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RE: Builder only offers Kitchenaid & Whirlpool (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: JWVideo on 10.15.2012 at 05:00 pm in Appliances Forum

DISHWASHER:

When I was shopping for dishwashers a couple of months ago, most of the Whirlpool models seemed to have plastic tubs while KA models had stainless tubs. KA has a pretty good reputation for durability. In addition to the KUDE60 and 70 models suggested above, I suggest you look at the KUDE50CX (slightly fewer cycles and options and about $100 less than the others.) KA claims 40 dba sound level for the KUDE50CX. I do not know how they measured that. Consumer Reports's measurements cast some doubt on that. CR says all KA and Whirlpool DWs are average for noise while others (Meile and Bosch) get "very good" and "excellent" ratings.

Be aware that careful installation is very important for controlling dw noise levels. You want the side gaskets properly aligned to the cabinets and and want to block gaps at the front of the base. Your builder (of the subcontractors) should know this but it is a good thing to check.

FRIDGE:
You did not say what kind of fridge you are looking for (FD, SxS, BF, TF?), whether you want standard depth or counter depth (CD), and what capacity you want (22 cu. ft.? 25 cu. ct.?, larger?) If you are looking for a bottom freezer (BF) or french door (FD), all Whirlpool's brands are made in the same plant in Amana, Iowa. The main WP brands are WP, WP Gold, KA, Maytag and Amana.

Having just decided between WP and KA in purchasing a new FD fridge, the differences that I observed between the FD and BF models in the KA and WP Gold lines were these: (1) KA models have a ten year warranty on sealed systems while other WP products only offer 5 years or 1 year (meaning that they want you to buy an extended warranty); (2) the KA models often have digital thermometer readouts/controls while the WP models use an an arbitrary 1-7 scale; (3) if you do not want through-the-door dispensers, KA models come with internal water dispensers; (4) the KA models have temperature adjustable deli-drawers while only the larger WP models do; and (5) the lines (other than CD) are all available in black, white and stainless finishes; the KA finishes are and look like stainless steel while the WP and other lines are a brushed metallic finish. Note that the SS is only for the doors; the cabinets are painted a slate gray or black.

Up until this year, Consumer Reports's membership surveys showed WP's FD and BF models had the lowest defect rate in the industry (only 8% over the first five years of ownership). KA trailed a bit at 10% which was probably the result of selling a higher proportion of its models with through-the-door-dispensers (TTDD) which are a weak point and a reliability problem for every manufacturer. (GE's defect rate went to 25% for a while because of the problems it had with TTDD when it outsourced production.) In the most recent CR membership survey results, released a couple of weeks ago, WP and KA defect rates bumped up to 11%. This is probably because both WP and KA lines are now selling a lot more units with TTDD. I note that Whirlpool's top-freezer models, which rarely have TTDDs, still show the lower defect rate of 8%.

Both Consumer Reports and RefrigeratorInfo.com tests show WP's FD and BF fridges having very even temperature performance and excellent crisper humidty contol.

I wound up getting a KBFS22 model. You can find my initial review and some comments here:

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/appl/msg1021024419571.html

MICROWAVE:

Are you thinking about getting a micro & wall oven combo? I would say: don't do it. I think that microwaves are the appliances most likely to have short lives. Replacing a built-in MW can be a royal pain to the wallet as elsewhere. If you can, have your builder install a microwave shelf, undercounter, if you like, or above the counter. That way, you free up counter space and you can replace the MW when needed with a commodity product when the original ones dies, as it almost inevitably will.

Some people like speed-ovens, which are microwaves with the ability to use radiant elements and convection. If memory serves, Whirlpool makes or made a unit which I think is called the Velos and can be in a shelf or installed as part of a wall oven combo. That kind of unit would be the only one that I personally would consider for a combo, and I would only do that after researching its durability and user reviews.

Hopefully, the builder is no offering an OTR MW unit for your six-burner cooktop. Those only go to 30 inches wide, which would be way too small for effective venting of your 36-inch gas cooktop.

OVENS:
This is mostly out of my league and others will have to supply information. I can only comment on two things. First, Whirlpool and Kitchenaid had problems over the last couple of years with the self-cleaning function on wall ovens causing the ovens to overheat and blow an over-temperature switch and sometimes fried the intergrated circuits. Do a search here and you can find details. Second, my recollection is that WP's newer model convection ovens come with a larger cooling fan for the electronics and some people find that fan annoyingly loud. Again, do a search on this and see what you find.

COOKTOP (AND VENTHOOD!):
I have no experience with the 6 burner KA unit, but I believe it is actually a "rangetop" (with control knobs on a vertical face in front rather than sitting on top of the cooking surface) and that it has at least one burner rated at 20k-btu-hr.

That means you should seriously consider a large rangehood that vents to the outside. A general rule of thumb is that you want a range hood to extend about 3 inches beyond the left and right sides of the stove/rangetop/cooktop. The last time I checked, Kitchenaid had several range hoods in 42-inch and 48-inch widths in both wall mount versions and island versions.

The nice thing about hoods that big is that they are powerful enough to clear a lot of air at their low speeds, at which they will be pretty quiet. The downside to these things is that you will need to have your builder come-up with some kind of make-up air to avoid backdrafting when you run the hood on high. Maybe you live in a warm climate where you could just open a window?

NOTES:

Installing DW
clipped on: 05.08.2013 at 11:48 am    last updated on: 05.08.2013 at 11:49 am

RE: Toilet with the strongest flush (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: lazypup on 04.09.2012 at 12:26 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Back in the mid 80's when they first introduced the 1.6gpf toilets nearly everybody was having problems with them, and as a result many toilets were belittled as ineffective but within a short period of time they discovered the problem was not in the toilet.

I know most ppl find it hard to believe, but an oversized line will clog much faster than an properly sized or even undersized line.

When a line is sized correctly a horizontal run of the line will be 1/2full under full load. That provides sufficient depth in the water to carry any suspended solids such as fecal matter, while still leaving the upper half of the pipe open for the free movement of vent air.

If a pipe is oversized the level of the liquid is lower and the suspended solids then slowly drag along the bottom of the pipe and the liquid will flow around it, thus leaving the solids deposited in the pipe. Once the liquid has passed the pipe is full of air and the solids will dry in place and with each successive flush more solids will be retarded at that point until the entire line is clogged. Once the problem was realized they ammended the Plumbing codes so that if a toilet has a flush greater than 1.6gpf it is to be mounted on a 4" line, but toilets with a 1.6gpf or less are to be mounted on a 3" line.

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clipped on: 11.06.2012 at 01:04 pm    last updated on: 11.06.2012 at 01:04 pm

RE: Time to choose windows (Follow-Up #18)

posted by: Renovator8 on 01.05.2012 at 08:56 am in Building a Home Forum

Marvin Integrity makes two windows: Wood-Ultrex and All-Ultrex. They also make an "Impact" model for high wind areas.

The Wood-Ultrex double-hung now offers a spacer bar between the simulated divided lite mullions (SDLS) and a full range of window sizes including Cottage Style (upper sash shorter than lower sash). Unfortunately, the sill nosing does not provide a proper drip or a siding groove that would prevent water from running back into the siding joint. (bottom of sill is dead level) I have seen failed caulking at this joint require expensive repairs. Andersen windows had this problem for decades but finally solved it with the 400 series. Marvin solved it long ago but forgot how to do it with the Ultimate series. Adding a cellular PVC sub-sill fixes the problem and creates a more handsome window but it adds to the cost.

Keeping water out of the house should be your first goal when choosing a window so the first thing to look at is the section through the sill, then look at how the installation fins are sealed to the frame and how the fins are sealed at the upper corners where they overlap (the second most common leak location).

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

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clipped on: 09.02.2012 at 01:06 pm    last updated on: 09.02.2012 at 01:06 pm

RE: Problems with Ultrex Wood outswing French doors (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: lkbum on 03.14.2012 at 10:23 pm in Windows Forum

What a pleasant surprise. The Marvin Rep brought a laser level and tripod and very clearly showed me what the problem was. The laser projected exact level lines on the door and frame so you could see without a doubt how the doors lined up. These are French Outswing doors with fixed panels mulled on both sides. Turns out, Outswing doors are more sensitive to installation imperfections and the mulled panels prevent using screws in the jambs to help align the doors. The Marvin rep said the installation was not perfect, but most are not. He said it was more than adequate and focused more on the door itself and fixes than the installation. It also appeared that the door strikes may be off. Marvin recently changed these on this line of door (about 9 months ago according to the rep). One of the strikes had clearly been modified (made a little bigger), probably at the factory. The rep is contacting the Marvin factory for guidance, ordering new strikes and assured me that the problem would be corrected. His knowledge and the time he spent explaining things was outstanding. The laser level was an excellent way to evaluate the doors. Based on what I saw, new strikes will solve the problem. Here's a pic. 8' tall, 5'w french with mulled panels, flanked by fixed panels. The top windows are Marvin Ultimate doors2

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clipped on: 04.16.2012 at 12:27 pm    last updated on: 04.16.2012 at 12:28 pm

RE: Time to choose windows (Follow-Up #16)

posted by: Renovator8 on 01.04.2012 at 05:04 pm in Building a Home Forum

I prefer the Marvin Ultimate DH but I always put a cellular PVC sub-sill under it to thicken the too-thin aluminum sill nosing and also to help keep water from running back under the sill into the wall siding (caulking never works for long at that joint). Also, extending the sub-sill under the vertical jamb trim on each side of the window gives the window a traditional double-hung appearance.

Here is a link that might be useful: cellular PVC trim

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clipped on: 02.19.2012 at 12:03 pm    last updated on: 02.19.2012 at 12:03 pm

White Subway Tile tub/shower remodel

posted by: cassidyhome on 07.30.2005 at 12:22 pm in Bathrooms Forum

We had a leak so we reluctantly tapped into our emergency savings account and started to create something beautiful and functional. The first step was to remove an old tub and tile surround, including old aluminum windows that wouldn't slide any more. We replaced them with vinyl retrofit windows with "Industrex" privacy glass and chose a non-opening window for the shower.

The tub is a Kohler Synchrony K-1195-L with the integrated tiling flange. The fixtures are all from American Standard "The Standard Collection." The toilet was the only thing we saved - it is a Kohler Memoirs Classic elongated.

The wall tile is Daltile Rittenhouse Square in Arctic White with a Portobello White Line Bordura accent piece which measures 1.5" x 8" and is installed 69" from the floor. The window sill is a white-gray marble with a polished finish.

The floor is Cerim "The Wood Collection" porcelain wood-look tile in the color "Ellinton." We chose two of the 3 available sizes - which measure about 20" x 8" and 16" x 6".

The walls and ceiling are painted in Benjamin Moore's Bleeker Beige (really Behr paint purchased at Home Depot). The door is a Simpson Shaker-style 5-panel. The trim was crafted by my husband out of MDF-thanks so much to posters on this forum who inspired the design.

The exhaust fan is a Panasonic WhisperLite FV-07VQL3 and the switches that control it are Leviton 6260M and 5634. The curtain rod is a Myson in a chrome finish and the curtain is a nylon "The Traveler".

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The photos are in my Photobucket account: http://photobucket.com/albums/v399/MadamX/Bathroom remodel/ and the password is Maggie

Enjoy!

Here is a link that might be useful: Password: Maggie

NOTES:

Rittenhouse
clipped on: 02.15.2012 at 10:02 am    last updated on: 02.15.2012 at 10:02 am

RE: Adding sill moulding to clad window (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: Renovator8 on 06.18.2011 at 08:17 pm in Building a Home Forum

* Posted by macv on Mon, Jun 21, 10 at 17:27

Cellular PVC does expand and contract with heat a bit more than wood but a window shouldn't be wide enough for that to cause a problem and keeping it a light color reduces expansion. Other than that the material is expensive, virtually indestructible, and doesn't need to be painted except to clean it up or change the color. Many windows are trimmed with cellular PVC these days.

Some popular brand names for window and house trim boards are Azek, Koma, Versatex, and ATW (Advanced TrimWright).

Here is a link that might be useful: ATW

Here is a link that might be useful: the ATW link

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clipped on: 02.14.2012 at 01:29 pm    last updated on: 02.14.2012 at 01:30 pm

RE: How To Read Delivery Ticket (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: jimct01 on 02.12.2012 at 06:08 am in Heating & Air Conditioning Forum

You might also find on your slip something called the K factor, KFA, or heating factor. The number is the number of HDD per gallon of oil you are getting. Depending on the efficiency of your systems and how well your house is insulated this number should between 5 for a older system to 12 to 15 or so for a super efficient system . The larger this number the less oil you are using per degree day. With my 1960's boiler my KFA was 8.2, with my newer 86% AFUE Solaia it's 11.8. Of course, it also is affected by how hot you heat your house.

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clipped on: 02.12.2012 at 09:28 am    last updated on: 02.12.2012 at 09:29 am

RE: Cedar Shingle Siding (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: Renovator8 on 11.05.2011 at 01:24 pm in Building a Home Forum

30 lb building paper is what used to be called 15 lb building paper. I would avoid using the term "tar paper" because although it is illegal to use coal tar, some Chinese building papers have been found to have coal tar in them. Any specification should make it clear that any coal tar content is not acceptable.

I would avoid the use of any kind of asphalt impregnated or coated paper if it isn't going to be supported by sheathing panels because it tears too easily and would require blocking at the horizontal joints. A high quality non-woven non-perforated house wrap like Tyvek or Typar would be better if the horizontal joints occurred over floor framing or blocking. DuPont Commercial Wrap would be an even better material since it is extremely difficult to tear. But I would add sheathing and a weather barrier or the Zip system from Huber. However a lot depends on the detailing of terminations at the windows, doors, soffits, etc.

It is easier to get a uniform pale grey color with white cedar and white cedar is cheaper than red. For the beach I would consider the highest grade 15" white cedar factory dipped in Cabot's bleaching oil. I would use red if the shingles were going to left unfinished.

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clipped on: 02.09.2012 at 07:54 am    last updated on: 02.09.2012 at 07:55 am

RE: Photo: Please Help Settle Which Window (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: Renovator8 on 02.08.2012 at 06:29 pm in Building a Home Forum

I would raise the window head until the trim hits the facia board and keep the finished interior stool at about 24" off the floor. I hope that would be 4-5 or taller. Be sure to compare the right dimensions; don't confuse the rough opening dimension with the frame dimension and the total clear sash dimension. In the end what you see is the sash width and height.

Lots of mullions are good for this kind of house. Omitting them at the bottom sash saves a few bucks.

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clipped on: 02.08.2012 at 07:42 pm    last updated on: 02.08.2012 at 07:42 pm

RE: Photo: Please Help Settle Which Window (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: Renovator8 on 02.08.2012 at 01:56 pm in Building a Home Forum

IMHO it is important for the windows to have a dressed up traditional appearance to make it clear that this is a well built house even if it is modest in size.

I would make the larger windows even wider and put a cap trim over the head touching the facia board and a sub-sill under the sill so the jamb trim can sit on it (see ATW link). The paired windows should be held apart 2 or 3 inches with a single trim board covering the gap and resting against a continuous sub-sill.

I like the 6 over 1 mullions but 6 over 6 might reinforce Nantucket cottage appearance. If you plan to replace the siding consider shingles.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Here is a link that might be useful: ATW

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clipped on: 02.08.2012 at 07:35 pm    last updated on: 02.08.2012 at 07:36 pm

RE: Farrow & Ball White (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: mindstorm on 08.21.2009 at 07:10 pm in Home Decorating Forum

I've used Pointing for the trim in most of my house at this point in time. I'll disagree with rococogurl in her assessment that it is a "basic white" - although I think that to a lot of people who do use lots of colour, it is a basic white. F&B's "All White" is a proper basic white to me - Pointing is much more pigmented than that. I would call it a bright cream. That said, it is a cream with a red base. It is bright, however; I don't think I'd want that bright a white on the walls.

White Tie is deeper than that although, as roco properly says, it is an ivory - although in a yellow base.

If you go to the following link on the F&B home page, you can get some insight into the colours and their families. Page 29 gives you the bases that these colours belong to - White Tie and New White (which I haven't used) - are both yellow-based.

I like Ptg very much in most of the places I've used it for trim, so colour me a believer as I've happily lived with it. I've seen New White and White Tie at Rococogurl's and they are gorgeous ivories for an off-white.

To me, I think they'd be a happier colour to use in a room if you're looking for an off-white because you want to knock down some of the brightness of pure white AND you want a warm colour. On the other hand, if you are looking for a warm white that keeps the brightness of a pure white, then Pointing's your man.

That said, if you're looking for an off-white and are coming off a cool blue, let me just give a plug to "Strong White" - which is a cool, greyish off-white that I've recently painted much of the living areas of my house. It is less bright than Pointing, very easy on the eyes and is in my house a very interesting shade. It is a cool grey though - unlike the warm colours that you've asked about so you may not be leaning in that direction at all.

Good luck! F&B has wonderous colours.

NOTES:

B & F Whites
clipped on: 01.28.2012 at 10:23 pm    last updated on: 01.28.2012 at 10:23 pm

RE: How much do frameless glass shower doors cost? (Follow-Up #16)

posted by: carydan on 04.14.2010 at 01:11 pm in Bathrooms Forum

I want to update on the shower glass price I ended paying.

3/8" clear tempered,
26"x71" shower door with 10"x71" inlining panel,
Geneva hinge and 3 chrome brackets,
8" ladder style pull,
Bulb seals,
Local customer pickup and DYI in North Carolina,
$825 including tax.

What I found out is that if you stick to common "stock" size for shower door, like 24", 26", 28", usually you can find it least expensive. Common glass heigh is 70", 72". They will give you the cheatest price if they happen to have one stock size that fits your shower in their shops or from their warehouses. The more they have to do, the more expensive.

It turns out that I can't do 72" height but want taller than 70", plus my shower rough-in are slightly out of square, they have to cut the glass out of square too, by 1/8" on one side. The shower is in the newly added third floor attic bath.

The online venders I inquired are Wilson Glass and Gasparilla Glass (on eBay, thanks for the recommendation from Stacie!). Both seem good places. Gasparilla is eager to work with me and nice communication, have very good price but tried to convince me to go with 70" height hesitated to cut the door out of square, with shipping they quoted $550. Wilson glass probably does tons of online business, the rep has to wait a few days to get back with me on the quote - $675. They use one of the nearby fabricator in Greensboro and use computer software to design the shower door size for you after you email them your opening size. Their web size is by far the most helpful and even has a youtube video on the installation process. However I have to drive one hour to pick it up myself.

I ended buying from a local glass shop Glass Depots USA. Their original quote was $1300 but after I talked with the owner and armed with online quotes printout, he agreed the price of $825 all inclusive(hardware, tax etc).

I asked about starphire but was told to expect to pay $400 more. I chose the regular 3/8" temper glass, sure, there is a tint of green but it actually looks fine in the color scheme for the room.

I have a GC that is doing my attic renovation. He and I spent almost 4 hours to install the glass ad the panel. He was more nervers than I but in the end...it looks pretty nice...

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clipped on: 03.14.2011 at 05:08 pm    last updated on: 03.14.2011 at 05:08 pm

RE: Furniture 101 : Q&A (Follow-Up #75)

posted by: dcollie on 05.01.2008 at 10:35 pm in Furniture Forum

Cushions! O.K., I'm doing this from home without benefit of my reference catalogs for details, so its going to be general in nature rather than specific.

First of all, lets dispel the myth of 'foam cushions', in decent furniture you do not get a piece of inexpensive block foam that is cut, covered in muslin and shoved in the casement. There is actually quite a bit of engineering and design work that goes into a good cushion.

The industry standard is Dupont Qualex, a synthetic high density foam that is ofter wrapped in a down ticking (a ticking is a pocketed outer cover with room inside to stuff a cushioning material of some sort). There are superb cushions and not easy to source as a replacement, so think twice before you toss them during a reupholster job. These cushions are comfortable, have excellent shape retention and are particularly well-suited for leather as they keep their form well.

Down cushions are typically an upgrade that you pay more for as an option. There are various levels of down and feathers used in cushions and one maker might have three option levels depending on that mix. Down is more plush, but moves around more and requires some 'fluffing' to return to its shape. It can shift in seat backs sometimes (but not always) leaving you with an unsightly back cushion as it ages - depending on style and form.

Down is further divided into two types: Marshall Unit and then loose down (the latter being what exactly what it sounds like). A Marshall unit is a spring core, where there are hundreds of small springs in sleeves, each surrounded by a 'box'. The down goes in the 'box" as well as a wrapped ticking over the whole thing. Unlike loose down, a Marshall unit will spring back (hence the name 'spring down') to about 80% of its shape after being sat upon, so the piece needs less fluffing.

I do not personally care for down in my leather furniture, nor do most people in the trade -however its great for fabric units. Down allows the leather to flex much more than a standard Qualex cushion which means as the piece ages it picks up hundreds of hairline cracks fro the flexing.

Cushions shot? Even the best cushions wear out with use. Most better companies offer a lifetime guarantee on their cushions, so keep your model number/brand of the piece somewhere where you can find it ten years down the road and its likely you can get free inserts from the maker. Without the model/style number however - its nearly impossible to do.

Deck springs. Lots of different ways to do these, from Flexsteels 'torsion spring leaf' to drop-in grids used by companies like Bradington-Young to individually hand-set as Hancock and Moore uses.

The vast majority of companies use pre-built springs that come in a grid, and they have the grid sized for their frame, staple them in and then tie them together (8-way hand ties). Nothing wrong with this, its a good system. However the best companies like H&M place multi-density springs in the deck and set them in individually. What that means is there are higher (stiffer) sprinds in the back and outboard near the arms than in the center of the piece. The end result is that when you sit upon one of these , you don't 'fall into the crack' near the arm of the back. Try one and see when comparison shopping brands.

While on the subject of springs and hand-tying, most factories cheat a little on the famous 8-way hand tied they like to brag about. Rather than tying the strings at every juncture into a knot, they loop them around th wire and go to the next one. That means if a string breaks, the spring comes up because the loops unravel. If the string is knotted at each point, and it breaks, the other seven will still hold the spring. I know for sure Hancock and Moore hand-knots each one, but not sure who else might as most do the looping technique.

Duane Collie

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clipped on: 10.25.2010 at 12:57 pm    last updated on: 10.25.2010 at 12:57 pm

RE: Furniture 101 : Q&A (Follow-Up #17)

posted by: rmanbike on 03.11.2007 at 03:32 am in Furniture Forum

This last posting on upholstery furniture has some very good information and will help us all make better choices in buying furniture. I would like to add some information to the seating history to what is now called 8-way hand tied coil springs. This method has been around for 100's of years and has evolved considerably in the past 10 years or so. When I first started building upholstery 30 years ago, 8-way hand tied also meant the front edge of the springs was soft. Know in the trade as "spring edge". Back then hand tying a 8-way spring-edge sofa was a true art and required many years of experience to perfect. This type of seating is unmatched for comfort and support, plus the fronts of the cushions will maintain their shape and last much longer with a spring edge seat. The front edge had to be about 1/2" higher and firmer than all the other springs and all springs needed to be compressed about 30% when tied. Properly sizing and the distance between each springs was very important. Also tying the springs so the spring edge front remains even and consistent and would last for many years takes much skill and time. Nowadays manufacturers has stopped producing 8-way hand tied springs using this spring edge. It was just to difficult and expense for them to manufacture. What we are left with now is really a imitation of the past. The softness of the front edge of a seat is based solely on the padding used on top of the front rail. So many manufacturers are not compressing the springs properly, are top tying at about all the points on the springs and tying the springs so they are about the same height as the front rail. Basically the springs have limited movement and what you are really setting "ON" are the "strings" and not the springs. But it is a faster, and easy way of claiming your company builds 8-way hand tied coil spring seating. Its neither as comfortable or last as long when compared to the true tradition of 8-way hand tied. Its really just a way for manufacturers to use 8-way as a marketing tool. Their are some manufacturers that are using a well designed, quality sinuous wire seating that gives a better ride and just as supportive as the 8-way hand tied coil springs. Their are many other types of seating manufacturers are using and I can talk more about the good and bad on these also. When time allows.

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clipped on: 10.25.2010 at 12:46 pm    last updated on: 10.25.2010 at 12:46 pm

RE: Furniture 101 : Q&A more (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: dcollie on 03.10.2007 at 10:50 am in Furniture Forum

Upholstery Basics. Shifting gears here, let's jump into some upholstery topics - again, this is VERY general and not specific to one brand or another.

How do YOU, the consumer, tell if an upholstered piece is well made? It's pretty difficult to do when its in the showroom, because what you really need to see is all covered up with fabric! Very simply, let's not focus on comfort so much on an individual piece, but how the unit is made. Typically a manufacturer will use the same construction across his line, so if you like what you see, it's going to be a pretty safe bet to custom order a piece that you might not be able to see.

First off, stand back and look at the piece. When a maker goes to lay out a pattern, he can decide how much panel matching he wants to do. That is, if the fabric is anything but dead plain, you have to match it up like you do when hanging wallpaper. The more matching you do, the more yardage you use up (especially in large repeats) and the higher skill your worker needs to have.

The best furntiure is fully matched, all the way around, on all panels. Best fabric matching I've seen comes from Hancock and Moore, and Southwood Furniture, both premium upholstery shops (granted, I don't see every maker and every brand). Even at a basic level, the cushion and seat back should match - so never accept less that that. I got a Flexsteel chair in the other day where the match on the front panel to the cushion deck was horrid, I couldn't believe it...sloppy.

Test the arms of the piece. The all flex somewhat, but give them a push outwards and see how much. Better furniture does not have a lot of flex. Try that from brand to brand and you will see a difference. Keep in mind tha motion furniture will always have more flex than stationary, as motion furniture has far less tie-in points to the frame. If you get a lot of movement in the arms when you push them out, or if they squeak, avoid that piece.

Look at the tailoring. Fabric (and leather) had to be pulled around the corners and attached, over foam or felt as the underlayment. Does the fabric pucker? It shouldn't. Is the fabric on "up the bolt" or did they "railroad" it? Most upholstery and fabrics are designed to go 'up the bolt', however this requires a sewn seam every 54" and more workmanship. "Railroading" means laying the fabric sideways (90 degrees from "up the bolt") but your pattern is usually going sideways as well...unless the fabric was specifically woven to run railroaded. Some to it far better than others. Again, best tailoring I see comes from Hancock & Moore. There's an art to it, and at then end of the day tailoring is nothing more than Pride in Workmanship and a certain skill set.

Legs. The big bugaboo of upholstery. This is where most companies make shortcuts. It's also a mixed bag. There are times I'm really glad that legs come off so we can get big sofas through narrow doorways and other times I hate those spinoff legs because the nail-in metal grommet with the screws either falls out or is intalled crooked. Hard to fix when that happens....in fact you really can't fix them with out tearing the sofa apart so you fudge-in a make do on those. For myself, I prefer legs that stay on the piece all the time and just hope the customer has a wider doorway when delivery day comes.

Now to the inside. Ask to see the catalog, for every maker that builds a piece of upholstery right is proud of it and has an exploded interior view of their upholstery in the main book. What you're looking for is construction specifics and springs.

Hardwood frames (such as maple) are considered the best. The industry standard for construction of these is 'double-doweled', screwed and glue blocks. You are not going to find mortise and tenon joinery in upholstery frames unless you go to high-end specialists like Richard Herzog in PA.

Second tier construction is furniture-grade hardwood plywood, which has a lot of stability and will cost less than solid wood frames. These hold up well over time and many mid-level companies use this method.

Avoid frame materials such as the reinforced cardboard that Laz-Z-Boy uses in their backs for obvious reasons.

Springs! There are sinuous springs (I call them zig-zags), Coil springs and then metal tension bands (such as used in Flexsteel). This is your support structure for your cushions.

The best is a coil spring, and the most costly. You'll have an 8-way hand-tied unit on the seating deck and a 4-way hand-tied in the back. They are the nicest to sit on, and most supportive. If truly a hand-knotted tie, (not 8-way looped as you seen on the video at Classic Leather's web site) if a string breaks over time, the spring will stay down as it still has 6 knots holding it. On loop-ties, if a string goes, UP COMES THE SPRING! The devil is in the details......

More later...I'll start on cushions next....

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clipped on: 10.25.2010 at 10:38 am    last updated on: 10.25.2010 at 10:38 am

RE: Rowe brand sofas (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: john_wc on 02.28.2006 at 11:16 am in Furniture Forum

CC's sofas (at least some of them) are made by Michael Thomas which makes excellent sofas.

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clipped on: 10.25.2010 at 10:24 am    last updated on: 10.25.2010 at 10:24 am

RE: full spectrum light for kitchen? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: jon1270 on 03.09.2008 at 07:24 am in Lighting Forum

Okay, "old fluorescent light" is probably the problem. I'm guessing you've got four-foot long T-12 bulbs (tubes that are 1 1/2" in diameter). Is this right? Most of these bulbs are pretty bad, in terms of color rendering.

I suspect you'd see a considerable improvement if you switched to better bulbs. However, if you've got an older T12 fixture then better bulbs may be hard to come by. It would make sense to switch to a newer fixture that will accept T8 bulbs, which are common and of which you'll find a large selection.

Don't get hung up on the term "full spectrum," as this is basically a marketing term and an excuse to take more of your money than necessary. Instead, pay attention to two technical numbers that should be printed somewhere on the bulb box:

One is the Color Resolution Index, or "CRI." This is a scale from 1 to 100 that tells you how well a light source lets you distinguish between different colors. Higher numbers are better. Choose bulbs that have a CRI of at least 85.

The other number to look at is color temperature. This will be a four-digit number followed by the letter K, as in degrees Kelvin. Lower numbers such as 3000K are warmer colors, more towards the red/orange/yellow end of the visible spectrum, while higher numbers such as 5000K lean towards the cooler, bluer end of the spectrum.

BTW, Natural sunlight does have a lot of blue in it, except at sunrise/sunset (note the color of the sky) and this is what many bulbs marketed as "full spectrum" are trying to emulate.

Anyhow, you want a bulb that has as high a CRI as possible and that also has a color temperature that makes sense with the color of the room's furnishings. You'll face a bit of a dilemma here, because the warm cherry cabinets suggest a warmer color temperature, perhaps 3500K, but a limitation of current fluorescent technology seems to be that the highest CRI ratings are only available in cooler, higher-color temperature bulbs.

I know that my local Home Depot has four-foot T8s with a CRI of 85 in several different color temperatures. These are something like $3.50 per bulb. They also have some very high CRI bulbs (92 or 95, I think) that are only available in a high, cool color temperature and are more expensive. In your shoes, I'd probably try both. I'd get a couple of the 85 CRI / 3500K bulbs, and a couple of the higher CRI but cooler bulbs, try them both and see which I liked better.

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clipped on: 03.11.2008 at 05:35 pm    last updated on: 03.11.2008 at 05:35 pm

RE: How do you get thin grout lines? (Follow-Up #15)

posted by: bill_vincent on 02.28.2008 at 07:53 am in Bathrooms Forum

1) The tiles are aligned as shown in the following diagram:

Photobucket

2) When I come across the first "row" with the thinset, I'll generally not spread the thinset across every other, or every couple of lines, using the corners where they hit the lateral line at the bottom of the row I'm spreading. After that, though, it gets much simpler, using the tiles that are already set and the intersectig corners at the bottom to keep everything straight, and then every few rows, I'll get up and stand back and eyeball the installation to that point to make sure there aren't any "dingers" that I couldn't see close up.

3) How much time do you have? LOL This is over simplified, but it basically comes down to snapping a few control lines and doing alot of measuring off of them.

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clipped on: 02.28.2008 at 06:00 pm    last updated on: 02.28.2008 at 06:00 pm

Answering (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: bill_vincent on 02.27.2008 at 10:13 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Yes, you're correct. The difference in rectified tiles and conventional is that rectified tiles are cut to size AFTER coming out of the kiln, so their tolerances are much much tighter, and you can set them with a 1/16" grout joint.

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clipped on: 02.28.2008 at 05:57 pm    last updated on: 02.28.2008 at 05:57 pm

RE: What do you wish you had done differently? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: livingthedream on 07.29.2007 at 11:34 pm in Kitchens Forum

I wish I had made the refrigerator compartment deep enough for a regular fridge rather than counter-depth.

If we had pulled out the lower cabs and made the counter two or three inches deeper, we'd have been able to have deeper uppers as well. That wouldn't have cost a lot extra, and then we'd have saved hundreds on the fridge -- and gotten more space to boot.

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clipped on: 01.23.2008 at 12:29 pm    last updated on: 01.23.2008 at 12:29 pm

RE: To Tapmaster or Not to Tapmaster (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: gellchom on 01.07.2008 at 04:23 pm in Kitchens Forum

Oh, dear, I was supposed to write the Tapmaster FAQ, and I forgot. I'll do it, I promise, but in the meantime, here are the answers to your questions. (I was the one who introduced the TapMaster to this forum, in 2002. So many people bought them, the company sent me a box of chocolates!)

vwhippiechick: Yes, it works very well. We have never had a problem. There is no electric or anything to break.

The temperature is whatever you left it at last time you used your sink, as kitchenchaos said. You see, it doesn't replace your faucet -- it just allows you to use your faucet (any kind of faucet -- it doesn't matter) hands-free. You leave the faucet in the "on" position (at any pressure and temperature you choose) but the water doesn't flow until you press with your foot. Think of how a drinking fountain works; get it? The water flows while you press the plate and stops when you move your foot away.

Sometimes you don't want the hands-free operation, though: (1) when you are filling a large pot and don't want to have to stand there, and (2) when you have lots of guests over who don't know about the TapMaster and you don't want to have to keep running over to explain it. (Even people who know how it works often turn the handle off when they finish out of force of habit.) At such times, you can disable the TM by pushing down (instead of forward) on the plate, which locks it -- i.e., makes your sink work as if there were no TapMaster -- until you tap forward again. Sail-away, I think that answers your question.

The toekick panel (it's not really a pedal) is very unobtrusive; it is a small metal plate a few inches wide, mounted flush with the toekick. This is one reason I chose if over the other product I considered, Pedal Valve, which has a pedal that sticks out. Never mind the looks; I was afraid I would keep stubbing my foot on it.

Plllog, I laughed when I read, "I knew it would make me nuts at my main sink where I'm constantly adjusting the temperature, but I'm thinking it'll be great at the island sink." I thought EXACTLY the same thing, so when I called to order the TapMaster, I asked if it would be okay to leave it in the "locked" position most of the time, and just switch to hands-free occasionally. The guy laughed and said, "Sure you can; it won't hurt it. But you'll see: very soon you'll switch your "default" to hands free. As a matter of fact, everyone asks that, and by afternoon of the first day, they are thinking about putting them on all the sinks in the house."

And he was so right. You find yourself kicking toekicks everywhere, wondering why every sink -- of all things -- isn't hands free. After all, your hands are almost always either full or dirty when you need a sink.

Another thing I can tell you is that most of us did not realize until we got a TM that we actually changed the pressure and temperature of the water MUCH less frequently than we would have guessed. You report that you do so "constantly," so maybe you use your sink differently than we do, but all I can tell you is that I was surprised how rarely I need to touch my faucet now (which also keeps it clean and from wearing out). Usually you only need a little splash anyway, but even when you are using the water a lot, I bet you will find that while you are cooking, you use cold water, and while you are cleaning up, you use hot. Anyway, the TM doesn't make it any HARDER to change temperature and pressure.

So, Plllog, my guess is that if you put a TM at the prep sink only, you will soon either move it or buy another one for the main sink. But it couldn't hurt to start with just one, as it is just as easy to add one later as to put it in when building; it's just not that big a job.

The other posters to this board can tell you their experience, but I can report that my 3 friends and my brother who have them now all love theirs, too. The only drawback I have heard was from my brother, who prefers to use his faucet in the "spray" setting, and he does not have a faucet that does not revert to "stream" when the water goes off. I solved that for him by buying a gizmo that fits onto the faucet (I think it's called an aerator) for a few bucks at Lowe's.

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clipped on: 01.08.2008 at 09:06 am    last updated on: 01.08.2008 at 09:06 am

RE: High efficiency lighting and design choices (Follow-Up #25)

posted by: labradoodlelady on 10.05.2007 at 01:43 pm in Kitchens Forum

jon1270, thank you. I got them from an ebay seller, LEDBulb.Bizz. I'll paste the link to his ebay store below. The specific bulbs I got from him were his Par38 15watt with 744 lumens. Item number is 200151199093.

The owner's name is Sam Wood, and he's extremely helpful. When I was emailing back and forth with questions, he ended up calling me so he could find out exactly what I was intending to use the bulbs for. He's even phoned after the fact, to see how everything was going.

By the way, he's got a cool little RGB bulb with a remote control that works inside my shower fixture. The item number on that is 200135815019.

jenellecal, thank you! My granite is Labrador Antique, and the backsplash is Hakatai Saix Fantastix series, color PU60FX. I've been completely amazed at how much light the irridescent backsplash ends up adding to the kitchen, and Hakatai was wonderful to work with.

Here is a link that might be useful: Where I bought my LED bulbs

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clipped on: 10.29.2007 at 10:36 am    last updated on: 10.29.2007 at 10:37 am

RE: High efficiency lighting and design choices (Follow-Up #22)

posted by: labradoodlelady on 10.05.2007 at 02:48 am in Kitchens Forum

I used LED bulbs in the recessed cans in my kitchen as well, and am very happy with the result. The bulbs that I bought are supposed to put out about 770 lumens (which is almost equal to a 60 watt incandescent), at 4000 kelvin temperature. They produce an extremely "clean" white light.

I had an extra challenge in that my ceilings are 10 feet high. My electrician had put in the cans, and I had to try to find bulbs that would work with them. I bought my bulbs on ebay, and they're constructed of twelve 1.25 watt Cree bulbs.

I'm pasting in a photo I just took of my kitchen. I've five LED bulbs on (I forgot to turn on the LED over the sink!), and one incandescent, and I took the photo without a flash.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

With regard to the amount of mercury in CFLs -- while milligrams of mercury are indeed a miniscule amount, the amount of mercury in one "low mercury" CFL is 22 times the amount of mercury the EPA says is safe to inhale in an 8 hour period. This isn't a problem unless you happen to be standing over the bulb when you drop it, and inhale suddenly -- but isn't that exactly the situation under which you'd break a bulb in your home??? And as for mercury in our landfills, that same CFL bulb contains eight times the amount of mercury the EPA allows per liter of landfill. Multiply that by the number of CFLs that get thrown in the trash, and for me, living on an island where the landfill is next to the ocean, it's enough to stop eating fish.

The CLFs I used cost about the same as Catherine's. I also bought some lesser priced LED bulbs to use in all of my recessed outdoor deck lights. I got amber bulbs, and again, I'm extremely pleased with the result. They were about $12 each, again the ceilings are 10 feet, and it's enough light for my deck.

The technology for LED lighting is here. And like everything else, eventually the cost will come down. But I'm very pleased, and figure that's 30 or 40 less CFLs with mercury going into my landfill.

Sorry for the rant. :)

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clipped on: 10.29.2007 at 10:33 am    last updated on: 10.29.2007 at 10:34 am

RE: A word to the wise - when you are all done... (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: bevangel on 10.11.2007 at 03:41 am in Kitchens Forum

loves2cook4six is absolutely right. A lot of people don't understand M&M Liens (a.k.a. "Mechanics and Materialmans Liens") and Lien waivers. The details of the laws regarding M&M liens vary from state to state but they have certain elements in common.

An M&M Lien is a document that any person who supplies goods or services for the improvement of real property may file with the court IF they have not been paid for those goods or services. The exact language you'll see on liens from different states vary but what all the legal mumbo-jumbo means is: "I (the lienholder) swear that I provided the following goods or services with a value of $x on such-and-such-a-date for the improvement of real property located at such-and-such-an-address and have not been paid." The M&M Lien protects the tradesman (lienholder) because it ensures that he will eventually get paid.

The reason why is because the lien is a "cloud" on the title of the real property. If the property owner tries to sell the property (or maybe get a loan based on it), the lien will be discovered when a title search is done. (Title insurance basically is a Title Company's way of telling a buyer or lender, "We have done a thorough search for any liens against this property and have not discovered any so if, at some time in the future, some pre-existing lien suddenly comes to light that we should have found but did not, we will pay it off for you so as to clear your title.") No one with any sense will purchase or make a loan on property with a clouded title so any lienholders will get paid when the property is sold or the homeowner tries to get a mortgage loan.

A property owner who has a lien filed against the property WHILE he owns it will have to clear the title before he can sell or get a loan. And he will have to do it without the help of a Title company because the title insurance he purchased when he first bought the property does not apply to liens that arise after that date.

In order to clear the clouded title the homeowner must do one of three things:

1) Produce the signed lien waiver he got back when he first paid for the goods or services (and has kept carefully filed away ever since.)
2) Pay the lienholder AGAIN - plus accumulated interest - in order to induce the lienholder to sign a lien waiver.
3) Go to court and PROVE that he already paid the lienholder or that the lien holder never did the work claimed (i.e., the lienholder filed a false lien.)

Most homeowners stuck with choosing between #2 and #3 probably just pay the lienholder again because that is cheaper than going to court...especially for "small jobs."

So, the Lien Waiver protects the homeowner from unscrupulous tradespeople who try to get paid twice.

gizmonike gave exactly the right advice. If a tradesperson, or a supplier refuses to sign a lien waiver, then don't pay them. There is no reason whatsoever for a tradesman to refuse to sign a lien waiver when he is paid ... except ignorance regarding lien law OR a desire to "stick it to the homeowner" later by filing a false lien! For an honest trademan, the lien waiver is nothing more than a receipt.

M&M Laws in the different state vary as to details so you should find out what they are in your state. Some variations are:
1) The time limit (after supplying the goods or services) for filing the M&M lien;
2) whether or not the property owner must be given Notice prior to the filing of the lien;
3) How long the lien remains in effect and, if not "in perpetuity", whether or not the lien can be renewed and the process for doing so; and
4) Who bears the burden of proof if a lien dispute goes to court. (In a civil dispute, the "burden of proof" is kind of like a presumption of guilt/innocence in a criminal case. Whichever party has the burden of proof is (sort of) presumed guilty, while the other party is (sort of) presumed innocent. It's harder to win if you have the "burden of proof.")

I hope the above general information is helpful but, for specific legal advice regarding liens in your state or haw they apply to the facts of your situation, talk to a lawyer licensed in your state.

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clipped on: 10.11.2007 at 09:55 am    last updated on: 10.11.2007 at 09:55 am

A word to the wise - when you are all done...

posted by: loves2cook4six on 10.10.2007 at 12:45 pm in Kitchens Forum

get lien waivers, AND HAVE THEM AUTHENTICATED BY A LAWYER, from EVERY SINGLE person who worked in your house before you make your final payment.

And I say every single person, because a subcontractor may be busy and bring in someone else to do the work or may not pay one of his workers for work they did in your house and the lien would be against you.

This just saved my brother 1000's as someone tried to put a lien on his house not remembering they had signed the waiver 7 months ago.

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clipped on: 10.11.2007 at 09:53 am    last updated on: 10.11.2007 at 09:53 am

RE: Anyone have flagstone floors? Or someting similar... (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: jejvtr on 05.16.2007 at 08:31 pm in Kitchens Forum

I have Daltile continental slate - which is a porcelain tile in mud area/powder room on our 1st floor near kitchen.

After much research - and help from bill V (resident tile/stone expert) I went w/porcelain tile - as I understand it many slates do crack or peel (forget the term) - I LOVE this in this area - Porcelain is indestructible (harder then ceramic & most slates)- looks like slate and very easy to keep clean/looking nice.

that said, I'm not sure I would like to be standing on it for hrs on end in the kitchen - any tile is cold and hard and not as forgiving on the feet/body as hw.

Daltile
Continental slate installed in hopscotch pattern
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Good luck

Here is a link that might be useful: daltile

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clipped on: 06.04.2007 at 01:45 pm    last updated on: 06.04.2007 at 01:46 pm

RE: Faucet Manufacturers and Vendors (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: alku05 on 06.03.2007 at 03:14 pm in Kitchens Forum

I have had very good buying experiences with faucetdepot.com, bathandkitchenstudio.com, and efaucets.com, and would buy from any of them again.

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clipped on: 06.04.2007 at 12:43 pm    last updated on: 06.04.2007 at 12:43 pm