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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 & metalhit 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 placementand 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: 04.14.2008 at 08:34 am    last updated on: 04.14.2008 at 08:38 am

RE: Foot Pedal for Framed Trash Cabinets (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: buehl on 02.09.2008 at 07:54 pm in Kitchens Forum

There are some pictures and instructions from MeToo2 in the Home Galleries. Here are the links to those pictures:

From the "Pull Out Trash" thread started by ColdTropics on Fri, Jul 20, 07 at 2:43


Posted by metoo2 (My Page) on Wed, Aug 15, 07 at 19:27

Front View when cabinet is shut:
http://photos.gardenweb.com/home/galleries/2007/08/pull_out_trash_foot_pedal_fron.html?cat=kitchens

View of foot pedal when cabinet is open. Keep in mind this view will be hidden when trash cans are in the cabinet:
http://photos.gardenweb.com/home/galleries/2007/08/pull_out_trash_foot_pedal_door.html?cat=kitchens

Metal plate mounted on bottom back of door. This is the plate that is 3.5" tall--to deal with a face framed cabinet:
http://photos.gardenweb.com/home/galleries/2007/08/pull_out_trash_foot_pedal_meta.html?cat=kitchens

Finally, looking at the bottom of the cabinet. Glued a scrap of wood to the back of the face frame.
http://photos.gardenweb.com/home/galleries/2007/08/pull_out_trash_foot_pedal_unde.html?cat=kitchens

Posted by metoo2 (My Page) on Wed, Aug 15, 07 at 20:01

muscat: The rails are always attached to the door-regardless of whether your trash cans hang from a rail, or your trash cans sit on a base. In your picture, the cans sit on a base.

I believe that my modifications will also work with your situation (cans sitting on a base). However, you will need to make one minor modification that I did not do. That modification has to do with the elastic cords that come with the pedal.

Elastic cords (ie, bungee cords) pull the door open when the pedal is kicked. You would have to alter where the front of the cords are mounted inside the cabinet. Very easy to do.

Earlier posts on this thread refer to a version of the Hafele pedal for trash cans which sit on a base. I have not seen this product. I suspect they use the identical pedal, but altered the instructions relative to the location where to mount the elastic cords.


Posted by lowspark (My Page) on Fri, Jul 20, 07 at 11:02

I'm not sure what the door mount kit is, but you have to have a pull out trash in order for the foot pedal to work.

In other words, your trash bins should be hanging from a rail attached to the door OR sitting on a shelf attached to the door. The door should pull open like a drawer (not swing open like a normal cab) and as it pulls open the trash bins come out with it.

Note that Haefele makes two different pedals, one for the bins hanging from rails and one for the bins sitting on the shelf. I'm not clear on which one you've linked to above. Also note that these foot pedals are designed for frameless cabs. I don't know if they can or have been used on framed cabs and would be interested to hear about that if anyone has.

Here are the links I have to the two kinds of Haefele pedals:

Pedal for trash can which hangs from rails

Pedal for trash can which sits on base


Note: In both cases, the foot pedals are on the bottom of the pages

NOTES:

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clipped on: 02.10.2008 at 12:45 am    last updated on: 02.26.2008 at 06:18 pm

RE: ORB hardware on ebay -- has anyone used 'Shakerag' (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: sherilynn on 02.13.2008 at 01:23 am in Kitchens Forum

I ordered over $400 worth of some knobs and backplates from him. He advertised that they were the same as what Lowe's carries. Well, when I got them, they were knock-offs and not the brass knobs like Lowe's carried. They were zinc. Also, the backplates did not have the little nipple to keep them from spinning once you install the. The ones I ordered at Lowe's did. At the end of the day, he did take them back and refunded my money. I was out the shipping, but it was worth it. He was a fast shipper and handled my dissatisfaction well. He no longer advertises that these are brass, but still claims they are like the ones at HD and Lowes. They LOOK like the original designs, but like I said, they are knock offs of the originals, which are brass.

Here's
a link to the original design in brass, by Period Brass that is so much more
expensive.


Here's a link to Shakerlag's knock off design that he is advertising to be the
same as sold by Lowes and HD, which are usually a special order.


Here's the knob I ended up buying
after purchasing over 40 different designs and finishes of knobs and handles from myriads of stores locally and sellers online. I'm telling you, this knob looks the best with my granite and cabinets.
It was a unanimous vote for weight, color, and texture. The photo does not do the knob justice. I ended up buying a ton of knobs and Redbuyer2000, the ebay
seller, who bent over backwards to find the matching handles for me to go with this knob. She has the best shipping prices out there, too. AND she can count! Fast shipping, too. :)Here's my knobs on my doors. (A work still in progress.)

NOTES:

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clipped on: 02.13.2008 at 08:17 am    last updated on: 02.13.2008 at 08:17 am

RE: Show me your stained cabinets with contrasting countertop! (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: theresab1 on 01.30.2008 at 07:51 pm in Kitchens Forum

We have stained cherry cabinets, and azul macuabas granite- I was worried about the contrast, but love it how it came out. Best of luck in your decision.

Photobucket
Photobucket

Photobucket

NOTES:

see thread
clipped on: 01.31.2008 at 08:50 am    last updated on: 01.31.2008 at 08:50 am

RE: Do you like your enclosed cooktop niche or mantle hood to cou (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: rhome410 on 01.25.2008 at 07:45 pm in Kitchens Forum

I will be doing what plllog suggested...chunky corbels with changes in cabinets and backsplash to give a visual division without invading counter space.

Photobucket

NOTES:

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clipped on: 01.26.2008 at 10:35 pm    last updated on: 01.26.2008 at 10:35 pm

RE: Install Slate Mini-Brick- Need How To Help (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: bill_vincent on 01.22.2008 at 05:56 pm in Kitchens Forum

Use Thinset not mastic--What trowel should he use? Only backbutter if needed? Can use screws to help hold sheets in place until set. They are fairly heavy with that slate.Do we need to rough up the paint surface in anyway?

Use a 1/4x1/4 square notched trowel, and you're right-- you want thinset instead of mastic for the stone. Now, as for helping the tile stay up-- you want a certain KIND of thinset. What you want is one of the new lightweight thinsets. They're made to have alot of grab to them when mixed properly, and the tile WILL NOT SLIDE-- just like mastic. The three most common are Dustom Building Products' Megalite, Laticrete's 255, and Mapei's Ultralite. All three are good thinsets and will work. They get mixed alot stiffer than normal thinsets and will literally grab onto the tile when you set it.

We were planning on buying a inexpensive 7" wet saw to make cuts. Will that make cuts okay for this job? Renting is not really an option for us on this DIY whenever have time job.

I got good news and bad news for you-- the good news is the smaller saw will do fine. The bad news is you're going to want to take those pieces off the mesh and cut them one at a time. The reason is that the mounting glue that holds the tile on the sheet is water emulsive, and once the sheet gets wet, you're going to have a mess on your hands trying to put it up on the wall.

After tile up and set/dry, apply sealer/enhancer to slate. I am unclear about this. This would really help with grout release. Grout release is a concern. Tiles are small and rough. Grout lines are very small also(1/8). DH is most concerned about the grouting. If I do before grout, then I will have to do again after grout to seal grout.

You can seal it before, after, or both. Being that you're DIYing this, I would strongly suggest sealing prior to grouting for the reasons you brought up. However, you can also reseal it all afterward to bring out the color in the grout, as well. One thing about sealing afterward-- make sure the grout has time to dry for atleast 48 hours, and preferrably 72, if you can wait.

Grout with sanded grout?

Absolutely.

DH wonders if a brick is not positioned correctly on the mesh if he should pull it off and position right when thinsetting to make grout lines more even.?

Believe me when I tell you-- especially with slate, if he starts with one, by the time he's done, he will have set that entire backsplash one piece at a time. yes, if one is really cockeyed, then go ahead and straighten it out. But if you look at the sheets, you'll see the pieces are all different sizes, as are the grout joints, many aren't square, they'[re varying thicknesses, etc.-- basically a nightmare for someone with OCD!! As a contractor I did alot of work for years ago used to say, that's the beauty of rustic tile!! :-)

I am planning on using Miracle Seal & enhance, although tile manufa recommend TileLab but I cant find it. Any thoughts?

They'll have Tile Lab at Home Depot. Not one of my favorite brands, but there are some who'll swear by it. Personally I prefer the Miracle product line. IMO, a much better product line.

Is Custom Polyblend grout(from HD) okay or should I try to get some other brand?

That should be fine.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 01.23.2008 at 08:34 am    last updated on: 01.23.2008 at 08:34 am

RE: Show me your mini-brick backsplash... (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: alku05 on 01.14.2008 at 09:33 pm in Kitchens Forum

Our backsplash has performed perfectly behind the range, spaghetti sauce splatters and all. We sealed it with a good stone sealer (miracle 511) and everything just wipes right off. I haven't noticed any etching, but our marble is white and the surface is honed, which is good at hiding etch spots if they do occur.

NOTES:

seal backsplash
clipped on: 01.15.2008 at 12:22 am    last updated on: 01.15.2008 at 12:22 am

Thanksgiving week remodel...part 2

posted by: weedyacres on 12.16.2007 at 02:32 pm in Kitchens Forum

Here's the continuation of this thread on our Thanksgiving week kitchen remodel. It was getting photo-heavy, so hopefully this will be better.

Okay, we're back on track! We had a good workday on Saturday, and knocked off a few lingering projects.
First, we put in the desk area stuff. We took your earlier advice and pulled the upper cabinet away from the back wall by 6", but that added a lot of complexity in fastening it, as it had to be screwed to the side walls. We had to build up about 1.5" on either side, so we did it with plywood and some shaved-down pieces of a pallet. It looked like this:

We got the wall cabinet screwed in, and the desk placed (at counter height), but not fastened yet, because I can't remember how far from the back wall I told the granite guy to go with the counter. So we'll wait to do the final front-to-back positioning until he brings the slabs back.

I still need to add the fillers and the crown to the wall cabinet, but I'm using the filler around the tambour, and need to use it there first, and use the remnants on the desk.

DH worked for 4 hours on the island electrical. We mused, discussed, and brainstormed to figure out what to do on this. We've got decorative panels everywhere, so an outlet in the middle would detract from that. Plug mold (our original idea) would have required one side of the island counter to be a couple inches more overhand, plus it would cover up the top of the decorative doors. So our KD (thanks, Dan!) had this idea:

It's unobtrusive and simple in concept, but to execute my DH not only had to drill the holes in the precise place in the 3/8" plywood skin, but then chisel out a rectangular area behind it, so the outlet could be flush with the outside of the plywood. Whew! We've got one on either side of the center panel, and the entire island is shown here in the finished shot.

I also did the penninsula trim: more plywood, decorative door panels, and corner bead.

We're waiting by the phone with bated breath for our granite guy to call saying they're ready to bring it. They did send us photos of the template, so we know they've got our slabs. Here's one (sorry, don't know how to make it bigger).

And our backordered drawer handles should finally be here on Monday.

BTW, we're starting demo on our powder room, mud room, laundry room/pantry, and hope to finish by the end of the year. I'm posting the play-by-play on the bathroom forum if you want to follow along.

NOTES:

see entire thread
clipped on: 01.13.2008 at 03:12 pm    last updated on: 01.13.2008 at 03:12 pm

RE: Saw the Bluestar firsthand yesterday!! (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: trevorlawson on 01.12.2008 at 08:03 pm in Appliances Forum

ncamy..... Firstly that is the worst looking cooktop i have ever seen, if that was on my shop floor i would be disgusted. The owner of that store should be embarrassed.

How to keep a Bluestar cooktop looking good is easy.

1) washing in a dishwasher or sink when needed. If your dishwasher has a true drying cycle run the full cycle, if not put them back on the range and turn all the burners on for 10 mins until completely dry.

2) when cool apply a very very light coat of peanut oil to the center circle and the bowl ( and i mean light coat).
over a period of time this will season your grates and turn them from gray to black with a slight shine.

We have at least 2000 people per year cook on our range in the store and ours has never ever looked like the one you viewed.

Some posters on the GW know who i am and i am sure they would not mind posting the link to my slide show which shows you a 48" on the shop floor and also a 2 year old bluestar range in our kitchen. once you see this you will know what a shop floor range should look like but more importantly you will see what a Bluestar cooktop looks like after 2 years and 4000 people cooking on it should look like. I would post the link myself but that would contra vein GW rules.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 01.13.2008 at 01:05 am    last updated on: 01.13.2008 at 01:05 am

RE: 9' ceilings and cabinets (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: soonermagic on 01.11.2008 at 05:34 pm in Kitchens Forum

Here's a pic of my kitchen, with 9' celings and cabinets to the ceiling. I wanted a stack of two cabinets with a smaller cabinet on top of a larger one, but my custom cabinet maker said this look would be cleaner. I now believe him.

I also had a built-in hutch/pantry built. Because it is stained and not painted, the cabinet maker did not take it all the way to the ceiling (to avoid having stained and painted crown moldings meeting).

Here are pics of the cabinets to the ceiling and the lower hutch:

Photobucket

Kitchen Pendants

Pantry Hutch

Sorry, not a good picture of the top of the hutch

NOTES:

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clipped on: 01.11.2008 at 10:34 pm    last updated on: 01.11.2008 at 10:34 pm

RE: undercounter microwave (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: alku05 on 01.10.2008 at 09:21 pm in Appliances Forum

Our undercounter microwave is also located in a prominant spot, and we went with the pocket doors:

Open:

Photobucket

Closed:

Photobucket

As long as you have the recommended side and top clearance and keep the doors open during use, no venting is needed. We really like this arrangemnt and would choose it again over the pricy microwave drawer or built-in options.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 01.11.2008 at 01:09 pm    last updated on: 01.11.2008 at 01:09 pm

RE: Bluestar broiler (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: breezy_2 on 01.10.2008 at 10:12 pm in Appliances Forum

Yep! That was our previous experience with the Wolf. Once you get the broiler going, it produces so much heat, it shuts down the burner if you do not keep the door open a bit. I learned this MANY years ago watching my Mom and it holds true today. I use a hot mat doubled and stuck in the side of the oven door to crack the door.

We do steaks occasionally this way and it is just as good as Ruths Chris (if you are familiar with that). A 1 1/2 inch NY strip steak is 5 minutes first side and 4 the next for med rare which is really hot!

NOTES:

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clipped on: 01.11.2008 at 01:05 pm    last updated on: 01.11.2008 at 01:05 pm

Tile fiasco: how concerned should we be?

posted by: teachbls on 01.09.2008 at 05:57 pm in Kitchens Forum

Returned home today to find that the tile backsplash had been placed; looks just beautiful. HOWEVER - on closer inspection, noticed that the first row (these are custom, 3x6 ceramic subways in a gray green/running bond installation) has been placed directly atop the granite counter - with no space for caulk! I just want to cry. Here, we thought we were SO close to being done! Grout to go in tomorrow. Hope someone will advise!

NOTES:

see thread
clipped on: 01.10.2008 at 08:36 am    last updated on: 01.10.2008 at 08:37 am

RE: Filler pullouts ! (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: flatcoat2004 on 01.09.2008 at 10:35 pm in Kitchens Forum

Yep, I originally saw the idea for brooms etc, both here on GW and on the IkeaFans website, I've attached a link. But I kind of dismissed the idea, since the fridge is up against the wall of a framed-in closet that I will use for brooms, mops etc.

What I *DO* need, however, is storage for small stuff like keys, leashes, collars, pens, scissors, tape, doggie cleanup bags etc. And it wasn't until I saw the picture on the RevAShelf website that I realised that this dead space could be used for this purpose. I would prefer two separate ones I think. I know the clever folks at IkeaFans build their own, but not really an option here. I think I saw them at about $180 each earlier today, so I suspect it's cost-effective for me just to buy them pre-made.

Here are some of the pictures that made me go "hmmmmmm .... !"



Here is a link that might be useful: IkeaFans pullout broom closet

NOTES:

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clipped on: 01.10.2008 at 08:25 am    last updated on: 01.10.2008 at 08:26 am

RE: Blanco Silgranit Sink - Biscuit Owners Please (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: needanap on 01.09.2008 at 10:53 pm in Kitchens Forum

I have biscuit on my prep sink,so it doesn't get much action from pots and pans. But that said, there have been no problems whatsoever. This stuff seems to be incredibly durable - scratch and stain resistant, and easy to clean. I like it better than my stainless main sink, which scratches and shows water spots, and never really looks clean, unless I've just wiped it out. The silgranite in biscuit, on the other hand, always looks spotless. Never shows a thing. It's great!

NOTES:

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clipped on: 01.10.2008 at 08:20 am    last updated on: 01.10.2008 at 08:20 am

RE: Do soap dispensers really work? - are they worth it? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: lily1342 on 12.08.2007 at 02:09 am in Kitchens Forum

I never had a soap dispenser before having one installed last summer. I got it same time I bought my sink (both Kohler). So far, it hasn't gotten clogged up or made any messes at all, and I use it several times a day. I'd say it's definitely worth drilling an extra hole for. I do use it with the Never MT. If I didn't have the Never MT, it might be a bit of a hassle and more mess-prone to refill the dispenser when it runs out of soap. I really like not having a bottle of dish soap on the counter or windowsill.

NOTES:

NEVER MT for soap dispenser - both hand soap and dish soap
clipped on: 01.10.2008 at 08:18 am    last updated on: 01.10.2008 at 08:18 am

RE: Height of base cabinets with Blue Star Range (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: cloud_swift on 01.08.2008 at 11:53 am in Kitchens Forum

You are fine - the installation manual (see page 7 of the pdf) says that the top of the side trim needs to be at least 11/16 of an inch above the counter top and maximum counter top height above the floor is 36". The top of the side trim slopes in a bit so if the counter next to it is too high there will be a gap between the counter top edge and the side trim.

Having the top of the range a bit above the counter like this keeps the counter top from getting too hot when you have an over-sized pot on the burner. I have a 16" wok and a really big saute pan - both overlap the edge of the range top a little when in use and the counter top stays at a comfortable temp.

The people who have been having problems have slide in type ranges where the range top is intended to be flush with the counter top.

Happy cooking - we have the Bluestar cooktop and love it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Installation manual

NOTES:

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clipped on: 01.08.2008 at 05:08 pm    last updated on: 01.08.2008 at 05:08 pm

Counters 35 3/4 in high instead of 36!

posted by: mmks on 01.07.2008 at 12:27 pm in Kitchens Forum

This wouldn't seem like such a big deal except my slide in range doesn't fit tightly with the counter when down as far as we can get it. The builder built a base to the cabinets instead of using legs that came with them. We have Cambria countertops, should they have put something in to raise the tops?

NOTES:

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clipped on: 01.08.2008 at 12:26 am    last updated on: 01.08.2008 at 12:26 am

RE: Appliance Garage (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: holligator on 01.06.2008 at 10:20 pm in Kitchens Forum

My favorite "appliance garage" (just in case you haven't seen it) is julie7549's. I wonder if you could make a cabinet like this one so you don't need the slide out? Here it is closed and open:

And here's the whole thread with other pics of her gorgeous kitchen: julie7549's gorgeous kitchen

NOTES:

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clipped on: 01.08.2008 at 12:15 am    last updated on: 01.08.2008 at 12:15 am

RE: We are done!! (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: julie7549 on 10.02.2007 at 03:00 am in Kitchens Forum

Ok, I'm finally starting to figure out this picture posting stuff! Here are some more:


NOTES:

message board and island
clipped on: 01.08.2008 at 12:14 am    last updated on: 01.08.2008 at 12:14 am

RE: Quartz counter tops (Follow-Up #22)

posted by: azstoneconsulting on 01.06.2008 at 10:15 am in Kitchens Forum

Doberman-

To answer your question -
In MY Opinion, All Engineerd Stone Products are pretty
much equal. They are ALL made on the same equipment processing line as sold by Breton.

REGARDLESS of what sales people tell you, EVERY manufacturer
of Engineered Stone (aka "Quartz")....
uses a Breton manufacturing line to produce their specific
product - be it Zodiaq, Silestone, Cambria, Hahnstone, Technistone, etc - the only variation is in color and texture of color for each "brand" of Quartz.

When I work with my customers and they ask the same question you did, I use the "Milkshake Analogy":

It's kind of like going to a McDonald's in Tampa and ordering a Chocolate Shake,
then, going to a McDonalds
in Seatle and ordering a Strawberry Shake...
same Milkshake,
made on the same "manufacturer's" milk shake machine,
just a different flavor... Make Sense?

"Is there anything more durable that Quartz?" Well, yes there
are other products that you could look at: Granite will not
melt or burn (yes, I have video of a piece of Engineered Stone litterally
burning - ie; on fire, lit up like a candle...) it will be on my new website - www.naturalstone101.com very soon.

Solid Surface can be repaired in many cases, and so can Granite. Lots of products will work well for you.

To answer the most important question of "What will be the
best product to choose for YOU - you need to identify exactly
what you expect the product to do for you. Analyze (sp?)
each option and narrow down to a top three, then to the one
that turns you on the mostest... the bestest ;-)

Follow your heart, but use your head and keep on asking questions - there's lots of good products that will work for you in this project - Quartz, Natural Stone, Solid Surface, etc... you just have to identify which one will satisfy YOUR needs and desires BEST...

hope that helps

kevin

Kevin M. Padden MIA SFA
Fabricator, Trainer & Consultant to theNatural Stone Industry
www.azschoolofrock.com

NOTES:

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clipped on: 01.06.2008 at 07:06 pm    last updated on: 01.06.2008 at 07:06 pm

Kitchen Done! Somersby and more, PICS

posted by: tuckturn on 01.05.2008 at 12:45 am in Kitchens Forum

Several months ago I asked for help on deciding on cabinets (Medallian vs. Somersby) and thanks for all of you whose gave me advices and comments. Now we have finally finished our kichen, and we are very very happy about it! (we did everything ourself except the granite, that's why it took so long).

Here what we got in the kithcen:

-Somersby cabinet, cherry "nutmag" finish Lia door style;
-"Verde Marinace" granite;
-Bolivian rosewood floor;
-Thermador 36" Harmony Pro all gas range w/ griddle;
-Thermador 42" PH hood with 1400cfm remote blower;
-Jenn Air diswasher;
-Sharp over-the-counter microwave;
-KitchenAid warming drawer;
-Magic Chef 24" wine cooler
...
(we dicided to replace our 7 year old white Kenmore fridge later)

Here are the pictures:

Before:
Photobucket

After:
Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

NOTES:

VERY NICE BACKSPLASH !!!!
clipped on: 01.06.2008 at 06:23 pm    last updated on: 01.06.2008 at 06:24 pm

What do you think of your blind corner swingout?

posted by: susan_2008 on 01.05.2008 at 03:48 pm in Kitchens Forum

I'm just at the initial planning stages of my kitchen. I have three blind corners. I have not had very good luck with Lazy Susan's (stuff seems to fall off the back never to be seen again). I'm wondering how people like those swing outs.

Thanks
Susan

NOTES:

see entire thread
clipped on: 01.06.2008 at 06:21 pm    last updated on: 01.06.2008 at 06:21 pm

RE: 3 questions on faucets (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: native_tx on 01.06.2008 at 04:39 pm in Kitchens Forum

I, too, have seen ceramic disc cartridges and all brass construction described as the best. I think these construction materials just hold up better to minerals in water.

Concerning height, I have installed both a low profile faucet in my prep sink and a tall faucet in my main sink. I'm not sure there is an "optimum" height, more a matter of personal preference. My low profile faucet has about 12" clearance above my prep sink. My tall faucet has 20" clearance above the 6" deep small sink and almost 24" clearance above the 10" deep large sink.

I have found that the tall faucet splashes quite a bit when hand-washing items under the water stream, while the low profile faucet is much less messy. OTOH, my water pressure is not the best and the tall faucet produces much better water pressure with the longer drop to the sink bottom, which I LOVE! Some people report being bothered by the splashing from the tall faucets, but others, including me, don't really mind. And the tall faucet is easier to use for filling and washing tall and large pots, although with the pullout style, that's not a huge issue.

NOTES:

ceramic disk / all brass construction faucets to stop leaking
clipped on: 01.06.2008 at 06:17 pm    last updated on: 01.06.2008 at 06:18 pm

Natural stone primer/ granite 101 by stonegirl

posted by: mary_in_nc on 11.04.2007 at 09:22 pm in Kitchens Forum

Found this through google search- apparently this was a previous thread in KF by Stonegirl. Felt it worth repeating.
///////////////////////////////////////////////

Hi folks -

This is a little article I wrote on another forum and in reply to a few questions regarding the selection of natural stone and stone fabricators.

In an industry that has no set standards, there are a lot of 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

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, 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 got done at the plant where the slabs were finished and is to add 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.

On 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 nother can of worms.

On 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 does not require sealer - be they resined or not. Baltic Brown would be an example here. It will not absorb one iota of anything, but gets resined to eliminate a flaking issue.

Now for some pointers on recognizing good craftsmanship and quality fabricators:

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!

A generic good quality seam should have the following characteristics:

- It should be flat. According to the 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 close 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 close 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 an make the seam "disappear" or something relatively close to it

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.

Among the things the fabricator needs to look at when deciding on the seam placement are:

- 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 impact seam placement here alone.

- Placement and size of undermount (or other) cut-outs. Some fabricators like to put seams in undermount sinks, some don't. 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 -

- Installability 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 a 1001 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 was done well, there would be - 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.

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.

Like I said earlier - 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.

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 mechanised fabrication (i.e. CNC macines or line polishers) and no skilled hand fabricators to finish the work properly.

We have seen some terrible edges in jobs done by our competitors.

Do your research and look at actual kitchens. Talk to clients and ask them about the fabricator. Most good fabricators will not hesitate to supply the names and numbers of clients willing to provide referrals. Do your homework.

Regards,
Adriana

NOTES:

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clipped on: 01.06.2008 at 06:13 pm    last updated on: 01.06.2008 at 06:13 pm

RE: Sink Strainers for New Sink (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: native_tx on 01.06.2008 at 04:09 pm in Kitchens Forum

I ordered Mountain Plumbing strainers for my Blanco sinks (1 Blancowave and 1 Blancosupreme). The quality is very good and they are much less than your price for the Kohler. Plus they come in 18 finishes. I was told by the plumbing showroom this is the only brand I could get with a matching strainer for my disposers. Paid $33.75 for basic strainer and $45 for disposer flange with matching strainer, both in brushed nickel. Prices went up late last year, though. (Link below is for basic strainer. Disposer models are MT200 or MT201, depending on model of your disposer.)

Concerning finish, the rule of thumb I have heard is for the strainer to match either the sink or the faucet. I chose the brushed nickel to match my Danze faucets. alku05 is correct, this finish is easily damaged by cleansers (ask me how I know!). If I could order again, I would choose the stainless finish to match the sink, although I'm not certain it would be more durable. There is some sort of clear coating on the brushed nickel finish, sort of like a polyurethane coating, that starts peeling off if damaged.

OTOH, as you will see many places on this blog, do get what you like and want and don't worry about what others think!

Here is a link that might be useful: Mountain Plumbing sink strainer

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clipped on: 01.06.2008 at 06:02 pm    last updated on: 01.06.2008 at 06:02 pm

show me your faucet set up with undermount sinks.

posted by: sanborn5 on 09.18.2007 at 11:19 am in Kitchens Forum

I am installing granite in my kitchen with a 1 3/4 undermount SS sink. I have a faucet, lever, sprayer, and an airswitch. I have heard horror stories of where the granite installers cut out the holes, I want that control. But have never done this before so, I would love to know or see where you have yours. I did see a sink on a granite web site that had the faucet, lever, sprayer on the right side of the sink (all in back of the 3/4 sink) and they had a soap or hot water dispenser on the left corner of the larger sink. Would that be a good place for the airswitch or would it be too far for the wiring underneath? The garb disp is going on the right in the 3/4 sink. Thanks,

NOTES:

SEE ENTIRE THREAD
clipped on: 01.06.2008 at 03:16 am    last updated on: 01.06.2008 at 03:16 am

Granite or Silestone?????

posted by: nowwhat_2007 on 10.28.2007 at 10:59 pm in Kitchens Forum

We are in the beginning stages of a kitchen redo. Looking at either granite or silestone counter tops. I've been reading this forum for a while and want to say thanks for all the advice and GREAT pictures.

Now.....help me decide between granite and silestone. I've read all the manufacturers info, but want the real scoop from those of you in the know. Those of you who are living with these counter day in and day out.

I'd like your opinions, thoughts, suggestions, any information that will help us make the best choice.

I'll start out by asking a question...I've read about Silestone pitting....what is your experience with this.

Thanks

NOTES:

READ THIS WHOLE THREAD !!!!!!!!!!
clipped on: 01.06.2008 at 02:57 am    last updated on: 01.06.2008 at 02:57 am

RE: Does anyone have a white silgranite anthrasite sink? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: sue_ct on 11.29.2007 at 02:45 am in Kitchens Forum

Thanks, no wonder I trouble finding them. I saw so many references to anthracite sinks, I didn't realize that was the name of the color rather than the material. I guess it is silgranite sinks I am asking about, and so far I have found blanco that come in black (antracite), metallic gray, biscut and white. I do believe there might be one in a brown color that I saw but I am not sure and can't find it again. Maybe not, it might have been swanstone, which I don't want. Anyway, any comments or photos of the lighter colors or photos of the black with the light counters would help. If I am not going to go with the free ss sink included, or the upgrade to the black silgranite, I need to figure in that cost. They do not offer the other colors with the purchase of the counter top so I would have to get my own.

Sue

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clipped on: 01.06.2008 at 02:43 am    last updated on: 01.06.2008 at 02:43 am

RE: Does anyone have a white silgranite anthrasite sink? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: mondragon on 11.29.2007 at 06:40 am in Kitchens Forum

I've seen photos of dark/anthracite silgranit sinks with light colored counters and they looked great.

You can search through the finished kitchens blog find-a-kitchen list for "silgranit" and then look at the photos. Keriwest has them but there aren't really any good pictures. Manicotti has grey sinks with white countertops.

I know I've seen other photos here besides those.

I have a white silgranit and while I like it, the upkeep to keep it white is pretty high. I don't hear anything like th e same complaints from the colored sinks.

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clipped on: 01.06.2008 at 02:42 am    last updated on: 01.06.2008 at 02:43 am

RE: Granite choices (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: ntt_hou on 11.08.2007 at 03:32 pm in Kitchens Forum

I can only speak from my experience...

Some granite fabricators have showrooms. I suggest you go there to give some basic idea with what you want. Then, narrow down to your choice of color and desired thickness (2cm=3/4" and 3cm=1-1/8" although some are 1-1/4").

Next, using google search and type in Granite. Go to these websites and go to your color choice and look up some of these granites and their names. Remember, shades and design may varies some, that's why at the end you'd still need to go to a granite yard to chose the slabs.

Next, educate yourself about granite by research on this website. Some experts had given lots of information on granite. One such wonderful and thoughtful person is Stonegirl. Do a search on her and you'd find tons of information about granite. Not all granite are the same; so, you'd want to know which has low maintenance and which has high maintenance.

Visit some of the granite yards in your area. Although, most don't deal (selling) with you directly, they do welcome you. After all, you're the one that will make the final decision of which granite to purchase. Most fabricators have their favorite granite vendors but would still do business with your choice of granite seller (yard).

It took me almost 3 months visiting different granite yards in town before finding the one I like and that would fit my budget.

Some tips:
1. Always bring a camera with you and take as many photos as you can. They will help you to make choices afterwards.
2. Bring a backsplash tile and/or a cabinet door, or whatever to help you see how well it goes with the granite.
3. Bring a sample of the granite home if you can for testing. Sometimes, you can't and that's when the photos are good to have.
4. Ask as many questions as you can with the granite yard salesperson.
5. Avoid having any granite fabricator coming along with you until you made a final decision. They may steer you to chose something that you may not like. But, they're helpful to help you chosing a good quality slab once you made your choice of which granite to go with.
6. For quality, avoid if possible granite from China (all) and India (most but not all). Stick with Italian and Brazilian if you can.

Remember, stick with your color and granite thickness to avoid getting overwhelmed with choices.

Good Luck and mostly, have lots of fun!

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clipped on: 01.06.2008 at 02:13 am    last updated on: 01.06.2008 at 02:13 am

RE: What is wrong with granite guys? (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: azstoneconsulting on 12.06.2007 at 07:49 am in Kitchens Forum

minnt:

I feel your pain... and I have to comend you
for your attitude in the face of the crap you are
being put through
(I think you said "and I will have to deal with this with kindness")
most people just flip out
when their projects get to this point - so you are
really showing some class when it comes to dealing with
these guys.

As a Fabricator, I can tell you that this situation
can have a good outcome, but it sounds like you may need
to "baby sit" your contractor
(unfortunately, you should NOT have to do that)

At AZ School of Rock, we teach guys that
are new to the industry how to avoid getting into these kinds
of scenarios with their customers - by doing things the
right way and planning ahead, and using proper documentation to
eliminate these kinds of problems before they happen.
We have a lot of specialized forms that we incorporate into
every porject -
JUST SO stuff like what you are going through will NOT happen

Question - what kind of documentation - drawings that
specifically called out how much overhang and where
your expensive/antique corbles were to go? Was the contractor
made aware of this? did he/she know how important this was to you?

If the answer is Yes,
and there is a drawing that clearly indicates what ALL of the dimensions are -
cabinet depths, corbel dimensions, overall countertop dimensions
showing the overhang AND the corbels - all with dimensions-
IF this is the case - your contractor does not have any
excuses. On the other hand, if everything was done
verbally and with a handshake, you are going to have a
much more difficult time getting a resolution - that is,
unless the Fabricator has a sense of fair play, and really
IS interested in making you happy and doing the right thing.
There are guys like that aound, and hopefully, your Fabricator
is one of the "good guys" although
it sounds like he's started off this dance
"with a limp on one foot and the other foot asleep"....

Most mistakes are honest ones - the rest are dumb ones -

I'd give them an honest chance to fix their mistakes,
and once again....
make sure they know how important this project
and it's outcome is to you.

like someone else said - DO NOT PAY THE BALANCE until
YOU are satisfied. Money talks....

hope this helps you - keep your good attitutde going
it could be one of the best things to help turn this lemon
into lemonade!!!

kevin

Kevin M. Padden MIA SFA
Fabricator, Trainer & Consultant to the Natural Stone Industry
www.azschoolofrock.com

Here is a link that might be useful: AZ School of Rock

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clipped on: 01.06.2008 at 02:03 am    last updated on: 01.06.2008 at 02:03 am

RE: What is wrong with granite guys? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: pharaoh on 12.05.2007 at 07:58 pm in Kitchens Forum

Sorry to hear that. It would make me seething mad to have expensive stone manhandled, miscut, etc.

I know I sound like a broken record (ipod?) but here are my tips -

1. be present during templating
2. be present in the shop when they apply the templates to the stone for cutting.
3. be present for installation

I think spending three days supervising is worth avoiding the agony that seems to be so common in this business...

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clipped on: 01.06.2008 at 01:37 am    last updated on: 01.06.2008 at 01:38 am

RE: Quartz counter tops (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: brunosonio on 01.05.2008 at 02:18 am in Kitchens Forum

We have Cambria also, picked them because of the more natural look of the Quarry series. Larger chunks, more irregularity and randomness.

Most people don't realize it's not real stone or granite, and the maintenance is a breeze...spray with blue Windex, wipe down with a clean cloth, and it's like new.

NOTES:

Cambria quartz manufacturer - natural series - check it out
clipped on: 01.06.2008 at 01:27 am    last updated on: 01.06.2008 at 01:27 am

RE: Proposed FAQ-Countertop Material Choices (Follow-Up #23)

posted by: carpentershop on 08.05.2007 at 03:34 pm in Kitchens Forum

cpoovey,
Solid surface veneer is still around. Some Wilsonart fabricators will still sell it for vanities and there are new versions that pop up every year at the KBIS show, the builders or AWF or Surfaces show.

Granite Transformations is a very thin quartz/engineered stone veneer that is glued down on top of existing countertops. It has expansion issues with other materials, so is likely to crack if glued down on the wrong material. They glue it to formica, wood, plywood, tile, almost anything without regard to the substrates expansion ratio and whether or not it is the same as the quartz expansion ratio.

A good example is concrete and rebar, which work well be cause they have very close co-efficent of expansion rates. Another expample of this issue is a barometer, two dissimular woods strips glued together, which bends the barometer to show the humidity level because of the different co-efficents of expansion rates of the two woods.

On having people not associated with the materials write these examples, I have questions. I see the need to keep a stone seller from writing about the stone, but he will do a poor job writing about a material he has no experience with and has prejudice against since he competes with it.

I sell and fabricate all of them and feel that having the practical knowledge and experience is crucial to having a unbiased opinion. Having a homeowner write about "their" granite will also skew the article from exposure to only one type of granite and little practical experience.

What about taking the granite write ups from granite guys, then making them defend their statements? Make them write them consistent ot the Marble Institute care and cleaning info, which will solve 90% of the mis information.

To show the issues in writing this primer on materials without practical experience, I am going to point out the problems with your quartz example. No offense, I usually agree with your advice and consider you unbiased. Problem comes up when people don't know what they don't know...

Not all engineered stone is quartz based, why I recomended a separate catagory for E-stone. Some is marble based (calcite) which must be cleaned differently and acid foods kept off it. Some doesn't use quartz, it uses ground up granite which is composed of quartz, feildspar and mica amoung other minerals. It performs radically different than pure quartz which is probally unobtainable.

The ratio of quartz to binder is around 93 to 97% by weight, which means it is closer to 65% by volume. That is important because the quartz portion will stain and the polyester portion will scratch. When it first came out, the brands chose to market as scratch proof, heat proof, and stain proof. They later ran ads in Kitchen and Bath Jounals saying it was not heat, stain and scratch proof and all major brands mention to use trivets, not cut on it, and most have exculsions on staining. Also, they call them heat, stain and scratch resistant, far cry from proof. They do not warranty heat, stains or scratches either, which is the proof of the pudding in my book for their marketing claims.

It is less porous than granite, but the quartz portion will stain to some extent, thus their warnings on some household products. I can post a link to their lititure, but it is on my website and I belive it is a no no to link to my site. I will get it posted somewhere else and link to it later.

Some brands warn to use Ph neutral cleaners, WIndex and 409 are not recomended, in fact they are warned about.

Not all quartz is NSF51 certified, only some brands. This is very important to point out.

It does indeed harbor bacteria, in the quartz voids and crevices. Quartz will shrink as much as 50% as it cools, which is why granite is so porous. Also, all materials will harbor bacteria in the polishing crevices and scratches. Even solid surface has these scratches, most is polished at 60 micron, some at 30 micron, some high polished tops go to 15 micron before buffing with compounds begins. Bacteria can be as small as .05 micron, from 30 to 120 times smaller than the peaks and valleys left by the polishing process.

Plus, you have the seams and undermount sinks, as well as the set on splashes on the quartz, all places for bacteria to hide and thrive.

It is not heat resistant, anything over 175 degees will damage the solid surface portion of the product, as well as causing quartz "pops" when the quartz grains heat up, expand and pop out of the matrix. You must use a trivet for electic skillets, crock pots, and hot cookware to keep the product looking good.

It would be better if all products were described as not being heat, stain and scratch resistant, but some are more stain, heat and scratch resistant than others. Perhaps a rating from one to ten would work. Scratch that for granite because of the differnet materials available, quartz as well performs differently.

The edge designs are the same as granite, not a large variety at all when you compare it to wood or solid surface.

Add pooling issues and yellowing of the polyester resins over time to the disadvantages.

I am a stickler for accuracy and can provide links proving all of this from stone sites, quartz brands sites and countertop material sites to back it all up.

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clipped on: 01.05.2008 at 07:38 pm    last updated on: 01.05.2008 at 07:38 pm

RE: Full granite backsplash vs 'something else'... (Follow-Up #30)

posted by: shezzy_in_sj on 11.17.2007 at 01:06 pm in Kitchens Forum

I actually love full BS, because once I fall in love with a granite, I love to see it upright. Especially the ones with movement.

We chose a dark granite, Emerald Pearl. But with our situation I really have only one wall that was going to get any backsplash: behind the range. So having the dark granite as the backsplash wasn't overwhelming.

We got creative and had the fabricator hand chisel a slab in a mountain profile (some people see a wave, some people see the curve of a woman's body - whatever floats your boat I say).

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I had always loved hand chiseled counter edges. LOVE them. But 1.) way too expensive, and 2.) being out on the west coast where we only get laminated edges, it wasn't going to work. But we were able to get the hand chiseled edge on the backsplash and it's just so appropriate.

The reason why I love the hand chisel is that the roughness reminds me, and others, that this beautiful material is actually rock, actually comes from a mountain, and not man-made. We found it important to remember "from whence" our granite came.

Oh, btw, we made the mirrors: they are the sun (or moon) and stars setting behind the mountain.

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clipped on: 01.05.2008 at 07:30 pm    last updated on: 01.05.2008 at 07:30 pm

RE: Full granite backsplash vs 'something else'... (Follow-Up #18)

posted by: susan4664 on 11.16.2007 at 12:17 pm in Kitchens Forum

I had a difficult time with this decision as well. KD tried to talk me into full backsplash, and I might have been inclined to do it if I had chosen a light granite. I went with a dark granite and I didn't want that dark reflective look when I entered the kitchen. We went with a tumbled marble to give some contrast to the dark cabinet and countertop and we love it. People often comment on the backsplash. Here is a picture.

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clipped on: 01.05.2008 at 07:27 pm    last updated on: 01.05.2008 at 07:27 pm

RE: Best prices on quartz countertops? (Follow-Up #15)

posted by: brunosonio on 11.20.2007 at 11:42 pm in Kitchens Forum

We could have gotten Cambria quartz from our Seattle Costco, but went with a builder supply wholesale contractor store instead. The prices were almost identical, but I already was buying so much from the supply house, I decided to give them the quartz business as well.

Costco only contracts with your local distributor. In the case of Cambria in Seattle, only one distributor exists, and everyone buys from the same company, from builder supply, to Costco, to Home Depot, to kitchen designers. It's whoever can negotiate the lowest deal.

I was accidentally sent all of the prices by the distributor for the 5 places I went to to get bids. I could see Costco and the builder supply were the lowest. The kitchen designers were about 4K higher!

Shows you how much profit they put into their price points.

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clipped on: 01.05.2008 at 07:15 pm    last updated on: 01.05.2008 at 07:15 pm

RE: Best prices on quartz countertops? (Follow-Up #14)

posted by: sue_ct on 11.20.2007 at 05:29 pm in Kitchens Forum

Zodiac from costco in my area, which is out of the Boston area, is 57.00 or 77.00 per sq ft depending on color. Granite from Costco is 51.00 or 67.00 per square foot. They only have granites with little movement because they are not set up to allow you to pick your own slab. Which just about rules out my getting granite from them, I think. Maybe if I was getting Uba Tuba or Black Galaxy or something else with not a huge amt of variation, but I am not. They charge 200.00 for the sink cut out but none for faucet holes or a slide in range. Although in the case of a slide in range you are paying for about 9 sq ft of counter top to get the 3" run behind the stove.

Sue

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clipped on: 01.05.2008 at 07:14 pm    last updated on: 01.05.2008 at 07:15 pm

RE: Best prices on quartz countertops? (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: sue_ct on 11.18.2007 at 08:35 pm in Kitchens Forum

Costco has quartz in the sense that it contracts with someone to provide it to its customers and pays the installer when the customer is satisfied, acting as a customer advocate. Costco does not have quartz in the store itself, so a trip there would probably not yield much info anyway. Look at Zodiac, which is the brand I believe you can get through Costco. If you find a color you really like, get a price locally and then call Costco. They could not even give a price at my local Costco, I had to call a number on the pamphlet and a representative got back to me. I was able to get them to give me general prices per square foot for granite and quartz over the phone, and if I find those again I will let you know. Then you will have a better idea if it would be worth joining just for the counters.

Sue

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clipped on: 01.05.2008 at 07:14 pm    last updated on: 01.05.2008 at 07:14 pm

RE: Best prices on quartz countertops? (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: brunosonio on 11.18.2007 at 11:32 am in Kitchens Forum

Check out your local Costco...many of them now carry quartz countertops and the prices are rock-bottom. Also look for builder supply companies in your area...you may need a contractor's license or know of a contractor who will lend you their name/number. You can get them for 20-50% off retail that way.

And quartz is very difficult to template, cut, and install. Make sure you get a reputable dealer. If you buy from Costco, they will supply the fabricator, it's part of the price.

And don't be afraid to shop around and let the various vendors know the lowest prices you can get. Go to 3-5 different vendors and see how low they will go by playing them off each other.

The problem with quartz right now is that it's the most popular material in upscale markets...it used to be cheaper than granite, but now it's more expensive.

You can also reduce the price by going with a simple square beveled edge. And sometimes you can ask for a 2cm instead of 3cm thickness, that shaves a few more bucks off, but in my mind doesn't look as nice, especially if you have a square edge.

And remember...the more cuts or holes they have to do, the more expensive it will be. So minimize your sink cutouts, faucet holes, air switches, and soap dispenser holes. They can be up to $200/hole, because it's so difficult to drill thru the quartz.

We had to add one more hole for an airswitch, and they did it in place. They had to build a little dam of cardboard around the area, fill it with water, then it took the poor guy about 20 minutes to drill the hole. It got so hot it burned the wood support on the top of the base cabinet...you could smell the burning wood.

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clipped on: 01.05.2008 at 07:11 pm    last updated on: 01.05.2008 at 07:11 pm

RE: Can I see your message centers? (Follow-Up #14)

posted by: saskatchewan_girl on 11.12.2007 at 06:59 pm in Kitchens Forum

This idea isn't mine but something I found long ago while "googling". This would work if you have limited space.

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clipped on: 01.01.2008 at 06:26 pm    last updated on: 01.01.2008 at 06:26 pm

RE: Is Miracle 511 impregnator sealer good? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: azstoneconsulting on 12.06.2007 at 11:32 pm in Kitchens Forum

I SWEAR by 511 Porous Plus.
I have used ut since the early 1990's.
Mircale Sealants is one of our Industry Partners
at AZ School of Rock, where we train people that
are learning to be Fabricators of Natural & Engineered
Stone.
I have used 511 Porous Plus in my own home, as well
as on ALL of my customer's projects...

511 is a great product!!!

hope that helps ya

kevin

Kevin M. Padden MIA SFA
Fabricator, Trainer & Consultant to the Natural Stone Industry
www.azschoolofrock.com

Here is a link that might be useful: AZ School of Rock

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clipped on: 01.01.2008 at 01:42 am    last updated on: 01.01.2008 at 01:42 am

RE: BlueStar Range/Counter depth (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: breezy_2 on 12.01.2007 at 02:36 pm in Appliances Forum

OK, here goes, I have never done this but have been promising to.

This is early rough in stages but its hard to see the outset:

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Finished product. The large verticle appliances pulls on either side are spice rack drawers.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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clipped on: 12.28.2007 at 09:05 pm    last updated on: 12.31.2007 at 10:22 pm

RE: your granite name (Follow-Up #18)

posted by: kitchendetective on 10.10.2007 at 04:00 pm in Kitchens Forum

Brazilian Juparana Bordeaux.

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clipped on: 12.31.2007 at 07:26 pm    last updated on: 12.31.2007 at 07:26 pm

Range Hood FAQ + personal notes (updated 10/31/2007)

posted by: bob_thompson67 on 10.31.2007 at 11:44 am in Appliances Forum

During my process of selecting a range hood (which took quite a lot of time & energy), I've come across a Range Hood FAQ on this forum, which was very helpful (thanks to Rick Auricchio for the original info, and "hardwarehack" for the repost). However, in my months of searching for THE perfect range hood, I've gained some wisdom that I would like to share with you folks. Hope this information helps someone to find the right range hood!

------------------------------------------------------------
This is an update on the previous FAQ - original text in plaintext, my comments/disagreements in bold.
------------------------------------------------------------

Noise: A sone is a measure of sound level used by appliance manufacturers. One sone is roughly equivalent to the noise level of a refrigerator. Fewer is better. Two things make up the noise in a hood: the greater component is the airflow, which makes noise whenever it must change direction. This happens in the filters, around the blower blades, and in the ductwork. The minor component is motor hum. Thus an external blower will not appreciably cut the noise level: you still have all the airflow.

Have to disagree strongly on that one. Motor hum is not a minor source of noise - plenty of cheaper models out there use motors mounted directly to the body of the hood, in essence turning it into a giant speaker.
High-end Italian manufacturers, like Futuro Futuro, use a sound-absorbing motor chamber, which brings the total noise down to a much lower level - 1.0 or even 0.5 sones. Compare this with the TEN SONE rating I've seen on some cheap models (won't insult anyone by name here), and you can see that good engineering CAN make a difference - up to 20x difference, sometimes!
Besides which, the type of ventilation impeller can make a difference - fan-type impellers create a lot more turbulence than squirrel-cage (side-mount, or "tangential") impellers. Once again, the higher-end manufacturers (Miele, Futuro Futuro) use side-mount impellers. Less turbulence, less noise, happier customers.
Overall, if noise is a concern for you, look for models that have 1.) Side-mount (or "tangential") blowers, and 2.) Some sort of motor mount that reduces noise, by aural baffles and/or preventing contact between the motor and the hood body.

Ducting: The terms ducted and vented appear to mean the same thing, that the air is carried outdoors. A hood that recirculates air back to the room will not remove moisture, heat, or some odors, making it of little use when compared to a hood that vents to the outdoors.
You should always check the manufacturer's specs to ensure that you install ductwork of the proper size. (An oversized duct is generally not a problem, but an undersized one will severely limit airflow.) In many cases, you can install a transition to convert the round duct exit on the hood to a rectangular duct that will fit inside a wall between the studs.
Airflow is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM), where larger numbers mean more air movement. The rule-of-thumb suggests 10CFM per 1000BTU of burner capacity. Thus, for a 60K-BTU cooktop (4 x 15K), you should have a 600CFM hood. Since you rarely, if ever, have all burners on full at once, you have excess capacity that can be used when you really need it. Most hoods have variable-speed controls, which allow you to choose the airflow---and noise level---appropriate to the task.

Agree 110% with the idea of having excess capacity - if your range hood has enough power to handle its duties at the lowest speed, it will generate less noise.
If you have an indoor char-grill, however, you should double the CFM rating, because grills generate a lot of smoke.

If you have an indoor char-grill, you have to understand that even doubling the CFM won't be enough. (That's besides the question of where are you going to find a 1200-1400 CFM residential range hood?) Grills are the bane of range hoods. Even heavy-duty commercial range hoods don't get rid of all the odors coming from a grill. Ever been in a hibachi house? Noticed the monstrous ventilation systems that they have? Still could smell the meat cooking from the dining room? Exactly.

During my research process, I've called quite a few manufacturers, asking about the best solution (money issues aside) for my 48" Wolf range with a grill. The honest ones told me there's nothing that will be 100% effective for the grill, with different explanations. One guy recommended an add-on backsplash-mount high-speed exhaust with intake out near the grill; Futuro Futuro's advice was their 48" Master wall unit, which has 4 additional filter panels that come closer to the cooktop; and so on, and so on. Not one manufacturer said that, yes, their range hood will be 100% effective in removing the air pollution generated by a grill - and these were high-end manufacturers!

Hood size: If possible, the hood should extend three inches to each side of the range; a 36" range should get a 42" hood. This overhang allows for better capture of the smoke, which spreads as it rises. Typical mounting height for a hood is 30" above the cooktop; if you mount the hood higher, you should definitely use an oversized hood. Island hoods are generally specified with an overhang, because the airflow patterns around the island tend to blow the smoke around where it can miss the hood.

Well-designed (read: real Italian, not "Italian style") range hoods can be an exact match for the size of the cooktop, without any overhangs. The reason is simple: even if smoke/odor drifts toward the side, the [cone-shaped] airflow stream catches it & brings it into the filters. Of course, this requires a powerful hood - Miele DA5190 (625 CFM), any Futuro Futuro (all 800-940 CFM), and so on. Basically, stay away from cheap (300-500 CFM) hoods, and you won't have to worry about overhangs and other space issues.
Besides, the selection of 36" and 48" models outweighs the other sizes among most manufacturers. As an example, let's look at the selection of wall-mount units from Thermador, Futuro Futuro, and Miele (my personal top 3):

Thermador - 5x 36", 2x 42", 2x 48" models.
Futuro Futuro - 32x 36", 6x 48", 6x various other sizes.
Miele - 6x 36", 2x 42", 2x 48" models.

Also, whomever you choose to buy from, make sure to ask about the recommended installation height for their models - most will be within the 28" to 34" margin, but it does vary. One size does not fit all.

Filters: The most common filter is the metal mesh filter, which looks like a cross between a screen and a scouring pad. This filter effectively traps grease, but cleaning requires a little effort. Many filters can be cleaned in the dishwasher, but you often need to find room to fit them in with a normal load. If you forget to plan the dish load to accommodate the filters, it's easy to defer cleaning for too long a period.
Baffle filters are metal plates with slots that cause the air to change direction as it passes through the slots. These are quieter than mesh filters, and cleaning them is easier. Grease typically drains into a trough or cup, which must be emptied and cleaned.

Personally, I don't like the idea of having a "grease cup" anywhere in my kitchen. That's gross. But that's just me ;)
Can't see baffle filters being quieter, either, since air changing direction causes turbulence, which in turn causes noise. So how are they "quieter"?
Besides which, I have not seen ONE high-end range hood that has baffle filters standard - not Miele, not Futuro Futuro, not Broan, not Thermador. Something tells me that if all high-end manufacturers avoid a particular technology, that isn't a high-end technology.

The Vent-A-Hood brand avoids all filters by way of its centrifugal-blower design. Rather than a fan blade, the VAH uses a squirrel-cage blower that slings grease onto the walls of the blower housing. The grease drains into a pan below the blowers, where it is removed by dismantling and cleaning the housing and pan. Disassembly of these parts is easy without tools, and they can be placed into the dishwasher for cleaning.
Without filters, VAH claims significantly increased performance and reduced noise levels. The manufacturer typically claims about a 50% more-effective CFM performance when compared to other hoods. (Thus, a 600CFM VAH would perform like filtered 900CFM hoods.) The noise level is reduced because the air doesn't pass through mesh filters or baffles.

Sounds like an interesting concept, and I like the fire-safety aspect of it. Still, after looking at 20+ other manufacturers, it's a bit strange that VAH is the only one using this approach. Genius or weirdo? It's your call.

Make-up air: When a hood draws air from the room, it creates a lowered air pressure in that room (and the house). In a tightly-built house, the hood performance will suffer as it struggles to draw air out. In some cases, this suction can cause air to be drawn into the house through a furnace flue or fireplace chimney. This can cause carbon monoxide to be drawn back into the house---a hazard.
The solution is to provide make-up air, which can be as simple as opening a kitchen window. In temperate climates, this solution works well. In cold winters or hot summers, however, admitting unconditioned air is generally not desirable. One alternative solution is to install a special intake duct near the range: outside air is drawn in near the range, where it's immediately exhausted by the hood. This minimizes the effect on the room environment. (In winter, cold air is probably a good thing near the hot range!)
A more complicated solution involves a fresh-air duct connected to the furnace air-return plenum. The fresh air passes through the HVAC system, where it gets heated or cooled before ending up in the house. Some systems even have an electrically-controlled damper on the fresh-air duct that opens when the hood is turned on.
Older, "loose," homes simply draw in outside air through every door and window frame. Make-up air will still prevent the intake of dust and drafts from everywhere in the house.

Totally agree. Make-up airflow is an often-overlooked aspect of range hood installation, and you should definitely pay attention to manufacturer's advice, as well as your contractor/installer.

Hints: Turn on the hood before you realize it's needed; by then, you've let smoke escape into the room, where the hood cannot capture and remove it.
Clean filters periodically. A dirty filter limits airflow. As the filter clogs, you must turn up the blower speed, increasing noise.

Absolutely - dirty filters will kill performance. I would recommend looking for a range hood that has an electronic "filter cleaning reminder", or at least a function that shows estimated time remaining until cleanup is needed.
Miele's wall-mount hoods have a function that shows how much "life" is left in the filter before it needs to be cleaned (in terms of operating hours).
But Miele's approach is a manual procedure, so you still have to remember to check it. I personally like Futuro Futuro's solution of having the "timer" button backlight glow red when the 60-operating-hours timer is up. It's a "can't-miss" reminder to toss the filters into the dishwasher, then push the button again when you re-install them.
Last but not least, let me point out that warranty coverage on range hoods can differ quite a lot. Be sure to get the whole story - how long does the warranty last, what does it cover (parts & labor, or only parts?), and what conditions will void the warranty.
Warranty coverage can range from a near-useless 1-year parts-only warranty (ok, thanks for the $20 part, now I have to pay $200 to have it replaced?) to a 3-year warranty that includes labor costs (at least for the 1st year), and/or a lifetime blower warranty (which means the manufacturer is REALLY sure about the quality of their blowers).





That's all for now... would love to hear everyone's comments - agree? disagree? have something to add?

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clipped on: 12.29.2007 at 01:05 am    last updated on: 12.29.2007 at 01:05 am

RE: BlueStar Range/Counter depth (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: breezy_2 on 11.30.2007 at 08:28 pm in Appliances Forum

Nope! alku has it right essentially in that the trims are notched into the back and, once installed, are flush with the back of the unit. Standard cabinet depth is 24 inches or you will be in trouble b/c the range itself, not including the doors, should be no less than flush and even stick out 1/4 to 1/2 inch in front of the side styles of the cabinet for good measure (mine does).

Since you are in the planning stage, here is a bit of a twist. We currently have a Wolf with the 21 inch riser and shelf. Love it b/c we have the hood w/heat lamps and it doubles for a great food warmer (and looks really cool). However, it limits the size of the pot you can center on the back burners and if you use the back burners on high, it heat stains the stainless steel riser. We therefore primarily use the front burners for heavy cooking and back burners for simmering...really works fine.

In our new house, we opted for the Blue Star with an island trim instead. The island trim is only slightly higher than the grate surfaces and allows for additional space behind the trim to center large pots and pans. Then we kicked the range out from the wall 4 inches to add additional space. We used decorative posts on the base cabinets on either side of the range and had the granite flare out over them, 4 inch granite piece runs behind the range etc. In short,the enclosure for the range is still 24 inches deep but it is kicked out from its adjacent cabinets 4 inches. This way, we get extra space behind the range top of the range for large pots and pans and their handles etc...its great! And yes, hood is extended the same. We have a custom wood hood cabinet that has a capture area of 72 inches by 32 inches with a 60 inch high capacity liner in it. Effectively, the hood capture area is 6 inches wider than the burners and 4 inches deeper in back and extending past in front of the burners for a really good capture area. We also put in a 2500 CFM remote blower vent motor and it kicks! We worked with Eurostoves and the Blue Star folks to design the hood. We solved the food warmer thing by putting in a warming drawer but I still love the heat lamp thing with what we have now.

Sorry if this is TMI.

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clipped on: 12.28.2007 at 09:03 pm    last updated on: 12.28.2007 at 09:03 pm

RE: BlueStar Range/Counter depth (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: alku05 on 11.29.2007 at 06:56 pm in Appliances Forum

I'd be happy to weigh in on this Fori and Mackswim! I took a bunch of pictures for you too. Just a couple things before we get to the pictures....

The Bluestar is designed to work with standard 24" cabinets. We didn't actually bump out our cabinets, but we did bump out our granite near the rangetop, and put a decorative column under the bump. Range/rangetops are designed so that part of the range protrudes from the cabinets. That's so the door sticks out and you don't risk damaging your cabinets (or burning down your house) if the oven seal fails years from now. I believe it is required by the specs that the door protrude, but I didn't check the manual so I may be wrong. The trim piece, be it island like we have, or any of the others, doesn't add depth to the rangetop.

So I have a few close ups of this area, but here's a slightly bigger picture first for reference:

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Zooming in on the visible part of the rangetop, you can see how the section that houses the knobs protrudes in front of the cabinets. (The cabinet plane is equal to the filler panel behind the column.) If this were a range, I believe the door would take up the room under this protrusion.

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If I open the adjacent spice pullout, you can get a peek at what the cabinets hide. You can clearly see the part that is designed to be within the cabinet, and the part that's meant to stick out.

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And finally, here you can see how we bumped out our granite to pevent the part that's meant to stick out from being a hip knocker. (And to be honest, b/c it looks pretty.) Again, if this were a range, the oven door would fill the space below the knob protrusion.

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Well, besides these closeups pointing out that I need to dust again, I hope they help you figure things out. Let me know if you have any picture requests, or any questions ans I'll try to help.

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clipped on: 12.28.2007 at 09:01 pm    last updated on: 12.28.2007 at 09:01 pm