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RE: Stone Information and Advice (& Checklists) (Follow-Up #40)

posted by: buehl on 10.21.2008 at 05:12 pm in Kitchens Forum

Sink Undermount Options

There are pros & cons for each type of reveal:

  • Positive Reveal. The sink shows; granite cutout is slightly larger than sink

    • Pros: Easier to clean b/c you can see the gunk and can easily wipe it off (it only gets nasty if you leave it there)

    • Cons: Silicone (caulk?) is visible, but if they use clear you won't see it when it dries

  • Negative Reveal. The granite overhangs the sink; granite cutout is slightly smaller than the sink

    • Pros: You cannot see the gunk buildup or silicone

    • Cons:
      • You cannot see the gunk to clean it.
      • Dirty water/food can splash up & under where you cannot see to clean it. It's difficult to see underneath w/o leaning way over & into the sink.
      • Dishes/glasses have been known to break b/c when you lift them out near the edge of the sink the dish hits the stone counter & can break (or, if the dish wins, the counter could chip...but I'm not sure how likely that is).

  • Zero Reveal or Flush. Sink & granite are flush or even; the granite cutout & sink are the same size

    • Pros:
      • Easier to clean b/c you can see the gunk
      • No platform over or under for the gunk to collect

    • Cons:
      • More difficult to do perfectly
      • Silicone is visible, but if they use clear you won't see it when it dries

You will find proponents of all three types of reveals here...but in the end it's what works best for you.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 02.19.2011 at 08:19 am    last updated on: 02.19.2011 at 08:19 am

Stone Information and Advice (& Checklists)

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

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

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

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


Stone Information, Advice, and Checklists:

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

Slab Selection:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Measuring:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Factors determining seam placement:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Installation:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Make sure that the seams are neat and clean.

      • Make sure that the seams are not obvious.

      • Make sure the seams are butted tight

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

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

      • Make sure that the granite has been sealed

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

      • Ask which sealer has been used on the granite.

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

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

    • Check for inconsistent overhangs from the counter edges

    • Check for chips. These can be filled.

    • Make sure the top drawers open & close

    • Make sure that you can open & close your dishwasher

    • Make sure the stove sits up higher than the counter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Check surrounding walls & cabinets for damage

Miscellaneous Information:

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

  • Find a fabricator who is a member of the SFA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Countertop Support:

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

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

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

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

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

NOTES:

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clipped on: 02.19.2011 at 08:18 am    last updated on: 02.19.2011 at 08:18 am

RE: Adding under cabinet lighting to existing kitchen (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: mountaineergirl on 02.13.2011 at 08:47 pm in Kitchens Forum

We just (well- back in August) replaced our counter tops and shopped for UCL for months - trying to decided how and what to install. we are now in the process of installing the UCL and we're using LED. They are strung together and are dimmable. We have an OTR microwave with a cabinet above it where there is a outlet (recepticle?) anyhow, we have inline switches that turn them off and/or dim them. All plugged into the one outlet. Very nice. They were somewhat costly, but cheap to operate. Roughly 14 feet of lighting will be like 35-40 watts. AND being LED they should last 10+ years. Here is the website I ordered them thru -

Here is a link that might be useful: LED light bars

NOTES:

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clipped on: 02.16.2011 at 06:10 am    last updated on: 02.16.2011 at 06:10 am

led ucl diy

posted by: jem199 on 06.17.2010 at 12:19 am in Lighting Forum

Instructions for LED DIY
1. Measure the inside bottoms of the front width of your cabinets, between the sides (called fences). This assumes that the upper cabinets are completely flat bottomed.
2. Create a box diagram of your pper cabinet layout on paper and include the measurements.
3. Decide how many lighting zones (circuits) youd like (groupings with their own switch or dimmer). Decide if you want dimming in each zone. You will need a transformer and a switch for each zone. Purchase dimmable transformers and switches for the zones that require dimming.
4. If you have lighting levels in your current kitchen you like, determine the lumens (light output) of those lights to be sure you are adding similar brightness. I used the following
Incandescent are typically 14 lumens per watt.
Fluorescents are typically 60 lumens per watt.
The lighting should be determined by a desired lumens per linear ft basis. The type of lighting (xenon, halogen, fluorescent, led, EL) possible could be dictated by conformance to local laws (eg - title24) FWIW, http://www.greentorch.com/LED-Strip-lights.htm has a claimed output of 83 lumens per watt. Environmental lights has their lumens here:
https://www.environmentallights.com/categories/1306_2402_3417/under-cabinet-light-bars
5. Determine the lengths of lights for each cabinet. You want at least one light every 30". Many have suggested getting the widest you can for each cabinet and then putting them on a dimmer to give you the most flexibility for task and ambient lighting. You can stack two or more lightbars parallel and connect them with jumpers for more lumens over a high-task area, such as a sink.
6. For each zone, add up the volts for the lights in the zone so you can select the appropriate transformer. Add 15% to your total. Here are the conversions I used (This is specific to the environmentallights type light bar)
15 cm = 5.9" = 1.65w
30 cm = 11.8" = 3.3w
60 cm = 23.6" = 6.6w
90 cm = 35.4" = 9.9w
7. Decide where you will place your transformer(s). Transformers should be placed in a wall, but in a cabinet, basement or attic where there is circulation and you can access it, if needed. You need one transformer for each lighting zone. By code, the transformer(s) have to be in an accessible location. One transformer per lighting zone is required if independent control of each zone is required. If multiple transformers are required, you need to ensure that there is adequate electrical branch wiring to the locations where each transformer is located. The necessary switch controls need to be planned for.
8. Add your lights to your box diagram. This will help you determine the accessories needed and where to place the wires. The lights in each zone must connect to each other and each cable must reach the transformer. For new installs, you can pull the wires back through the wallboard. For existing installs, bring the cables over the tops of the cabinets. You need at least 2 mounting clips per light. You may also need seamless connectors and/or right angle cords for tight spaces between the lights and fence where the cord needs to travel to the back of the cabinet. Interconnected zones should be wired in parallel not series so that a problem in one light bar/ zone would not cause all the lights to go out.

Parts List
1. In wall wiring - Ideal brand low voltage wiring (from HD or Lowes).
2. Ideal Plug disconnects (from HD or Lowes).
3. Lights - depends on how much light you want, total length of cabinets.
4. Transformer(s) - depends on cummulative consumption + 15% margin.
5. Inter-connect wiring.
6. Lightbars from http://stores.ebay.com/LEDpro-Lighting Email sales@photonier.com for pricing sheet.
7. Transformer from environmentallights.com
8. Leviton 6613 magnetic dimmers 1 for each circuit/zone. Check with transformer supplier if youd like to use a different one. Incompatible dimmer switches can void your transformer warranty. This particular dimmer reco assumes that low voltage (12V or 24V) LED lighting will be installed and contains many details specific to environmentallights type lightbars. Magnetic dimmers from various vendors could be used, but require some testing first. If you use a different transformer, check with the manufacutuer if there are known problems with certain dimmers. You can Hook up the system prior to installation for a test run if possible - switch(es).Things to look out for
1. There is no buzzing/ humming sound from the transformer when everything is hooked up and powered on.
2. All lights are equally bright, especially at the ends.
3. No flickering
4. No problems when dimming.

Tips specifics to this type of environmental lights type lightbar:
1. Its a waste to buy the long length 3 prong interconnects. Just cut the interconnect wires and attach to a disconnect.
2. Two adjacent prongs are actually connected to the same DC line. The third is connected to the other DC line.
3. The right angle interconnects are probably more useful for connecting bars set at an angle to each other.
4. You could use flat wire under the cabinets as it comes with double side sticky tape. Some DIY work would be necessary with a soldering iron + heat shrink tubing.
http://www.flatwirestore.com/mm5/merchant.mvc
The flat wire is useful in situations where you do not like to see standard low voltage wiring.
5. The plug disconnects would be used to connect the in-wall low voltage wiring to the lighting power cords which connect the lights. It would also connect the in-wall low voltage wiring to the transformer. This way, if you ever decide to change out all the lighting bars to another make, it would be a simple matter of disconnecting from the plug disconnects and perhaps the transformer.

Thanks to davidtay for this information! Be sure to watch both parts of the DIY video below. Its shows how to wire these to household current.

Here is a link that might be useful: UCL Install Video

NOTES:

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clipped on: 02.15.2011 at 09:20 pm    last updated on: 02.15.2011 at 09:20 pm

RE: Kitchen Countertops and Optional Backsplash (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: boxerpups on 02.15.2011 at 07:34 am in Kitchens Forum

Hi Lantana17,
welcome to GW.

I do not think the mini bs is necessary.
Which do look do you prefer?

The trend I have seen is without. Even those choosing
no backsplash. But if you like the look go for it.
Here are some visuals to help you think about it.
~boxer

A 3 inch backsplash (And of course a larger behind range)
From lofts of Boston
Photobucket

A tiny 3/4 inch backsplash rim of sorts on this slate
contertop From VT Slate Co.
Slate

Without the mini backsplash. I love this look.
The clean lines without the added mini backsplash make
this stunning.
Photobucket

Dichroic glass backsplash by Dan Enberg
Photobucket

NOTES:

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clipped on: 02.15.2011 at 12:04 pm    last updated on: 02.15.2011 at 12:04 pm

RE: Backsplash help (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: crafterbeth on 02.10.2011 at 07:11 pm in Kitchens Forum

We are in the home stretch with our total DIY kitchen reno...not ready to post photos yet as I want to take them during the day.......

I wanted white subway,,,hubby was dead set against them, and really it's his house too and he went along with all of my other choices, so we compromised kept looking and I ended up loving our tiles........

Here is a sneak peek

NOTES:

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clipped on: 02.14.2011 at 09:02 am    last updated on: 02.14.2011 at 09:02 am

RE: Some of the best advice from the braintrust on this forum (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: buehl on 02.05.2011 at 03:13 pm in Kitchens Forum

I don't know if you've read the "Read Me" thread, but the "Best Advice" and other, similar, threads are linked in it. They're located in the "Miscellaneous Information"-->"Helpful Threads" topic.

Here's your list, reformatted for ease of reading (see "Curious about text in messages (adding bold, italics, etc.)", also in the "Miscellaneous Information"-->"Helpful Threads" topic.)


++++++++++++


  • lay the kitchen out on the ground outside with all the measurements and walk around it to see if it felt right. I took my measurements and scraps of wood and laid them out in the various plans I had come up with.

  • check out the sound of the fan in the new ovens. I would have been pretty steamed to spend a bunch on a new range and have that sound come blaring out each time I used the oven.

  • putting Blumotion on the cabinet doors. This is my favorite feature in our kitchen and the cost was cheap to add these on after the cab install.

  • "zones" on this forum, and designed my kitchen around them, with a tremendous amount of help from my forum friends. In my old kitchen, the dishwasher opened across from the island (right into the backs of my legs). Now, the cleanup zone is on the peninsula, the prep area is between the fridge and sink, etc. It's really wonderful.

  • No air gap -- most modern dishwashers don't need them, so you don't have to have that extra unattractive "thing" on your countertop. Easy way around that if you need to pass code inspection is to drill the hole for air gap... pop it on for inspection and when they've gone take off the air gap and pop on your soap dispenser. Then put the loop in the hose at the back of your dishwasher...

  • Advantium

  • Miele dishwasher

  • Test tube rack for spice storage

  • Lay it out with tape to double check

  • advice for setting up a temp kitchen

  • Measure from 3 points wall to wall. Had I known this when we remodeled the entire house in 1990, I would now have the room to put in a pro-style range. As it is, I am exactly....1/4" short. Talk about frustrating! Our cabs are in great shape and I love them, but I'm stuck with the 29-7/8" width on the range.

  • I really like this that I stole from Dmlove--- I love not having all those cords on my desk/countertop! So best advice from this forum... details make the difference! for now my phone sits over the hole

  • pull down (rather than pull out or side spray) faucet

  • Bluestar, after asking about the best 30 inch slide-in range

  • batch-feed garbage disposals

  • adding outlets

  • Galaxy Tool Supply for our sink

  • Never MT

  • Plugmold

  • Wide/shallow cabinet for William Sonoma ultra-thin step stool.

  • Airswitch on disposal. Never minded the wall switch, but now that I have a nice backsplash and an island

  • Floodstop on icemaker and washing machine.

  • I put power into the back of 4 drawers, so each family member has a place to charge the cell phone (or camcorder or whatever) out of sight.

  • I also have a false panel behind a niche so that the power / wallwarts / phone wire / wireless access point is hidden. Only the phone sits out exposed. Similar to the idea above, but using depth.

  • Don't pack your booze prior to remodeling (this is VERY important! VERY IMPORTANT!)

  • Lacanche

  • caulk on change of planes verses grout...look at the underside of your cabinets

  • Plugmold for under the ends of my island so I didn't have to cut outlets into my beautiful cabinets

  • integrated drainboard cut into the countertop

  • raising the countertop for my wall oven - which gave me a bonus "standing desk" for my laptop

  • never thought I could get talked out of gas. So, that is the best advice so far

  • I'm a single sink convert, based solely upon the reviews on this website.

  • DH and I made a "never mt" out of tubing bought for $0.46 at Lowes. It's really not very exciting, though. It's clear tubing (like the kind you see on aquariums) attached to the bottom of the soap dispenser thing, and then extends down through the lid and into the bottom of the bottle of soap. (We just drilled a hole in the top of the bottle and shoved the tubing down.) So low tech! The tubing is something like $.23/ foot and we bought 2 feet. Super easy.

  • Landing space between appliances

  • Aisle clearances

  • Wait until its right - the right plan, the right time, the right appliances.

  • instant hot water heater

  • Getting a 36" range

  • baking center

  • online resources for sinks and faucets

  • the importance of putting functionality first in all design decisions

  • how to test granite for durability

  • remote blower for hood fan

  • single deep fireclay sink

  • lots of great online resources for sinks, faucets, etc

  • Never NEVER NEVER!!!! Leave your construction site to go on vacation ::scary music:: I MEAN NEVERRRRR!!!!!

  • the best (and most costly) is don't settle. You have to live with this kitchen for quite some time. Don't settle! (Even if that means you scrapped the cabinets today, called of the GC for 8 weeks while you order new ones, and you can't live in your home so you have to find somewhere else to live for three months). And maybe Santa won't know where you live!!!

  • Pegasus under-cabinet lighting here. Slim, good-looking, very energy-efficient, and reasonably priced.

  • I was convinced of the superiority of the Miele cutlery rack

  • do not rush..get a good plan in place. Pick what you love ..NOT what the designer loves

  • Brizo Floriano/pulldowns in general

  • xenon lighting

  • Venting

  • Tapmaster

  • take pictures of everything while your walls are open. It is very helpful to have that photographic record of where electric, pipes, studs etc. actually are. Also, plan for where you want to install pot/wall racks, shelf brackets, etc.--and add extra framing in the walls before they get closed up.

  • Get your floor plan right!

  • The Franke Orca sink ... to die for.

  • Inexpensive but quality Ticor sinks for laundry and prep.

  • Plugmold giving me a crisp, clean and outlet-free backsplash.

  • The personal, real life stories shared here gave me the confidence to push back at the stoneyard and insist on marble for my island. It pairs beautifully with the soapstone perimeter.

  • Bertazzoni range

  • White America Quartzite to go with SS

  • LED undercabinet lights

  • internet and eBay vendor recommendations

  • Hancock & Moore leather furniture (from GW furniture forum)

  • Microfiber cloths for cleaning SS and granite.

  • we had scaled drawings, pictures, and sketches taped to walls and cabinets all over the kitchen. A sketch of the island layout, a drawing with dimensions for light fixtures and switches, a sketch showing the spacing of shelves, a picture of how we wanted plugmold installed - you name it, we had it on a piece of paper and taped on a wall. When we would discuss anything with the electrician, plumber, etc., usually we would show them a drawing or sketch so they would know exactly what we were looking for. Then we would post it on the wall in the kitchen. It may have been slightly annoying to those working there, but it was amazing how much it helped. A number of times after someone screwed something up I would just point to a drawing and they would immediately have to take the blame and offer to fix it. There was never any chance to claim that we never told them or that we had said something else. It was right there on the wall the whole time.

  • undercounter light switch for undercounter lights

  • tilt-out shoe storage cabinet

  • Get hardwoods instead of laminate. Once I investigated I couldn't believe at how little difference in cost between the two (good decent laminate vs. hardwood)

  • This is AWESOME! I now have a list of things I had never even heard of to check on...and I thought I was on top of things!

  • posters here are willing to share their good and bad experiences so that newbies like me can have a smoother reno.

  • Something that I'm slowly realizing as I continue to read the posts here is that, despite the best of planning, something (or things) likely will not go as planned.

  • Buy appliances available locally (so service is available), from retailers who will actually stand behind the sale instead of shifting all blame and responsibility to the manufacturer - even when they shipped a defective product. Just finished reading a long thread about someone that bought from an internet retailer, and it was shocking to see the attitude of the retailer. Forget the pre sale promises and assurances from some of these disreputable internet companies who won't be there if you have a problem and just get them locally. No small percentage of savings is worth it if you end up with a defective product shipped and the retailer says it isn't his problem. If you must buy via internet, make sure you get in writing that the product will be shipped defect-free and if there's anything wrong with the unit at all - IMMEDIATELY contest the charge with your credit card company. Don't rely on promises that a minor (or major) problem will be promptly repaired by a service company.

  • learning all the lingo was great. When the contractor asked if I wanted plugmold I didn't go "huh?" I think by being knowledgeable before talking to the contractor it helps a lot.

  • Knobs vs. Pulls. There have been several discussions of knobs vs. pulls. Some comments:

  • Knobs on base cabinets can catch on clothing (and rip sometimes).

  • Cabinets/drawers w/pulls can usually be opened w/one finger...even the pinky finger.

  • Susan Jablon glass tile. Everyone who comes in my house walks up to my backsplash and has to touch it. I had just about given up the idea of a glass tile backsplash before finding out about her site on this forum. The price of her tile, even with shipping, was about half of what I could have bought it for locally and it is gorgeous!

  • No sockets/switches in backsplash (under cabinet plug strip)

  • Toe kick on trash pop out BUT... ADD a second spring to add power to the pop (thank you for whoever mentioned this ingenious bit of info)

  • Double layered cutlery drawer (secret drawer within a drawer)

  • What to look for when choosing undercabinet lighting eg... reflection, spread of light, color of light, heat...

  • Benefits of a large farmhouse sink

  • Miele dishwasher

  • superb

  • Thermador cooktop and all the controversy about the popup draft and how I could get away with not having one. THANK YOU!

  • Miele warming drawer FANTASTIC and thank you for making me realize that it doesn't have to be on the floor under the oven!!!

  • PLAN YOUR STORAGE SPACE. measure boxes, measure food processor, mixer, stack of plates etc. etc. then make a note of contents in the drawers or cupboards on your plans or diagrams or in your notes.

  • Plug strip under center island.

  • YOU ARE NOT ALONE- PEOPLE WHO CARE ABOUT YOUR CD FRIDGE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU and it's OK to really take your time with your decisions

  • Orca single sink

  • Pot rack in upper cabinet (I think this idea was from loves2cookfor6??)

  • Electrical outlet inside a drawer for a charging station

  • filling in the gap between the fridge and the cupboard above it with some leftover filler and a piano hinge. Cambro...where did you see this idea? Just yesterday we discovered that we might have a significant gap b/w the top of the refrigerator & the bottom of the cabinet above. Our contractor is just going to use filler to hide the gap, but if we put it on hinges it would actually become usable space!

  • knife drawer (I hated that block)

  • gel stain

  • Getting rid of my ugly phone jack and getting a phone that doesn't need one!

  • How to get rid of the drip inside my oven door - with a hanger and a sock going up through the holes at the bottom of the door. Worked like a charm!

  • Get a spine when talking to GC about his version vs. my version of cleaning up the jobsite each day (aka our home).

  • Use masking tape and a measuring tape and make a mock up of where your new cabinets will go. This is a biggie!

  • Dimmer switches! I put them on ALL of the new lighting, including the patio lights adjacent, and have not regretted it once.

  • how great Silgranit sinks are to live with. Never even heard of one before GW.

  • Buying Sources

    • Ticor sinks: Ticor Sinks at Galaxy Tool Supply: http://www.galaxytoolsupply.com/category_s/58.htm

    • Tapmaster: http://www.tapmaster.ca/

    • Never-MT: Never-MT: http://custominserts-store.stores.yahoo.net/nevsoapandlo.html

    • Pop up Outlets: Popup Mocketts: http://www.mockett.com/default.asp?ID=469

    • Plugmold Power Strips: http://www.wiremold.com/www/consumer/products/plugmold.asp

    • Angle Powerstrip: http://www.tasklighting.com/ap/angle-strip.htm

  • Our Vac Pan. Ours is hooked up to a wet/dry vac in the basement because we do not have central vac. The idea came from this forum and our electrician and contractor figured out how to make it happen.

  • DIY on gel stain. Thanks Celticmoon and Projectsneverend.

  • Soapstone, getting it, finding the right fabricator right here, and caring for it

  • where to find a deal on saddle stools

  • Kohler Vinnata

  • Not to put my cooktop on my island.

  • best advice I got was around my budget and how to make the hard decisions on what should stay in and what should go (that was from Buehl).

  • What is not that important to me and doesn't add functionality? [Candidate for elimination altogether]

  • What can I do at a later date? [Candidate for deferring until a later date]

  • What can't be done at a later date and I can't live without? [Candidate for keeping and doing now]

  • This forum helped me see which terms are worth using, and which can be saved for later. This forum helped me get clearer communication going. Resistance could be expressed when I raised ideas; it all helped to refine the concept.

  • This forum helped me justify personal innovations. This forum confirmed ideas.

  • Tweaking and innovating. I tweaked everything in my kitchen along the way.

  • I don't know if I would have a remodeled kitchen if it weren't for this forum. I would have still been looking at the dreadful old one wishing it was nice and not knowing how to get it nice. Even the ideas & photos of things I didn't want for me helped to define what I did want.

  • I have to give credit to my carpenter, too. There was a time when his eyes rolled when I said, "but the people on the kitchen forum say......." But I had photos and conversations printed off to show him what I meant.

  • Lisalists organized drawers where the dividers go from front to back or side to side so you don't have to nest objects-and you can fit so much stuff in. Easy, easy access. No nesting. Yay

  • Layout, efficiency. This has to be the most important thing I've been learning here. What tasks do you perform, what zones will you organize them in, what items do you need close at hand in each zone, how does traffic between and through zones flow. etc.

  • Styles, materials, looks. People here have great ''eyes'' for style and looks. My eyes have been opened to these looks, and I've learned the vocabulary to describe them.

  • Specific ideas/features I learned about here that seem like they'll be useful: prep sinks, base cabinet drawers, counter top materials other than granite, true convection ovens, unfitted kitchens, under-counter refrigeration.

  • Many things, one of which is using a 13-15" depth cabinet for inset cabinets, as 12 is not sufficient.

  • Carefully placing all the appliances and storage thinking about what you use with what. For example, I moved the microwave to be next to the refrigerator because we use it mostly for reheating leftovers. I have fridge, prep sink, prep area, range, more prep area on one side and on the other I have prep area/ landing zone (across from fridge), main sink, prep area / dishwasher (across from range, but offset so both people can work) in the island.

Here is a link that might be useful: Read Me If You're New To GW Kitchens!

NOTES:

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clipped on: 02.14.2011 at 09:00 am    last updated on: 02.14.2011 at 09:00 am