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RE: Dream Thread! (What do you wish you had now?) (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: beaglesdoitbetter on 04.13.2011 at 03:09 pm in Building a Home Forum

Things I'm most happy I included in the under-construction house:
- Walk-in pantry w/ 2 doors- one right by garage and one in kitchen
- Whole house audio & lights on dimmers (everything controlled by iPads in permanent docks on walls)
- "Door jamb" activated lights in all closets and in pantry so they go on and off when doors open
- Ambiance lights (those in cabinets & built-ins) on timers so they'll come on and off automatically
- In cabinet plugs for appliances/charging station so no cords/clutter
- Mud room w/ built-in grooming tub for dogs and cubbies for people
- Deck off of master bedroom
- Ample closet space for guest closets, all bedroom closets & master closets
- Built-ins everywhere (inc. Conservatory w/ floor to ceiling book cases)
- Tons and tons of windows
- Instant hot water
- First floor master bedroom
- Heated floors
- High ceilings w/ skylights whenever possible
- Geothermal heating/cooling
- Washing machine/dryer in master bedroom & second full laundry room upstairs
- Multiple fireplaces (4 and wish we'd done more!)
- Cable hookup for waterproof outside television
- LCD TV mirror in master bathroom (such a cool feature!)
- Digital shower and tub systems
-Crown molding, tray ceilings, coffered ceilings, etc.
- Keyless entry (code-pad) activated back garage door

Things I wish we'd done:
- Steam shower (couldn't b/c of high sloped ceiling in master)
- Even bigger laundry room
- Guest and regular powder room on first floor
- Dedicated home library

NOTES:

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clipped on: 12.23.2014 at 06:11 am    last updated on: 12.23.2014 at 06:11 am

RE: Help with toilet decision please - Toto? (Follow-Up #16)

posted by: dimmerswitch on 12.19.2014 at 10:46 pm in Bathrooms Forum

We are in the process of buying four toilets for a new home. I have used American Standard toilets in homes in the past and we have Kohler toilets. I have also used Totos. For function I find Kohler better than American Standard but Toto's a bit better than Kohler. I will be using a combination of Toto Vespin II (like Drake II but with skirted bowl) and Connelly in our home underway. My husband prefers two piece toilets which leads us to those and also the two pieces are less than the one pieces for budget purposes.

The Sanagloss protection is standard with many Totos and if not with the one you might want most offer it as upgrade. It will help keep the toilet clean.

Also re the references to "ADA Toilet" here, that designation on Toto simply means Universal Height. The same height American Standard and Kohler call "Comfort Height" and "Right Height" (or vice versa). It is a more comfortable height for almost everyone to get up and down from than the lower older height toilets. While the ADA requires that height of toilet to meet Federal standards, the ADA does not apply in home use. So it is simply a designation to let folks who may be concerned about fit with the ADA that it does.

The only folks who might not find "Right Height", "Comfort Height", "Universal Height" toilets a good fit are people under 5'3" or so.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 12.22.2014 at 04:05 pm    last updated on: 12.22.2014 at 04:05 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
nippers
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
KINEE PADS!! :-)
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.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 05.24.2014 at 06:17 pm    last updated on: 12.22.2014 at 11:53 am

Everything I Wanted to Know About Drawers...

posted by: aloha2009 on 02.02.2013 at 06:31 am in Kitchens Forum

I was hoping to make this thread not only informational for myself, but that other information regarding drawers could be collected together. This is all about function.

Obviously to maximize storage and ease of use, drawers are the way to go.

Some things that are not so obvious are about framed, frameless and inset cabinets.

Another is how do cabinet manufacturers differ (if any) on the available usage.

The usage of 3 drawer vs 4 drawer (or even 5 drawer) stacks.

Determining the width of cabinets for your kitchen.

If you have answers to any of these please proceed.

Framed, frameless and inset cabinets utilize differing INTERIOR usable measurements. Please specify the type of cabinets you have (framed, frameless or inset) your manufacturer (or custom), the size of the cabinet, and what the entire TOP drawer INTERIOR measurements are (width, length, height). I stated top drawer only for comparison purposes since only the height should change from drawer to drawer. Perhaps certain manufactures have better storage in their cabinet lines.

Why did you choose cabinets with 4 drawer (and 5 drawer) stack when you did? How many do you have? How did you deal with the "horizontal lines" differences between your 3 and 4 drawer stacks? Just one aesthetic question isn't too bad.

Though wider cabinets are highly prized here, why did you choose narrower cabinets, instead of the widest available that would fit in your kitchen?

If there is anything else, I haven't though of to ask to have this thread be as complete as possible regarding drawers, please feel to add.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 12.22.2014 at 11:10 am    last updated on: 12.22.2014 at 11:53 am

RE: New garage floor Epoxy? Pad? Tiles? (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: sniffdog on 05.28.2009 at 10:08 am in Building a Home Forum

echo

I just finished my garage floor and used a comination of solutions discussed above. First, I used a Behr 2 part expoxy paint wall to wall and after it fully cured, put down 2 of those car mats sold at costco (GT brand - about 180 bucks for a 7.5' x 17' roll). It is exaactly what I was looking for.

I have two 2car garages that we designed to give us plenty of room for vehciles and storage. Garage 1 is about 750 square feet anf Garage 2 is about 850. After the construction was finished the dust and dirt were awefull. The cost to put down tile or wall to wall vinyl rolls was too expensive. So I opted for the paint wall to wall to help keep dust & dirt down and the car mats to protect the floor against salt in winter. Total cost of paint plus mats for for garage 1 was about 800 plus I bought a pressure washer from HD for 99 bucks which I will have many other uses for so I did not include in the total.

Here are some tips that I learned about the expoxy:

1) Clean the floors twice. The kits come with an crystalized acid that you mix with water to use as a cleaner and etcher. It was OK for the first clean but not good enough for total clean & etch. If I had only done one cleaning and put paint down I am sure it would peel. Prior to the first cleaning, use a scrapper for chisel to get any glue or paint off the floor. For the second cleaning I purchased 2 bottles of muriatic acid for 10 bucks at HD and used 1 pint per gallon in the mix and put down using a plastic flower watering can. I scrubbed and then used the power washer to really work the floor. Amazing amount of dirt & debris pulled up on second clean. Make sure the floor is really dry before you apply the paint.

2) The kits greatly over estimate how many square feet they cover. The Behr kit said it covers 200 to 250 sq feet. That is total BS! I used 6 kits to cover 750 square feet with a nice coat (but not too heavy). I just had enough paint to finish.

3) Purchase extra sprinkles if you have a lot of imperfections in your floor. The sprinkles are the magic ingredient that cover up any marks in the floor when they floated it. I used 10 bags of sprinkles for a 750 square foot floor and just had enough (6 came with the kits and I bought 4 more).

4) The kits tell you to paint a 3' x 3' area and then apply sprinkles. I did not like this approach because what they don't tell you is that sprinkles go everywhere including the next area to be painted. So you wind up rolling over sprinkles which is bad - it might actually prvent paint from getting on the surface. It also results in a patchy look when done. I took some advice from the pro's and made myself a pair of spiked shoes. I used 2 pieces of 1 x 6 big enough to support a shoe. I drilled a bunch of 1.5" screws into the board and then glued a pair of old water shoes onto the top of the board. I rolled all the paint on 1/2 of my garage (I have a cement seem running down the middle so it provided a natual break) and once all the paint was down - put on my spiked shoes and walked carefully out on the painted surface and tossed the sprinkles. This approach allowed me to make sure I had uniform sprinkle coverage acorss a very large section of painted surface. It looks great! The spike shoes do not leave any marks in the floor - the paint closes up over after you move.

5) I used the anti-slip additive and I like it. It does take the sheen out of the floor but when it gets wet it will provide good foot traction.

6) The GT mats from costco are great - and a fabulous price for the size and quality of the material.

7) I did the entire job myself. It would have been nice to have someone help with the trim but DW is horrible with a paint brush.

8) I bought the Behr product becuase there was no wait time after mixing and it had an 8 hour pot time. It was dry to the touch in 2 hours and I could walk on it after 8. The first half of the garage was done in low humidity so it dried very fast. Second half was done in higher humidity so it took longer to dry.

9) When you apply the paint with the roller - roll on in 2 directions. I rolled east to west first and then south to north second. I divided up 1/2 the garage floor into 3 sections, each about 125 square feet, using tape on the walls to make sure that I spread a full paint kit over each section. This allowed me to make sure that I was applying a uniform amount of paint over the floor and that I would have enough to finish.

I got most of my tips reading posts on the garage forum. This site saved my bacon again!

Good luck with the floor!

NOTES:

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clipped on: 12.22.2014 at 11:52 am    last updated on: 12.22.2014 at 11:52 am

Sonos or in-house wiring?

posted by: zagyzebra on 11.06.2012 at 01:22 pm in Electronics Forum

Lately I've been hearing a lot about Sonos wireless stereo systems.

I'm facing a whole-house remodel (down to studs) this coming year, and am wondering if anyone has had experience with both the Sonos wireless system AND whole-house wiring for music and radio. What are the pros and cons of each?

While I'm unsure how much it would cost to wire an entire upstairs/downstairs home, I believe Sonos would cost around $1,500.

I swore to myself that if I ever did another home, I would definitely wire it for whole-house sound. I'm finally at that stage...and then Sonos comes along. Due to lack of experience with either, I am undecided. Anyone who does have experience, please weigh in on pros and cons of each.

Thank you for this excellent forum.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 12.22.2014 at 11:45 am    last updated on: 12.22.2014 at 11:45 am

Stone Information and Advice (& Checklists)

posted by: buehl on 04.14.2008 at 02:56 am in Kitchens Forum

First off, I want to give a big thank-you to StoneGirl, Kevin, Joshua, Mimi, and others (past and current) on this forum who have given us many words of wisdom concerning stone countertops.

I've tried to compile everything I saved over the past 8 months that I've been on this Forum. Most of it was taken from a write-up by StoneGirl (Natural stone primer/granite 101); other threads and sources were used as well.

So...if the experts could review the information I've compiled below and send me comments (here or via email), I will talk to StarPooh about getting this on the FAQ.


Stone Information, Advice, and Checklists:

In an industry that has no set standards, there are many unscrupulous people trying to palm themselves off as fabricators. There are also a number of people with odd agendas trying to spread ill rumors about natural stone and propagate some very confusing and contradictory information. This is my small attempt at shedding a little light on the subject.

Slab Selection:

On the selection of the actual stone slabs - When you go to the slab yard to choose slabs for your kitchen, there are a few things you need to take note of:

  • Surface finish: The finish - be it polished, honed, flamed antiqued, or brushed, should be even. There should be no spots that have obvious machine marks, scratches, or other man made marks. You can judge by the crystal and vein pattern of the stone if the marks you see are man-made or naturally occurring. It is true that not all minerals will finish evenly and if you look at an angle on a polished slab with a larger crystal pattern, you can clearly see this. Tropic Brown would be a good example here. The black spots will not polish near as shiny as the brown ones and this will be very obvious on an unresined slab when looking at an acute angle against the light. The black specks will show as duller marks. The slab will feel smooth and appear shiny if seen from above, though. This effect will not be as pronounced on a resined slab.

    Bottom line when judging the quality of a surface finish: Look for unnatural appearing marks. If there are any on the face of the slab, it is not desirable. They might well be on the extreme edges, but this is normal and a result of the slab manufacturing process.


  • Mesh backing: Some slabs have a mesh backing. This was done at the plant where the slabs were finished. This backing adds support to brittle materials or materials with excessive veining or fissures. A number of exotic stones will have this. This does not necessarily make the material one of inferior quality, though. Quite often, these slabs will require special care in fabrication and transport, so be prepared for the fabricator to charge accordingly. If you are unsure about the slabs, ask your fabricator what his opinion of the material is.

  • Cracks and fissures: Yes - some slabs might have them. One could have quite the discussion on whether that line on the slab could be one or the other, so I'll try to explain it a little.

    • Fissures are naturally occurring features in stone. They will appear as little lines in the surface of the slabs (very visible in a material like Verde Peacock) and could even be of a different color than the majority of the stone (think of those crazed white lines sometimes appearing in Antique Brown). Sometimes they could be fused like in Antique Brown and other times they could be open, as is the case in the Verde Peacock example. They could often also go right through the body of the slab like in Crema Marfil, for instance. If you look at the light reflection across a fissure, you will never see a break - i.e., there will be no change in the plane on either side of a fissure.

    • A crack on the other hand is a problem... If you look at the slab at an oblique angle in the light, you will note the reflection of the shine on the surface of the stone. A crack will appear as a definite line through the reflection and the reflection will have a different appearance on either side of the line - there will be a break in the plane. Reject slabs like this. One could still work around fissures. Cracks are a whole other can of worms.

    • Resined slabs: The resin gets applied prior to the slabs being polished. Most of the resin then gets ground off in the polishing process. You should not be able to see just by looking at the surface of a slab whether it was resined or not. If you look at the rough sides of the slab, though, you will see some drippy shiny marks, almost like varnish drips. This should be the only indication that the slab is resined. There should never be a film or layer on the face of the stone. With extremely porous stones, the resining will alleviate, but not totally eliminate absorption issues and sealer could still be required. Lady's dream is an example. This material is always resined, but still absorbs liquids and requires sealer.

    • Test the material you have selected for absorption issues regardless - it is always best to know what your stone is capable of and to be prepared for any issues that might arise. Some stones indeed do not require sealer - be they resined or not. Baltic Brown would be an example here. It will not absorb one iota of anything, but it is still resined to eliminate a flaking issue.

Tests (especially for Absolute Black) (using a sample of YOUR slab):

  • To verify you have true AB and not dyed: Clean with denatured alcohol and rub marble polishing powder on the face. (Get denatured alcohol at Home Depot in the paint department)

  • Lemon Juice or better yet some Muratic Acid: will quickly show if the stone has alot of calcium content and will end up getting etched. This is usually chinese stone, not indian.

  • Acetone: The Dying usually is done on the same chinese stone. like the others said, acetone on a rag will reveal any dye that has been applied

  • Chips: Using something very hard & metal�hit the granite sharply & hard on edges to see if it chips, breaks, or cracks


Measuring:

  • Before the templaters get there...
    • Make sure you have a pretty good idea of your faucet layout--where you want the holes drilled for all the fixtures and do a test mock up to make sure you have accounted for sufficient clearances between each fixture.

    • Be sure you test your faucet for clearances not just between each fixture, but also between the faucet and the wall behind the faucet (if there is one). You need to be sure the handle will function properly.

    • Make sure that the cabinets are totally level (not out by more than 1/8") before the counter installers come in.

    • Check how close they should come to a stove and make sure the stove sits up higher than the counter.

    • Make sure they have the sink/faucet templates to work from.

    • Make sure have your garbage disposal air switch on hand or know the diameter

  • If you are not putting in a backsplash, tell them

  • Double check the template. Make sure that the measurements are reasonable. Measure the opening for the range.

  • Seam Placement: Yet another kettle of fish (or can of worms, depending on how you look at it, I guess!) Seam placement is ultimately at the discretion of the fabricator. I know it is not a really popular point of view, but that is just the way it is. There really is more to deciding where the seam would go than just the size of the slab or where the seam would look best in the kitchen.

    Most stone installations will have seams. They are unavoidable in medium or large sized kitchens. One hallmark of a good fabricator is that they will keep the seams to a minimum. It seems that a good book could be written about seams, their quality, and their placement�and still you will have some information that will be omitted! For something as seemingly simple as joining two pieces of stone, seams have evolved into their own universe of complexity far beyond what anybody should have fair cause to expect!


  • Factors determining seam placement:

    • The slab: size, color, veining, structure (fissures, strength of the material an other characteristics of the stone)

    • Transport to the job site: Will the fabricated pieces fit on whatever vehicle and A-frames he has available

    • Access to the job site: Is the house on stilts? (common in coastal areas) How will the installers get the pieces to where they need to go? Will the tops fit in the service elevator if the apartment is on the 10th floor? Do the installers need to turn tight corners to get to the kitchen? There could be 101 factors that will influence seam placement here alone.

    • Placement and size of undermount (or other) cut-outs. Some fabricators like to put seams in undermount sinks, some do not. We, for instance will do it if absolutely necessary, and have done so with great success, but will not do so as general practice. We do like to put seams in the middle of drop-in appliances and cut-outs and this is a great choice for appearances and ease of installation.

    • Location of the cabinets: Do the pieces need to go in between tall cabinets with finished sides? Do the pieces need to slide in under appliance garages or other cabinetry? How far do the upper cabinets hang over? Is there enough clearance between the vent hood and other cabinets? Again the possibilities are endless and would depend on each individual kitchen lay-out and - ultimately -

    • Install-ability of the fabricated pieces: Will that odd angle hold up to being moved and turned around to get on the peninsula if there is no seam in it? Will the extra large sink cut-out stay intact if we hold the piece flat and at a 45 degree angle to slide it in between those two tall towers? Again, 1,001 combinations of cabinetry and material choices will come into play on this question.

    You can ask your fabricator to put a seam at a certain location and most likely he will oblige, but if he disagrees with you, it is not (always) out of spite or laziness. Check on your fabricator's seams by going to actual kitchens he has installed. Do not trust what you see in a showroom as sole testament to your fabricator's ability to do seams.

    With modern glues and seaming methods, a seam could successfully be put anywhere in an installation without compromising the strength or integrity of the stone. If a seam is done well, there is - in theory - no "wrong" location for it. A reputable fabricator will also try to keep the number of seams in any installation to a minimum. It is not acceptable, for instance to have a seam in each corner, or at each point where the counter changes direction, like on an angled peninsula.

    Long or unusually large pieces are often done if they can fit in the constraints of a slab. Slabs as a rule of thumb will average at about 110"x65". There are bigger slabs and quite often smaller ones too. Check with the fabricator or the slab yard. They will be more than happy to tell you the different sizes of slabs they have available. Note, though, that the larger the slabs, the smaller the selection of possible colors. Slab sizes would depend in part on the capabilities of the quarry, integrity of the material or the capabilities of the machinery at the finishing plant. We have had slabs as wide as 75" and as long as 130" before, but those are monsters and not always readily available.

  • Generally, it is not a good idea to seam over a DW because there's no support for the granite, and anything heavy placed at or near the seam would stress the stone, possibly breaking it.

  • Rodding is another issue where a tremendous amount of mis-information and scary stories exist: The main purpose for rodding stone would be to add integrity to the material around cut-outs. This is primarily for transport and installation and serves no real purpose once the stone is secured and fully supported on the cabinets. It would also depend on the material. A fabricator would be more likely to rod Ubatuba than he would Black Galaxy, for instance. The flaky and delicate materials prone to fissures would be prime candidates for rodding. Rodding is basically when a fabricator cuts slots in the back of the stone and embeds steel or fiberglass rods with epoxy in the slots in the stone. You will not see this from the top or front of the installation. This is an "insurance policy" created by the fabricator to make sure that the stone tops make it to your cabinets all in one piece

  • Edges: The more rounded an edge is, the more stable it would be. Sharp, flat edges are prone to chipping under the right (or rather wrong) circumstances. Demi or full bullnose edges would almost entirely eliminate this issue. A properly milled and polished edge will be stable and durable regardless of the profile, though. My guess at why ogee and stacked edges are not more prevalent would be purely because of cost considerations. Edge pricing is determined by the amount of work needed to create it. The more intricate edge profiles also require an exponentially larger skill set and more time to perfect. The ogee edge is a very elegant edge and can be used to great effect, but could easily look overdone if it is used everywhere. We often advise our clients to combine edges for greater impact - i.e., eased edge on all work surfaces, and ogee on the island to emphasize the cabinetry or unusual shape.
    Edge profiles are largely dependent on what you like and can afford. There is no real pro or con for regular or laminated edges. They all have their place in the design world. Check with your fabricator what their capabilities and pricing are. Look at actual kitchens and ask for references.


Installation:

  • Seams:
    One hallmark of a good fabricator is that they will keep the seams to a minimum [StoneGirl]

    • A generic good quality seam should have the following characteristics:
      • It should be flat. According to the Marble Institute of America (MIA) a minimal amount of lippage is acceptable (1/32"), but conscientious fabricators all strive for a perfectly flat and smooth joint.

      • It should be narrow - as in smaller than 1/16". (I think the MIA stipulates no larger than 1/8", but that is pushing it - and only if the fabricator bevels the edges of the seam, almost similar to the edge of a stone tile. This is, thank goodness, not a standard practice any more!)

      • The color on either side of the seam should match as closely as possible. On regularly patterned stones like Ubatuba for example - there should be no variation. On stones with variation in colors or veins, the match should be made as close as was humanly possible.

      • Vein direction should flow. The MIA suggests a single direction of vein flow, but it is acceptable IF DISCUSSED WITH THE CLIENT to change vein direction on a seam if no other option is available. This would happen in book matched slabs - you will have a "butterfly" seam in this case. In other cases, the fabricator could put a miter seam in a corner and change vein direction 90 degrees. This is usually done with extremely linear veining like Bamboo Green, for example, but this is something that should be discussed with the fabricator and agreed upon by the client.

      • The seam on the finished edge of the stone should NOT dip in and create a divot in the edge. When you run your fingers over the edge, you should not be able to feel the location of the seam at all.

      • The thickness of the slabs on either side of the seam should be equal (or feathered out so that there is no discernible difference)

      • The glue in the seam should be of a color that matches the stone as closely as possible. Glue joints that are too light or too dark will show up something terrible. The idea behind tinting the glue is to try to make the seam "disappear" or something relatively close to it

  • Checklist:
    • Check the seams for evenness and smoothness.

      • Make sure that the seams are neat and clean.

      • Make sure that the seams are not obvious.

      • Make sure the seams are butted tight

      • Make sure that there are no scratches, pits, or cracks

    • If sealing is necessary (not all granites need to be sealed):

      • Make sure that the granite has been sealed

      • If more than one application of sealer was applied, ask how long they waited between applications

      • Ask which sealer has been used on the granite.

    • Make sure the sink reveal is consistent all the away around

    • Check the gap of the granite at the wall junctions.

    • Check for inconsistent overhangs from the counter edges

    • Check for chips. These can be filled.

    • Make sure the top drawers open & close

    • Make sure that you can open & close your dishwasher

    • Make sure the stove sits up higher than the counter

    • Make sure that you have the appropriate clearances for your appliances

    • Check the edge all around, a good edge should have the following characteristics:
      • Shine: The edge polish should match the top polish in depth and clarity. The edge should not be milky, dull, or waxy.

      • The edge should not have "waves". Eyeball along the edge. A good edge should have a mirror like reflection and be fairly flat. Waves that you can see or feel are not a good thing.

      • The aris (very top of the edge) should be crisp and straight, even on a bullnose edge. Once again you can see this by eyeballing along the very top end of the edge profile. A wavy, dippy aris is poor craftsmanship.

      • A good edge will have a consistent profile. It will not be larger in some spots or smaller in others.

      • A good edge should also have NO tooling lines. These will be fine lighter/white lines running along the edge. This is a mark of a poor edge polish, of a CNC machine that is not set correctly, and a lack of hand finishing. This is common when a company has only mechanical fabrication (i.e., CNC machines or line polishers) and no skilled hand fabricators to finish the work properly.

    • Run your hands around the entire laminated edge of yor counters to make sure they are smooth

    • Check surrounding walls & cabinets for damage

Miscellaneous Information:

  • More than all the above and below, though, is to be present for both the templating as well as having the templates placed on your slabs at the fabricator's
    If you canot be there, then have a lengthy conversation about seam placement, ways to match the movement, and ways to color-match the counters that will be joined at the seam

  • Find a fabricator who is a member of the SFA

  • When they polish your stone for you don't let them wax it. It will look terrible in 2 months when the wax wears off.

  • Don't use the Magic Eraser on granite--especially AB

  • Any slab with more fill (resin) than stone is certainly a no-no!!

  • When you do check for scratches, have overhead lighting shining down so scratches are easier to see

  • Don't let them do cutouts in place (granite dust becomes a major issue)

  • Granite dust can be a problem...some have heard of SS appliances & hoods damaged by the dust, others have heard of drawer glides being ruined by the dust

  • If you have wood floors--especially if you're in the process of staining or finishing them--make sure that they don't spill or drip granite sealer on the wood floors. Apparently the sealer interferes with the stain or finish process.

  • Suggested Prep for Installation:
    • Remove any drawers and pullouts beneath any sections that will be cut or drilled onsite, e.g., sink cutouts and/or faucet, soap dispenser, air gap, instant hot etc. holes, cooktop cutouts.

    • Then just cover the glides themselves with a few layers of blue painter's tape (or some combo of plastic wrap and tape)

    • If you make sure to cover the top of the glides and attach some of the tape to the cab wall as well (to form sort of a seal)and cover the rest of the glides completely with tape, you should be fine.

    • Usually the fabricators will have someone holding a vacuum hose right at the spot where they are drilling or cutting, so very little granite dust should be landing on the glides. What little dust escapes the vacuum will be blocked by the layer(s) of tape.

    • When done w/installation, remove the tape and use a DustBuster (or similar) on all the cabinets and glides

  • Countertop Support:

    • If your granite is 2 cm thick, then there can be no more then 6" of of unsupported span with a 5/8" subtop

    • If your granite is 3 cm thick, then there can be no more then 10" of unsupported span - no subtop required

    • If you need support, the to determine your corbel dimensions:

    • Thickness of Stone - Dimension of Unsupported Span = Corbel Dimensino

    • i.e., an 18" total overhang in 2 cm would require a 12" corbe; the same overhang in 3 cm would require an 8" corbel

NOTES:

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clipped on: 12.22.2014 at 11:44 am    last updated on: 12.22.2014 at 11:44 am

Small things that get forgotten

posted by: Laura12 on 04.11.2012 at 06:01 pm in Building a Home Forum

I keep hearing that most people find that there are small things that they didn't think about until after they finished construction that they wish they would have added into their build, and I was curious if all of you would like to help me to compile a list for all of us to consider during planning!

So far I have
- Plugs in kitchen pantry for charging, or for items that may end up living there
- Full size broom cupboard in pantry or laundry room to hide all the cleaning items away from sight.
- Solar tubes in areas that don't get natural sunlight
- Prewire security system
- Run wire and prepare roof for future solar
- Central Vac with vac pans

Any others to add?

NOTES:

Check out whole thread.
clipped on: 05.24.2014 at 06:16 pm    last updated on: 05.24.2014 at 06:17 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.

Dimming
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.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 05.24.2014 at 06:16 pm    last updated on: 05.24.2014 at 06:16 pm

RE: What was your best bathroom remodeling decision? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: warsher on 02.19.2007 at 11:04 am in Bathrooms Forum

First mistake "do'nt gut it". Gut it and second, use a vapor barrier under the cement board, do'nt use greenboard. The rusted nails will tell you where the vapor barrier and cement board prefer to go, I would just put the vapor lock everywhere, use half inch boards. You can use 6 mil plastic or roofing felt as barrier under boards, stapled. I like roofing, a little better insulation sound/thermal.
Cement board is a sponge, if that bothers you do what I did, use a cement board sealer around the shower/pullman area Depot has it. I used epoxy that I get cheap, 80 dollars for 1.5 gallon. That stops moisture before the board and not after.
Next stop tub. Cast iron equals quiet and thermal insulation it memorizes heat, (not drumlike with no echoes) Kohler Villager is cheapest; I say mistake. It is 14 inches tall so beware of a too little tub. I got the Toto 1525 at Express Pipe here in southern cal, 554 dollars. the tub iron is twice as thick as Kohlers I saw also, the glaze is smoother. 2 people can install it (the ground is the third person, roll the tub in end over end or just shuffle it in) 381 pounds but not heavy as you think.
Vanity, ebay has good glass/metal ones, will not absorb odors, lifetime product, under 500 with all hardware, faucets.
The toilet must do one thing foremost, flush. try the Toto Drake and if not the Ultramax will give you much more room. Express pipe or Homeclick. There are some horrible toilets out their beware, get a commercial one, Toto G max for instance.
Porcelain is king on tile, Ceramic is ok, check the grade (1-5) Marble is ok for a bathroom floor awesome visually. I would use 1/8 grout line porcelain on shower with sanded grout. Unsanded might shrink. Keep sponge dry, use caulk in tile corners, do not use premix wet mastic under tile, use powdered thinset with latex additive.
You might want to leave in the cieling when you gut.
You might want to get some kilz and paint the studs around the shower area if moisture problems were evident.

NOTES:

Check out whole thread. Lots of good advice.
clipped on: 05.24.2014 at 06:16 pm    last updated on: 05.24.2014 at 06:16 pm

How To Buy a Faucet

posted by: francesca_sf on 04.20.2010 at 04:05 pm in Kitchens Forum

I�ve lurked and I�ve learned a lot from GardenWeb. So, as a way to give-back, here�s a summary of what I�ve learned about How To Buy a Faucet, adding my own experience and my own personal point of view. Now I am no expert, so please feel free to add your research sources and methods about finding faucets.

1. Identify the Best Brands
Identiify the best brands from reliable sources who have broad experience with many brands and information on the construction of the faucets which is not obvious from just looking at them. http://starcraftcustombuilders.com/sources.faucets2.htm

Based on their 15 years of experience, and the experiences of other trusted building professionals, StarCraft Builders, the source of this article, has rated 30 faucet companies. My own experience of getting out and "feeling the merchandise" confirms the lower rated faucets feel lighter, cheaper, not as smooth-operating as the better-rated brands. There are plenty of popular brands they didn�t mention such as Elements of Design, Herbeau, Kindred, Kraus, Newport Brass, Rohl, Waterstone and Whitehaus.

Rated 7 -9 out of 10
Chicago, Dornbracht, Graff, Jado, KWC, LaCava, MSG Progetti, Porcher, San-Ei

Rated 6-8 out of 10
Blanco, Grohe, Mico, Phylrich, THG

Rate 5 to 7 or 8 out of 10
Brizo, Ginger, Hamat, Hansgrohe, Mico, Storm, Symmons

Rated 4 to 7 out of 10
American Standard, Danze, Eljer, Elkay, Kohler, Price-Pfister

Rated 3 to 6 or 7 out of 10
Delta, Moen, Peerless

Other caveats from the article:
1. "For the money, a basic American faucet may be one of the best consumer values around. Designed to last a lifetime, all but the cheapest will and if they don�t the manufacturer will at least replace defective parts. Washerless valves have virtually banished leaks.
2. "When you pay more than mid-price ($100-300), you are generally buying the high styling or custom hand casting and finishing (Strom, Chicago, MGS Progetti)."
3. Read the whole article here: http://starcraftcustombuilders.com/sources.faucets.htm

2. Identify the Functions YOU Require
Figure out what functions the faucet will be required to perform in additon to the usual cleaning dished and washing veggies. DH and I needed to fill pots, fill tall vases, and reach every corner of the sink to clean it. We preferred a pull-out or pull-down dual spray with a minimum 12" reach. This eliminated a lot of 8" reach faucets and all faucets with a side spray or no spray attachment. And, I needed to be able to reach the handle easily.

3. Identify Limitations in Your Set Up
Determine height restrictions for the faucet, whether it must be ADA compliant, how many holes you want to drill, etc.

4. Identify Style Preference
If your kitchen is traditional, transitional or modern; Bauhaus, country French, southwestern or anything else, you can find a faucet that suits that style. Select a shape (gooseneck, square, etc), a height (8" up to 36"), and a finish (chrome, brushed stainless, bronze, copper, etc). We identified 3 shapes in one finish and came up with 30 alternatives from 5 manufacturers. How to trim the list?

5. Double Check the Tech Spec�s
We trimmed the list by requiring the hole be the standard 1 3/8" with a flow of 2.2 gallons per minute (GPM).

6. Determine Price Range
Then, we finally determined our price range. For fairly similar looking faucets that met all the spec�s, we were in the $259 to $719 range, with one renegade point at $1200. Was it worth $500 or $1000 to get a handle at a 30 degree angle rather than a 90 degree angle?

7. Locate the Model
After whittling the list down to 5 faucets, we found some great bargains from both local retailers and highly-rated online sources of new faucets with warranties.

8. Weigh the Criteria
In the end, it came down to the balance between which faucet felt great in our hands, moved smoothly, and looked very sleek.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 05.24.2014 at 06:11 pm    last updated on: 05.24.2014 at 06:12 pm

RE: Everything I Wanted to Know About Drawers... (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: angela12345 on 02.02.2013 at 02:03 pm in Kitchens Forum

I have posted this other places before, but I am going to try to consolidate it *all* in one place.

My kitchen cabinets from UltraCraft are semi-custom. LOVE them. They are Frameless cabinets that allow size modifications in 1/16" increments to height, width, and depth (or all 3) at no additional cost. So, go ahead and make your uppers 13" or 14" deep for those extra large mixing/salad bowls and charger plates, and maximize your storage space for example storing glasses 4 deep instead of 3 deep and storing cereal bowls 2 deep instead of only 1. Have deeper base cabinets. Make your toekick slightly shorter so you have an extra inch or two for more drawers height. Cut down on the fillers you need by making your cabinets the exact width you need them, instead of being forced to choose from 3" increments. I like that all my uppers are flat across the bottom (no frame/dividers between cabinets), so I could install one long plugmold and one long under cabinet light, then hide it all with lightrail at the front. Also, standard is Blum full extension soft close drawer glides, soft close doors, no charge for finished sides (like end of cabinet run), all dovetail drawers with fully captured bottoms, and bunches of other stuff is standard. 100 year warranty.
http://www.ultracraft.com/ Yep, I LOVE them !!!

Cabinet Decisions - I emailed this part to a friend recently, so am copying here ...
1. One of the first things to decide is what cabinet door overlay you want. Inset doors or overlay doors ? Inset doors sit inside of the cabinet box frame rather than attached to the front of the cabinet box. Overlay is further broken down into traditional overlay, partial / modified overlay, and full overlay and determines how much of the cabinet box/frame behind the door you want to show (traditional overlay shows the most of the cabinet box & frame, full overlay shows the least). The hinges can be exposed or concealed for all overlay styles except full overlay which only allows for concealed hinges. The overlay you choose will automatically knock out some cabinet options and cabinet mfgs who may not make that type of cabinet. (My cabinets are full overlay)
See ... http://www.hansoncustombuilders.com/questions3.html
And ...http://www.kraftmaid.com/learn/choose-right-cabinetry/door-overlays/

2. Then you want to decide on the cabinet boxes ... framed or frameless ? Some mfgs only make one or the other, but not both, so this will knock out other mfgs. Framed cabinets have a frame on the face of the cabinet box that the doors attach to and allows for inset doors as well as all 3 overlay styles (traditional, partial, and full overlay). On frameless, the doors attach directly to the cabinet box sides instead of a face frame. Frameless are typically full overlay, but inset is also possible. I think a small partial overlay is possible on frameless if you are using semi-custom or custom cabinets - you would order slightly smaller doors so a little of the cabinet box would show. Traditional overlay is not possible on frameless because the cabinet box sides are not wide enough to show the traditional 1"-2" of the face frame. (My cabinets are frameless)
See ... http://www.cabinets.com/FORM/THE BOX - construction.asp

The disadvantage of framed is you give up useable space in drawers/pullouts and ease of access on cabinets with doors. This is because the drawer or pullout has to clear the face frame that goes around the opening, so they are narrower from side to side and also shallower from top to bottom. In a small kitchen, the extra useable space from frameless could make a big difference. Estimates say frameless gives 10-15% more space, so 100 inches of framed would be 110 inches in frameless. To me, an extra 10 inches of drawer space is huge, especially when you don't have much to begin with !! Frameless cabinets with doors also offer easier access - there is no face frame creating a 1-2" obstruction on the left, right, and top inside the cabinet doors, also there is typically no center stile between double doors in frameless.

For full overlay doors, there is very little difference in the looks of framed vs frameless. From an exterior appearance standpoint, these cabinets will basically look alike. Because the doors are full overlay, you don't see much or any of the frame and would have to open the door or drawer to see if the cabinet was framed or frameless. For inset doors, the framed cabinets would have a wider frame around the door than the frameless cabinet would.

In the below two pics, the cabinet on the left is framed, and the one on the right is frameless. Looking only at the size of the opening, see how the drawer for frameless is wider from left to right and also has more open space from top to bottom. The useable drawer space is a couple inches more in each direction in the frameless. If they both had the same size full overlay exterior drawer face on them, they would look alike from the exterior. You would not be able to see the useable interior space until you opened the drawer.

As catbuilder said, the space for inset would be the same, depending on which you use. In other words, it doesn't matter if the framed cabinet on the left had overlay or inset, the actual drawer space would be the same no matter what door style was used on this cabinet. And, if the frameless on the right had overlay or inset, the actual drawer space would be the same for that cabinet. If they both had inset doors, you can see that the framed cabinets would have a much wider "frame" around the door and drawer openings.

3. The third thing to consider is the cosmetics ... the door style you like, the drawer style (slab/flat/plain drawer front or drawer front that matches your door style), as well as wood species (cherry, oak, maple, etc), and stain or paint colors, glazing, distressing, finish/sheen, etc. (My cabinets are slab drawer, raised panel door, cherry with a chestnut stain, no additional finishes or glazes)
This website shows just a few of the different door styles available ... http://www.cabinets.com/FORM/THE DOOR - style.asp

4. The fourth thing to consider is stock cabinets vs semi-custom vs custom cabinet mfgs. Stock cabinets are available in 3" width increments (cabinets have to be width of 12", 15", 18", etc), filler strips fill in gaps between cabinets and wall or appliances, you have to choose from the heights and depths they offer, and there are very few options available, which can be pretty pricey to add on. Semi-custom cabinets vary by manufacturer in what customizations and options they offer, but they offer many more options than stock and allow sizing modifications. With custom cabinets, there should be no limitations including drawings for non-standard items, custom molding profiles, door styles, alternate wood species, custom stains & finishes, construction, accessories and options. (My cabinets are semi-custom)

5. Finally, you want to consider the cabinet construction. Not that this is the least important ! It is one of the most important things. Pretty much all the other stuff is just the "pretty" stuff, LOL. This has to do with how well the cabinets are made - are the drawers stapled, dowelled, glued, dovetail ? What materials are the cabinets made of ? etc, etc.

Drawer depths
My bases are 24" deep bases and are all 20" useable interior from front to back. I'm pretty sure I could have (and definitely should have!) requested the drawers be an extra 1-2 inches deep to fill up the inside of the cabinet. I *think* the full extension glides would not have pulled out that extra inch or so, but I could have lived with that !! I was already used to my drawers not pulling out for the back 4 inches anyway with the cabinets I already had. I could have fit my 8qt stock pots 2 deep front to back in the drawer instead of having to offset them slightly in the drawer if I had even an extra 1/2".

Some people choose to have their base cabinets deeper (i.e. 27-30" deep instead of 24" deep standard) from front to back for a number of different reasons, for example to make the front of the cabinet even with the front of the refrigerator so the standard fridge looks like a built in/counter depth. Or they may want a larger countertop work surface. This can be accomplished by using deeper base cabinets or by using standard 24" deep bases and installing them a couple inches out from the wall then covering the full space with the countertop material. If you want to do this and order deeper bases, be sure to specify the drawers are deeper from front to back as well ! Some mfgs will still only install the standard depth drawer even though the cabinet box is larger.
(in pics below, my two standard $500 ea fridges look counter depth by recessing the wall behind the fridges only)

Drawer Heights
You can get a number of different drawer combinations ... for example two drawer could be 6-24 or 15-15, three drawer could be 6-12-12 or 6-9-15, four drawer could be 6-6-6-12 or 6-6-9-9, five drawer could be 6-6-6-6-6. These are just examples of size combinations ! I have even seen linens in 8 shallow pullouts behind doors in one base cabinet.

The height of my drawer fronts do not line up all the way around the 4 sides of my kitchen, but do line up when you are looking at any one section at a time. I have 2 stacks together that are 6-12-12 separated by a stove. On the opposite corner of the kitchen are 2 stacks that are 6-6-9-9. What helps is that my stacks are caddy-cornered across the kitchen with appliances and base cabinets with doors separating them ... it would be very hard to look in any direction where you could see the "mis-matches" at one time. Some people have drawer stacks right next to each other where the drawer heights do not 'line up' and others have all the drawer bases in their entire kitchen with the exact same horizontal lines all the way around.

My one advice ... find out the interior useable height of your drawers ahead of time. My Ultracraft cabinets are frameless so have more than framed would. They have undermount glides. On the 6-12-12 stacks, the useable interior drawer height is 4, 10.5, 9.5 (top to bottom on stack). Where this becomes an issue ... I wanted to store all of my pans, pots, etc vertical on their edges in the drawers so they wouldn't have to be stacked. The middle 10.5" drawers are tall enough for all of the casserole/baking dishes and pie tins, the roasting pan, and almost all of the pans, pots, and lids to stand on edge (the 9.5" drawers are not tall enough for a couple of those items to stand on edge). Both height drawers are definitely tall enough for all of the big pots (even the 8qt stockpot) that I own, except for the huge "canning" pot which is on the top shelf of one of my 15" deep uppers.

Obviously, neither drawer is tall enough for my 12" pans/skillets to stand on edge (arrggh!). I have really been struggling with how to store these. Right now I have them flat in the bottom of the 9.5" height bottom drawer. Big waste of real estate !! I wish I had a shallower drawer I could put the big skillets in, like 6-6-6-12 so the frying pans were flat in drawers 2 & 3 and the pots were in the bottom drawer. Or even better(?!) if I had made my drawer heights 6-9-15 that would have given me 4, 7.5, 12.5 useable. My tallest 8qt pots are 7" tall, so all of them could have gone in the middle drawer and everything on edge could have gone in the bottom drawer (including the 12" skillets!). Google for images of drawers with pans on edge.

On the other side of the kitchen with the 6-6-9-9 stacks, the useable interior drawer height is 4, 4.75, 6.75, 7 (top to bottom). I use the top 6" drawers all around the kitchen for silverware, spatulas and all the other kitchen gadgets, in-drawer knife block, foil wax paper cling wrap and plastic baggies, potholders, dish towels, etc. All of those things fit with no problem in these drawers including the ladle and the box grater. The 3rd drawer holds all of the tupperware and is the perfect height for this - 6 would have been too shallow and 12 would have been too deep. The bottom drawer is where we currently keep the paper and plastic grocery bags until we carry them for recycling.

(note: the interior drawer heights listed above vary slightly for the bottom two 12" drawers, the top two 6" drawers, and for the bottom two 9" drawers because of an interior cross support and space to clear the granite without scraping at the top. Jakuvall addresses this below "Note that some brands use intermediate stretchers in frameless which take up 3/4" vertical clearance. If they do I always spec them to be removed.")

ALSO: the drawer face to interior useable space ratio will be DIFFERENT depending on if your drawer face is inset, partial overlay, or full overlay, and depending on if you have undermount glides or sidemount glides as catbuilder says above. For example on my 6-6-9-9 four drawer stack ... 1.5" counter + 6 + 6 + 9 + 9 + 4.5" toekick = 36" finished height. My useable heights are 4, 4.75, 6.75, 7 = 22.5" total useable height. I lose 1.25-2.25" useable height for each drawer.
Compare to quiltgirl above inset drawers ... 1.5" counter + 5.5 + 5.5 + 6.25 + 6.25 + 4.5 toekick (assumed) = 29.5". Are her cabinets shorter than mine ? No ! Add in between each of her drawers approx 1.25" face frame. She has undermount glides as well so her useable heights are 4, 4, 4.75, 4.75 = 17.5" total useable height. She only loses 1.5" useable height for each drawer face showing so it sounds like she is losing less, but she is also losing useable height in the face frame between each drawer which is why her total useable space is less.
This is FINE !! Nothing at all against her cabinets. They will be beautiful. Inset is a gorgeous look. And she knew she was going to lose space with the inset when she chose them, but chose to do it because inset is the look she loves.

Drawer widths
The maximum cabinet width my manufacturer will do for drawer bases is 36" wide. I have 4 drawer bases at 21", 32", 17", and 36" wide. The interior useable width of these drawer bases are 18, 29, 14, 33 wide, so 3" less than the exterior width in each.

 photo 4-5-11-kitchen.jpg
Going around my kitchen ... first I have a 6" wide pullout broom closet. Next are two 30" wide fridge/top freezers. There are full depth cabinets above the fridges with an adjustable shelf. Then a 24" full height cabinet with pantry space at the top, MW, a single oven, and 6" high drawer under oven (4.5" useable height).

The 21" 3 drawer 6-12-12 is to the left of my stove. Top drawer holds knife block, sharpener, scissors, trivets, potholders. 2nd drawer holds baking dishes on their edge. Bottom drawer is basically empty - it has one 8qt stockpot. If my drawer heights had been 6-9-15 instead (did I say grrrr?), I would have used the middle drawer as a bread drawer and stored the bakeware on edge in the bottom drawer.

Next is the stove (Whirlpool GGE388LXS Electric Range w/Dbl ovens).
This stove is now available with an induction top which is what I would have gotten if it had been available at the time WGI925C0BS http://www.whirlpool.com/kitchen-1/cooking-2/ranges-3/-[WGI925C0BS]-1021750/WGI925C0BS/

The 32" 3 drawer 6-12-12 is to the right of the stove. Top drawer holds spatulas, spoons, ladles, wood spoons, basting brushes, meat thermometer, etc - things that are used at the stove. 2nd drawer holds frying pans, the smaller pots (1qt 2qt 3qt), and lids all on their edges. Bottom drawer holds 8qt pots. Also, the 12" skillets with lids, splatter screens, and griddle are all stacked in one stack flat in bottom of drawer, Grrrrrrr. If they were in the drawer with the other frying pans instead of taking up real estate here, that lone 8qt pot in my other cabinet would have been here with the other pots.

Turn the corner and next is the first dishwasher and then a 36" sink base with Ticor S405D sink (70/30 double bowl). LOVE !!! <3
Turn the corner and next is a 36" wide all door base cabinet (no upper drawer) with full depth adjustable shelves. I use this base cabinet for all my small appliances - blender, beaters, toaster, George Foreman, elec can opener, etc. Next to this base cabinet is the second dishwasher, followed by an 18" prep sink base with a Ticor S815 14x15x8 sink, and an empty space for an ice maker which is where the trash can currently resides.

The 17" 4 drawer stack 6-6-9-9 sits between the trash area/future ice maker and the peninsula and is on the opposite corner of the kitchen from the other drawer bases. The top drawer holds foil, wax paper, cling wrap, plastic baggies, chip clips, and restaurant menus. The 2nd drawer is our "junk" drawer and has some of everything including screwdrivers, clothespins, matches, flashlights, sewing kit, lint brush, etc. The 3rd drawer holds medicine, bandaids, alcohol, peroxide, as well as dish towels and plastic utensils from takeout restaurants in a tub. The bottom drawer is for "tupperware without partners" - bowls and lids with no matches (haha!).

The 36" 4 drawer stack 6-6-9-9 forms the peninsula. The top drawer holds all eating utensils (silverware and kid utensils), serving utensils, chopsticks, handheld can opener, wine opener in a strategically easy-to-access location : ), etc. The 2nd drawer holds all the other kitchen gadgets that aren't to the left and right of the stove like shrimp deveiners, graters, whisks, rolling pin, pizza rolling cutter-thingy, mashers, salad tongs, etc, etc. The 3rd drawer holds tupperware with their matching lids. The bottom drawer holds paper and plastic grocery bags until we carry them for recycling.

I don't like lazy susans or corner cabinets, so in the blind corner is a 26" all door base cabinet that opens out the backside to where the barstools sit.

Upper Cabinets
I will come back and fill this in later

Handles
We went with the same size handle for all of our drawers and also only one handle in the center for all of the drawers, no matter what the width of the drawer. They are 4" wide. We maybe would have used different widths, but the ones we liked in the finish we wanted did not come in a bunch of widths. The cabinet guy said they would look fine and they do. We have slab drawer fronts and the pulls are centered top to bottom and side to side on each drawer. We used round knobs on all doors.

Drawer Organizers
We ordered the drawer divider channels from Lee Valley so we could completely customize the interior of our drawers. They often have free shipping on orders over $40.
www.leevalley.com/us/hardware/page.aspx?p=40168
Google for images - lots of gardenweb members have used these.
http://www.google.com/search?q=lee+valley+dividers+site:gardenweb.com&tbm=isch
Take inventory of the things you will be storing in the drawers & doors. Measure it all and plan ahead where things will go. From the FAQs that Buehl put together ... http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/kitchbath/msg010523449014.html
Excellent information on organizing !!

These are not my cabinets ... examples of pans stored vertically ...

This is my kitchen ...
 photo 4-5-11-kitchen.jpg
A note on our kitchen ... this home is a vacation rental oceanfront beach house with 8 bedrooms, 6 baths, that sleeps 26 (send me a private message through My Page above if you are interested in renting or would like a link to see more info & pictures of the home). Hence the 2 fridges, 3 ovens, 2 dishwashers. We had a large portion of our family here at Thanksgiving (32 people) and had like 7 or 8 women working to prepare the feast all at one time. Thank you Gardenweb for helping design a kitchen that WORKS !!!

edited: mostly to decrease monster picture sizes thanks to GW changing their website coding, also clarified my wording on a couple things

This post was edited by angela12345 on Wed, Feb 26, 14 at 18:52

NOTES:

Kitchen drawers
clipped on: 03.30.2014 at 08:35 pm    last updated on: 03.30.2014 at 08:36 pm

Anyone ever regret choosing white cabinets?

posted by: leennp on 12.12.2013 at 05:14 pm in Kitchens Forum

Hello all, still struggling with some big major decisions, I think I am aware of the basic pros and cons of white/off white cabinets versus stained cabinets, but just wondering if anyone had decided to put in a white kitchen and regretted it ? Every picture I see on Houzz of a white kitchen i think how light, bright and open they look and how much I love that look. But those are all newly installed or remodeled kitchens and most fairly high end. I need a working kitchen. You never see pictures of the lived in for 5 years white kitchens. That is my only hesitancy. Has nothing to do with trendiness of white kitchens and maybe down the road white will not be in fashion and affect resale. Only the looking around 5 years from now and thinking wow, this did not hold up to well. Thanks.

NOTES:

Note maintenance issues with white cabinets. They require lots of cleaning and touch up paint every few years.
clipped on: 03.30.2014 at 08:14 pm    last updated on: 03.30.2014 at 08:15 pm

Kitchen Ideas Checklist - What can you add?

posted by: BelfastBound on 12.10.2013 at 04:53 pm in Kitchens Forum

I was just taken to the woodshed by my GC for "wearing down" the KD and Window salesperson with questions and changes. I blame GW because here I learned creative and useful ideas that both these "subs" failed to provide. Also I do not have an unlimited budget and I need to know the price of an option so I can make trade-offs. I told him if they had given me these options up front, not every little thing would have to be a "change". The subs are p**sd because they may price out glaze on cabinets or type of window and I have to say, thanks, I can't afford it and they feel why did they bother to price it.

I thought a list of ideas and things to consider might be helpful for those just starting to plan a new kitchen, a rubric of sorts, to discuss with your KD or DS. I am still in the planning phase so the list here is likely lacking. Thanks for your contribution.

Cabinets - Frameless, inset, beaded inset, overlay, partial overlay, construction (wood type, dovetailed), paint or stain and or glaze,

Upper Cabinets - Flush to ceiling or molding, above cabinet lights, lights in cabinet, below cabinet lights, light rail to hide the under cab lights, lights at top, lights at side, glass fronts, glass shelves, height above counter, depth of cabinet to fit your plates, hinges.

Lower Cabinets - Toe kick drawer, Height, drawer or door, proud to other cabinets, pull out options like Rev-a-Shelf

Cabinet Drawers - Glides: under or on the side, Amount of weight glides need to hold, soft close and/or full extension

Panel for dishwasher

Open shelving

Where will your paper towel holder be?

Pullout shelves for spices, pots, under the sink

What will be used for hand soap, dish soap, SOS etc

Where will wet dish towels go, dishes that will air dry?

Options for handling a blind corner

Options for above the fridge

Hiding or placement of outlets in cabinets/island/drawer

Computer/phone charging station

Where will cookbooks live
.....

What am I missing? Thx again.

NOTES:

Random kitchen ideas
clipped on: 03.30.2014 at 07:22 pm    last updated on: 03.30.2014 at 07:22 pm