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RE: Cherry blossom and Loquat trees in Massachusetts: possible?? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: littleonefb on 02.12.2010 at 06:46 pm in New England Gardening Forum

eoren, My hubby says he got it at Mahoney's in Winchester.

Jane,

There's a funny story to that tree.

There's an old wives tail that my grandmother reminded me of before she died.

We had been trying to have a second baby and getting no where and my grandmother reminded me of this tale.

"When having trouble getting pregnant, plant both a dogwood and a kwanzon japanese cherry tree, You will be pregnant within 3 months. You will know the sex of the baby before it's born the following spring. Which ever tree survives will tell you the sex. Dogwood is boy. Cherry is girl."

Well hubby got both trees and we planted them in Mid May. Sure enough I was pregnant by the beginning of August, due the end of May.

Come the spring the baby was due and well, the dogwood tree was dying and the cherry tree was fine.
By the time my baby was born, the dogwood tree was deader than a doornail and I had my daughter in my arms.

2 years later the cherry tree was just barely blooming, but was blooming and kind of looking a bit sad in my opinion.

My mother was here for 4th of July that there and was looking at the tree and said "well the rest of the story on the cherry tree goes like this.

"it will bloom poorly till it is attacked by a bad insect infestation. Kill off the infestation and you will have a huge blooming tree from the next year on."

then she said "looks like you will plenty of blooms next year, you have termites in one part of the tree."

We turned green and hubby ran for a saw to cut off the part that was infested with termites, cut it off, bagged in is several layers of plastic bags and brought it to the local county extension service for proper disposal.

We sealed the cut section of the tree, as the main trunk had split into 2 sections and we had one side left.

We saw no further termite problem and, YES, the following year on it has bloomed and bloomed profusely.

Now, my neighbor across the street was with my husband when he bought the trees and she got the same ones I did. She wasn't trying to have a baby, far to old for that and just wanted the trees.

Her dogwood, a white Kousa, has bloomed beautifully for years and years, but her cherry tree was always a pathetic little thing.

Then about 5 years or so ago, the tree was attacked by little green worms and badly defoliated. She nursed it all summer with extra water and some fertilizer, and the following year on, it's bloomed it heart out an looks more like mine now.

Are the old wives tales true? I don't know, I can only tell what happened with mine and my neighbors home and see what we have.

Fran

NOTES:

http://www.tytyga.com/product/Kwanzan+Cherry+Tree
clipped on: 02.14.2010 at 11:32 pm    last updated on: 02.14.2010 at 11:32 pm

RE: Kitchen lights: proposed plan and ? about under cabinets (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: azlighting on 01.12.2010 at 09:17 pm in Lighting Forum

To be honest, I would ahve a total of 6 CREE fixtures for this kitchen.

2 for the entry and corridor to the pantry, and the other 4 in the kitchen area. Without lighting in the corridor area, it will seem dark and throw the balance off.

I would also throw in another pendant. Unless you know exactly which pendant you want and have seen it with the lamp you want, 2 won't be enough lighting.

Undercabinet lighting is good for looks, but not needed. I you have a highly polished counter surface, like polished granite, you want to get a fixture with a frosted lens. This will distribute the light evenly across the surface and you won't get the "scallop" look.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 01.24.2010 at 11:35 pm    last updated on: 01.24.2010 at 11:35 pm

RE: White Marble Countertops (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: oofasis on 02.25.2008 at 11:28 pm in Kitchens Forum

I put my honed white Carrara marble everywhere, on my counters and my island. The island is our main eating location. We both cook and my husband has never been a neat cook -- he still doesn't think to take a sponge out after he's finished cooking or eating. THERE ARE NO STAINS ON OUR MARBLE! We sealed it twice in two days when it was installed (Miracle 511 Porous Plus sealer) and once again about three weeks later. THERE ARE NO STAINS ON OUR MARBLE. Oh, but I already mentioned that. Our adult son comes over to cook very extravagant and complex dishes (oh God, he's a terror in the kitchen, but he likes working here in our newly remodeled and expanded space) and still, THERE ARE NO STAINS ON OUR MARBLE.

I love love love my marble counters. They're incredibly beautiful and feel wonderful. Yes, they will etch from acids, so we're careful but not perfect. Our marble does have some etch spots but I defy you to come into my kitchen and find them!

Mnhockeymom has the most extraordinary Calacatta marble in her kitchen, and she used it extensively in the space. She gave you the best advice -- do a search on this forum and you will get REAL LIFE advice from folks like me, and her, and many others who have it in our working kitchens. It is not a perfect stone and it's not for everyone. But it's perfect for me. I come down to the kitchen in the mornings and drink my first cup of Joe with the Renaissance masters, and there's hardly a morning that I still don't touch my marble once or twice with my fingertips.

One particularly groggy morning I prepared a small pot of two cups of coffee and then went upstairs for a couple of minutes. When I returned I realized that I hadn't put the *&$! coffee pot under the drip-thing, and the freshly brewed and hot java had poured all over my beautiful counters. And Brittamay, I'm here to tell ya that THERE ARE NO STAINS ON OUR MARBLE.

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clipped on: 01.24.2010 at 03:06 pm    last updated on: 01.24.2010 at 03:06 pm

RE: Best Granite Sealer (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: stonegirl on 06.04.2009 at 11:43 am in Kitchens Forum

Oh boy! That is almost like asking what is the best car! There are very many choices and very many really good products out there. You could probably ask 10 different stone guys and have about 15 different recommendations.

StoneTech makes good sealers, as does Miracle. Dry-Treat is one often mentioned and of course STT sealers, although the last two are geared more to supplying the fabricator than the homeowner.

Sealers that I would never recommend are the products from the TileLab range you find at Home Depot. They are very low in solid content and are ineffective at best.

Whatever sealer you use, read and follow the instructions carefully and be sure to buff off all excess sealer. For maximum effectiveness, each application of sealer needs to fully cure before the next application - normally about 24 hours.

Here is a how-to for sealing:
You will need the following:
1. Home improvement strength alcohol
2. Lint-free rags or unprinted paper towels (the "Rags in a Box" disposable paper rags found at home improvement stores are really great for this)
4. Paint pad (those hard, fluffy coated pads they use to apply paint)
3. Sealer

What to do:
1. Clean your counter tops by wiping them down to remove any food residue.
2. Wipe the counters with a rag soaked in alcohol. (Be sure to follow the safety instructions on the container)
3. Once the counters are clean and dry, apply the sealer with the paint pad. You can pour a little puddle and spread it with the paint pad. Work in smaller, manageable areas.
4. Leave the sealer for the recommended time and buff off the residue with the lint-free rags. Be sure to TOTALLY remove all excess sealer or you might end up with streakiness and smudginess. Change rags often to prevent smearing excess sealer.
5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 until all your surfaces are sealed.
6. Leave sealer to cure for 24 hours and test for water absorption. Drip water on the stone to see if the stone still darkens. If it does, another application of sealer is in order.
7. Repeat the entire procedure until water beads up and no longer darkens the stone.

Do not think that more is better. Work with smaller quantities of sealer and properly clean up after each application. Your results will be better than trying a single , heavy handed application.

For daily cleaning, just use a couple microfiber towels (one dry and one slightly damp) Clean counters with the damp one - you could add some soap to it if you wished - and buff dry with the dry rag. No fuss, and pretty easy

You could use a product like StoneTech's Revitalizer or the 3-in-1 from Granquartz as an occasional sealer maintenance cleaner

NOTES:

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clipped on: 01.24.2010 at 02:55 pm    last updated on: 01.24.2010 at 02:55 pm

RE: Replacement Windows (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: guy_exterior_man on 04.17.2008 at 07:55 am in Windows Forum

There are two options in windows replacements. Which ever method you choose shouldn't cause to much grief. One method is much easier than the other and costs less. The easier method is known as an "Insert Window". This method involves the removal of your old sashes and sometimes your stops. We leave the existing frame and casing in place. Most of the better installers will remove the interior casing (trim) and re-insulate the existing wall cavity with todays low expansion foam. We do it all the time. It offers a much better result when we are finished. The insert slide back inside the original frame and screws in place. We replace old broken stops if needed or re-apply good existing ones. The outside is then usually capped with aluminum to make the unit maintenance free. We will do this with any type of window, sliders, double or single hungs, casements, and awning units.

The "Full Frame Replacement" or "Total Replacement" requires the removal of the entire existing unit. We strip it down to the wall studs leaving nothing from the original window. If we use vinyl windows we can get them made to any size we want. Getting the wood interior windows to match existing sizes can sometimes be a hassle. Marvin & Pella are usually pretty good on getting sizes to match. Andersen's Eagle line is another great choice. We can get the new windows to match up to the original inside casing around 90% of the time. The other 10% will require new casing. The exterior side will get a snap on brickmould to fit back in the old space or we custom bend capping to fill the void. In most cases you could never tell we've replaced the windows.

A good installer will be able to order your windows to fit almost perfectly. You just have to find one to make it work. Good Luck!!!

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clipped on: 01.23.2010 at 09:24 pm    last updated on: 01.23.2010 at 09:25 pm

RE: Cable/Phone/Computer wiring to second floor (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: ktkelly on 05.13.2007 at 10:34 pm in Home Entertainment Forum

I would strongly recommend running a minimum of 2 RG6 and 4 Cat5e for each location on the second floor.

2 RG6 for possible dual tuner sat (or other usage like CCTV).

1 Cat5e for telco.

1 cat5e for ethernet (ALL conductors used for high bandwidth).

2 cat5e for HDTV audio/video distribution.

That 1.25" PVC is definitely not large enough.

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clipped on: 01.09.2010 at 11:25 pm    last updated on: 01.09.2010 at 11:25 pm

RE: ? For those with counter over FL's (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: chipshot on 01.17.2009 at 12:52 pm in Laundry Room Forum

We have counters over Duets, so they're on the high side. No problem folding and plenty of counter space.

Photobucket

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clipped on: 01.06.2010 at 09:13 am    last updated on: 01.06.2010 at 09:13 am

RE: Air Switch Questions! (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: lmarletto on 09.13.2008 at 09:24 am in Kitchens Forum

Any halfwit can install an airswitch, lol. I imagined they were somehow complicated but once ours arrived and I looked over the instructions, I couldn't believe how simple it was. I tried it out on a lamp plugged into the wall and the whole family played with it.

You will need to tell the electrician that you need an outlet inside the sink cabinet, because if the disposal is hardwired, there's no way to plug in the airswitch. You will also need to tell whoever is installing the countertops where you want the hole drilled for the button part. There's a plastic tube that runs from the underside of the button to the part that plugs into the outlet, so you don't want the distance from the hole in the counter to the outlet to be longer than the length of the tube. Our plumber was the one who screwed the button into the counter and plugged the switch into the outlet and the disposal into the switch when he installed the disposal.

I love our airswitch! We have a 6' wide window behind a farm sink, so a switch on the wall would have been far away and one in the sink cabinet would have been very low. Now that I've used one, I think I'd install one regardless of what the options for a wall switch were.

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clipped on: 01.04.2010 at 08:41 pm    last updated on: 01.04.2010 at 08:41 pm

RE: What replacement window is 'BEST'? (Follow-Up #28)

posted by: cba11 on 02.29.2008 at 12:38 am in Windows Forum

I happen to sell, install, and service Alside window and siding products. Without getting into a sales pitch should be around $450 for a vinyl, fusion welded corners, steel re-enforced sash, double locks, with "night locks", white, single LOW-E (which is fine), Double Hung at 80-84 U.I.(United Inch) which is, you measure height and width and "ADD" the two for a window measurement. Most of these window companies buy their window from a Manufacturer and have independant contractors put them in. Nothing wrong with it, if the installer is good. They usually will be w/ the company for awhile, and work exclusively for them. $300 to $400 difference per window between companies, doesn't "make" them better, actually it's wrong. SALESMAEN work on commission! "Precieved value was built for you!" I can get their same window! Pella and Andersen are different. Install is critical for your money. Check around w/ neighbors, friends. If you like the window, and the job, "ask for that CREW!" 650-1000 for a 84UI is crazy, make sure they "insulate" between the window buck and frame before they trim the window also. I also give a guarantee (LIFE) on the window and the labor! I replace anything that goes wrong at my expense in writing.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 12.19.2009 at 08:06 pm    last updated on: 12.19.2009 at 08:06 pm

RE: Does Bianco Romano need to be sealed? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: azstoneconsulting on 12.10.2009 at 08:36 am in Kitchens Forum

IMHO - yes it does.....

I have never had a problem sealing this species of stone
and I think if your Fabricator uses a really good quality product like
Surface Treatment Technologies or Miracle 511 Porous Plus - you'll be fine....

I would use either product in my own home - as well as for ALL of our clients.

hth

kevin

NOTES:

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clipped on: 12.10.2009 at 10:19 am    last updated on: 12.10.2009 at 10:19 am

RE: Stone Information and Advice (& Checklists) (Follow-Up #60)

posted by: buehl on 07.12.2009 at 01:23 pm in Kitchens Forum

  • Posted by stonegirl (My Page) on Sun, Jun 21, 09 at 13:41

    1. Lifetime Sealer: With modern sealer technology advancing as fast as (or even faster than!) computer technology, it is difficult to keep up with all the developments. The most recent development is called "nano technology", which, for all intents and purposes, mean that the solid particles in the sealer (the stuff that makes the sealer work) are very, very small and combined with advanced solvent technology, these particles can penetrate deeper into the stone and do a better job of sealing it.

      There are a number of sealers on the market that make use of this technology and some even give lifetime warranties for properly applied sealers. A couple of these are "Dry Treat" and "Surface Treatment Technologies". STT has a proprietary combination sealer consisting of SB (the first application) and FE (the final application) that offers superior protection even on extremely porous surfaces. The guys over at the SFA did side-by-side testing of Dry Treat and the STT combination and found STT to be the superior product.

      That said, there are a few others out there that I am not familiar with and could offer the same benefit. Just be wary of companies that claim to be "certified applicators" or some such. A lot of people saw a niche in a market and are trying to fill it by employing shady techniques.

      Lifetime sealers often are more expensive than regular good quality sealers, and as some have noted before me, sealer application is no big deal and can be done at home and by yourself fairly easily. Just be sure to purchase a high quality product with a recognized brand name, such as Miracle or StoneTech, to name a couple.

      BUT: Not all stones need sealer either. Stones like Blue Pearl, Ubatuba, Black Galaxy, Verde Peacock, Verde Butterfly, Platinum Pearl and many others are too dense to absorb any liquids - sealers included. Sealers only protect stone from staining through absorption, so in stones with low absorption co-efficients, sealing would be superfluous.

      Sealing dense stones could lead to nasty results, such as streaking and ghost etching, so DO NOT go by the motto of "seal it anyway, it could not hurt". Rather test your stone for absorption by dripping water on it to see if it darkens any. If the water has no effect on the stone, sealing it is unnecessary.

    2. Seams: DO NOT pick a stone to satisfy the abilities (or lack of!) the fabricator. A good fabricator will be able to make a good seam in whatever stone you select. MIA standards for seams list 1/8" as being acceptable. As with all bureaucratic institutions they are decidedly behind the curve in technology and applications, and there are fabricators who strive to make seams virtually disappear. Do know that it is more challenging to make seams "disappear" in veined or boldly patterned stones and fabricators will charge accordingly.

      Ask your intended fabricator(s) to have you see actual installed kitchens and look at the quality of the work they have done - not just on the seams, but on the rest of the kitchen too. Check for good edge polishing, consistent overhangs and overall appearance of the job. Speak to the homeowners (if they are available) and ask about their experiences with the fabricator. Showrooms could be misleading. Remember, they are designed to make you buy stuff :)

    3. Seam Locations: There are very many variables that go into the location of a seam. Appearances, although important too, are secondary to a number of them, including slab length, material pattern, installation hazards, cabinet and cut-out locations and access to the installation, to name a few.

      You could ask your stone guy to consider a seam in a location that would be preferable to you, and he will proceed with due consideration, but ultimately, it is his decision where they go in order to provide a quality installation. A good fabricator will discuss them with you and provide motivation for his choices.

    4. Seams over dishwashers: If done well and supported properly, there is no issue with having a seam over a dishwasher. The glue will not melt, the stone will not weaken and no disaster will occur IF it was done well. Most fabricators will avoid doing seams over the DW because the extra precautions are time and material intensive, but sometimes they can not be helped.

      Extra precautions for seams over a DW could include a "biscuit" joint at the seam, a ledger board screwed in the back wall or support plates glued under the seam, to name a few.

    5. Pricing: Pricing is a carbuncle. Every shop has a different way of doing it, and practices vary from region to region. Some shops will give all inclusive prices, some use itemized bills, others will charge for labor and material and some others might charge them separate. In some parts of the country fabricators require you buy your own materials.

      My advice would be to compare the bottom line of all quotes and determine of you are comparing oranges to oranges. Determine what you would like: material, edge profile, cut-outs and backsplashes. Get estimates from the fabricators that will deliver the same end result and compare those. See if the price includes all the options you prefer, along with material and installation. Once you have all the details determined, looking at the final prices should then give a you a monetary comparison between the different operators.

      Although the price should be important when deciding on a fabricator, do not forget to look at other things like quality, customer service and your own *gut feeling* when you shop for a stone guy.

    6. MIA or not?: Does it matter? The MIA has no means of policing the fabricators that belong to them and joining the association only costs about $500 or so. Anybody can write a check and then put MIA on their business cards. We used to belong to them, but for fundamental reasons gave up our membership. This did not make our quality go downhill all of a sudden. In fact, the standards that we set for our shop were consistently higher than the MIA "required" for any of their members. In short - being an MIA member will NOT be a guarantee of any kind of good service or quality installation. Much rather look at the ethics and business practices of the fabricators on your short list.

    ______________________________________________________________

    Other comments from our experts:

    • You shouldn't seal granite under a .25% absorption
    • Leathered finish stones are typically finished to a semi-gloss and would most likely not benefit from a sealer. It is easy to see if you need one, though. Try and get an untreated sample from the fabricator and do a water test on it. See if the stone darkens if it is exposed to water. My guess is that the Brazilian Black will not.

      If it shows finger marks and such, an enhancing sealer would be a better option - it will be a semi-topical treatment on a stone that dense, so it might need to be re-applied occasionally, depending on how often and with what kind of cleaners you clean your stone.

      Impregnating sealers and enhancers are designed to work from within the stone - i.e. they need to be absorbed to work properly. On dense stones with alternative finishes like brushing, leathering or honing, these sealers will get stuck in the surface texture, giving the desired effect. It will not really be absorbed within the stone, but kinda' stuck in the surface - subject to removal by mechanical means such as a vigorous scrubbing :)

  • NOTES:

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    clipped on: 12.06.2009 at 08:42 pm    last updated on: 12.06.2009 at 08:43 pm

    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

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    clipped on: 12.06.2009 at 08:29 pm    last updated on: 12.06.2009 at 08:29 pm

    RE: white granite (Follow-Up #22)

    posted by: alku05 on 04.14.2007 at 08:39 pm in Kitchens Forum

    Sharon_S, we're still hoping for pictures of your island!!

    We also wanted a quiet white granite, and actually found three good candidates on our first trip out to find granite. They were:

    Bianco Romano (black and garnet spots, some beige swirls):

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Satin White (very speckly, white, black and some garnet):

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Andromeda White (very white with some pale gray, black and garnet spots):

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    We took samples of each home and stain tested then with lemon, red wine, olive oil, soy sauce and cayenne pepper sauce overnight. Both the Andromeda White and Bianco Romano are resined and showed no staining. The Satin White was not resined (unsure if it was sealed) and showed an oil spot and hot sauce spot. If anyone wants close-up pictures, I can take pictures of the samples I have.

    We went back to the yard today and reserved 4 slabs of the Andromeda White for our kitchen.

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    clipped on: 12.05.2009 at 09:36 pm    last updated on: 12.05.2009 at 09:36 pm

    RE: white granite (Follow-Up #8)

    posted by: evan_nj on 04.06.2007 at 02:40 pm in Kitchens Forum

    I just returned from All Granite and Marble in Plainfield NJ and saw "White Fantasy" granite. It looked just like carrera marble. I did a search and found this link to a posting last fall on this topic saved in clippings system:

    http://clippings.gardenweb.com/clippings/catbird

    The first item is about White Fantasy granite.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Link to clipping from Kitchen Forum

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    clipped on: 12.05.2009 at 09:33 pm    last updated on: 12.05.2009 at 09:33 pm

    RE: white granite (Follow-Up #4)

    posted by: whitevenetino on 04.03.2007 at 09:01 am in Kitchens Forum

    Here's a pic of my Bianco Romano-- very white, and very impervious to staining (I've had it for a year now). A dream to maintain. I don't know if you are on the east coast, but I got it at a stone yard in New Jersey-- cannot remember which one. It took me a while to find, as most stone yards did not have the kind of slab I wanted at that time (not white enough). W/Z definitely did not have it. My stone fabricator was able to lead me to a yard who had good slabs of B.R. at that time.Bianco Romano Granite-- favorite splotches!

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    clipped on: 12.05.2009 at 09:32 pm    last updated on: 12.05.2009 at 09:32 pm

    RE: Recessed Lights/Shadows in Kitchen (Follow-Up #1)

    posted by: ginger_light on 11.18.2009 at 10:03 pm in Lighting Forum

    The Halogen bulbs are probably casting a wider circle of light than the R30 (IC) bulbs did. In designs that I do in kitchens, I purposly place recessed cans so the light will catch the cabinet fronts. It helps illuminate the cabinets which lightens up the space and also put more light on the counters. The halogen bulbs are much brighter than the IC bulbs were so you will notice the shadows more. What do you object to? Is it just the light falling on the cabinet fronts? You may be able to use a bulb with a more narrow beam pattern. First you need to know what the beam pattern is with what you are using. Look for a measureent in degrees or the packaging may just say Flood, narrow flood, spot. Start with that information and let me know what you are using and what the objection is. And yes, the placement has everything to do with the lighting. ginger@yourlightsite.com

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    clipped on: 12.03.2009 at 11:25 pm    last updated on: 12.03.2009 at 11:25 pm

    Our new(ish) kitchen, finished! Pictures

    posted by: ebse on 10.16.2009 at 05:35 am in Kitchens Forum

    We finished a few months ago and have been so busy enjoying our new kitchen that I haven't had time to post. Thanks to everyone for your help along the way!
    Here's what we used:
    Brookhaven cabinets
    jet mist honed granite
    Shaw's original sink
    4" white oak flooring
    Restoration hardware hardware and pendants
    KA fridge
    Electrolux ovens
    Bosch DW
    GE induction cooktop (probably my favorite thing)
    Pottery barn stools

    Em
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    clipped on: 12.02.2009 at 07:57 pm    last updated on: 12.02.2009 at 07:57 pm

    RE: Farmhouse sink - front reveal help! (Follow-Up #1)

    posted by: circuspeanut on 11.30.2009 at 06:46 pm in Kitchens Forum

    I have a 27" Whitehaus and it sticks out about 1.5" at the top where it meets the counter, if that helps. I've loved it, no problems or regrets to report.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

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    clipped on: 12.01.2009 at 11:47 pm    last updated on: 12.01.2009 at 11:47 pm