

clipped on: 04.16.2013 at 09:17 am    last updated on: 04.16.2013 at 09:21 am

RE: Sneak peak of backsplash going in! (Follow-Up #40)

posted by: hobokenkitchen on 04.14.2013 at 07:27 am in Kitchens Forum

Thanks! Here's a super close up which shows the floral pattern.

It's 6 x 6 porcelain Bamboo Flower Deco Dawn.
I purchased through Garden State Tile - but here's a link with the information on the tile.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bamboo Flower Dawn tile


Love this tile. Great quilted pattern.
clipped on: 04.14.2013 at 12:17 pm    last updated on: 04.14.2013 at 12:17 pm

RE: Banquette anyone? (Follow-Up #81)

posted by: caminnc on 12.16.2007 at 08:53 am in Kitchens Forum

hoffman, I love your new kitchen. I think this banquette is very pretty.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Love the banquette.
clipped on: 04.12.2013 at 04:54 pm    last updated on: 04.12.2013 at 04:55 pm

RE: Let's Talk About Subway Tile (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: athomein1914 on 12.15.2006 at 11:12 am in Old House Forum

A friend has original subway tile in a couple baths that is "crazed" but does not look like the tile made to look "old and damaged" on this site. My hunch is that over time the "new" crazed would draw attention to itself in negative ways -- particularly since it doesn't sound like you plan for the whole kitchen to look old. Do you plan to "distress" your new cabinets with dings & such? Probably not! In which case I'd get the demure and well-behave plain subway -- and not too white as new whites are more white than old ones. Usually the goal is to design a kitchen that fits the house in the way that it might have "originally" -- not after decades of abuse and the failure of materials. To my eye, that crazed tile would be more fun in contrast with new, hi-tech materials than masquerading as antique. And the thing is, in an old house kitchen that thought will pop up, don't you think?

It's tough blending old house aesthetics with your own budget and personal taste. We all have to wrestle with our own compromises.

Incidentally, one of my friend's baths is a tile box -- every wall & the ceiling as well! fuzzywuzzer, I'd love to see your friend's kitchen.

On a side note, my 1914 kitchen actually had an original built-in cabinet before our remodel. For technical & safety reasons we could not keep it so we measured it thoroughly and rebuilt it, complete with 100 yr old wavy glass my GC salvaged from another renovation project. If you're putting new cabinets in but want to keep the old feel, one detail to include in your new design is "no toe kicks." Won't work with standard cabinets but sometimes a local cabinetmaker is less expensive (was for us).

And as for that old vinyl floor, real linoleum is back & better than ever & might be a good consideration for your 1922 kitchen. Cork, too.

I had 2 "bibles" during my kitchen renovation -- Jane Powell's Bungalow Kitchens & "The Kitchen Book" (circa 1917) from American Bungalow. Both offered great inspiration for blending old & new sensibilities.

I hope you're having a grand time with your project.

(nice blog, BTW!!!)


Two historical books about bungalows
clipped on: 03.26.2013 at 10:02 pm    last updated on: 03.26.2013 at 10:02 pm

RE: Design Around This #3: 1920s Kitchens and All That Jazz (Follow-Up #23)

posted by: marcolo on 11.14.2011 at 10:22 am in Kitchens Forum

Roarah, I come from a city with tons of '20s houses. Based on what I remember from being in and out of people's kitchens and looking at tile and such, I'd say kitchens that were

- Earlier in the decade
- In larger homes where the servants still did the cooking
- In homes that were craftsman hangovers

were more likely to be rather plain.

Houses that were built in the later '20s in affluent but not rich areas were likely to be much more colorful. By the time you got to the '30s the kitchens and floors were really colorful, regardless of whether or not the cabs were white.


clipped on: 03.21.2013 at 05:08 pm    last updated on: 03.21.2013 at 05:08 pm

RE: led ucl diy (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: davidtay on 06.18.2010 at 12:52 am in Lighting Forum

You're most welcomed.

There are a number of alternate vendors for the same light bars.

For alternatives to the above mentioned lightbar
Flat LED lighting
Electroluminescent lighting - usually monochromatic, but interesting nevertheless.

Here is a link that might be useful: Other vendors


clipped on: 03.21.2013 at 12:02 pm    last updated on: 03.21.2013 at 12:02 pm

RE: Undermount sink suggestion for a vintage style bath (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: shanghaimom on 07.05.2012 at 09:33 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Hi Joanne,

Here's a pic of the Kohler Memoirs undermount in our vintage-y bath. The 36" vanity is just wide enough for his n' hers toothbrush/toothpaste drawers. Those two little drawers are now one of my simple pleasures after having a pedestal sink with zero storage for years. Ahhhhhhhhhhh...


very pretty undermount sink in a smallish vanity.
clipped on: 03.19.2013 at 06:45 pm    last updated on: 03.19.2013 at 06:46 pm

RE: My 'slabs' are here! (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: senator13 on 08.02.2011 at 08:21 am in Kitchens Forum

Thanks, everyone. Here are some pictures of them being built. We use 2 plywood boards (3/4" thick) to build them up to 1 1/2". Then they applied the contact cement, laid the Arborite Black Grit, rolled it and used a router to cut the edges. The edges were the tricky part, but it got easier as they went I think. There are a couple of areas that could be a little better, but to most people, they will go unnoticed, especially since I will have dirty dishes on them most of the time :)

From Finished counter

From Finished counter

From Finished counter


clipped on: 03.19.2013 at 10:20 am    last updated on: 03.19.2013 at 10:20 am

RE: Can a layman hone marble if it is polished? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: bill_vincent on 07.27.2010 at 08:54 pm in Kitchens Forum

The heck with having someone do it. This is not rocket science. If it were granite, that'd be one thing. It's a much harder material, and tougher to do a good job. But with marble, all you need is a good orbital sander, and a STACK of 600 wet or dry sand paper. It should take you give or take, about 15 minutes to 1/2 hour per 12x12 tile. to hone. If the sand paper starts filling up, take a dry scrub brush, hit it a bit, and go back to sanding. Once it stops dong anything for you, obviously it's time to change the sand paper. You can do this!!

Tell you what-- try it with one tile, and see if you're up to it. If not, all you've lost is one tile. My bet is you are. And then you've saved yourself a BUNDLE of money.


How to hone marble
clipped on: 03.19.2013 at 09:53 am    last updated on: 03.19.2013 at 09:54 am

RE: do you like pocket doors? (Follow-Up #18)

posted by: brickeyee on 02.20.2012 at 03:22 pm in Kitchens Forum

"Sandy, that's not correct about the electrical outlet.
They make shallow boxes. I have some. "

The shallowest legal box is 1.25 inches deep (and 4x4, requiring a mud ring), and does not fir into a 2x4 wall with pocket hardware behind it.

If you can tolerate the small loss in floor area you can make the walls 'wet wall' (2x6) thickness and then things fit a lot easier.

Switches can easily enough be installed using low voltage wiring and relays, but receptacles are a major problem.

Remember you are likely to need receptacles on both sides of the wall.

I have had the plastic 'guides' scratch painted doors until I stopped using them and switched to hidden guides under the door in the pocket.

I have even bult and installed converging pocket doors that operate together for a lot less than the commercial kits cost.

Some steel pulley used for sliders, mounted inside the track on bolts and thin aircraft cable forming a loop do the job.
The doors are attached on opposite sides of the loop concealed in the track so they move in opposite directions.
The left door moves left to open while the right door moves the same amount to the right.

It makes for a very nice way to close off a larger opening.


Can install switch on 2x6 pocket door wall but not outlet. Can put outlet on other side of vanity.
clipped on: 03.18.2013 at 11:13 pm    last updated on: 03.18.2013 at 11:14 pm

RE: Question about pocket doors (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: brickeyee on 08.20.2011 at 09:44 am in Building a Home Forum

You cannot do electrical with a 2x4 thickness wall.

The height stack for the shallowest biox (1.25 inches) is larger than the space you have.

If you go to a 2x6 thick wall it works.

For the studs over the pocket area use 2x4 studs on the flat (3.5 wide) to stiffen the wall on each side.

You can than hang just about anything from them, and use a 1.25 inch deep 4x4 box (metal boxes are better here) with a plaster ring (single or double device).

Use Johnson Hardware tracks and door hangers (at least 111PD size).

Do not bother with the 'pre-framed' kits.

The weakest spot for all the pocket door hardware is the door guides to prevent swaying of the door.

Cut a small groove on the bottom of the door and put a piece of aluminum angle on the floor of the pocket to prevent swaying.

The plastic guides WILL eventually scratch the face of the door.

If you stop the groove about an inch from the edge of the door that shows it cannot be seen.

The angle only needs to be about an inch long, and placed as close to the jamb as possible but still allow the door to enter the pocket completely.


Can use a thinner electrical box on a pocket door wall if you build a 2x6 wall instead of 2x4
clipped on: 03.18.2013 at 10:46 pm    last updated on: 03.18.2013 at 10:47 pm

RE: Sliding Barn Style Door for Bathroom? PIC (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: brickeyee on 03.23.2010 at 09:51 am in Remodeling Forum

Pocket doors can have stops added on the non-pocket side to provide more of a sound barrier.

The barn style and pocket can use the same hardware, it is how you install the track that really makes them different.

Keep in mind for a bathroom and most places actually) a pocket door needs to be wider than the opening so there is not a gap on the pocket side when the door is closed.

You can add wood to the pocket edge of the door to widen it, or use a wider door.
If the door is has details (like panels) you may need to trim the jamb side down to make the details centered when the door is closed and a few inches remain in the pocket.

The Johnson door 'guides' are not really very good.
They will scratch the face of the door as it is pulled from and pushed back into the pocket.

A metal tab on the floor in the pocket and a groove in the door bottom are much more effective and preventing any swinging of the pocket door.
You can leave barely a 1/16 inch gap on each side of the door to the split jamb for the pocket if the groove and metal tab are closely matched.

If you want even more sound insulation there are all sorts of seals that can be used.

A 'brush seal' in the pocket split jamb will not damage the door and provides some additional noise reduction, and various weather stripping seals can be used on the jamb opposite the pocket.
Resource Conservation Technology has plenty of seals to choose from.

A not perfectly quiet fan is also a good option.


Can do a slider door but have it on the outside so wall switch and outlet can go on wall next to sink
clipped on: 03.18.2013 at 10:43 pm    last updated on: 03.18.2013 at 10:44 pm

bathroom tile

posted by: cosmikcat on 01.30.2008 at 10:31 am in Old House Forum

I've posted already about the floor in my "new" mid-1920s Chicago bungalow. Our first job though, is to do some updates to the bathroom. For starters, there's no shower head, only a bathtub. That's not going to work. In order to fix that, the plumber is cutting the wall. Since the bath has ugly 1950s plastic tiles that fall off when you breathe on them, we're just going to retile the whole thing.

Originally, we were thinking of subway tiles but I'm actually getting kinda tired of them. They're everywhere! Since our house is from the 20s and less Arts and Craftsy than your "normal" bungalow, I figured we might have some other period appropriate solutions. I bought some 1920s home magazines on ebay to see what exactly was popular then. Boy, was I in for a surprise. Not a subway tile or white bathroom in sight. Take a look at a few of the ads (the only color pictures in the magazines) that I snapped this morning. These are all from 1926 "House and Garden" magazines.

I'm not so sure about the pink but I really LOVE the way the tile is laid out in this first bathroom:

Here's a close up. I'd REALLY be into doing this tile pattern:

Here's another pretty intense bathroom. Check out that wallpaper!

Look at all the color in this bathroom. Two different colored tiles on the wall and a third on the floor.

So my question after all this is, how do I find such bright colored tiles? Everywhere I look its marble and stone and beige and more beige. I'm really like the funky colors in these ads and would like to try something a little bolder in the bath but can't seem to find what I'm looking for. I figured if anyone knew where to find retro looking stuff, it would be the people on the old house forum.

Any advice?


Love the tile lay out in the first bathroom with pink tiles. Square tiles with subways in a running bond (with squares and subways alternating seams). A pencil liner is used toward the top. Very pretty.
clipped on: 03.18.2013 at 10:14 pm    last updated on: 03.18.2013 at 10:16 pm

Finished period kitchen - 1925 Craftsman Bungalow

posted by: tito on 12.02.2007 at 11:25 pm in Kitchens Forum

I am thrilled to finally be able to post photos of our finished kitchen. Most of the work was done last December and January, but it took until September to get around to installing the backsplash. I�d have posted sooner, but about a week after the backsplash was finished, we made an offer on a new house so I�ve been busy dealing with the buying/selling/moving process. We�re heartbroken to be leaving our new kitchen (and our house in general), but I�m planning to recreate much of it in our new house which was built in 1921.

Here are a few before pics:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Here�s what the kitchen looks like now:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

We tried to be true to the period of the house (1925 craftsman bungalow) without being rigid about it. In our effort to make the kitchen somewhat authentic, we kept the original floors, light shades, and built-in ironing board. We also chose inset cabinets and polished nickel hardware. No one would mistake it for the original kitchen, but it does feel like it belongs. We couldn�t have done it without help from countless posters on this forum. Thanks for all the help.

Here are the details on the new kitchen:

Floors � refinished original fir
Cabinets � Brookhaven Louisburg
Cabinet latches � Crown Hardware (polished nickel)
Countertops � Soapstone
Backsplash � Subway Ceramics
Faucet � Cifial Highlands Wall-Mount (polished nickel)
Sink � Rohl Fireclay single bowl
Light fixtures � Original shades in new fixtures from Rejuvenation
Undercabinet lighting � Pegasus xenon pucks
Paint � Benjamin Moore Weston Flax


Dishwasher - Bosch Integrated 4 cycle SHV46-C13UC
Range - Bosch Integra Pro Electric Range HEI7282
Range Hood - Zephyr Hurricane
Refrigerator - Fisher & Paykel E522B


Very pretty period-ish kitchen
clipped on: 03.18.2013 at 05:37 pm    last updated on: 03.18.2013 at 05:38 pm

Finally posting my new 'antique' kitchen for the FKB

posted by: arlosmom on 05.25.2010 at 07:01 am in Kitchens Forum

Some of you may remember my kitchen. I posted pictures of it at 80% completion almost 2 years ago. Since then, I've been finishing all the little nagging details that take a while to figure out -- window treatments, decor, etc. You know how it goes. Well, we recently bought a new camera with a wide angle lens and I took a bunch of new kitchen photos, and it occurred to me that it was finally time to officially declare the kitchen "done". So here goes.


When we bought our 1905 foursquare house in 2004, it was in very original condition with few updates or changes. That was a big part of the appeal for us. The widow who owned the house before us had been here since 1942, and she and her husband had raised their five children here with only one bathroom.

I loved the original kitchen, but it was small and had no dishwasher (and no place to add one), and very limited cabinet and counter space. It also had 4 doorways, a back staircase, and a low window to work around. We made the original kitchen into our breakfast room (changing as little as we could about the space), and built a rear addition with the new kitchen, a small walk-in pantry, powder room, and screened porch. We tried very hard to keep the look and feel of the original kitchen and make a space that fit with the character of the whole house. The new kitchen space is approximately 10' by 17'.

Whenever possible, we incorporated materials that were original to the house, salvaged or antique. The wood floors, lighting, cabinet hardware, sinks in both the kitchen and powder room, doors (to the pantry, powder room and screened porch), and stained glass panel are all old.


Cabinets -- Crownpoint (I ordered them primed and hand painted them myself with Ben Moore OC13 oil based satin impervo)
Cabinet hardware -- antique latches and pulls, mostly from ebay
Flooring -- reclaimed heart pine in random widths from 8"-13"
Lighting -- antique lighting that we cleaned and rewired
Range -- Wolf all gas
Range hood -- Viking insert in custom steel powder coated hood
Backsplash -- antique subway tile with Pratt & Larson egg and dart accent liner tile
Dishwasher -- Bosch with cabinet panel
Refrigerator -- Amana that we purchased when we bought the house, but cabinet built for 36" counter depth
Sink -- double drainboard sink came with the house; my guess is it dates to the 1930s
Faucet -- Chicago faucet with custom spout ordered from Baths From the Past

Here is just one teaser photo, with a link to the rest of the album (why is it that when I go to take pictures, I don't notice things like dishes drying on the drainboard?...oh well, I hope you don't notice them either):

from breakfast room into new kitchen addition

Here is a link that might be useful: Arlosmom's kitchen


Great period-ish kitchen
clipped on: 03.18.2013 at 05:36 pm    last updated on: 03.18.2013 at 05:36 pm

RE: flattering light over vanity (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: raehelen on 03.17.2013 at 06:27 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Carol, I am not sure what you mean by light boxes, but the strong trend now is to have sconces or pendants on the side of the mirror. I just finished compiling a word document with lighting tips I've collected. Here is what I've found about the side lights:

Task lighting provides adequate light for daily chores, such as applying makeup and shaving. The best task light at the mirror is a pair of fixtures mounted on the wall, flanking the sink. This is called cross illumination and provides shadow-free lighting for the face. Once task lighting has been addressed, look at other types of lighting that will pull the whole room together.

To eliminate shadows under the chin, eyes, and cheeks, fixtures should be mounted on either side of the vanity mirror (or on the mirror's surface, if it's large), 30 to 40 inches apart. Although side sconces offer ideal lighting conditions for grooming, your walls may not have sufficient space for fixtures to fit next to the mirror. If it's more practical for you to install lights above the mirror, use a fixture with bulbs that face downward; you don't want all your light directed toward the ceiling. To locate the proper height for an above-the-mirror fixture, measure 78 inches up from the floor. The top of the mirror should rest about 3 inches below the bottom of the light.

The center of each fixture should be roughly at eye level, or about 66 (65-70) inches above the floor. This will guarantee even illumination across the face for grooming.
In a 5- by 10-foot bathroom, a total of 300 watts of incandescent lighting, including overhead and vanity fixtures is recommended. Use more wattage in larger bathrooms, but no more than eight watts per square foot.

Hope this helps, Rae


Very helpful bathroom lighting tips.
clipped on: 03.18.2013 at 01:31 pm    last updated on: 03.18.2013 at 01:31 pm

LED recessed cans guide for kitchen ...

posted by: davidtay on 01.30.2012 at 01:27 am in Lighting Forum

A collection of tips/ answers
Since kitchens have higher lighting requirements, I like to use 35 lumen per sq ft as a rule to compute the number of lights. If there are additional sources of light that will be used, the output (lumens not watts) from those sources can be deducted from the total.

Placement/ layout
1. Cans should be > 24 to 30 inches from the wall (on center). Most countertop spaces have upper cabinets (typically ~ 12" deep) + crown molding. The edge of the can may be spaced ~ 12" away from the edge of the crown molding (if present or cabinet if there is no crown molding) making the average distance between 26 to 30 inches.

2. Assuming the need for a fairly uniformly lit space @ 35 lumens per sq ft, the cans may have to be spaced closer together - between 3 - 4 ft apart (if all general lighting is provided by recessed lights). A fairly regular pattern is preferable to a random layout.

3. The actual layout of cans will be impacted by the location of ceiling joists, HVAC ducting, electrical wiring, plumbing, ceiling height, fire suppression sprinklers and other obstructions above the ceiling.

The Cree LR6 series lamps do not dim as well as the later models (CR6, ...). ELV dimmers probably work better with LR6 than incandescent dimmers since the total load of the lights may not meet the minimum load requirement for the incandescent dimmer.

Dimmers such as the Lutron Diva CL dimmers work well. The max output is 95%.

Some Choices (in order of preference) and notes
Cree CR6 or ECO-575 (Home Depot branded CR6)
ECO4-575 (Home Depot branded Cree CR4 4" recessed light)
The above are only available in 2700k light color.

Cree LR6 series - including the LE6.

The Cree CR6 and LR6 lamps will not fit into 5" housings.

The standard LR6 behaves more like a surface mount than a recessed light as the LED emitters are close to the surface and the recess is shallow. Some may not like the amount of light spillage (standard LR6).

There is a higher output version of the LR6 that has a much deeper recess.

To prevent the Cree lamps from falling out, the 3 prongs have to be fully extended and a slight clockwise twist made when push installing. The slight clockwise twist will ensure that the prongs are fully extended.

The Cree lamps are currently the best available today (2012).

Sylvania RT-6, RT-4. The lights could be easier to install than Cree lamps as they utilize the torsion spring mechanism. However, the lights do not look as pleasant as the Cree lamps.

The Cree and Sylvania lamps do outperform 26W CFLs (and incandescents) in a standard recessed can in terms of light spread and output as the standard bulb in a can solution traps a significant amount of light. The Cree and Sylvania recessed lamp solutions referenced above have all the LED elements facing outwards so that the effective light output is higher.

The CRI (Color Rendition Index) of Cree and Sylvania recessed lamps > 80.

There is no warm up time required for Cree recessed lamps, unlike CFL light bulbs.

Most recessed lighting is used with flat ceilings. Sloped ceilings would require special solutions such as the LE6 or some other form of lighting (i.e. -non recessed lighting).

Some common objections to recessed can lights stem from
1. looks and performance of traditional can lights (standard bulb in a can)
2. swiss cheese effect from too many holes.


LED recessed help
clipped on: 03.16.2013 at 10:02 pm    last updated on: 03.16.2013 at 10:02 pm

RE: LED recessed cans guide for kitchen ... (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: davidtay on 01.30.2012 at 12:39 pm in Lighting Forum

For your situation, it would probably look more symmetrical if the lights are centered on the aisle and there are no other sources of light for general lighting.

On the other hand, a counter argument can be made that as there probably will be pendants over the island, the cans should be placed around the edge of the countertop.

There is a LED Continuation thread that covers strip lighting. Puck spacing really depends on the output of each puck and the length of cord between. Installing puck lighting could be more work than the equivalent strip light since each would have to be individually fastened and aligned along with the cord between.

Island pendants can take many shapes from a suspended tube light to individual lamps (40W / 60W/ ...).

LED bulb tips
1. Always look for the output in lumens. Never rely on vague claims of "output like X watts" which is an old trick.
2. If the output per watt is ~ 20+ per watt, that is no better than using a halogen. The L-prize bulb from Philips produces > 90 lumens per watt.
3. The CRI should be 80 or better.

Here is a link that might be useful: LED UCL continuation


LED bulb tips. Very helpful.
clipped on: 03.16.2013 at 09:59 pm    last updated on: 03.16.2013 at 09:59 pm

RE: counter height window pictures please (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: mamadadapaige on 02.09.2009 at 11:11 pm in Kitchens Forum

here are mine... they are bumped out about 8"... inside and outside pic for you.


I love this extra 8 inch bumpout. So pretty on the outside too.
clipped on: 03.16.2013 at 09:21 pm    last updated on: 03.16.2013 at 09:22 pm

RE: Need help designing a shower system (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: mongoct on 03.12.2013 at 02:14 pm in Bathrooms Forum

If this is an exterior wall and you are in a heating climate, then you'll still want a vapor barrier on the living space side of that wall. The key is to not have two vapor barriers on the same wall. But remember, HB is not a vapor barrier.

So when you gut it to the studs, you can reinsulate with unfaced FG batts if FG is your insulation of choice. Whenever using FG, I'll use unfaced batts. I then cover that with 6-mil polyethylene, stapled to the studs. The poly gives a continuous barrier, a much more effective barrier than faced insulation.

You are correct...with the large tiles, you'll want your walls flat, plumb, and your corners square. "Flat" and "plumb" will give you nice corners.

After you gut to the studs, you can simply use a level to make sure that the corner studs are plumb. The you can run a level, a straight edge, or use a string, to make sure that the wall itself it flat and all studs are in plane.

If you have small discrepancies, the offensive studs can be shimmed or planed. If the wall is really wacky, then sometimes it's best to restud the wall by sistering new studs to the old.

With the studs on plane, you then do your plumbing and electrical as needed and then hang your cement board.

Where people go wrong is when they tape and thinset the seams of the cement board they leave too much thinset on the joint and create a hump. All you want to do is fill any gaps with thinset so the HB can bridge from one piece of cement board to the next. That's it.

Rectified tile is tile that is fired in very large sheets and then cut to size. So the tiles are usually quite flat, have sharp sawn edges (like a marble tile would have), and they are pretty much exactly the same size.

Non-rectified tiles are cut to size then fired. So the clay can shrink a little here or warp a little there during the firing process.

Take a stack of several tiles and set them on edge, like a deck of cards. Square up two edges. The other two edges will show any discrepancy in tile sizing.

In general, a rule-of-thumb of sorts is that you want your grout lines to be 3 times the size differential. If your tiles were off by 1/16" in size, then you'd shoot for a 3/16" grout lines.

The old guideline used to be 1/16" minimum grout width. That's been changed to 1/8".

Can you go smaller? Sure, but it could slow down the installation. It really is dependent on the tile. Flat. Warped. Square. Pillowed. Bowed? The wackier the tile, the more difficult it is to get a good installation with small gout lines.

Rectified tiles, being uniform in size, can usually be set closer together than nonrectified. Another thing is tile size, specifically the size you are using. With the proliferation of long rectangular tiles like your 12" by 24" tiles, lippage from bowed tiles can be a concern.

Example, stack two of your 12 by 24s and then flip them up on edge. Do they nestle nicely against one another? Now flip one tile over so they are glaze-to-glaze. Do they still nestle tightly together or do they rock against each other?

Longer tiles like that can have a bow or an arch in them. That's why your tile shop gave you guidance regarding the 33% offset. If you did a straight 50% offset staggered brick pattern, the high point of each tile's arch would be next to the ends of the neighboring tiles. Any bow in the tile would show as lippage between adjacent tiles. Reducing the offset to 33% or 25% reduces lippage.

All that being said, lippage is always a concern. But it's more a concern on floors than walls. I had a job years ago where the homeowner wanted flaws in the wall tile. They wanted it to look imperfect, a little rustic, they wanted lippage. On a floor I'd never do that.


Very good explanation of waterproofing and prepping from studs.
clipped on: 03.12.2013 at 05:47 pm    last updated on: 03.12.2013 at 05:48 pm

RE: Wedi or Laticrete pre-sloped shower pan? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: mongoct on 03.03.2013 at 12:47 pm in Bathrooms Forum

I do have a preference for the Laticrete or Kerdi systems over Wedi, mainly due to the flanged drain. Wedi is a fine product, but for me there's a little more tinkering with the Wedi drain versus the other two.

If you're already going to use Hydroban, then you can probably single-source the tray, so I'd recommend staying with Laticrete/Hydroban throughout.


Can use the Laticrete/Hydroban system to construct shower pan, niches, and possibly curb.
clipped on: 03.06.2013 at 10:56 pm    last updated on: 03.06.2013 at 10:57 pm

RE: Kerdi vs. Tile Redi (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: mongoct on 03.06.2011 at 02:15 am in Bathrooms Forum

Kerdi over a mud bed would be far superior to a Tile Redi pan. Solid underfoot, no flexing, and no issues where the pan meets the walls.

A mud bed isn't technically difficult. But it can be tiring. My shower is a little larger than yours, 5' by 8'. Kerdi too. Mud slope but cement board on the walls.

Here's the old thread.


Very detailed how to kerdi and then tile shower.
clipped on: 03.06.2013 at 05:12 pm    last updated on: 03.06.2013 at 05:12 pm

RE: Gorgeous Porcelain Marble - Looks Like Statuary! (Follow-Up #43)

posted by: riverrocks on 08.09.2011 at 09:21 am in Bathrooms Forum

If Naxos is that realistic, maybe I should be looking at the Naxos. I like the brown vein photos.

That was brown or grey vein Naxos you laid?

What color grout did you use for that Naxos?

Can white grout stay white on floors?


naxos porcelain tile that looks like marble. Very realistic and better than other brands.
clipped on: 03.05.2013 at 03:17 pm    last updated on: 03.05.2013 at 03:19 pm

RE: Beige toned grout for white hex floor tiles? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: KevinMP on 01.31.2013 at 09:21 pm in Bathrooms Forum

I don't know if it'll help you, but I used TEC "pearl" unsanded for my calacatta gold honed backsplash. It's sort of a taupe/gray/beige color.

 photo DSC_0142.jpg

 photo DSC_0148.jpg


maybe a taupe/gray grout to warm up white hex tile
clipped on: 03.05.2013 at 11:20 am    last updated on: 03.05.2013 at 11:21 am

RE: curbless shower - anyone have their whole bathrm floor sloped (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: mongoct on 12.03.2012 at 09:13 am in Bathrooms Forum

Didn't see your post until now. Although you now get it, let me hit on the "ADA" thing just a bit.

Once you bring "ADA" into it, it's a whole new ball of worms. Or you're opening a can of wax. Something like that.

A true ADA shower doesn't need to comply with the typical residential code requirements for a residential shower. I'd recommend you get a copy of the ADA guidelines from your local building department, because they can vary so much, even from one town to another.

In one town hear here, a true ADA shower has to be curbless, or what is referred to as a "flush entry". The floor slope can be from 1/8" per foot to 3/16th" per foot. There is no 2" depth-of-water over the drain restriction. The shower has to be 60" square. No larger. No smaller.

The next town over you can either have a flush entry or you can have a small (1/2" vertical over 1" horizontal) ramp up or down at the shower entry. No more, no less. Once past that little ramp and in the shower, the floor slope is restricted to 1/8" per foot. Again, no 2" depth-of-water restriction. Minimum size is 30" by 60", there is no limit on increasing the shower.

ADA showers also have grab bar restrictions, and restrictions on where the shower controls can be placed.

Prefab pans can get you in trouble. About 3 or 4 years ago some elder-housing was built near here, a 24-unit complex. All showers were required to be ADA-compliant. The architect spec'd out, and the builder installed, pre-fab ADA shower pans. Which were actually NOT compliant, because they all had 1/2" curbs molded into the floor. State funds were involved in the financing. Since the pans were not compliant (true ADA had to be a flush floor entry in that town) they all had to be ripped out or the project would lose state funding, be non-certified as elder-housing, and lose tax breaks too.

So there are differences between having a true ADA-compliant shower and simply having a curbless shower in your residence.

This post was edited by mongoct on Mon, Dec 3, 12 at 12:07


Check local codes.
clipped on: 03.04.2013 at 10:18 pm    last updated on: 03.04.2013 at 10:19 pm

RE: Curbless Shower.No Barrier Walls = ???s (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: mongoct on 10.09.2012 at 11:36 am in Bathrooms Forum

You've apparently thought this out, and you seem to know shower requirements. But just to clarify let me drone on a bit so I know we're on the same page so to speak:

There are a few rules for shower construction, you're apparently aware of them but I'll repost for the heck of it:

1) When the shower is complete and with the drain plugged, the shower needs to be able to hold a 2" depth of water over the drain before water flows out of the shower.

2) The waterproof membrane in the shower must be pitched to the drain.

3) The shower floor should be pitched to the drain a minimum of 1/4" per foot and a maximum of 1/2" per foot.

"Regardless of whether I use a preformed pan or build a mud bed, doesn't the fact that the entire pan will be lowered 2" below floor grade remove the need to slope the shower 1/2" per foot?"

You want a "curbless shower", which means a non-vertical transition at the shower threshold. Meaning at the shower entry there is simply an "angled" transition from the flat bathroom floor to the sloped shower floor.

With a 36" by 48" shower with a center drain, the drain will be 18" and 24" from the walls of the shower. To lose 2" of vertical over that short of a distance, you'd have to pitch the floor steeper than the 1/2" per foot maximum pitch allowed by code.

That is for a shower with a sloped floor transition at the shower entry, what we refer to as "curbless".

If you are willing to have a vertical drop at the shower entry, then you could use a premade pan like the laticrete pan. In general, the pans use a 1/4" per foot slope. The pans will also have a thickness of material at the drain.

I don't have a schematic that shows the cross-section thickness of the hydroban pan, so I'll use the equivalent measurements from a Kerdi Tray for illustrative purposes only:

Let's say you're going to use the hydroban pan, 36" by 48". The pan will have a thickness at the drain, let's say 1" thick. The longest dimension from the drain to the pan perimeter is 24"; half of the 48" dimension. The minimum shower slope is 1/4" pitch per foot, so the vertical drop over those 24" will be 1/2". Your pan will be 1-1/2" thick at the perimeter, the pan will have a vertical drop from the edge of the pan to the drain of 1/2", and at the drain the pan will be 1" thick.

Getting back to the required 2" depth of water requirement: The pan only has a drop of 1/2". For code purposes, you need 2". So the edge of your pan will have to be 1-1/2" below the height of your bathroom subfloor. With the pan having a total thickness of 1-1/2", you'd need to cut down the joists in your shower enough so the top surface of the subfloor within the shower is 3" below the top surface of the subfloor in the bathroom.

With the pan installed this way, you'll have a flat bathroom subfloor, then a 1-1/2" vertical drop down into the shower before you hit the edge of the pan, then the pan will slope another 1/2" to the drain.

There's your 2" requirement. Made up of 1-1/2" of vertical drop at the shower entry, and 1/2" of pitch across the pan.

So while there may be no traditional curb that you have to step up and over to get into the shower, there is a small step down. So by definition it's not what we call "curbless".

I hope that makes sense.

"With a 36" x 48" shower, I don't see there being the option of keeping a linear drain 48" from shower opening. [Drain placed on the back wall, is the 48" length, putting the drain less than 36" from the opening.] "

With no drawing showing your door location, we're simply looking at this from different perspectives. You know your overall design. I don't.

The description I wrote would require the entry to be on a 36" dimension of the shower and the linear drain to be 48" from the entry, on the other 36" wall. That 48" run will allow you to pitch the floor 1/2" per foot over a 4' distance for a total of a 2" vertical drop.

That's simply one description of how you could get a true curbless shower (with a simple sloped floor transition) using the dimensions you gave.

I hope all that helps, at least a little! lol


The description I wrote would require the entry to be on a 36" dimension of the shower and the linear drain to be 48" from the entry, on the other 36" wall. That 48" run will allow you to pitch the floor 1/2" per foot over a 4' distance for a total of a 2" vertical drop.

That's simply one description of how you could get a true curbless shower (with a simple sloped floor transition) using the dimensions you gave.

clipped on: 03.04.2013 at 09:53 pm    last updated on: 03.04.2013 at 09:54 pm

RE: Working Exterior Shutters (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: brutuses on 07.13.2009 at 12:17 am in Building a Home Forum

DH built ours. See photo's and let me know if this is the style you are interested in. We're also in S. Louisiana. He's sleeping right now, but I'll ask him for specifics and pass them on to you tomorrow if you'd you like.




clipped on: 03.01.2013 at 05:06 pm    last updated on: 03.01.2013 at 05:06 pm

RE: Working Exterior Shutters (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: brutuses on 07.13.2009 at 11:35 pm in Building a Home Forum

DH says, the shutters are made of pine v-grove on one side and bead board on the other side, tongue and grove boards that were purchased from Home Depot. The shutter dogs and slide bolt was purchased from Ricker on Solomon St. in N. O. and the hinges come from Timberland Shutter Co. on the internet. (Timberland also has the shutter dogs and slide bolts.) The paint is Benjamin Moore, Soft Gloss exterior top of the line.

Let me know if there is any other information I can get for you. Make sure to post photo's when you get yours built.


clipped on: 03.01.2013 at 05:05 pm    last updated on: 03.01.2013 at 05:05 pm

RE: Pictures of our Maple Nichiha (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: drjoann on 03.21.2010 at 10:28 am in Building a Home Forum

I think the proper term for "weave" is alternating butt joint. At the corner the shakes are butted together. You alternate the side of the butt with each row of shakes. Its what Stanza 30 had on her house.

The problem with doing this with Nichiha or other fiber cement is that the exposed edges are not the same color as the surface so they have to go back and apply the stain to the edges. The alternative is to miter, as you are doing & Nichiha says you must miter if its greater than 90 degrees.

We don't really know how much extra we are being charged. On the one hand, there are no materials & labor for the corner boards. OTOH, there is probably more labor involved in putting up the shakes with mitered edges or going back and staining with the weave. When we had the house bid, DH put together a packet which had the technical data from Nichiha and pictures of Stanza's house while it was being built to help show what a weave looked like and, also, the flaring over the foundation.

Your maple Nichiha is turning out so pretty. We were trying to decide between caramel & mahogany. Stanza's is mahogany, but DH started to worry that it would be too stark a contrast with white trim. When we were at our lot, last month, we leaned the samples against some tree trunks & stepped back. In situ, we decided that the mahogany was just right. Nice when we independently come to the same conclusion. (wipe brow)

Good luck & we'd love to see some more pictures - Jo Ann


mitered corner shake panels instead of using trim for the Nichiha cement board shingles.
clipped on: 02.28.2013 at 12:44 pm    last updated on: 02.28.2013 at 12:45 pm

RE: Nichiha Vs. Hardie shake and lap siding (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: kateskouros on 02.11.2013 at 12:33 am in Building a Home Forum

our nichiha has been up for a while now and we still have people knock at the door to ask what color we painted our siding. they seem shocked when i tell them it's cement.
we're six miles inland in central new jersey and have just come through hurricane sandy with absolutely no damage to the siding. it's unfortunate most of the trees and telephone poles didn't hold up as well. in the meantime, as i drive down our street not everyone was as fortunate. i noticed a newly sided house had to have some repair work done on their hardiboard. ;-)
without question, nichiha is superior to hardi.

we have a factory finish in weathered gray. love it.


Nichiha has great reviews. Must look more into their brand.
clipped on: 02.28.2013 at 10:33 am    last updated on: 02.28.2013 at 10:35 am

RE: Kitchen window ideas? Any pics of yours? (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: drbeanie2000 on 02.19.2013 at 01:10 pm in Kitchens Forum

Ours are like Fishies, they are Marvin windows. They crank out VERY easily - even I (short, extra-deep countertops) can work them! The interior screens don't bother me at all. We also got fancier screens that are a million times easier to see through than the older kind, and are very unobtrusive from inside. We love them.


love the kitchen and windows.
clipped on: 02.27.2013 at 09:45 am    last updated on: 02.27.2013 at 09:45 am

Farmhouse kitchen progress - pics

posted by: paulineinmn on 07.04.2011 at 09:30 pm in Kitchens Forum

We're coming along in our kitchen remodel - it was a total gut of kitchen/adjoining room in a 1911 home. We tried to get back to the original parts as much as possible (saved the floors, removed fake ceiling) and designed cabinets that looked similar to those that were built at the time of the house.

There are still several things on the to-do list (painting walls/backsplash, staining trim/stairs, installing hood, installing upper cabinet latches, getting TV/couch in adjacent room, getting stools) but thought I'd post some recent photos anyway. Once we're done, I'll post some nice photos (my dad's!). Thanks, Lisa 0527, for mentioning it!


Very pretty clean and modern farmhouse kitchen.
clipped on: 02.26.2013 at 11:13 pm    last updated on: 02.26.2013 at 11:14 pm

RE: Share your backsplash pics for a good cause! (Follow-Up #33)

posted by: elizpiz on 08.18.2010 at 05:01 am in Kitchens Forum

Love these pix! Like jodi, my pix have been here a few times, but to add to this post, here's our Walker+Zanger Antequera BS...



I love this kitchen. Love the window trim and cabinet handles.
clipped on: 02.26.2013 at 06:24 pm    last updated on: 02.26.2013 at 06:26 pm

Will this look good - open shelf under cabinet

posted by: lalitha on 09.27.2011 at 05:57 pm in Kitchens Forum

Will it look good to have an open shelf of about 10" deep under the upper cabinet? Have you seen anything like this?

Our uppers will be 15" (Our counters are 30" front to back). I am thinking this will be a good way to add some open shelves for everyday dishes.

Another variant is to add 2 open shelves under the upper - A 10" plate/ bowl shelf and a 4" cup shelf/ ledge under that.

I want some open shelves at an easy to clean height.. Lots of lovely inspiration photos but most are for open shelves that replace the uppers.


clipped on: 02.20.2013 at 05:23 pm    last updated on: 02.20.2013 at 05:23 pm

What do I ask for if I want a hood that looks like this pic.?

posted by: needinfo1 on 02.15.2013 at 08:20 am in Appliances Forum

It seems to me that this is the type of hood that is often installed under a cabinet. I kind of like this look rather than a chimney. But, I don't know what type it is and if this style is easy to find or install. We have a somewhat similar set up where it would be alone on a wall and then need to go up to the joists and make a right turn before running 5 or 6 feet to the outside. Thanks.

And another one....

This post was edited by needinfo1 on Fri, Feb 15, 13 at 8:26


Like the vent hood.
clipped on: 02.15.2013 at 06:53 pm    last updated on: 02.15.2013 at 06:53 pm

A Lot Of Livin' In This Kitchen

posted by: johnliu on 03.18.2011 at 01:56 pm in Kitchens Forum

The best cook I know lives in this kitchen. I wanted to show you some pictures because it has some interesting features. Also, she is thinking about a facelift, so I'm interested in any ideas you all might have.

The kitchen is a little complicated, so I'll explain the layout via some pictures.

Looking west, from the dining room. On the left of the picture, beyond the photo's edge, is a desk and full-height glass-front stemware cabinet. On the left part of the photo, you see the kitchen's seating area, used for breakfast, small meals, and hanging out. In the middle, at the far (west) end of the kitchen, is a door to the backyard (not visible), the refrigerator, and the commercial Wolf six-burner range. To the right of that is a sink, an old Wedgewood range with four burners, griddle, two ovens, and two broilers, and the butcher block on casters. To the far right, just beyond the photo's edge, is another sink and an ''L'' of counter.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

This is the seating area, surrounded by windows and cookbook shelves. This is a possible use for those low windows out there.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

This is looking east, standing in front of the Wedgewood range and looking back toward the dining room. You see the eating area, desk, stemware cabinet, and part of the counter ''L'' with (out of view) the second sink and dishwasher.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Detail of the Wedgewood range, butcher block, and first sink.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

West end of the kitchen with refrigerator and Wolf range. Door to the backyard is to the left of the refrigerator.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Detail of the second sink area, this is facing north-east. All of the uppers are glass-fronted.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

The stub of wall between the backyard door and the eating area is used for hanging pot storage. The cookbook shelves wrap around to this wall. Her pots are mostly French copper and old All-Clad. I did some copper polishing on this visit, after taking this picture.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

So that's the kitchen. She is thinking about replacing the tile counters with butcher block, replacing the square tile backsplash with white subways, and getting some new sinks, including one deep enough for her stockpots. She is happy with her appliances and cabinets. The budget doesn't extend to major work anyway.

I suggested undercabinet lighting for all the uppers, wall mounting the faucets, adding a sprayer at the wash-up sink. Her counters are 36.5'' high, she and her husband are fairly tall. I was thinking that raising the counters 1.5'' could allow pull-out bread boards. She'll sometimes wish for more counterspace (yes, I know, she's not really wanting for same).

Some context. This is in a modest house in Los Angeles. They are big-hearted, gregarious, unassuming Boston Irish Jewish transplants. She entertains frequently, dinner parties 1-2x week, sometimes large ones. Given the climate, some of their cooking is done outdoors, where there is a smoker, grill, refrigerator, and four-burner Jade range. My friends are in their early 70's, act like they're in their 50's, have a zillion friends, kids both natural and defacto (SWMBO is one of the latter), and are longtime foodies. As I've mentioned, she is the best cook I know, but her son went to culinary school and dinners are often a multi-cook affair. Her decorating style is sort of antique-y clutter, but every piece has a story.

I hope these pictures were interesting, and if you have ideas for her facelift, can you suggest them?


Wonderfully, warm cooks kitchen.
clipped on: 02.14.2013 at 07:57 pm    last updated on: 02.14.2013 at 07:57 pm

farmgirlinky kitchen before/after -- too long, too many pictures

posted by: farmgirlinky on 04.23.2011 at 10:03 pm in Kitchens Forum

Apologies in advance for a long post! and thanks to many thoughtful GW denizens who served as sources of inspiration to this frequent-lurker, sometime-poster: xoldtimecarpenter, rhome47, marthavila, palimpsest, buehl, boxerpups, marcolo, johnliu come to mind, among others.

We live in a 1910 house in urban Connecticut, and have been gradually renovating it for the last ten years. We hope to live here another twenty--thirty years or so, next stop would be assisted living vs. skilled nursing! So: nardellos-to-the-wall renovation, amortized over decades.

The original space included a walk-in pantry, originally the ice-box room, and the "telephone closet", which we ripped out when we moved in. The "servant's dining hall" and kitchen had long since been combined into one room. So the "before" space was raw and ugly but functional, and we installed our old Aga range and were happy for a decade. Five years ago we acquired the Subzero when our old fridge gave up the ghost. Maybe I pronounced the old fridge dead while it still had a thready pulse, but I hated it. With this renovation we ordered an Aga Module to append to the old 4-oven gas-fueled Aga range, so that we could turn the latter off in the warmest months. In the winter, we are glad to have a separate heat zone in the kitchen, where we tend to live. The rest of the house is kept just above freezing. The windows and doors were restored, except for one new window that was built to match the old ones.



Steven Marchetti of Peix & Marchetti is our friend and architect. The space was gutted last August, and our excellent builder friend Allen Mathes built around the Aga and the large refrigerator. Allen built a fir "floor" on the ceiling and "strapped" it. The Aga is vented into the old flue and could not be moved -- the range hood could only be vented through one bay between joists to the rear of the house, so we held our breath until the custom Rangecraft hood arrived and was installed and fit like a glove: that's why the ducts are assymetrical. Very Terry Gilliam.



The floor is cork, and here is a picture of unwaxed Jucca soapstone countertop. The cabinetry is custom-made in New Haven, by fantastic Bryan Smallman:



Here are the just-about-finished pictures: there's a little trim to be done yet. We love the kitchen and it works well -- prep sink at the window and the utility sink accessible from both sides of the island are especially handy, because several cooks can work comfortably together and clean-up seems more communal. The Profi faucet is terrific for clean-up, also accessible from both sides because it is side-mounted on the Julien undermount steel sink. Friends off to one side at our old kitchen table seem happy and it they're not, we just pour more bourbon....

We worked with an architect friend, and were influenced by a favorite space, the Yale Center for British Art: the palette and the quiet feeling of the materials were what we tried to emulate, even as almost every material in the museum was switched for something else. Tennessee Golden Oak became vertical grain fir (oak today isn't Louis Kahn's oak), travertine became cork (who wants to stand on stone?), brutalist concrete became soapstone (who wants to worry about sealing concrete). Steel is still steel! The cream Aga that we have had for years dictated the choice of the biscuit fireclay farm sink and the cream ceramic subway tiles.

I have this idea that it's okay to mix a lot of materials if the palette is restrained, or it's fine to mix a lot of colors if the number of materials is restrained, but I'd be interested to see examples of lots of materials AND lots of colors working well. But that's just me.





sawkille stools


sawkille stools








I'll list materials in a subsequent post. Again, sorry for the many pictures: I get cross-eyed trying to post these things! Let me know what you think. Except maybe you, marcolo ;)


Love the kitchen
clipped on: 02.12.2013 at 08:32 am    last updated on: 02.12.2013 at 08:32 am

RE: Deeper counters? Where, how? (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: rhome410 on 04.11.2010 at 11:28 pm in Kitchens Forum

Instead of deepening the whole sink wall, could you box out the window like Erikanh and Mamadadapaige did? That moves the window back from the sink, but doesn't require deepening the whole wall of counters.

Remember that if you deepen the counter by 6", it shortens the adjacent run by 6" 6" less width for cabinets...but maybe you already have that figured out.

I think you mean you need the island to be 48" wide to accommodate 2 people on the end?

Erikanh's window inside and from outside. (I REALLY wish I had done this):




Love the little boxed out window
clipped on: 02.10.2013 at 08:48 am    last updated on: 02.10.2013 at 08:51 am

RE: How to evaluate windows for new construction? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: oberon on 04.16.2007 at 09:21 pm in Windows Forum

Welcome jaymielo,

First, consider the different companies, their reputation, their warranties. No warranty is worth the paper it is written on if the company doesn't stand behind it.

Andersen has a vinyl clad wood window. All the other companies that you mentioned have alumunum clad windows. Do you have a preference? Aluminum clad allows a lot more color choices - if that is an issue for you.

Glass package - LowE2. No argument, you WANT the LowE2 coating. All of the companies that you mentioned have LowE2. For some of their lines it is standard, for some it is optional.

Wind - check the air infiltration numbers on the windows that you are considering. To a lesser extent consider DP ratings.

Windows are tested for air infiltration simulating a 25mph wind or a 1.56PSF pressure load - air infiltration is treated separately from both water infiltration and structural and it is independent of the design pressure of the unit. Said again - the air infiltration rate in a window is not based on the design pressure rating of the unit.

Air infiltration in a window is measured in CFM for Cubic Feet per Minute. The lower the number, the better the performance - in stopping air infiltration at or below 25mph wind.

Both water penetration and structural testing, on the other hand, are based on the window DP rating. Water infiltration is tested at 15% of the design pressure and structural is tested at 150% of DP rating.

What this means is that a window with a DP30 is tested for water infiltration at 4.5psf (15% of 30psf) while a window with a DP40 is tested at 6psf (15% of 40).

A window with a DP30 is rated to be able to keep out rain when its driven by 42mph winds and a window with a DP40 should be able to keep out rain when driven by 49mph water infiltration is DP related - and air infiltration is not - the nature of air and water infiltration is different.

You want the best U-value that you can find. Ignore R-value if a salesperson tries to take you in that direction.

U-values at .35 and lower are acceptable in your climate. Note I said "and lower". R-value increases performance as the number goes higher - U-value increases in performance as the number goes lower. So U-value of .3 is better than a U-value of .35. Again, forget R-value when dealing with windows.

I think that should get you started...feel free to ask more questions.

And as a final thought, INSTALLATION is huge! The best window installed poorly is next to worthless. Make sure that part is done right!!!!


clipped on: 02.08.2013 at 10:00 am    last updated on: 02.08.2013 at 10:01 am

RE: Barn doors (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: mtnrdredux on 01.28.2013 at 07:33 pm in Building a Home Forum

Komeht, it does not. As far as I know, it cannot. The barn doors open into a vestibule where we have exterior french doors (see below)Photobucket

Yes, well, most people do go a little wild with front door colors. This is us, wild. It is called Hampshire Grey. We used it here, on our cellar door, on a well, on our itty bitty stonehouse trim, and our wall of DR windows (where we have a slate floor and it is sort of garden room like). It is our "go to" color when we want to be WILD.

It is our front door. The family would tend not to use this door, we would park in the service gate area and go in near the kitchen. We have a second gate for guests, where there is a lot more parking. Unfortunately when people park they tend not to know where the front door is, even though we even had signs made. That's okay because very often they are coming to parties out back at the pond, or in the pool structure, anyway. But when so many people cannot find your front door, youve done something wrong ...


Barn doors
clipped on: 02.02.2013 at 11:27 pm    last updated on: 02.02.2013 at 11:28 pm

RE: The Luna Laundry System a/k/a Laundry Closet (Follow-Up #18)

posted by: claire_de_luna on 06.03.2008 at 01:02 pm in Laundry Room Forum

No, I haven't needed to service the washer or dryer at all. (It probably helps that I bought Mieles, as they've been trouble-free little workhorses. I'm opinionated about buying as much quality you can afford at the outset, to avoid problems later on, which has served me very well in this instance.) As far as accessing the dryer vent, I haven't actually ever done that. It vents down through a crawl space and out the foundation of our house. (You make me wonder however if it's time to go check on that, to see how much build-up there might be.) I don't seem to get an overabundance of dust, and am pretty meticulous about keeping the mesh lint screen cleaned after every dryer load, so that's probably helped.

The washer is a tight fit, but can be moved. We need two people to actually pick it up (a couple of inches) to move it out, but have only needed to move it once in the time it's been there. (That was in the beginning when I had the sheet metal pan made, which took some time to procure and set into place. I also went the extra mile and bought metal mesh supply lines for peace of mind, knowing that moving the washer or dryer would take some planning!) The turn-off valve is at the back of the washer (behind the laundry basket) and rather hard for me to access as I'm short and don't have long arms. The Mieles are deep, rather than wide and because of this, I keep a step ladder (just in case) at that end of my home in my closet, so I can reach it quickly if the need ever arises. Hopefully it never will, but I did plan for the eventuality.

This is absolutely some of the best space planning I've ever done. I can't tell you how easy it is to deal with laundry at this stage of my'll just have to experience it yourself! If I ever have to move from here, I would repeat every detail exactly as is, in a heartbeat. Good luck!


good tips for designing a laundry closet with laundry storage under raised washer and dryer.
clipped on: 01.28.2013 at 12:13 pm    last updated on: 01.28.2013 at 12:14 pm

RE: Does anyone have oak cabinets anymore? (Follow-Up #24)

posted by: mc15 on 01.26.2013 at 01:59 pm in Kitchens Forum

We are in the middle of renovating our kitchen and our new cabinets are QS oak. But this is also because we have a prairie style 1914 house with QS oak trim everywhere. So far we only have 2 cabinets installed so I don't have much to show, but here is a picture of one of the cabinets.


Beautiful QS inset oak cabinets. Love the hardware too.
clipped on: 01.26.2013 at 08:44 pm    last updated on: 01.26.2013 at 08:45 pm

finished! Vintage Cream in the City

posted by: shanghaimom on 05.01.2010 at 09:14 pm in Kitchens Forum

Hi all,

We are finally finished with our kitchen remodel of our 1889 home. I have been a daily (truthfully, sometimes HOURLY) lurker and sporadic poster for almost two years. There is NO WAY I could have planned this remodel without the help of GW--We were living in China for over 5 years and I had to do all of my planning from there. This meant NO MAGAZINES, nor could I visit showrooms and see anything in person. Every time I had a question, I seemed to be able to find a thread about it. Not to mention all of the inspirational photos!!! I was so afraid of missing an important tidbit! (We were 13 hours ahead there, so I could easily miss a thread as it fell off onto pages two, three, four...)

Anyway, many thanks to all of the great TKO people who contribute to this forum.

Photos first! Details at the end. (o:




pass-thru detail

cabinetry--local custom painted in BM Bone White oil-based enamel
walls-- BM Ballet White
counters--Zodiaq quartz Mystic Black (kind of a charcoal color)
pulls--Amerock Revitalize in Burnished Bronze
sink--Ticor zero-radius SS508
faucet--Kohler Vinnata in Vibrant Polished Nickel
range-36" Bertazzoni Heritage Series in Anthracite
hood- Vent-A-Hood NPH9-136
backsplash- 3" hexagonal Calcatta marble
pendants--Hinckley Knickerbocker (these are on clearance all over for a song right now...)
windows--Marvin double-hung cottage style


Beautiful but really love the table area. So quaint like a little restaurant.
clipped on: 01.24.2013 at 11:32 am    last updated on: 01.24.2013 at 11:34 am

Finished white oak / rustic kitchen (full pics)

posted by: jenny_from_the_block on 12.22.2012 at 05:16 pm in Kitchens Forum

Finally finished! I take bad photos and didn't stage my kitchen but here it is! I am so happy with the way it turned out and it functions well.

Range: Bluestar 6 burner RNB
Rangehood: Broan guts under DIY hood cover
Countertop: Honed Carrara marble
Sinks: Kohler cast iron
Faucets: Nickel Kohler Purist line
Frig: SubZero 48"
Floor: Dalle de France Massangis jaune limestone, Exquisite Surfaces
Cabinets: locally harvested white oak, local company
Walls: white painted yellow-poplar shiplap boards
Knobs: Baldwin brass in antique brass with black finish

Range view
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Range close-up

Main cooking area near range
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Kitchen table
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Far end of kitchen
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Frig and DW, clean-up sink
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Microwave area (DH still needs to work on recessing the microwave better so the door can close - or we can get a smaller microwave)



Love the white oak cabinets and lap board.
clipped on: 12.25.2012 at 03:29 pm    last updated on: 12.25.2012 at 03:35 pm

RE: Basic Curbless shower - linear drain - what it looks like? (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: mongoct on 07.06.2012 at 12:01 pm in Bathrooms Forum

"So there has to be space for a "pool" somewhere around the drain whether you use a center regular drain or a linear drain."

Yes. No matter what your design, or what type of drain you install, there are pretty much two basic requirements:

1) the shower floor area needs to be sloped towards the drain at a min pitch of 1/4" per foot and a max of 1/2" per foot.
2) With the drain plugged and with a 2" standing depth of water over the drain, waterproofing needs to contain the pooled water from intruding in to the non-waterproofed areas of the house.

"In the diagram I included above, if the linear drain were recessed to meet the 1/4 inch per foot of run, then it would be okay but that gets us back to seeing that a linear drain requires being recessed just like a regular drain. "

Correct. For your depiction above with no changes to the drain elevation, let's say you install the drain "as is". The floor to the right of the drain that is in the shower would need to pitch to the drain at 1/4" per foot, so the floor tile at the right wall would be elevated 1-1/8" (4.5' times 1/4" per foot) above the drain.

If the bathroom floor to the left of the drain was flat (as it is in the drawing), you'd have to install a 2" vertical curb at the bathroom doorway. Your wall-mounted toilet and vanity protect those items. You'd then have to waterproof the entire floor and run the waterproofing detail up the walls several inches.

Let's say you want to keep your bathroom floor flat with no curb at the bathroom/bedroom door threshold. Here are a couple of examples of how you could account for the required 2" vertical. In new construction they are easy to accomplish, in remodeling maybe not so easy:

1) drop the floor in the shower 2" below the bathroom floor by shaving down or dropping the floor joists. Then reverse the direction of the floor slope in your shower so it slopes down from left-to-right. Your trench drain will now be at the right wall. With your bathroom floor "flat", you'll have a curbless entry at the bathroom/shower floor transition. The shower floor will slope down to the drain at a little under 1/2" per foot of slope, about 7/16th" per foot to achieve the 2" drop over the 4-1/2' or run.

2) Keep the drain where it is in the drawing and the slope as depicted, from right-to-left. Add a 2" curb at the shower entry. Not curbless, but a 2" curb.

3) A hybrid of the two previous examples. Add a 2" step up at the shower door entry, then have the floor slope away from the shower entry towards the right wall, with the trench drain on the right wall. You'll have a 2" step up but then the floor will slope down within the shower.

One note: Even if you did a true curbless like in example #1, I extend waterproofing out of the shower and on to the bathroom floor for several feet. You need to account for not just the physical size of the potential pool of water, but also the wicking and capillary action that will pull water away from the pool.


clipped on: 12.21.2012 at 11:10 pm    last updated on: 12.21.2012 at 11:11 pm

RE: Backsplash options: opinions please? (Follow-Up #27)

posted by: Angie_DIY on 12.14.2012 at 02:40 pm in Kitchens Forum

Deedles, sorry I didn't see your question earlier. I bought the copper at Menard's, which is kind of a midwestern version of Lowe's. Comes in a roll 20" wide x 10' long. Here is the link below:

Here is a link that might be useful: Copper roof flashing at Menard's


Can use rolls of copper flashing to cover things
clipped on: 12.14.2012 at 04:02 pm    last updated on: 12.14.2012 at 04:08 pm

RE: Question Re: Tile cutting/sizing 12x12 down to 12x6 (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: mongoct on 04.07.2012 at 02:05 pm in Bathrooms Forum

"I believe that after the cut down of my 11 13/16" x 11 13/16" I should have 11 3/16 x 5 13/32". This size tile should fit into a pattern of my larger tiles *12x12*, RIGHT? "

I'm not sure if that "11 3/16 x 5 13/32" is a typo or not, but if the 11-3/16 was supposed to be 11-13/16, it still won't work with the 5-13/32" width if you want uniform 3/16" grout lines everywhere. Here's a little bit on herringbone patterns:

If you look closely at a herringbone, you can see that for a "perfect" layout, you want the tile length to be equal to twice the tile width plus the grout line width:

TL = 2TW + GLW

Let's use your whole tile of 11-13/16th square, and we'll use the 11-13/16ths as the tile length:

11-13/16 = 2TW + 3/16
11-10/16 = 2TW
5-13/16 = TW

So you'd want your tile size to be 5-13/16 by 11-13/16. Can you get two widths out of each tile? Two times 5-13/16 is 11-5/8. So you are exactly correct with the statement in the middle part of your post; if you used a blade with a 3/16" kerf and cut right down the middle of each tile, you'd end up with two properly sized 5-13/16" by 11-13/16" tiles.

That's assuming all the good stuff: The tiles are perfectly square and uniform in size, and your cuts are magnificent in their accuracy. If you have that going for you, no doubt when you look outside your bathroom window you will indeed see rainbows and unicorns. It'll be a good day indeed!

Regardless, I usually recommend gridding floors instead of using tile spacers. Here's a little example why. Look at the following diagram:

What I'm going to do is run measurements across the floor. You can see that the red lines are parallel to each other, but we're going to take two different paths to get from the red line on the left to the red line on the right.

Following the yellow line, the distance across the floor is:
9 tile widths plus 8 grout lines, or
9 x 5-13/16 + 8 x 3/16 = 53-13/16"

Following the green line, the distance across the floor is:
5 tile widths plus 2 tile lengths plus 6 grout lines, or
5 x 5-13/16 + 2 x 11-13/16 + 6 x 3/16 = 53-13/16"

So with tiles sized like that (11-13/16 by 5-13/16 with a 3/16" grout line) you could use tile spacers, or you could grid the floor. Either way your installation will be perfect.

If your tiles were not perfectly uniform in size, or not in that perfect herringbone proportion, you can see that the tile spacers would throw the installation off as you went across the room. Gridding the floor with "un-perfect" tiles would still you a symmetrical tile layout in terms of your grout lines staying aligned, but your grout lines would be fudged 1/16" here and 1/32" there to stay on the grid lines.

While this isn't related to your specific scenario, I'll toss this out for anyone who cares: a lot of folks will run a herringbone with a 2:1 proportioned tile. For simplicity, let's say a 6" by 12" tile with a 1/4" grout line.

Using the above pic again, if you used 1/4" tile spacers, the yellow line will be 56" across the floor from red line to red line, but the green will be 55-1/2". The pattern will "bend" or "curve" across the floor if you were to use a 2:1 tile with tile spacers.

Due to the pattern of the herringbone, the curve is often hidden from the eye in the field of tile itself. But you can see when you hit the wall on the right, you'll have a whole tile width up at the top (yellow line), but you'll have to fill in that roughly 1/2" gap on the green line with a sliver of tile.

That's where gridding comes in. If you grid a floor with 6x12 tile and a 1/4" grout line, you can sort of "split the difference". The top is 56", the bottom is 55-1/2". So we'd grid that red line to red line at 55-3/4", splitting the difference.

Following the yellow line, we need to lose 1/4" across those 8 grout lines, so instead of 1/4" wide they'd be 7/32" wide.

Following the green line, we'd need to stretch the run by 1/4", so the grout lines there would be a little over 9/32" each instead of 1/4".

So it all depends on what you want. Perfectly proportioned tiles will give you a perfectly symmetrical layout and perfect grout lines.

Tiles that aren't perfectly proportioned, you'll ether "curve" the pattern across the floor if you use consistent grout line widths, or you can fudge the grout line widths a bit to maintain an even and symmetrical tile pattern.

I hope that makes sense!

Best, Mongo


Herringbone instructions from mongo
clipped on: 12.12.2012 at 11:36 pm    last updated on: 12.12.2012 at 11:37 pm

DIY budget elegant bathroom, almost done: pics...

posted by: staceyneil on 02.02.2011 at 10:11 am in Bathrooms Forum

Hi everyone,

Thanks for all your support and advice along the way with our latest project... we're ALMOST done but sort of stalled. We just need to add the door threshold and some pretty natural wood shelves above the toilet, but DH has moved on to other woodworking projects, so those little projects have been shoved down the list of priorities. Since it may be months before I get those shelves (and art/decor) up, I thought I'd at least post some pics of the room as it is now. Forgive the crappy lighting: it's snowing hard so there's no natural light :(

Project scope:
1956 bathroom with 1980's/90's tile, vanity, toilet. Tub was original but sadly unsalvageable: the enale was totally wrecked and stained and impossible to clean.
Suspected some subfloor issues due to leaks.
Budget: $2,500. (final total was a bit under $3,000... so we didn't do too badly :))

The layout was awkward, the door swing used so much of the floor space and only allowed a very small vanity. Since this is the hall/guest bath as well as the primary bath for my teenage daughter, we really needed to maximize storage and vanity space. I drew a new plan which involved moving the doorway to the perpendicular wall. As much as my DH balked at adding additional work, he admitted it was TOTALLY the right thing to do once we finished. The room feels SO much bigger now.

OLD BATHROOM and layout:

Some photos from during the renovation... which was planned to take 4 weekends and ended up taking about 6 or 7.....
DD sledge-hammering the old tile down

lots of rot in the subfloor

Self-leveling-compound poured over the radiant floor heat cables in the floor

The shower area waterproofed with Hydroban (LOVE LOVE LOVE that stuff!)

~ ~
~ ~
~ ~
~ ~

NEW BATHROOM and layout plan:

Since our budget was soooo tight, and we wanted to use quality materials and get a unique, custom bathroom, we had to get creative!!!

I had a small amount (it was mostly random pieces and offcuts) of very $$$ calacatta marble mosaic tiles left over from a previous project that I knew I wanted to use. The other materials were chosen around that starting point. I designed niches to use that tile in, as accent, based on the quantity I had. I used inexpensive white marble baseboard pieces from Home Depot for the shelves.

For the rest of the tile, I needed to use super-cheap stuff (the entire room is tiled to chair-rail height), but I didn't want it to look cheap or ubiquitous. I would have used subways, but DD emphatically vetoed them. It's her bathroom, and we let her have a LOT of design input. Since we have other areas in the house that use square tile in a running-bond pattern, I decided to use 4x4s, which are the cheapest anyway, but in a running bond rather than stacked pattern. After bringing home samples of the big-box cheapies, I decided to "splurge" (20 cents more per tile, I think, it was about $2.35 per sf after sales and discounts)) on Lowes next-step-up American Olean Ice White, which has a slight rippled surface that catches the light and adds a layer of interest that the flat, cheaper Gloss White doesn't have.

For the floor, we used American Olean 12 x 18 Pietra Bianco, a limestone-look ceramic tile that I'm surprisingly happy with :) Underneath the tile is radiant-heat cable, so the floor is wonderfully cozy and warm.

Floor grout is Latapoxy epoxy.
Wall/shower grout is Tec Accucolor XT, a super-modified grout that supposed to be a lot more stain-resistant (PITA to work with, though!)

DD wanted girly, vintage-looking stuff, a big departure from DH and my modern aesthetic. We narrowed down the style range, then I started watching eBay for deals. We scored about $750 worth of valves and faucets and stuff for about $275.
Vanity faucet: Moen Monticello
Shower faucet valve, trim, tub spout: Moen Monticello with Thermostatic valve
Shower head: Grohe Relexa Ultra on slide bar (LOVE!)
(after working with a bunch of faucets recently, I can say that the Moen monticello stuff is pretty cruddy compared to the Grohe RElexa, Kohler Purist, and HansGrohe stuff I've used recently.)
Towel bars and tissue holder are Ginger Hotelier.
Curved shower rod is the Crescent Rod. I tried some expandable ones they had locally, but this one (ordered on line for the same price) is SO much sturdier and nicer-looking. It also makes the shower space much larger.

Toto Carolina that we got at a yard sale for $150 including the Washlet seat (which we removed). We were driving down the street and DD -who professes to HATE anything renovation-related- said, "Hey, look, Mom... isn;t that one of those skirted toilets you like?" SCORE.

American Standard Princeton ~$300 at Lowes. yeah, we chipped it right away by dropping a tool on it while installing the faucets; luckily there's a repair kit that actually does a pretty amazing job :) We used the American Standard "Deep Soak" drain, which adds a couple inches water depth for baths. I wanted DD to use her OWN bathtub rather than my new one in the master bath :)

an old dresser. We bought it on Craigslist for $40, and DH reworked the drawers to fit the plumbing. He also added modern drawer slides so that they work easily. We bought fabulous vintage glass knobs on eBay (if you're looking for vintage knobs, check out this seller: billybobbosen.)

I painted it BM Dove Wing.
We totally went over budget on the vanity top. I'd intended to bet a remnant of granite... but of course couldn't find one DD and I liked. Then we found this little slab of Vermont White quartzite in the "exotics" bone pile at a local yard. It was over budget but we loved it. Then, of course, we decided that rather than a plain square front, it had to be cut to fit the curvy front of the dresser... which added about $100. So the vanity top was our biggest expense at $480.

Medicine cabinet:
A salvaged cabinet we got at the local Habitat for Humanity REStore about 2 years ago. We framed it into the wall (where the old door used to be), painted it, and I tiled the little shelf area with my calacatta mosaic accent tiles and marble baseboard pieces from Home Depot.

Pottery Barn wall fixture from eBay
Ikea ceiling fixture (like $8 each and rated for bathrooms!)
Fan/showerlight combo is a recessed, can-style fixture by Broan/NuTone. It's AWESOME. Quiet, unobtrusive.

That's all I can think of right now. I think once we have the natural wood shelves up over the toilet, with DD's shell collection and a plant on them, it will give a little but of softness/naturalness which the room needs. It's a little TOO "elegant" right now :)


Like the calcutta marble or any pretty expensive small tile to use as an accent for recesses. Could use cheaper larger plain tile for everything else.
clipped on: 12.12.2012 at 05:34 pm    last updated on: 12.12.2012 at 05:35 pm

RE: Help on tile spacing (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: mongoct on 04.25.2012 at 11:59 pm in Bathrooms Forum

DIY or professional installation?

What is your intended pattern? Which leads to...

How flat are the tiles? If you set two of them together, glaze-to-glaze, do they rock at all?

Those questions aside...a basic guide would be to take a stack of the tiles and set them on edge, like a deck of cards. Measure the variation in size from one tile to another. A typical grout joint width would be 3 times the variation in tile size. Example, the tiles are within 1/16th" of each other, then use a 3/16th" grout joint.

Best, Mongo


clipped on: 12.10.2012 at 08:35 pm    last updated on: 12.10.2012 at 08:36 pm

bathroom tile FAQ's

posted by: bill_vincent on 07.01.2008 at 09:31 pm in Bathrooms Forum

This is going to take me a while, so I'll post as many as I can each night until it gets done. To start, here's the first set of questions and answers:

Okay, here we go. These questions come from the thread on the discussions side where I solicited questions from everyone for this thread. These are in the order they were asked:

Q) What are the different types of tiles you can use in a bathroom and what are the advantages/disadvantages of each?

A) There are several types of tile available. They fall into two general groups: ceramic and natural stone. I'll take these one at a time:

Ceramic tile-- For purposes of this discussion, there's glazed conventional, unglazed porcelain, and glazed porcelain. All three are good tiles for bathroom use, but the porcelain is a better choice only because of its density and lack of water absorbsion, which makes upkeep and cleaning easier. Also, with reference to steam showers, you DO NOT want to use natural stone, being that the steam would tend to permeate into the stone even more readily than liquid water, and could end up giving you algae problems, as well as mold and mildew problems, unless you don't mind being tied down to your bathroom.

Natural Stone-- There are several types of stone that are used in bathrooms. It doesn't necessarily mean that they're all GOOD IDEAS for bathrooms, expecially the softer (and more absorbant) stones, such as slate or limestone. Now, I know I'm going to get a world of flack about this from epople who have bathrooms finished in these materials. I know they CAN be used.... so long as you're aware of the extra upkeep involved. But if you're someone who doesn't like to keep after things, you may want to pick an easier material to maintain. Generally speaking, the softer the stone, the more the upkeep. Limestone being the softer of the stones, and that would include travertine, next would be many slates (although some would actually be harder than even most marbles, such as brazilian and british slates), then marbles, with quartzite and granite rounding off the list as the harder and more dense stones that you could use.

Q) What should I be sure to look for when choosing tile for a bathroom?

A) Short answer-- something that you like! The bathroom is the one place that just about anything the showroom has can be used. The only limitations are basically the upkeep you want to put in, and slip resistance on the floors of your bathroom and shower. Now, although ceramic tile is basically maintenence free, you don't want to use something with a texture to it that will catch all kinds of junk in the shower, making it more difficult to keep clean. At the same time, you don't want to use a polished stone or bright glazed ceramic tile for the shower floor, either. These both CAN be used, but again, it comes down to upkeep for textured wall tile, and doing something to rectify the slippery floor.

Q) Where should I use tile and where not?

A) Tile can be used on every single surface in the bathroom, if that's what you like. This is all a matter of taste... for the most part. About the only place where there's a requirement is any place there's a showerhead involved. If tile is to be used either in a shower or a tub/ shower combo, The tile MUST go up to a minimum of 72" off the floor. Past that, it's up to the disgression of the owner.

Q) What size tile and what layout patterns to use in various areas?

A) Again, this is a subjective question that can really only be answered by the owner. The ONLY place where there's a recommendation for mechaincal reasons is on a shower floor. TCNA recommends that mothing bigger than 6" be used on shower floors due to the cone shape of the floor's pitch. In addition, most installers will request no bigger than 4", and prefer a 2x2 tile to work with on the shower floor. This is also advantageous to the homeowner who'll be showering in there, because the added grout joints will add more traction to the floor.

Now, I've heard many times that you shouldn't use large format tiles in a small area like a powder room floor, and if you have a wide open bathroom, you don't want to use real small tiles. My response to both is the same-- HORSEHOCKEY. I've done bathrooms both ways-- 24x24 diagonal in a 3' wide powder room, and 1" hex ceramic mosaics in an open 100 sq. ft. bathroom floor. The rule of thumb is if you like it, it's right!

Q) How do I find/choose someone to install the tile?

A) Many people will tell you to get names from the showroom you get your tile from. This is no good, unless the showroom is willing to take responsibility for the installer by either having them on payrool, or as a subcontract. Then they have something to lose if they give you a bad installer. Many people will also tell you to get references and to actually check them out. This ALSO doesn't work. I've been in this work for just under 30 years now, and I've yet to find a single installer who ever gave the name of someone they had a problem with. They say even a blind squirrel will find a nut once in a while. The same can be said for "fly-by-nights" and good work.

So if you can't trust recommendations, and checking references is a lost cause, what do you do? REVERSE THE PROCESS!! Instead of finding an installer and getting references, get references, and thru them, find your installer!! No matter where you live, if you drive around, you'll find constructions sites and developements. Stop and ask who the GC uses. Get a name and phone number. Sooner or later, after asking around enough, you're going to find that the same names will begin to show up time and time again. THESE are the guys you want to use. But don't expect a bargain price, and be prepared to wait, because these guys will be in high demand, even in the worst of times, and they may demand a bit higher price, but they'll be worth every penny, if for no other reason, just because of the peace of mind they'll give you in knowing you're getting a good quality installation. Ask anyone who's gone through this experience, good or bad-- that alone is worth its weight in gold.

Q) What are the proper underlayments for tile?

A) There are several, and I'll take them one at a time:

CBU (cementitious Backer Units)-- This is the term that generally covers all cement boards (such as Wonderboard or Durock) or cement fiber boards (such as Hardibacker). This is the most common used tile underlayment. Generally speaking, it comes in two thicknesses-- 1/2" and 1/4"-- and each has its use. !/2" must be used for wall installations, due to the fact that the 1/4" is way too flimsy with nothing to back it up, and would flex too much to last. Besides, the 1/2" CBU will usually match up nicely to most sheetrocks. The 1/4" is used for floor installations, unless the added height of the 1/2" is needed to match up to other floorings. Being that neither has very much structural strength, so long as the subfloor is 3/4" or more, the 1/4" CBU is all that's needed. Keep in mind that even though it's basically fiberglass reinforced concrete, the only thing it adds to the floor is a stable bonding surface, so the 1/4" will do just fine. One place where alot of contractors will try and shortcut is by using greenboard instead of CBU for shower walls. This is expressly forbidden in the IRC (International Residential Code) by the following code:

IRC Greenboard Code:
The 2006 International Residential Code (IRC) states in
Section R702.4.2 that "Cement, fiber-cement or glass mat
gypsum backers in compliance with ASTM C1288, C1325
or C1178 and installed in accordance with manufacturers
recommendations shall be used as backers for wall tile in
tub and shower areas and wall panels in shower areas."

The 2006 IRC also states in Section R702.3.8.1 that
"Water-resistant gypsum backing board [Greenboard] shall
not be used where there will be direct exposure to water."

Membranes-- There are several around that work well over many different surfaces. Most of them are what's called "Crack Isolation Membranes". Just about every manufacturer has one, from trowel ons or roll ons, such as Hydroment's Ultraset or Laticrete's 9235 or Hydroban, to sheet membranes such as Noble's CIS membrane. All will give the tile a little more protection against movement than just going over CBU. However, there's another class of membranes called "uncoupling membranes" of which the most popular by far is Schluter's Ditra, that are made from bonding two layers together, usually a fabric fleece backing and a plastic sheeting with dovetailed waffling to "lock" the thinset in place ( as opposed to accepting a thinset BOND). These membranes will, as their name implies, uncouple their two layers in case of movement, to save the floor, and for thinset floors, it's the most protection you can give your tile floor.

Plywood-- This is one where I get the most flack. I'm one of a dying breed that still believes in tiling directly over plywood. However, I can very well understand the reluctance of the industry to embrace this installation method, even though the TCNA DOES approve of its use for interior installations (Those with a handbook can check Method F-149). The reason I say that is it's a very "tempermental installation method. You need to be very familiar with what you're doing, or you risk failure. There are even many pros I wouldn't trust to tile using this method. Everything you do is important, from the species of plywood used, to the direction the grain is laid with relation to the joists, to how it's gapped, and a host of other specs, as well-- many of which won't be found in the handbook, and if you miss just one of them, you're flirtin with disaster. All in all, when people ask me about it, I tell them that with the membranes available, there's no need to go directly over plywood. There are other methods that will give you just as long lasting a floor, and aren't NEARLY as sensitive.

Mudset-- This is the oldest, and still, after THOUSANDS of years of use, the strongest installation method available. In a mudset installation, a minimum of 1 1/4" of mortar called "drypack" (mixed to the consistancy of damp sand) is either bonded to a concrete slab, or laid down over tarpaper or 6 mil poly with wire reinforcement, packed, and then screaded off to flat level (or pitched) subfloor. This is what most people see when tiling a shower pan. Initially, the mud will be a somewhat soft subfloor. But over time, if mixed properly, it'll be stronger than concrete.

Q) What are the proper tile setting compounds?

A) This is one where I could write a book. It all depends on what kind fo tile you're installing, and what the underlayment is that you're going over. I'll give a generalized list:

Polymer/ latex modified thinset: For all intents and purposes, this is the "cure-all". For almost any installation the modified thinset, which is basically portland cement, silica sand, and chemical polymers added for strength, will work. There are some that are specialized, such as the lightweight non-sag thinsets (such as Laticrete's 255 or Mapei's Ultralite), or the high latex content thinsets (like Latictrete's 254 Platinum or Hydroment's Reflex), but with the exception of going over some membranes, there's a modified thinset for every installation.

Unmodified thinset: This is the same as above, but with no polymers added. It's usually used in conjunction with a liquid latex additive, but will also be used mixed with water for going over some membranes. It's also used as a bedding for all CBU's.

Medium Bed Mortars-- This is a relatively new class of setting mortars, used mainly for large format tiles, where the normal notched trowels just don't put down enough material, and with thinset, it would be too much, causing too much shrinkage as it dries, causing voids under, and poor bond to, the tile, but at the same time, there's not enoough room for a mudset installation. This mortar is usually used with either a 1/2x1/2" or 1/2x3/4" notched trowel.

Mastics and Premixed Thinsets: THESE HAVE VERY LIMITED USES!! Let me say that again-- THESE HAVE VERY LIMITED USES!! They work well for vertical installations, where the tile used is 8x8 or less, and it's not a wet area. ALL THREE of those conditions must be met!! I know just about every pail of type 1 mastic says it can be used in showers except for the floor. DON'T BELIEVE IT!! Also, both mastic and premixed thinset (which is just mastic with a fine sand mixed in to give it bulk) claim they can be used for floor installations. Unfortunately, for the amount of material needed under virtually all floor tiles to bond to the subfloor, neither of these will fully harden. I had a personal experience where I helped a sister in law across country, telling her husband exactly how to do his main floor, what to use, and how to use it. Unfortunately, he went to the big box store to get his tile and materials, and they talked him into using premixed thinset. I didn't hear about it until SIX MONTHS LATER when his tile and grout joints started showing cracks all over the floor. When he called me I asked him what he used for thinset, and sure enough, this is when he told me. I told him to pull one of the tiles, and SIX MONTHS LATER, IT WAS STILL SOFT!!! DOn't let them talk you into it!! Use the proper thinset, and don't try and shortcut your installation. You're spending alot of money for it to be "just practice"!!

Q) How do you deal with different thicknesses of tile?

A) Whatever it takes. I've used membranes, built up the amount of thinset being used, I've even doubled up tiles when it worked out that way. Whatever it takes to get the two tiles to be flush toeach other.

Q) What are the typical tools required to lay tile?

A) Generally speaking, this is a list for just about all installations. Some may require specialized tools, but this would be for all:

Proper sized notched trowel
measuring tape
chalk line
margin trowel
high amp low speed drill and mixing paddle (best would be 6 amp or better and less than 400 rpm)
several buckets
score and snap cutter for straight ceramic cuts
4 1/2" grinder with a continuous rim dry diamond blade for ceramic, anything other than straight cuts
wet saw (can be used for ALL cuts, ceramic or stone)
grout float
hydra grout sponges (2-- once for grouting, one for cleaning)
24" and 48" levels (for vertical work)
heavy duty extension cords
screwgun or nailgun (where CBU will be used)

Q) What about tile spacing and tpes of grout?

A) According to Dave Gobis from the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation in Pendleton, South Carolina, there will finally be a new standard for ceramic tile next year. The tolerances are shrinking. There will also be a standard for rectified tile. Along with that, there will be a revision to the installation standards that will specifically recommend a grout joint no less than 3 times the variation of the tile. For rectified tile the minimum grout joint width will be .075 or just over a 1/16".

As for grout, there's only one thing that determines whether you use sanded or unsanded grout, and that's the size of the grout joint. Anything less than 1/8" you use unsanded grout. 1/8" or larger, you need to use sanded grout. The reason is that the main ingredient in grout is porland cement, which tends to shrink as it dries. In joints 1/8" or larger, the grout will shrink way too much and end up cracking ans shrinking into the joint. The sand give the grout bulk, and the sanded grout won't shrink nearly as much and therefore, can be used in the larger joints.


clipped on: 12.10.2012 at 08:34 pm    last updated on: 12.10.2012 at 08:35 pm

RE: Toe Kicks, Form vs. Function (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: francoise47 on 12.07.2012 at 09:16 am in Kitchens Forum

I'm sure you have thought of this already:
but what about a decorative toe kick?
See, below, pictures from Torontotim's and Babushkacat's lovely kitchens.
They have preserved the function of the toe kick while dressing it up.



This post was edited by francoise47 on Fri, Dec 7, 12 at 9:30


decorative toe kicks. especially the second one.
clipped on: 12.07.2012 at 11:56 pm    last updated on: 12.07.2012 at 11:56 pm

RE: Finally the Plans for Soapstone Sink Taking Shape! (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: enduring on 11.21.2012 at 11:03 pm in Kitchens Forum

Update on my sink. I love posting pictures:)

Here are my cut pieces of 2x6 lumber to mockup my sink corner. It includes the bottom, front, and one side:
2x6 ready for sink mockup

Here it is assembled:
one corner of locking dado & rabbet joint sink mockup

It has a locking dado & rabbet joint. The lumber is thicker than the soapstone so there is a wider outer dimension than will be with the slabs of stone. The lumber is 1.5" wide and the stone is 1.25" wide. I am making 5/8" dados and rabbets.

This Friday I plan to do a small mockup with my small stone samples that I have. And I need to fine tune my dimensions on my sink cutting patterns:
concept patterns, need corrections.


clipped on: 12.03.2012 at 11:15 pm    last updated on: 12.03.2012 at 11:15 pm

Walnut Island top used as cutting board - photos & finish details

posted by: petestein1 on 09.14.2010 at 01:35 pm in Kitchens Forum

Almost two years ago I contributed to some posts about using my island top as a cutting board and got some helpful advice. I thought I'd post an update.

As part of a full renovation our kitchen island got a nice beefy top made of black walnut. Even though everyone thought I was nut, I said I wanted to use part of it as a cutting board. After all, it's a kitchen, not a museum. With that in mind, I had to come up with a food-safe finish for it. What I chose, based on advice here, was nothing more than a hand-rubbed application of mineral oil and bees wax.

I'm happy to report that it's been over a year and everything's gone great. First, the island looks great. Everyone comments on it the moment they see it.

Second, using it as a cutting board has worked out quite well. The wood is more than hard enough to stand up to my knives. Not having to get out a cutting board, and then keep all my chopped whatever on the cutting board as I work... it makes life so much easier. For those who told me I needed to do something akin to butcher-block -- making the island top out of end-grain... well, you were incorrect. End-grain would have been harder no doubt but the walnut is more than hard enough. And worst case? I break out a power sander and 1/64" of an inch later my island would be in immaculate condition.

No doubt, the knife leaves marks in the wood. But the wood is "busy" enough that you can only see them if you go looking for them and your eye is within 12" or so of the counter (photos below).

Oh, for those worried about food safety, I still don't get raw meat on the counter (though I think it would be fine as long as I cleaned up with soap and water afterwards). And we don't chop anything "stinky" like garlic or onion though we do work with other aromatics like rosemary and thyme. 15 months later and the counter has no odor of any kind.

Third, the finish. I was worried about this but in the end it's been fine. I melted some furniture-grade beeswax on the stove, added mineral oil (about 2 parts oil to 1 part wax) and let is solidify into a semi-hard paste. I rub it in, let it stand (sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes overnight), and then I buff it out.

At first I was doing this every few weeks but now I only do it every 2 months or so. I could probably stand to do it a bit more often in the quadrant I use as a cutting board, but, well, you know, life gets in the way.

For the first 6 months or so if you left a wet glass on the counter for more than a few hours we were getting drink rings. I had to lightly sand those out and rewax. But now we seem to have a deep enough coating that we haven't had a drink ring -- or any mark of any kind -- for over 6 months.

How do I clean it? A soapy sponge. Simple as that.

Ready for photos? Ok, here's the island as whole:

Take a good look at the image above. Can you see where I've prepared over 100 meals? You know -- the section where I've sliced up thousands of peppers and cucumbers and apples and peaches and melons and tomatoes and potatoes and celery and carrots and parsnips, etc, etc?

Okay, the "cutting board" area is the left side of the island, from the bottom of the photo to the sink. That 25% of the island is the designated "cutting board" section.

Yes, the board closest to the left of the photo has a lot of lines in it, but those aren't knife marks, that's "tiger-striping" in the wood -- I chose that board for there on purpose in case I needed camouflage for knife marks.

Ok, ready for a close-up of the knife marks? This photo was taken from about 8 inches away:

...looks like a cutting board, doesn't it? ;-)

So what problems do I have? Well, we have a lot of friends and cook a lot of meals together, People like to help. Once they get past the "What??! I can cut right on the counter???!?" moment I have two problems.

First, it's hard to keep them in the designated 25% that I use as a cutting board. Yes, the knife marks are subtle enough that they could probably work anywhere but I still haven't let go.

Second, these same people occasionally use a bread knife that can take some comparatively pretty big chunks out of the top. This has only happened once or twice, and with a coat of wax the marks pretty much disappear. But still, it's stressful.

Bottom line? I strongly encourage people to explore using an island top as cutting board. Second, a food-safe finish is easy! Third, I love my new kitchen. :-)


clipped on: 11.21.2012 at 05:28 am    last updated on: 11.21.2012 at 05:28 am

RE: Finally the Plans for Soapstone Sink Taking Shape! (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: Angie_DIY on 11.19.2012 at 12:44 am in Kitchens Forum

I used two different kinds. For one seam, I used a product that M. Teixeira sold me. It does not have a label on it -- M. Teix. slaps their own sticker on it. It is black, and is "knife grade." I found out that that means it is gelid even before you mix it with hardener. It has the consistency of jam. In theory, then, you can butter it onto the edges of the stone. However, it set up very fast. It was supposed to have a 10 minute working time. However, it really started to harden after 2-3 minutes. (I precisely mixed the ratios of hardener to epoxy using a digital scale, so messed-up proportions was not the problem.)

On the second seam, I used good ol' J.B. Weld (available in any hardware store). This is gray, and has a working time of about 4-6 hours.

I thought I would leave my counters unoiled, so the gray seam would not stick out so much. However, that seam is near my stove, so it is "naturally oiled" from cooking grease, etc.

Good luck!


Good info about epoxies for soapstone counter and sink installation
clipped on: 11.21.2012 at 04:57 am    last updated on: 11.21.2012 at 04:58 am

Finished pics - Creamy white, stained island

posted by: marmoreus on 01.25.2011 at 11:04 pm in Kitchens Forum

This is long overdue (we finished at the end of last August), but I wanted to thank all you Kitchen forum members for the great help. Thank you, thank you!!! I've really appreciated all the great information on this site. It has been such a helpful resource as we built a house for the first time.

On to the pictures.







So far the kitchen is working out really well for us. Other than not loving the performance of my wall oven, I am happy with how it all turned out.

The details:

Perimeter cabinets: Decora (Chantille finish on maple)
Island cabinets: Sorrento (Hermosa finish on alder)
Backsplash: Walker Zanger Gramercy Park (Heirloom White and Pipe Smoke)
Granite on perimeter: Antiqued Nordic Black (love this!)
Granite on Island: Alaskan White
Pendant lights: Schoolhouse Electric
Knobs & pulls: Amerock Highland Ridge
Barstools: Restoration Hardware (bought during Friends & Family sale--20% off--yay!)
Wall color: BM Revere Pewter
Flooring: walnut w/ Waterlox finish
Sink: Shaw's farmhouse sink
Sink faucet/soap dispenser: Danze Opulence
Range: NXR
Wall oven: Kitchenaid
Fridge: Bosch
Dishwasher: paneled Bosch
Micro: cheapo GE

Thanks again!


Really a beautiful kitchen.
clipped on: 11.14.2012 at 11:51 am    last updated on: 11.14.2012 at 11:52 am

RE: Fun thread-What decisions did you make/avoid thanks to GW? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: annkathryn on 11.12.2012 at 03:02 pm in Kitchens Forum

I had so many great ideas from Gardenweb that I'm not sure I can remember all of them. Plugmold, LED strips for undercabinet lighting, Sherr's cabinets, butcherblock from Hardwood Lumber Company, etc etc.

The best was to get a sink with an offset drain so that the left side of my sink cabinet could hold a pullout trash can. I have two medium-sized containers, one for trash and one for recycling, both under the sink, that saves having a dedicated trash cabinet elsewhere in my small kitchen.

Can I get the recipe for the all-natural marble cleanser?


Offset drain in kitchen sink or at least toward the back of the sink so pull out trash can will fit
clipped on: 11.13.2012 at 10:36 am    last updated on: 11.13.2012 at 10:38 am

RE: Please show me your 36' & 42' aisles, and your Long Thin Isla (Follow-Up #20)

posted by: kiffgirl on 04.07.2012 at 10:23 am in Kitchens Forum

Our island is only 29" wide and 7' 4" long. The pantry side aisle is 38" wide and the main aisle is 40" wide at the refrigerator and 44" where the prep sink/Advantium is. This works really well for us and we're always amazed at how many people comfortably hang out in there while entertaining. We have two counter stools on the narrow side and even while sitting there one can walk behind.



looks like a great functioning kitchen
clipped on: 11.09.2012 at 11:08 pm    last updated on: 11.09.2012 at 11:08 pm

soapstone before/after rehoning

posted by: farmgirlinky on 06.25.2011 at 11:42 am in Kitchens Forum

Hope this is useful to some soapstone folks. We were overall happy with our Jucca soapstone counters from Dorado, but I was bothered by the higher-than-expected sheen after dry waxing, which had the advantage of making the iron and quartz veining "pop" more, but also made the counters easier to visibly scratch (scratches in the wax?) and perhaps more likely to have watermarks trapped under wax. I wanted a more traditional soapstone feel, and through remodelfla and others, reached Joshua of Creative Stone in Florida, who put me in touch with a former colleague of his in Pennsylvania, David Mellinger (267-644-8388) who just happened to be passing through Connecticut one week later. He rehoned our counters and oiled them with Clark Stanley's Snake Oil Liniment (=mineral oil), and we are thrilled with the difference. He sanded first with 80 grit, then with 150 grit. Water was involved in the final stages, too, but I was in the office when it happened and can't cite chapter and verse.) We are now officially thrilled with the soapstone instead of pleased/anxious. The veining is more subtle, but that's fine. At the risk of boring those who have seen pictures from this kitchen ad nauseum: the first two pictures are before rehoning, the latter are after rehoning:










love this kitchen
clipped on: 11.09.2012 at 11:06 pm    last updated on: 11.09.2012 at 11:07 pm

RE: Details that give full overlay a more 'built in' appearance? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: breezygirl on 09.21.2012 at 02:33 pm in Kitchens Forum

I guess it depends on your definition of 'built-in'.

In my full overlay kitchen, the uppers don't have a separate light rail molding applied after the fact. Instead, my cab maker makes the bottom part of the cab box deeper than the inside cavity so there is room under the cab to hide the UC lights.

I have end panels on the upper cab ends, peninsula end, and on three sides of the island. The base cab ends extend to the floor instead of showing a toe kick. I do have a toe kick on the working side of the island.


Does that help?


Explanation of one way to hide uc lighting with full overlay cabinet.
clipped on: 10.28.2012 at 06:36 pm    last updated on: 10.28.2012 at 06:38 pm

RE: icf, sip, geothermal, overwhelmed!!!! help! (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: energy_rater_la on 08.27.2011 at 11:08 am in Building a Home Forum

your current utility costs are pretty high!

stick builds are most common in my hurricane
area. lots of solid sheeted walls 2x6 unvented attics.
studies have shown that homes with unvented attics survive
high winds better than vented because the uplift is
stopped. you should check out
for your climate.
fortified building practices create load paths that tie the house sections together..roofs attached to walls attached to foundation. these fasteners like simpson strong ties go a long way to making homes stronger.
but like anything requires attention to detail.
proper sized and types of nails..with proper amount of nails are the problems I encounter. each strong tie has a
required nail size type and quantity or strength is compromised.

personally I like sips. strength, continous insulation values, and make a tight house.
with any different build there is a learning curve. finding out what builders are in your area that do these types of buildings would be a huge factor.
then the other trades have to know how to run plumbing
electrical and install ducts for hvac system.

probably half of my clients start out wanting to do geothermal..but costs are just too high in my area.
these same clients usually go high efficiency heat pumps
(15-16 SEER is our sweet spot) if all electric
and use heat pump water heaters for more efficient water heating (and the 1/2 ton of a/c is a bonus) these systems
have energy factors of 2.30 and higher. compared to standard electric at highest EF of .95
if gas is available..stay with high efficiency a/c and
pair with high efficiency gas furnace. 96% installed in sips or foam insulated attics as they are self condensing
and do not require additional combustion air.
the cost of these hvac systems even at high efficiency
is much less than geothermal...for this area.

that we put our ductwork & heating systems in attics
here (stupid stupid stupid but common) it just makes
sense to do sips roofline (not ceiling) or foam insulated attics. in a basement install of ducts and mechanicals it would be a different story?? no basements here at all so no experience with them.
but keep the uplift of the roof in mind.

having blower door tested quite a few of both sips and icf
I do find that icf has the most potential for leakage.
maybe due to learning curve..

buildingscience has builder's guides for every climate.
this is the book that I'd recommend. these books detail every type of build and how to make it strong, durable and efficient. (I've worn out two books in my 10+ years!)
Joe Lstburik (sp?) is a building scientist who tests all aspects and types of builds.
his quote that green building is 80% efficiency and 20% everything else is a very true statement.

having an energy rating done on your house from plans
will give you upgrades, utility savings and payback.
these are blueprints for efficiency.
while a comprehensive indpendent audit will cost a few hundred dollars, having unbiased information during your build helps to cut through the sales hype that you will encounter when choosing products and componets of your new home.

best of luck.


clipped on: 10.25.2012 at 09:08 pm    last updated on: 10.25.2012 at 09:09 pm

RE: finishing attic: which option - A or B? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: live_wire_oak on 06.25.2011 at 04:32 pm in Remodeling Forum

Option B will certainly be cheaper because most attics are only built to accept storage items, not the weight of a living area. You'd have to reinforce the attic joists in order to meet structural requirements, and that would intrude into your headroom. Also, even if you did plan from the beginning and installed larger joists, unless you have around 9' of ceiling height, you won't have room for a living space and the required insulation. You'd have a lot more construction complexity with this choice.

Option B will also need all of the above mentioned alterations, plus additional insulation in the garage ceiling, but it would undoubtedly be cheaper than option A. However any of these projects will require a lot of work from licenses trades to accomplish. Creating bathrooms close to an existing plumbing stack does help with some of the plumbing costs, but we're talking the difference between 15K and 12K for your plumbing bid. In the overall numbers of the project, 3K isn't a lot of difference on a 100K project in order to have a bathroom where it works best for layout functionality.

Option C would be to take the 100K that the project would cost and add that to the amount you could realistically sell your home for and go shopping for an existing home with the additional space you need.


Good info to have to make sure we would have enough space to finish the attic. Would probably have to start with a 9' tall space.
clipped on: 10.24.2012 at 10:59 am    last updated on: 10.24.2012 at 11:00 am

RE: Help - attic finishing - insulation (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: worthy on 04.22.2010 at 09:27 pm in Remodeling Forum

I was assuming cathedral ceiling and no kneewalls. I shouldn't assume!

Insulating kneewall 
Insulating Kneewall Attic 


If we finish the attic we will need to make sure it has a tall enough finished ceiling height. This diagram is good for easier insulation if we want to go that route. Adding dormers is a whole other issue. We will also have to make sure the floor would be able to withstand a 'bedroom' space and not just storage.
clipped on: 10.24.2012 at 10:38 am    last updated on: 10.24.2012 at 10:39 am

Finished (almost) White Kitchen- PHEW!

posted by: dotcomgone on 01.19.2010 at 04:48 pm in Kitchens Forum

Thanks to everyone on Gardenweb for their wealth of information. While I haven't posted often, I have utilized this site daily to find information and inspiration. Thank you for taking your time to share your kitchen ideas so that others can benefit from your experiences.

We are almost done. Just a kitchen table, island stools, desk area chair and accessories to go. Our project started in June and was substantially complete a few days before Christmas.

Unfortunately, I don't have before photos handy and used my iphone to snap these shots. Sorry for the quality. Our old kitchen was L shaped as well, a galley style with eating area. We had white 80's cabinets (solid door) with soffits. Counters were white square tile. Our worst feature was the powder room in the kitchen space and window that faced into our neighbors house (current range wall.) We expanded our kitchen by pushing out the range wall. Other than that we had to work within the space. Our main goals were moving the powder room out of the kitchen, storage, fitting in an island and eating area and respecting the age of our home (1906).

I am happy to share any details if anyone is interested.

Thanks again to all esp. those who helped me through a mini-marble crisis.










href="" target="_blank">Photobucket

href="" target="_blank">Photobucket


Love a lot of the things in this kitchen
clipped on: 10.21.2012 at 08:41 pm    last updated on: 10.21.2012 at 08:42 pm

RE: (Pretty) Please help with photos of open shelves! (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: segbrown on 12.15.2009 at 04:57 pm in Kitchens Forum

This is what we did with our one corner; I wasn't sure about it at first (hard to picture in the drawing), but I am very pleased with how it works. It leaves a little spot in the corner to tuck away a mixer or toaster or something.



Like the open cabinet next to corner
clipped on: 10.19.2012 at 07:28 pm    last updated on: 10.19.2012 at 07:29 pm

I love the long stainless shelf above my range

posted by: segbrown on 07.06.2010 at 03:19 pm in Kitchens Forum

So, we've been using the kitchen for about 9 months now, and one of the things we have that's a little different than most is the 7-ft-long stainless shelf over the range. We have a big hood and warming lights over it. I thought I would give a report for any current kitchen planners.


Here it is with a couple of casseroles ready for the warming lights, and plenty more room:


Anyway, we use it as extra counter, storage for cooking supplies (oil -- though it's not optimal for oils, it is working--, s&p, measuring cups), storage for prep ingredients when cook ing ... The heat lamps are useful for so much -- keeping plates and dishes warm, thawing food, softening butter, keeping mugs of coffee warm while you're cooking pancakes, etc. And it's so big, we can do all these things at the same time if we need to.

The negative is that I *think* we aren't capturing quite as much in the hood as we would otherwise, but I'm not sure because we didn't have the hood before. It is certainly not a problem (smells and the like), but you'd have to think some would get lost. You could certainly make it with some holes in it if it is a worry.

Anyway, it's one of the most useful things we did, and it was only about $300, custom made. If you have the room, give it a thought.


Love this. We should do a 36" or 42" range hood with heat lamps. This is a custom made 7 foot long solid SS shelf. It cost them $300.
clipped on: 10.19.2012 at 12:17 pm    last updated on: 10.19.2012 at 12:18 pm

RE: Banquette Seating - love it or hate it? (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: shelayne on 03.05.2011 at 12:07 am in Kitchens Forum

We have one, and I just finished the cushions on it two weeks ago. We love it. We are a family of four, so only one sits on the bench. It is just one long bench, with drawers underneath--wonderful storage! We made this bench from 3- 36" IKEA over-the-fridge cabinets, which we ganged together and mounted on a base. We cut down some of the depth, so that the banquette would be recessed into the cabinet butted up to it, which happens to be our "coffee/microwave center".

We have a table with legs, but I don't find it too much of a hassle to get around the legs.

Here is a photo of the banquette, with the drawers underneath that hold an incredible amount of stuff.

window seat/bench night

Each drawer is 36" wide and 15" High, so we can fit a lot of things in them--even taller things. To give an idea of storage, that white thing in the middle drawer is a rather sizable bread machine. Photobucket

Here is a close-up of our most-used banquette drawer--the Costco/Snack drawer ;^):


Iowa cabinets for banquette seating
clipped on: 10.19.2012 at 01:35 am    last updated on: 10.19.2012 at 01:40 am

I love my prep sink!

posted by: morton5 on 12.13.2008 at 10:57 am in Kitchens Forum

Forgive me for bragging, but I love my prep sink. It is close to my refrigerator, range, and ovens, and has 66 inches of counter space and two drawer stacks beside it:
What makes it really special, though, is how much my GC was able to fit into a 30" sink base for me. I have a 16x21x10 zero radius sink, a compact disposal with airswitch, a Never MT, and two 8-gallon trash pullouts. The trash cans (Ikea) come with a dividing mechanism, so when warm weather returns I can separate my non-recyclable trash into compost stuff and dump stuff. We were able to do all this with just millimeters to spare, but we did it! The trash pullout set-up is a modification I learned from Ikeafans.
The only sacrifice I had to make was that we had to flip the orientation of the zero-radius sink in order to fit the plumbing in the space between the trash cans. But I have grown to like it this way (water hits the drain better), and wish I had turned around my main sink, too. My GC is my hero!


Awesome solution.
clipped on: 10.17.2012 at 10:25 pm    last updated on: 10.17.2012 at 10:27 pm

RE: Will I Regret this Vertical Storage? (beagles & others) (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: 2LittleFishies on 10.17.2012 at 12:52 pm in Kitchens Forum

Thanks! I was thinking if the dividers were removable it might help to make it more customizable. I left a message with the cab maker but it's likely it's already made. It's good to hear you like it and I'm sure I'll have enough space to make it work : )

Here's is what I meant by removable dividers. I forget whose drawer this is:


This could work
clipped on: 10.17.2012 at 02:32 pm    last updated on: 10.17.2012 at 02:34 pm

How do you shove 65'' of @#$% into 5' of cabinets?

posted by: marcolo on 10.15.2012 at 09:16 pm in Kitchens Forum

On top of a spice drawer or whatnot, here's what I have to find room for in a 5-foot run in my new layout:

With thin foam boards separating each item, the tall left stack is 27", the middle stack is 18" and the third stack is 20" tall.

All three are roughly 15" wide and will fit 24" deep or less.

One of these frypans is 13" in diameter and 23" long with handle.

I may replace some of these aging beasts when the kitchen is done but the volume will probably stay similar. Before I measured I was hoping to do something like this:

However, that would require a full 36" cabinet with no drawers. And that's with undercounting the space required, because you obviously need air between shelves to slide things in. I also have to fit in a spice drawer, Cuisinart storage, and probably a few other major things on the same cabinet run, too.

An alternative is this configuration:

Or drawers:

There's also weird stuff like this:

But my question isn't really about who loves their drawers. What I really need is help with geometry. How can I get all this stuff into the minimum space? I've treated everything the same but there are a few things like cookie sheets I don't mind stacking. Plus frying and saute pans could be treated differently from baking dishes. But I still need to preserve as much room as possible in this 5' cabinet run.

Anybody like problem sets?


Like these dividers.
clipped on: 10.17.2012 at 02:09 pm    last updated on: 10.17.2012 at 02:10 pm

RE: The Black Hole: Upper Corner Cabinet (Follow-Up #18)

posted by: claybabe on 07.28.2012 at 12:14 pm in Kitchens Forum

Another solution if you haven't already renovated is to have a double door that hinges in its center and opens the whole corner. Still handy to have the susans in place since the corner is a little farther away than the rest of the uppers.

blind corner


Piano minted upper cabinet door for corner.
clipped on: 10.16.2012 at 03:58 pm    last updated on: 10.16.2012 at 03:59 pm

RE: Blind cabinet corner owners (Follow-Up #15)

posted by: cloud_swift on 10.11.2011 at 09:19 pm in Kitchens Forum

Lisa, we weren't willing to give up any of our drawer cabinet space in order to do a corner cabinet. A pull out unit such as Rev-a-shelf requires a 15" opening beyond the corner. The corner lazy susans or hinged doors require 12" or more on each side of the run (bigger means easier access). Also, when we tried them in some model homes, we didn't particularly like the operation of the hinged door. We did think about the other options, but this was the best for us. We keep our stand mixer on the counter and have enough other storage for some of the bulky things that Co-co has in her corner cabinet - under the prep sink, one of the 12" deep cabinets on the back of the island and in the pantry. Some things that we want closer to hand fit in the drawers that we didn't have to sacrifice.

We also thought about putting a door through the dining room wall to access the blind corner from there, but we have a piece of furniture that we prefer to keep there. Or insulating and isolating that cabinet so that we could put a door on the outside wall to use it for storage opening into the patio, but that seemed to complicated and not a particularly good spot.

What size sink are you planning for? The largest blind corner cabinet that Dewils makes is 48" - 24" for the blind part and 24" for doors. We needed 36" for the sink and didn't want the sink to go into the corner. Our solution was to buy a 36" sink cabinet and a 24" cabinet with one shelf to sit in the corner facing the side of the sink cabinet. The contractor cut out most of the side of the sink cabinet so that the blind corner can be accessed from it:


Notice that there is a small filler to the left of the blind cabinet so that the drawers don't hit the handles on the sink cabinet doors. Also, the blind cabinet is pulled forward from the back wall by a couple of inches so that the sink cabinet doors don't bang the handles on the drawers.

Here's what it looks like with the counter and sink in place (with obligatory apples):

Inside the cabinet with the sink installed:


Also a good idea. Semi blindncorner
clipped on: 10.16.2012 at 03:03 pm    last updated on: 10.16.2012 at 03:10 pm

RE: Raise whole bathroom floor for curbless shower??? (Follow-Up #18)

posted by: mongoct on 03.05.2012 at 12:09 pm in Bathrooms Forum

If you want to see a step-by-step of a conventionally membraned shower, check out Harry Dunbar's website.

It's a good series showing the subfloor prep, the mud preslope, the membrane, then the deck mud.


Great link to building a curbless shower. Also the north Carolina's guide to curbless showrrsnin a link in an earlier posting on this board.
clipped on: 10.10.2012 at 08:55 am    last updated on: 10.10.2012 at 08:57 am

Basics of Building a Long Lasting/Quality Home

posted by: dreambuilder on 06.27.2012 at 10:08 pm in Building a Home Forum

We are looking to build in the next 1-2 years. What products/techniques from the ground up would you recommend to have a house that will be superior in terms of quality (poured foundation or block, type of basement seal, insulation, plywood/particle board, shingles or metal roof, etc)?


Great insulation advice.
clipped on: 10.09.2012 at 11:50 pm    last updated on: 10.09.2012 at 11:51 pm

New shower system from Laticrete

posted by: bill_vincent on 03.03.2012 at 07:33 pm in Bathrooms Forum

For the last year or so, I've been touting showers where Laticrete has a system using Kerdi's drains with their Hydroban waterproofing, and still giving a 25 year manufacturer's warranty, which means even if your installer leaves the trade, your shower is still covered. On April 1st, Laticrete will be making available their OWN drains-- both standard and linear-- to use with their Hydroban seamless waterproofing membrane! For those who wish to DIY their showers, they'll also have the same kind of shower trays available as you're used to seeing with the Kerdi system. The biggest differences between the two systems are 1-- as already stated, the Hydroban is completely seamless, whereas there are seams in the Kerdi system. 2- you won't get the build-up of membrane layers in the corners like you do with Kerdi, and 3- Schluter will only warranty the kerdi system for 5 years. Laticrete warranties theirs for 25.

The whole idea of surface waterproofing is so common sense and simplistic, it's a wonder no one came up with it before this, and this just takes it to a whole new level. Those of you who know me know that I won't back a product unless I know for sure it's the best you can find. And for anyone who might think otherwise, I have nothing to gain by your buying or NOT buying Laticrete's system. I don't work for Laticrete, nor do I have any OTHER kind of interest, financial or otherwise, except in passing on a premium product to those who might be interested in using it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Laticrete's new drains and shower system


Master shower. Great reputable company with excellent waterproof products including linear drains at reasonable prices. Just about half of the bath stuff from this company.
clipped on: 10.09.2012 at 11:45 pm    last updated on: 10.09.2012 at 11:48 pm