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RE: spacing for recessed lights (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: ttfweb on 06.29.2007 at 04:06 pm in Lighting Forum

I did some research to do our kitchen, and here is what I came up with. Its now installed and works very well.

Recessed lighting:

Use 4" for task areas only - these are expensive and the trim options are limited

Use 5" for general lighting if the room is smaller in size or has less than 9 ft ceilings.

Use 6" for larger rooms with higher ceilings
The size of the can does not indicated how much light you will get - the wattage of the bulb does.

In general, you need between 2.5 to 3 watts of light per square foot.

I have more details on my blog.

Here is a link that might be useful: 10k Kitchen Remodel - Lighting


clipped on: 03.13.2008 at 01:44 am    last updated on: 03.13.2008 at 01:45 am

RE: wattage needed for kitchen? (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: brutuses on 07.24.2007 at 12:19 am in Lighting Forum

According to Kichler here is the formula:

Multiply the length times the width of the room. Then, multiply that number times 1.5. That gives you the armounto of wattage you need to light the room properly for general illumination.

Example: A room is 12 ft. x 16 ft. (12 x 16 = 192) Then multiply 192 x 1.5 = 288 watts. That means an 8-light chadelier using 40-watt bulbs would give 320 wats, which is even more light than needed. For specific task lighting in areas where stronger light is needed, multiply the area's square footage by 2.5 rather than 1.5 to find the needed wattage.

A kitchen work island or a desk area where schoolwork is done are examples of task areas in your home.

These same rules apply to every room or area in your home.

All the above is taken from the back of a lighting catalog by Kichler.


Calculate wattage needed for general illumination.
clipped on: 03.13.2008 at 01:21 am    last updated on: 03.13.2008 at 01:22 am

RE: Basic bathroom planning - measurements? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: lazypup on 03.08.2008 at 09:55 pm in Bathrooms Forum

The clearances for a bathtub are determined by the physical size of the tub you select.

Under the International Residential Code (IRC) a shower stall is required to have a minimum rough pan size of 32" x 32" and under the UPC it is required to be 34" x 34"

A shower is required to have a 30" diameter area in the shower stall with vertical clearance of 72" above the elevation of the finished drain. (The shower control knobs or an handrail may project into the 30" clearance.

When constructing a shower the shower head MAY NOT point towards the door.

When constructing a corner shower with an angled door on the front corner, the UPC requires the pan to be 39-1/2" on each wall and the door must have a minimum 22" width.

Under both the IRC and UPC a toilet or bidet is required to have a side to side clearance of 15" from the centerline of the bowl to any wall, fixture or appurtenance on either side.

The IRC requires a toilet to have a frontal clearance of 21" from the front edge of the bowl to any adjacent wall, fixture or appurtenance. The UPC requires a 24" frontal clearance.

The IRC requires a lavatory to have a 21" frontal clearance measured from the front edge of freestanding bowl or from the front edge of that lavatory cabinet. The UPC has no specific clearance for a lavatory bowl, however you must check your local codes.

Door swing clearances would be dictated by the size of the door. Most code require an interior door to be a minimum of 30" wide.

This should give you the basics based upon the national model codes but before you finalize your plan be sure to check with your local inspection authority to see if your local codes may be different.


clipped on: 03.11.2008 at 12:20 am    last updated on: 03.11.2008 at 12:20 am

RE: Ballpark figure for cabinets? (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: mamadadapaige on 03.09.2008 at 06:46 pm in Kitchens Forum


I have about the same size kitchen as you and am in the midst of a gut renovation as well. We will have cabinets for 2 walls as well as an island (45" x 75"). I shopped HARD for cabinetry. We are going with Crown Point. Below is a list of the pricing I got for the different options. I almost went with Plain and Fancy... I really liked their door styles. I ended up going with Crown Point because we have 3 sets of friends who used them who all raved (also they came in the least expensive).

Kennebec Cabinetry: $32K
Brookhaven: $25K
Woodmode: $34K
Quality Custom Cabinetry: $28K
Plain and Fancy: $25K
Medallion: $22K
Crown Point: $24K

I can tell you a few things that will affect your price (with Crown Point at least, possibly with the other companies as well).

** If you bring the cabinetry all the way to the ceiling this seems to affect the price quite a lot.

** Furniture toe kids add.

** Natural wood would have been 25% less expensive than the painted cabinets we chose (with the exception of tiger maple which would have been about equal with painted).

** Glazes and milk paint and things like that add to the cost.

** Those old fashioned latches you see on doors adds. I chose this just for my upper cabinets and it cost me about $50 or $60 per door.

** Inset cabinetry is generally more expensive than overlay. Crown Point deals in inset which was part of why we chose them. Medallion has just started making inset cabinetry. Plain and Fancy does inset.

** A custom color (painted) adds about 10% more or less.... not all companies allow this, but I know Plain and Fancy as well as Crown Point allow it at a cost.

I hope this helps.

By the way, the Kennebec Company cabinets were the ones I was MOST impressed with but you really need to plan ahead to work with this company. Their price was more but not by so much that I wouldn't have gone for it, but their lead time was about 8 months. They are a small shop making everything by hand. I will post a link to their website.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kennebec Cabinets


some cabinet brands
clipped on: 03.10.2008 at 12:22 am    last updated on: 03.10.2008 at 12:22 am

RE: Plywood or particle board boxes on your kitchen cabs? (Follow-Up #15)

posted by: chiefneil on 03.07.2008 at 10:44 am in Kitchens Forum

There seems to be a few misconceptions on this thread, so I thought a photo might be helpful. Plywood is generally described in two broad categories, solid or MDF core, and veneer core. Veneer core is what most people think of when they say "plywood".

There are different types and grades of veneer core plywood. The construction grade you find at home depot can have voids in the inner layers and the grain roughness can telegraph to the surface. Higher quality furniture-grades don't have voids, and have more layers.

The bottom plywood in the photo is furniture-grade maply veneer core. I've seen people saying that the melamine on MDF and particle board is paper-thin. Well, it's hard to see on this photo, but the top veneer layer on this expensive furniture-grade maply plywood is also paper-thin. Not counting the veneer layer, it has 5 plies.

On top is a higher grade typically called "baltic birch". It has 7 plies, and the thickest veneer layer, about 1/64" or maybe 1/32". Still very thin. In my experience, baltic birch warps very easily so I'm careful to store it flat and assemble soon after milling.

Above that is MDF. It has a maple veneer, the same quality and thickness as the veneer-core maple on the bottom. And on top is particle board - note the thicker and less even flakes than the MDF.

I use veneer core for free-standing furniture than will be moved around and abused. My custom kitchen and den cabinets are MDF core.



Here's the lowdown on different kinds of plywood and particle board.
clipped on: 03.08.2008 at 07:17 pm    last updated on: 03.08.2008 at 07:17 pm

RE: Calling Ticor undermount sink owners .... (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: vwhippiechick on 03.04.2008 at 06:42 am in Kitchens Forum

Here is ours - we have a very slight negative reveal. The caulk is not visible unless you put your head in the sink, which I am sure some of us TKOer would be willing to do to check it out LOL!




A very slight negative reveal like the one pictured here might be best?
clipped on: 03.05.2008 at 12:21 am    last updated on: 03.05.2008 at 12:22 am

RE: A perhaps silly under counter water filter question (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: lynninnewmexico on 02.18.2008 at 06:38 pm in Kitchens Forum

We've had water filtration systems under our counters for the past 15 years, as we're on a small community well here in the NM mountains. Got to have one here! With our new reno, we put in Kohler faucets: the Vinatta and the Wellspring for our filtered drinking water. No, the filtered water does not come out in a trickle and the extra faucet doesn't get in our way. We're used to having two faucets. The last DW faucet was cheaper than our new Kohler Wellspring and I can tell a huge difference. The old one rocked back and forth, it wasn't sturdy and the water dribbled out much more slowly. The Wellspring is solidly built and we are very impressed with it.
Here's my two Kohler faucets;


Nice water filter dispense faucet
clipped on: 02.22.2008 at 01:20 am    last updated on: 02.22.2008 at 01:20 am

RE: water heater recir pump, is it worth it? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: lazypup on 06.29.2007 at 10:00 pm in Plumbing Forum

Recirculator Economics

Many people have argued that installing a hot water recirculation pump will increase energy cost for hot water. Let us examine the true facts.

In current state of the art construction high-end custom-built single-family residential structures are averaging between 1800 and 2400sq.ft. For the sake of argument let us consider the worst-case scenario and base our calculations on a 2400sq.ft home.

Using the square root formula we could then say that if the house is square it would have a 49 x 49 base, whereas if it is a standard 1/3 x 2/3 oblong shape it would be approximately 30 x 80.

Let us once again consider a worst-case scenario. The water heater is in one corner and we have a bathroom in the opposite corner.

We then have a Hot water main line that runs parallel to the end wall until it reaches the center of the structure and runs the full length of the structure down the center. On the opposite end we have a 15 branch line from the main to the bathroom. We then have a 105 main line. Now for illustration let us further assume that the hot water main line is a " pipe.

A " pipe has a volume of 5.32cubic inches per linear foot therefore the total volume of the line from the water heater to the bathroom is x 105 = One gallon of water occupies therefore the total volume of the line 2.41gallons. If we then consider that the code standard flow rate for a bathroom lavatory faucet is .5gpm it further stands that if the water in the line we at room temperature we would have a delay of nearly 5 minutes while we wait for a fresh supply of hot water to exit the water heater and arrive at the lavatory.

Now let us consider the economics a moment. Not only are we pouring 2.4 gallons of water down the drain, water which we no doubt bought from a municipal supplier, we are also paying sewer tax on that water, not to mention that we previously also paid to heat that water.

Let us now consider what it cost to heat that water. Assuming the cold water is entering the structure from a buried water line then the average temperature of the cold water supply will be 55deg.F. Typically the water heater is set to the code-mandated 125degF so the differential temperature is 125deg.F. 50deg.F. = 75deg.F.
One BTU (British Thermal Unit) will raise one pound of water one degree of Fahrenheit.
Water weighs 8.34lbs/gal. Therefore 2.4gals will weigh 20lbs and we have a 75degF differential so it would require 20lbs x 75degrees = 1500BTUs to reheat the water in the water heater that replaces what we just ran down the drain.

Typically a 50gallon natural gas fired water heater has a 36,000BTU/hr burner which would then be 36,000BTU/hr / 60min/hr = 600BTU/min. thus it would require 1500BTU loss /600BTU/min.= 2.5minutes burn time just to make up the water that we poured down the drain.

Now let us consider this fact. An un-insulated hot water line can cool to room temperature in as little as 15 minutes and if these lines run through a cold basement or crawl space that time would be considerably less.

Typically a 3BR residential structure will have a family of four and statistically each resident will go to the bathroom at least 4 times a day. This means that the loss could occur 16 or more times per day, thus our net loss will be a minimum of 38.4gal of water and 40 minutes of gas burn time per day. If we then consider that we statistically consume an average of 100gal of water per person per day a family of 4 would consume 400gal a day, yet we are wasting nearly 40gal, which accounts for 10% of our daily water consumption.

Now let us examine the economics of a re-circulation system.

Some argue that we must now pay to operate a pump, but let us see what that actually cost of operating that pump is?
Typically the pumps used for re-circ systems are a 1/40hp pump. Allowing that 746watts of electrical energy equals one horse power we can then say that a 1/40hp motor will draw 746watts/HP / 40 = 18.65watts.

For maximum efficiency the pump should be controlled by differential temperature on the return line by example, If we have the water heater set for 125degF water we would then set the pump control to start the pump when the water in the line cools to 115degF.

The plumbing code requires that when we install a re-circulation pump all hot water lines, both the distribution lines and the return lines MUST BE insulated. With proper insulation the pump will run an average of 3 times per hour. The pump only needs to run long enough to move a fresh supply of hot water from the water heater to the point where the control sensor is placed. In the above example if that sensor was placed in the bathroom the total volume of water that must be moved would be the 2.4gal of water which stands in the line however to make it easier to connect the control system we typically place the sensor right next to the pump on the return line at the water heater. This means we would have 2.4gal of water in the " line. If we then have a " line as a return line from the bathroom to the water heater we have approximately one more gallon of water in the return line (1/2" pipe has a volume of 98 per gallon), for a total of 3.4gal/cycle.
A 1/40hp pump is rated for 4gal/min so the actual operating time would then be slightly less than one minute per cycle and allowing an average of 3 cycles per hour we get a run time of 3 minutes per hour.

The pump consumes 18.65watts x 0.05hrs or 0.9325watt/hours per hour of operation.
This would then be 0.9325watt/hrs x 24hours= 22.38watt/hrs per day. This is then 0.2Kw/hrs per day and allowing 30days per month it would then be 6kw/hrs per month. In my community we pay $.10 per KW/hr for electric so the actual operating cost of the pump is 60 cents per month or $7.20 a year.

Let us now consider the other cost factors. Without the re-circulation system we are typically pouring 40gallon or more of water down the drain daily or 1200gallons a month. Keep in mind that we are not only paying for that water, we are also being charged sewer tax on it as well. With the pump the water is being returned to the water heater so the water loss is zero. In my community the cost of water is $5 per 1000gal thus the net savings on water alone is $6/month + 66% for sewer tax which would be another $3.96 for a total net savings of $9.96 a month. As we can see the first months water bill savings alone will more than adequately pay the annual operating cost of the pump.

Previously we concluded that if we do not have a re-circulation system, but rather pour the water down the drain, we then had to input an additional 15000BTU to make up the heat loss.
With the pump our differential temperature is now 125degF 115degF = 10degF per cycle.

We are now moving 3.4gal/cycle x 8.304lbs/gal = 28.23lbs/water and one BTU will raise one pound of water one degree of Fahrenheit so our net energy loss is now 28.23lbs x 10degF = 282.3BTU per cycle for a net energy savings of 15,000btu 282.3BTU = 14,717BTU/cycle. The energy savings is then 99.99% per cycle.

Oh yes. And did we mention that that upside is instant on hot water at the remote location?

When all things are considered I personally dont see how we could pass up a re-circulation pump.


clipped on: 02.15.2008 at 01:14 am    last updated on: 02.15.2008 at 01:14 am

2nd finished bath: Master bath

posted by: hmsweethm on 01.20.2008 at 12:54 pm in Bathrooms Forum

I just posted our new powder room. Here now is our Master Bath, which is not so big at about 6'10" by 10'4" or so.

To view more photos, I've put a link to the Photobucket account with pictures of all our baths and kitchen below. There is a list of the different selections on the left hand side.

Here is what we used for the master bath:

Kohler toilet San Raphael
Kohler sinks
Kohler shower fixtures (rain shower head, handheld and regular shower) in Varnished Bronze
Glass doors through Expo Design Center
Tile Casa Dolce Casa porcelain; through Expo Design Center
Arch/niche tile and backsplash mosaic trim travertine from Home Depot
Counters, bench in shower and top of "pony walls at shower Durango travertine stone
Cabinetry custom made locally; cherry w/custom stain
Sink faucets Aqua Brass in antique brass
Towel fixtures from Expo in Antique brass
Radiant heating - Warmly Yours
Vent NuTone w/light
Lighting Restoration Hardware Grafton double sconce in bronze
Paint Benjamin Moore Mocassin

Here is a link that might be useful: Hmsweethm's baths & kitchen


Nice pictures of a reasonable sized bathroom.
clipped on: 02.04.2008 at 11:51 pm    last updated on: 02.04.2008 at 11:52 pm

RE: Calling all 'vertically challenged' cooks... (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: cpovey on 01.11.2008 at 06:58 pm in Appliances Forum

One idea is to install a kick drawer below the stack. Then put a platform in the kick drawer, to provide an extra 3-4" extra height.


Here is a great idea! Put a platform in the toekick to reach top microwave. It may not be necessary. Have to mock it up to see.
clipped on: 01.24.2008 at 11:50 pm    last updated on: 01.24.2008 at 11:51 pm

Here's a great idea for the DISHTOWEL quandry:)

posted by: taliaferro on 01.23.2008 at 10:08 pm in Kitchens Forum

It hooks on to the lip of a cabinet or drawer and has rubber pads to protect the cabinetry. These are stainless steel, but I found bronzed hangers here.

Here is a link that might be useful: towel bar & hook


clipped on: 01.24.2008 at 01:07 pm    last updated on: 01.24.2008 at 01:08 pm

RE: Did you use Low Voltage or Line Voltage recessed cans? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: napagirl on 09.18.2007 at 04:56 am in Kitchens Forum

Bikey, thanks for responding. I was told many yrs ago that Lightolier made a good can light, one that did not leak light between the trim and the ceiling ... don't know if its still true. I saw a Nora display and it leaked a little light.

Fothia, thank you for suggesing MM in Texas. They have a very informative website, I must have spent over an hour reading through everything.

Anyone else like to add something .... ?


clipped on: 01.21.2008 at 07:41 pm    last updated on: 01.21.2008 at 07:41 pm

RE: Did you use Low Voltage or Line Voltage recessed cans? (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: napagirl on 11.17.2007 at 07:07 am in Kitchens Forum

Thank you everyone for your comments and suggestions.

rococogurl, I wasn't aware that LV lamps produced less heat than Line-V lamps (thought that only applied to FL).

rockpig, THANK YOU for directing me to the Cooper Lighting website. I'm linking it at the bottom of this post so other people can easily benefit from the video. Do your 4" Line-V cans really give enough light (aren't you limited to 50w lamps)?

soigne, Sorry to hear the dimmer caused your LV track lighting to buzz. Could it have been the type of dimmer (magnetic v. electronic)?

tom_in_seattle, Thank you for your detailed response, now I have more questions! Did you design your own lighting plan? How big and high is your kitchen (mine is 13x18x8 high)? Distance between cans? Is Solux a brand or type of bulb? Did you buy your own cans/lamps (and if so, where?), or did your electrician?
You said, "The LV Halogens are not cheap, costing around $40 each, plus the trims at $27 each." Was the $40 for the bulb or the housing?

Here is a link that might be useful: Cooper Lighting Learning Videos - very informative


clipped on: 01.21.2008 at 07:40 pm    last updated on: 01.21.2008 at 07:40 pm

RE: Bead Board confused here (Follow-Up #17)

posted by: patches_02 on 01.21.2008 at 08:44 am in Kitchens Forum

When we were putting our mud/laundry room in ( this is the way we come in most of the time) DH built in a neat key cabinet and used the faux beedboard. white spot on door is glare from light.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


clipped on: 01.21.2008 at 07:28 pm    last updated on: 01.21.2008 at 07:28 pm

RE: is it odd or 'wrong' to have a powder room in the kitchen (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: codnuggets on 01.17.2008 at 02:05 pm in Bathrooms Forum

It's not ideal, but sometimes the layout gives you no other choice. I gutted my kitchen and super small bath (just a toilet in a 30" x 55" room. I enlarged the bathroom, but couldn't relocate it given the layout of the rest of the main floor. It's right through this door, the toilet is around the corner:

If you're going to put a bathroom right off the kitchen, I have 3 recommendations. Use a solid core door, stuff as much insulation as possible into the wall cavity for sound proofing, and put in a cheap, loud exhaust fan.



3 good deas for bath by kitchen.
clipped on: 01.17.2008 at 11:11 pm    last updated on: 01.17.2008 at 11:12 pm

RE: Tips from homeowners who've undergone a remodel (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: lpolk on 11.28.2007 at 02:43 pm in Remodeling Forum

I have barely survived a 2+ year remodel. Was supposed to have been 9 months.

- Check, and double check, the experience, references and past work of the contractor. Take your time to choose the right one. If you don't feel right in your gut, then pass and find someone else. It can take a while to find the right one, especially since they are hard to get a hold of, but the busy ones are the ones worth waiting for.

- as the kitchen post said, Post plans IN EVERY ROOM of what the room is supposed to look like. It can be a pencil sketch but it should be a design sketch for accuracy. The subs do *not* meet together, so there needs to be a central place for info, the GC is the ultimate manager but can't be on top of everyone 24/7. The "decider" contact # should be on there too.

- whenever you meet with GC, this is a pain, but TAKE the time to write everything down during/right after. Maybe a digital recorder is helpful. You make SO many decisions no one will remember them all. E.g., meet weekly w/ GC with an updated print out of the weeks discussions, keep those in a binder on site.

- when people say "double the estimate" for a budget, believe them. If you have an old house, triple it! Something unforseen ALWAYS comes up, and despite what jKom says, you will likely change your mind somewhere(just from seeing it "up" and how it "really" works).

- Get a waiver of lien in your contracts. Honorable GCs will know what this is and will do it. This protects you if your GC does not pay his subs, the workers can put a lien on your house, even if you paid the GC. VERY important protection.

- drop by during the day unannounced from time to time. This seems mean, but I didn't want smoking in my house, people using my bathroom inside (use portapotty), or loud music outside disturbing my neighbors. Found all of the above "dropping by" when GC wasn't there and subs were working.

- Make sure they will cover all rugs/floors. they will likely scratch the floors, and will DEFINITELY scratch the walls. Go over what the "collateral damage" coverage will be in the contract (it may be none, but you should discuss up front.)

- know that it will be dusty so protect electronics, instruments, etc. even in rooms that are untouched. It gets VERY dirty!

Can you tell I could write a book? LOL. One last point, I have no advice for because every one is different, it WILL take a toll on your marriage/relationship! Try to be aware of that and have coping strategies beforehand, and figure out a fight dispute method because there is nothing worse than fighting in front of your poor GC who just needs a yes or a no! :)


clipped on: 12.10.2007 at 02:05 am    last updated on: 01.14.2008 at 11:32 pm

RE: ? for the experts re a niche on exterior wall (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: thetews on 01.09.2008 at 08:29 am in Bathrooms Forum

Hey Bill,

Thanks for the replies even though it's not what I wanted to hear.

I have a fairly small bathroom and after putting in a 5' tub I'll have room for a shower that is 3'x3'9" and I want to use every inch I have so I want to do a niche. Plus I like the look better than shelves, but if a niche doesn't work out I will go ahead and use shelves.

My other niche option though would be to put one (or two) on the same wall as the faucet/shower head (front wall).

I see two options:
1 - two smallish (width-wise) niches on each side of the front wall with enough room in between for the water pipe and framing on either side of it. So of the three feet width of the shower there would be a couple inches of tile, a 12" niche, a few more inches of tile, a second 12" niche, and then a few inches of tile.

2 - route the pipe for the shower head to the side of the shower wall, then back up and over to the center above one larger niche. The pipe in this case would make a U on it's side. So, in the middle of the shower wall there would be the faucets, above that there would be a 24" wide niche, and above that would be the shower head.

Do you Bill, or anyone else, have any thoughts about these option?



This thread can help with ideas about shower niches. In any event an exterior wall is not preferred.
clipped on: 01.11.2008 at 09:24 pm    last updated on: 01.11.2008 at 09:25 pm

RE: What else to consider when running wiring (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: carguy60 on 12.05.2007 at 11:30 am in Electrical Wiring Forum

Fotostat's advice is well taken. I also am not a big fan of the all-in-one wiring solutions. The technology changes rapidly, and multimedia/computer wiring planning is probably a crapshoot anyway. The Cat6, RG6, etc are not all that expensive in bulk and are a better bet.
I have run hundreds of feet of wiring in my 20 year old house, and to avoid some of that would have been attractive.
Some pieces of advice that I would offer.
1. If you have computer interest, run some CAT6 cable
(not CAT5) to logical computer locations, or printer
locations. Wireless connections might render this unused, but may be very appreciated in the future.

2. Run at least two (I run 4) high quality RG6 to logical television locations. Their starting point should be a location that can contain consolidation equipment such as cable splitting, or satellite multiswitches.
I would encourage you to designate a place for this intersection, (call it a wiring closet) and center it in the house (basement works great) so that you have a point where Computer and Media wiring comes together.

3. Also run Computer wire to television locations. Lots of technologies coming that rely on the house LAN to carry multimedia (TV, Audio, PC, digital video) for distribution.

4. Run CAT6 to any logical phone location, rather than running the 24 connector (I think it is this many) daisy chained phone wire. Home runs for phone are good also to ensure high quality, easy to troupleshoot connections.
Cell phones, wireless phones would influence this plan, but a reliable, high quality central phone station is a big factor in quality phone service.

5. Run your low voltage lines, AV, and computer after your power circuits are roughed. Make sure that whoever is running these lines knows the requirements for separation from power wires.

6. Get your electrician to mark the electrical drawing with circuit numbers that can be identified in the service box. That will be a good indication on the job your electrician is doing also.
7. Do not let your electrician choose where to put outlets and switches. You should mark each one on the electrical diagram. Put some thought into how you live, and your personal likes/dislikes for these decisions. I have never been dissatisfied with where I have outlets and how circuits are switched in my house, but one of my neighbors, whose house was wired by the same electrician, complained loudly about the location and usefulness of his switches and outlets.

8. Have your electrician install a whole house surge protector. This may be somewhat controversial, but they are not that expensive, (less than $200) and can protect you from several common failures.

9. Ask your electrician to use some duplex circuit breakers in your service box, to make sure that you have available slots for future use. I have added 2 240 circuits and 12 other circuits in my home in 20 years. It is very expensive if you have to add additional service box. Make sure you get 200 amp service to start. (minimum)

10. Specify to your electrician that GFI circuits should not span rooms, so that if a GFI trips, you do not have to go to another room to reset it. I missed that in my design and I have to go upstairs to another bathroom to reset the GFI that handles the master bath.

11. If you are a computer nerd, specify to your electrician that you would like separate home run circuits
run for computer locations, (I also did it for two television locations, and a CPAP outlet) or other important electronics oriented circuits. Then it becomes easy to install UPS systems at your service entrance site to provide secure, uninterruptible, conditioned power to that type of equipment.

I hope this is helpful.
A little attention now can save you money, and "wish I had done that" regrets in the future.

Good luck


clipped on: 12.27.2007 at 12:51 am    last updated on: 12.27.2007 at 12:52 am

RE: What was your best bathroom remodeling decision? (Follow-Up #26)

posted by: home_nw on 03.06.2007 at 06:04 pm in Bathrooms Forum

* Having a "shampoo shelf" in the shower (hidden by our half-wall) instead of shampoo niches. Got the idea from this very forum! We modified the design slightly and love it.
* Radiant in-floor heating
* Seat in the shower (angled slightly so it doesn't collect water)
* Both a "regular" shower head and a hand-held on a slider bar in the shower, each with its own valve and controls
* Having the Master Bath on the east side of the house so it benefits from the morning light (especially helps on those mornings when the alarm goes off sooner than you'd like!)
* Having a pretty sconce in the Master Bath near the door that's on a dimmer. It can be controlled from the bathroom, DH's side of the bed, or my side. We mounted quiet switches between our bedside tables and our bed so we can have light if we need to get up in the night and not worry about tripping over the dogs!


Have a switch by the bed to turn on a light in bath?
clipped on: 12.20.2007 at 02:02 am    last updated on: 12.20.2007 at 02:03 am

RE: that yawning space above the fridge (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: beatrix_in_canada on 12.09.2007 at 10:25 am in Kitchens Forum

Here is a picture of my cabinet above the fridge. The spacing for those tray dividers is wider than usual which works well for some larger items. In hindsight I probably should have done one half with 2 wide compartments and the other with narrower slots (these dividers are fixed). There is another thread that discusses the use of cabinets above the fridge.

Here is a link that might be useful: discussion on fridge cabinets


clipped on: 12.10.2007 at 12:40 am    last updated on: 12.10.2007 at 12:40 am

RE: that yawning space above the fridge (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: akchicago on 12.09.2007 at 09:33 am in Kitchens Forum

In my last kitchen, I had open space over the fridge. It was a real grime collector (with the amount of dirt, you could grow a plant up there, really!). Maybe it's cause it's electric that it attracts dirt? I don't know. But everything on top of that fridge became very dirty very quickly. For my current kitchen, I opted for closed cabinets flush with the front of the fridge. Like you mentioned, I keep large objects up there like platters and mixers. (BTW, do you have an alternate space to keep your food processor if you do not have that deep cabinet space over the fridge?) Another option that many on this forum have used for that space is to have a cabinet with vertical dividers to keep trays, baking pans, roasting pans, place mats and the like. It's perfect for that use, since the space is deep and usually fairly tall.

I am not sure about the wine storage, cause I would think that the heat from the fridge would not be good for the wine. Maybe someone can chime in on that option?


clipped on: 12.10.2007 at 12:39 am    last updated on: 12.10.2007 at 12:40 am

RE: Do you like your body sprays? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: jamesk on 12.07.2007 at 01:48 am in Bathrooms Forum

I enjoy the body sprays in my shower which are temperature controlled by the same thermostatic valve that the showerheads are connected through. You simply need to install a temperature control valve that is large enough to supply all the emitters you're likely to have on at the same time. Either a 3/4" valve or a 1" valve, depending on flow rates of your various emitters.

That being said, if you live in a place with high water rates or a high sewer tax that is determined by water usage, you'll want to be conscious of what you have going on in a shower. Shower heads are limited by federal regulation to dispensing no more than 2.5 gallons per minute. Oddly, there's no restriction to the number of shower heads that you're permitted in a shower, so technically, you can blow through as much water as you want.

Showering with a single shower head will use a maximum of 2.5 gallons per minute. If you've got a shower head and 3 body sprays going simultaneously, you're now going to be using 10 gallons per minute (2.5 gals per emitter). At that rate, a 10 minute shower is going to send 100 gallons down the drain. It doesn't take long for the costs associated with a luxury shower to really add up. You also need to keep this in mind when sizing your water heater because you'll be using 4 times as much hot water, too.

As much as I enjoy my body sprays, I now limit their use to a Sunday morning treat -- for only a portion of my shower. I simply can't justify their use on a daily basis. It just seems wasteful.


clipped on: 12.07.2007 at 02:00 am    last updated on: 12.07.2007 at 02:00 am

RE: Do you like your body sprays? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: teched on 12.06.2007 at 06:14 pm in Bathrooms Forum

We put in the same set up 2.5 years ago (Grohe). I LOVE the rain shower and handheld. We had the handheld on the bar in two baths in our old house. It is perfect for people sharing a shower who are different heights. Beware that some models (Hansgrohe) are plastic and the thingy that slides up and down the bar may break. I have replaced the hansgrohe one in the kids bath after about a year. Looks like it will likely break again soon.

As for the body sprays--my DH just had to have these and was certain he would use them everyday. I bet they get used once or twice a month. The plumber measured the placement BEFORE the shower floor was set. The concrete and tile moved the base of the shower up like 2 or 3 inches. So, the sprays now hit more in my knees, butt, and lower back. They do tilt up, but not really enough to compensate.

We removed a jacuzzi to install the big shower. I absolutely know that we use the sprays more often than we would ever have used the jacuzzi. As for cleaning, they are WAY easier to clean than the stupid jacuzzi (it was here and it was filthy when we bought the house). The Grohe ones have little rubber "tips" for the sprays. You just sort of rub your sponge over them and they clean right up. Also, I spray them with the shower door spray every once in a while. They are shiny chrome--not trendy, I know--and they look great.

If you decide to keep them, just be sure that your plumber keeps in mind the shower floor. Also, my plumber did do one really cool thing. My rainshower head and handheld are the thermostatic control and the sprays are on separate hot/cold handles. This means you get full force from each "appliance" when they are on. He said that if they were all on together on the same thermostatic control, you would get wimpy power from the sprays.


clipped on: 12.07.2007 at 01:58 am    last updated on: 12.07.2007 at 01:59 am

RE: What do I need to store dishes in drawers? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: oofasis on 12.06.2007 at 09:52 am in Kitchens Forum

All you need are the Cushy Cupboard liners. That's all I've got, no dividers or anything, and they're wonderful. Google them, as you may find them a little bit cheaper.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cushy Cupboards


clipped on: 12.07.2007 at 01:54 am    last updated on: 12.07.2007 at 01:54 am

RE: What do I need to store dishes in drawers? (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: lisa_sandiego on 12.06.2007 at 10:43 am in Kitchens Forum

Mine look like Holligators' from above. I saw these in a kitchen at Home Depot Expo. My cabinet maker found out the manufacturer and ordered from them.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


clipped on: 12.07.2007 at 01:53 am    last updated on: 12.07.2007 at 01:53 am

RE: What do I need to store dishes in drawers? (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: adoptedbygreyhounds on 12.06.2007 at 08:45 pm in Kitchens Forum

My plates and dishes don't move around at all, no problem with stacks of plates, etc. Blumotion is important and well as sturdy, strong drawers warranted to at least 75 pounds, I would guess. My Shiloh drawers are warranted to 100 pounds. I do use the spongy drawer liners but no pegboard. Here's an old photo.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


clipped on: 12.07.2007 at 01:52 am    last updated on: 12.07.2007 at 01:52 am

RE: Cabinet bids ranged from $28,000 to $60,000 (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: bob_cville on 12.05.2007 at 10:11 am in Kitchens Forum

I seem to recall that you are looking for frameless cabinets. Have you looked into Scherr's cabinets? I found out about them through this forum. I used them for my kitchen, save many thousands of dollars over other other companies I was considering, and I couldn't be more happy with the results.



Cheaper cabinets?
clipped on: 12.05.2007 at 11:15 pm    last updated on: 12.05.2007 at 11:15 pm

Granite fabricator said my requirements are unreasonable!

posted by: dandan74 on 11.30.2007 at 01:24 pm in Kitchens Forum

I had the fabricator did a small vanity first and there are some issues I want them to fix. Based on this job, I gave them a list of requirements for my kitchen countertop. She came back and said those requirements are impossible to meet and she does not want my business anymore. Am I being too picky?
Here is her reply:
As I stated in our previous conversation, the requirements that you are requesting cannot be accepted as part of our contract. We cannot be responsible for any color variations, fillers, pits, fissures or any other characteristics that are to be expected from a natural product. Your expectations of perfection in a imperfect product is impossible.

Here is my list:
1) Seams need to be flat and butted tight.
2) 1.5 overhang
3) Use clear caulk, not colored or white caulk between backsplash and counter, between backsplash and wall. Some of the places in bathroom need to be re-caulked.
4) Owner to present when the templates are placed on the slabs. Owner to decide seam placement, fabricator to find ways to match the movement, ways to color-match the counters that will be joined at the seams. Owner prefers to find a big slab with no seams.
5) Fabricator to make sure the seams between granite and stove/range are minimum
6) Owner to approve the granite slabs.
7) Fabricator to make sure there are no scratches, pits or cracks. Chips need to be filled.
8) Fabricator to make sure that the sink reveal is consistent all the away around
9) Fabricator to make sure the overhang is consistent.
10) No seams on garden window and behind or near stove on the wall.


Use to remember things to check for for granite install.
clipped on: 12.01.2007 at 12:38 am    last updated on: 12.01.2007 at 12:39 am

RE: What do you wish you had done differently? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: fori on 07.29.2007 at 10:47 pm in Kitchens Forum

Drawers instead of pullouts!


Make sure to read and reread this thread.
clipped on: 11.20.2007 at 01:18 am    last updated on: 11.20.2007 at 01:18 am

Kitchenforum FAQ

posted by: kailuamom on 09.08.2007 at 12:57 pm in Kitchens Forum

Welcome -

If you are new here - you may find the following FAQ link helpful. This website contains much helpful information about how to navigate this site as well as the world of kitchen renovations.

Please - do not post a reply to this post, as it will push this message off of the top.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchenforum FAQ


Link to Kitchen Forum FAQ here.
clipped on: 11.20.2007 at 01:06 am    last updated on: 11.20.2007 at 01:06 am

RE: color for kitchen appliances (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: vjrnts on 11.16.2007 at 11:53 am in Kitchens Forum

I chose stainless for my oak-and-soapstone remodel of my 1922 kitchen. It seemed the most neutral of the options available. I was replacing white appliances, so I knew how white looked in that space and I knew that I didn't really like it very much, and black would have been a statement. So, stainless it was, and I am very satisfied with it.


Mission stylele oak.
style oak
tile back
splash w/
clipped on: 11.19.2007 at 12:04 am    last updated on: 11.19.2007 at 12:06 am

RE: getting a Silestone countertop (Follow-Up #14)

posted by: nancy_jean on 11.11.2007 at 10:56 am in Kitchens Forum

BTW... I have Cambria countertops and Cambria backplash and the backsplash is 2cm... only the counter is 3cm........NJ


Quite nice looking countetop color and nice contrast with cabinets and fairly light floors.
clipped on: 11.13.2007 at 01:56 am    last updated on: 11.13.2007 at 01:57 am

RE: How did you decide where to put knobs and pulls? (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: bob_cville on 11.07.2007 at 04:26 pm in Kitchens Forum

All of our doors and drawers have exactly the same hardware, a 5" (or so) curved, brushed nickel handle. We decided that:
1) the handles for low doors should be in the center of the stile with its top end aligned with the bottom of the top rail of the door.
2) the handles for upper doors should be in the center of the stile with its bottom end aligned with the top of the bottom rail of the door.
3) the handles for the top-most drawers should be centered within the panel.
4) for the lower, larger drawers the handle should be centered left-to-right, but be spaced down from the top rail the same amount as the top drawer.

Or to just show you:


Handles look good here instead of knobs. Placement is good.
clipped on: 11.09.2007 at 01:09 am    last updated on: 11.09.2007 at 01:10 am

RE: Best advice from this forum (Follow-Up #36)

posted by: nancy_jean on 08.22.2007 at 08:08 am in Kitchens Forum

Dish Drawer...It's made my life a little bit easier. NJ


clipped on: 10.30.2007 at 01:01 am    last updated on: 10.30.2007 at 01:01 am

RE: Will a post door provide enough soundproofing? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: terriks on 10.28.2007 at 01:39 am in Bathrooms Forum

You should be able to use pocket door hardware with any door. Make sure that you get a solid core door for good soundproofing. The best pocket door hardware is made by Johnson.


Image gallery of great pocket, bifold, etc. doors at Johnson website.
clipped on: 10.28.2007 at 02:01 am    last updated on: 10.28.2007 at 02:02 am

RE: Help needed - GC contract negotiation (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: paul_ma on 10.25.2007 at 07:50 pm in Kitchens Forum


Today I was fired by the GC I hadn't yet hired.

Back to square one.

I wish I knew if it was me, or him. I expect he really wasn't right for me, but I don't know if anybody is. Do I have unrealistic expectations?

Having spent several years on this site, I know in considerable detail what I want. I want a GC who can competently execute on that. Of course I want the price to be tolerable, but on top of that (and apparently the main problem) I want a contract that clearly states:

- what will be done (statement of work)

- conforms to my design and materials choices

- what materials the contractor will supply as part of the contract, vs those that I am to obtain on my own

- a payment schedule that protects both of us: clearly tying payments to milestones in the statement of work.

- a final payment after all the work is properly completed

Is that really too much to ask???


clipped on: 10.26.2007 at 12:59 am    last updated on: 10.26.2007 at 12:59 am

RE: Are Bath Mats / Bath Rugs 'out'? PB? RH (Follow-Up #17)

posted by: jkom51 on 10.21.2007 at 04:38 pm in Home Decorating Forum

Definitely if we were prepping the house for sale, we would remove the bathroom rugs. However, since it's the coldest room in the house, while we're living here it's rugs in front of the vanity and shower, definitely!

Here's the vanity rug, an Oriental runner:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And here's the shower rug, also an Oriental:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Beautiful rugs. Beautiful floor.
clipped on: 10.25.2007 at 12:52 am    last updated on: 10.25.2007 at 12:53 am

RE: cabinet showroom visits - questions to ask? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: raehelen on 10.19.2007 at 02:10 pm in Kitchens Forum

I would ask about the finish quality- ie how scrubbable/washable/wearable is it?

How deep are the shelves? I didn't ask, and my base cabinet shelves are NOT the full depth of the cabinet.

Inside finish on cabinets- many are melamine now. How will edges of shelves be finished? Are shelves adjustable?

If you opt for choices like glass doors, etc, make sure you see an actual sample- I didn't, and we now have to change the glass- which is going to be difficult.

Look to see how much interior drawer space you have. I found some manufacturers really shortened the drawer, and side mount glides will take up even more space- I like my full extension drawers with bottom mount soft close glides (though haven't moved into kitchen yet, so should really reserve judgement on the soft close)

On the drawers, sides will vary- see if you like how high they are, what material they're made of, etc.

Open every drawer, cupboard, look at ALL the features of each line- you won't know if you want it, if you don't see it.

Don't be afraid to ask LOTS of questions, and take a notebook, folder to write everything down, keep pamphlets, etc.


clipped on: 10.20.2007 at 01:29 am    last updated on: 10.20.2007 at 01:29 am

RE: cabinet showroom visits - questions to ask? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: live_wire_oak on 10.19.2007 at 02:07 pm in Kitchens Forum

How long have you been in business?
May I see actual installed kitchens that you've done?
What's the most expensive kitchen you've done and what did it involve?
What's the least expensive kitchen you've done and what strategies did you use to stay under budget?
In what order expense wise would you rank the cabinets you sell? Which are the best value? What does best value mean to you?
What's the most expensive line you sell and why?
What type of training does your KD have and how long have they been with you?
Do you work with specific contractors or are you open to working with one of my own choosing?
Tell me about a kitchen that you have done that had major problems and how your firm handled those issues?
Tell me about the most demanding customer you've had and the kitchen that they had done with you?

The cabinets themselves are less important than the KD and the firm you choose to do them. I know a lot of these questions sound like a job interview---and it IS! You need to make sure that the company you choose to do your kitchen is on the same wavelength as you as far as your expectations of budget and problem solving and as long as the cabinets are decent quality, the experience will be OK. Maybe not glitch free, but OK. The best qualty cabinets at a budget price with a firm that doesnt' follow up and lowballed you on the intial price to get their foot in the door won't make for a happy experience. Find out now how they handle the stress of your interview. It's only going to get more complicated as the job goes on.


clipped on: 10.20.2007 at 01:28 am    last updated on: 10.20.2007 at 01:28 am

RE: Now that I have [X], I think I could have lived without it. (Follow-Up #58)

posted by: abbycat9990 on 10.15.2007 at 12:26 pm in Kitchens Forum

I wish we had not replaced the planned 12" wide cabinet next to range (for cookie sheets & cutting boards) with a 12" spice pullout. I don't like bending down to get the oil, etc. Original plan was to have a narrow shelf over backsplash for oils & most-used spices. Now the cutting boards are in a drawer. Not ideal.

Someone mentioned the Kenmore Elite DW with turbo. Never use the turbo feature, as it's an energy guzzler. Got it because I wanted all appliances to match--what was I thinking???

Love the pedal trash can with soft close lid and print-proof stainless (Simple Human)
Love the pantry cabinets (24" wide and 12" deep), which allow me to see--and easily reach--everything. Wider would have been better, but we had limited wall space.
Love all the drawers! Only sink base and pantries have doors. No upper cabs. 3 drawer bases. Love them.

Wish I'd posted layout here, so I could have gotten input on pantry & fridge cabinet heights. Also wish we'd brought gas into house so we could have chosen a gas cooktop.


The whole thread is a must re-read, but this post mentions:

Range side pull out may be bad--have to bend over to see anything.

Lots of drawers?

clipped on: 10.17.2007 at 01:06 am    last updated on: 10.17.2007 at 01:08 am

RE: white granite (Follow-Up #62)

posted by: meg711 on 09.21.2007 at 04:41 am in Kitchens Forum

Since this is the thread that never ends, I thought I'd finally get around to posting photos of our granite, Colonial Cream. It's more of a beige or cream granite (as the name implies) with swirls of browns and ambers, some silvery blue marks, and a few garnet dots. Also sparkly white mica--if that's what they're called. Looks sort of like caramel swirl ice cream.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


clipped on: 10.16.2007 at 12:54 am    last updated on: 10.16.2007 at 12:55 am

RE: Size of pot drawers and lid storage (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: abbycat9990 on 10.12.2007 at 10:10 am in Kitchens Forum

Go wider on you pot drawers. Also, think carefully about pullout shelves v. drawers. Drawers may cost a little more, but they require only a single pull; pullout shelves require you to open a door (or 2) fully, then pull out a shelf.

We store pots & pans in our 36" set, plastic ware & baking stuff in the 33" set and kitchen towels & tinfoil/plastic bags, etc., in the 24" set. The top (shallow) drawers all hold utensils and / silverware. I am so glad I insisted on drawers!

Although, I wish I had held my ground on the 12" (door) cabinet for baking sheets and cutting boards, instead of the spice pullout DH wanted. I find the spice (and oils, etc) pullout to be a bit awkward. I don't like bending down to choose spices. Would have preferred to have them in a--you guessed it--drawer!

You can see the pullout and a portion of my 36" drawers here"
and my 33" drawers here: The 24" drawers are in the island base.

Good luck!


clipped on: 10.12.2007 at 10:52 am    last updated on: 10.12.2007 at 10:53 am

RE: Were my pocket doors installed correctly? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: brickeyee on 10.08.2007 at 07:46 pm in Remodeling Forum

For painted pocket doors I always add a 2 inch wide strip to the pocket edge.
This strip blocks the edge of the pocket and also allows the door to stay engaged on a piece of aluminum angle I place on the floor of the pocket.
A groove in the bottom of the door runs almost to the 'show' edge.
The aluminum stops the swinging cold, and unlike the plastic guides that come with the doors does not scratch the paint.
For stained doors with any decoration (panels, etc.) you can attach a strip and paint it black, or order wider doors and rip some of the 'show' edge off. This keeps the decoration centered when the door is closed.
The pocket is of course sized slightly larger to account for the extra door width.
I saw some kits for doubles to make them close together somewhere, but I have been making them using steel sliding door pulleys and 1/16 inch steel cable for a long time.
A couple simple brackets attach the top of the door to the cable to make everything move together.
Stops (single or double) can be added opposite the pocket to block light on that edge.

Van Dykes Restorers has a number of pulls available for the face of the door.
They also have brass edge pulls.
Renovators Supply used to have edge pulls and a few face pulls.
I have built the locks the last few times I needed them, since outside of salvage there is just not much available that is anything but clunky modern looking.


clipped on: 10.09.2007 at 12:29 am    last updated on: 10.09.2007 at 12:29 am

RE: New Venetian Gold With Medium Red Oak Cabinets (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: quip on 10.04.2007 at 10:54 pm in Kitchens Forum

Thanks, Sally. The backsplash field tile is an Italian porcelain tile from a home clearance center. I cut notches with a wet saw to inset the squares of granite. It was my first project with a wet saw, so it took some time. But enjoy doing my own home improvements.

Here is a link that might be useful: NVG and backsplash


Don't like backspash or granite. Backsplash has a stone look like we're considering. Need to find out why.
clipped on: 10.06.2007 at 02:20 am    last updated on: 10.06.2007 at 02:21 am

Please help me select granite color for orange-y cabinets

posted by: fromflorida on 09.20.2007 at 04:37 pm in Kitchens Forum

I was going for a warm look as I picked the stain for my glazed maple cabinets, but the more I look at my sample, I realize I may have overshot the mark. While the color still looks decent in my kitchen, it does tend toward the orange-y. So my dilemma is what would be a good granite to go with it. I will have a large peninsula , a buffet and bar, as well as the normal lengths of kitchen counterops, so there will be lots of it. I was hoping for something warm, like Golden Oak. Below is my door with Giallo Fantasy, which I'm afraid has too much going on.
I would love something with some contrast that will tone down my wood tones. I would like some movement (though not anything too wild) and I am drawn more to the lighter colors, but I'm open to, and would much appreciate, suggestions!

Here is a link that might be useful:


Search for this post to look at good granite colors that go with orange brown cabinets.
clipped on: 10.06.2007 at 01:58 am    last updated on: 10.06.2007 at 01:59 am

RE: granite--sealed or not does it matter? oil stains? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: stonegirl on 09.25.2007 at 08:35 pm in Kitchens Forum

Some stones do not require sealer at all, while some other kinds can benefit from more than a few applications of sealer.

It seems like you have quite a thirsty stone :)

Get in contact with your stone folks and ask them to come back and seal your stone some more. If they are not prepared to do so, ask them the name and source of the sealer they used, so you can get some yourself and seal your stone properly. It is never a good idea to mix sealer brands and types, so using what they started with would be the preferred method. If the stone is still very porous, even after they claim to have applied their sealer, you might want to think about changing brands to a better one like Aquamix or Stonetech (both readily available to the public and of really good quality) Cleaning the stone thoroughly with solvents should remove all traces of whatever was applied originally if it was an inferior product.

Sealing stone is not a big task at all.

The biggest issue is that your stone needs to be totally clean and dry before you seal it. If your stone is really wet around the sink area, try to let it dry out completely before you seal. Blowing on the area with a fan or hairdryer should hasten the process along.

Wipe the counters down with a slightly damp rag to remove all crumbs and lumpy messes, and then wipe down with alcohol (the home improvement kind) to eliminate all sugary and most organic soils. This could be followed by a wipe down with a rag soaked in acetone (also the home improvement strength) to remove any remaining dirt and oily residue.

If you have any oily stains, an acetone poultice and a little bit of patience will do wonders to remove them. To make a poultice, simply fold a clean, *white* paper towel (or paper shop towel - note the towels should have no print designs on them. You might end up exchanging an oily stain for an ink stain if you are not careful!) a few times to make a pad to cover the stain. Pour acetone on the pad to thoroughly wet it. Quickly cover the acetone soaked pad with a considerably larger piece of Saran wrap and tape down the edges with blue painters' tape. This will prevent the speedy evaporation of the solvent. Let this sit overnight. In the morning, remove the Saran wrap and let the pad dry on the stain. Once all acetone has evaporated, remove the pad and allow the rest of the solvent to evaporate from the stone. The oily stain should be considerably lighter (or gone already if it was not set too deeply) Repeat this process until the oily stain is totally removed. Note that this procedure will work only if you have an oily stain. Red wine, juice or coffee stains would require a peroxide based poultice.

Apply the sealer of your choice according to the manufacturer's directions. Be sure to NOT let the sealer dry on the stone completely. This might lead to streakiness or haziness. Buff the sealer residue off with a clean paper towel (shop towels work great for this because they are softer and thicker than regular kitchen towels) Swap out towels frequently to ensure you are removing the sealer residue and not just spreading it around. You can work in small sections to make this part of the job more manageable.

Leave the tops to dry for 24 hours and test to see if you would need another application of sealer. Drip some water on the stone and let it sit a while. If the water beads up, you are good to go. If the water still soaks in and leaves dark spots, re-apply the sealer and repeat the test after 24 hours. Continue this process until the water beads up.

Most good sealers will last a lot longer than 6 months or a year, even with a fairly aggressive cleaning schedule. To preserve the effects of the sealer, it is a good idea to use a product like the 3-in-1 spray cleaner from GranQuartz on a once weekly basis or so. It has a bit of sealer in it and should replenish any sealer lost to aggressive cleaning (like with high ammonia products i.e. regular Windex or 409)

A cleaning regimen with stone specific or pH neutral cleaners will also preserve the sealer in the stone.

Another TOTALLY great tool in a kitchen is the microfiber cloth. A slightly damp microfiber cloth (with a dab of dish soap if you wish) will clean up even the most stubborn spill. If followed by a buff with a dry microfiber cloth, the streakiness normally associated with the use of dish soap will also be eliminated. Try it - it has become my standby :)


clipped on: 09.26.2007 at 12:04 am    last updated on: 09.26.2007 at 12:04 am

RE: Make your house do the housework (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: claire_de_luna on 09.06.2007 at 07:35 pm in Organizing the Home Forum

Sure, Fori's suggestion is mine as well. A drop down counter, one that stores flat against the wall until you need it would solve the problem. No cat hair, no temptation to clutter. You have the advantage of a more open space as well, until the counter is needed.

I just have to add that I'm always flattered when someone puts an outlet behind a drawer, since I was the first one to do it!


Folding solution for near stacked washer/dryer?
clipped on: 09.13.2007 at 01:45 am    last updated on: 09.13.2007 at 01:45 am

RE: Make your house do the housework (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: shawneeks on 09.06.2007 at 05:51 pm in Organizing the Home Forum

Some of my items are repeats, but here is what we did.

The Master BR closet opens to both the master bath and the laundry room (laundry room also has entrance from kitchen area). We have a laundry chute from the kids bathroom upstairs. So all dirtly clothes, as well as mom and dad's clean clothes, are only steps away from the washer dryer. And we have counter space for folding. Laundry rooms are great if you've lived with just a laundry closet.

One entry for front door and garage door, and it's directly next to the kitchen. Freezer is also in the laundry room which is just around the corner. So the car, pantry, fridge and freezer are all in a relatively close vacinity. Great for unloading the groceries.

Entry closet is wide and extra deep. Enough room for backpacks to hang on the sides and still have coats behind them. Wire pullout bins for kids hats, gloves, etc.

Only 3 types of flooring - tile, wood laminate, and carpet. A central vac including the undercounter dust bin whach-a-ma-call-it in the kitchen. Easy for sweeping up quickly.

Storage storage storage - lots of built-in cabinets in the study, laundry room, bathrooms. Near the entrance we have a drawer with his and her bins for keys, cell phones, etc. There is a powerstrip in the back of the drawer for charging the phones. We also have outlets in a built in cabinet between our Master Bath sinks for the hair dryer, curling iron, electric razor, etc. - looks sort of like a kitchen appliance garage. Having lots of storage near the bathroom sinks, but minimal flat surfaces around your sink bowl, helps keep it clean.


clipped on: 09.13.2007 at 01:43 am    last updated on: 09.13.2007 at 01:43 am

RE: Make your house do the housework (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: claire_de_luna on 09.06.2007 at 01:17 pm in Organizing the Home Forum

One of the first things I thought of when I read this, is frankie's suggestion of glass doors. My last few houses had a lack of tabletop space, yet I seemed to have "collections" that were important to me. Although it was easy to dust, I didn't have many places to set things down. I started buying cabinets/bookshelves with glass doors, which helped a lot. That way, I can pull that ''one striking vase'' for a tabletop, and rotate it because the collection lives together under glass. It's also an easy way to change looks with the seasons, without going overboard on the room clutter.

Sarah Susanka, author of ''The Not So Big House'' was inspirational to me as well when I planned my kitchen and bath. We have lots of built-in storage now, especially for things like my vacuum sealer and cellphones/sunglasses/keys drawer. One of my most favorite things is the pull down panels inside the house/garage foyer that open to the trash/recycling bins that live in the garage. The built-in window seat makes a great landing pad for shopping bags, and the drawers underneath are bulk-shopping storage. (They're also deep enough for backpacks, purses and shoes for each family member.) I feed the dog from a low drawer, with the food in trash bins that live next to it. (Her water lives on the tile foyer floor.) If I'd had a better opportunity, I would have incorporated a vac pan system for making the floor easier to sweep. Ditching the white cabinets and sink for wood makes it harder to see dirt. I want it to be clean, but I was tired of being a slave to white cabinets that looked funky all the time. When we remodeled, we opted for windows instead of upper cabinets because I could never reach them. All storage is within reach now, and my home is safer because I don't need a ladder anymore. The pull-out BB cutting board next to the stove is open so I can roll a chair underneath and still use it as a working surface. When I injured my knee and couldn't stand much, that was a lifesaver. Lowering one end of our island so we could sit there has also served the same purpose. It's the right height for a working surface for me (short), where the island is good for DH (tall). Our kitchen and dining room chairs roll, so they can easy be moved out of the way; since they have arms, they are also easy to get out of. We added more lighting (recessed, pendants, hockey pucks, lamp outlets) than I ever thought we'd need, yet there have been times I've needed them all. (Just yesterday in fact!) My kitchen is highly functional in a way I've never experienced before.

When I realized my living room rug was off-gassing and making me sick, we rolled it up and got rid of it. (It was a beautiful wool rug, and it made me sad to let it go.) You know, I don't miss it for a minute, and the floors are SO much easier to clean.

We changed to gas logs in the fireplace when I realized the mold on firewood was causing respiratory distress. The house stays cleaner since we're not dragging wood in. Also, because we also live in an older neighborhood with overhead lines, storms creating power outages are a common occurrence. When we changed to ventless gas logs that roll heat back into the room, we can stay warm without power. I still love a romantic fire, but we burn our wood outside now.

The plants come in for the winter, and we keep the majority in our dining/living room since we have southeast facing windows. It is easier to take of them because they are clustered, and the plants make a ring around the perimeter of the dining room and surround the dining room table. I notice the air is much fresher there, and love the sweet smell of soil when they're watered. Because of the ficus trees (there are three large trees we have to cut 3 feet off of every year when we bring them in), there is room in the big pots to set smaller ones into. When the small pots are watered, the trees receive the water that drains from those and I don't need extra saucers. Our dining room turns into The Garden Cafe every fall in October, which I always look forward to.

For the summer, the bedroom rug is rolled up and only put back when the dog quits shedding in the winter.

I layer tablecloths on my dining room table. It's one easy way to store them, and to refresh it, all I have to do is remove the one on top. They all have colors that coordinate, and are different shapes, so I can get a new look by putting a square on top of a round; 60 inch round looks great on top of 70 inch round. The padding it provides is also great for dishes.

The laundry moved from the basement to the bedroom hall, which made doing it so much easier. I hang a lot of my clothes to air dry in the guest room (directly across from the laundry closet), and since they're already on hangars, they're easy to put away. You already know about the Luna Laundry system!

Most of my furniture has some type of storage capacity. My living room coffee table is a cedar chest, extra toiletries go in a pine pot cupboard in my den. The dining room sideboard has drawers for placemats and napkins, shelves for cookbooks and doubles as a sofa table with two lamps. When we reconfigured the laundry closet, I had to move my linens to another place which was very deep. By putting slide-out shelves there, I can still access everything, even on the top shelf. (Since I'm not tall, that was very important!)

The bathroom has a flip down seat in the shower, no curbs and no door. The tiled floor is heated and I picked a terrazo floor tile that hides dirt very well. Since my dog has discovered the shower, it's become one of her most favorite places to hang out and sleep during the day.

We only have carpeting (wall to wall) in two fairly small adjoining rooms. Although it was more expensive, we picked a low-pile wool sisal and it has worn like iron. The color is khaki/gold and it doesn't show dirt much until it's really dirty. The carpet is 10 years old and when cleaned, still looks like new. Picking better materials is always worth it if it continues to look nice for the long haul.

I work on my problem areas by asking, ''What isn't working for me?'' When the neighbor behind me kept turning his outdoor flood light on (that would shine into my house like a D*MN freight train), I decided to hang a stained glass window to block the offending light. That way, I'd get some benefit from the light instead of having it drive me crazy!


clipped on: 09.13.2007 at 01:41 am    last updated on: 09.13.2007 at 01:41 am

Make your house do the housework

posted by: pinktoes on 09.06.2007 at 08:31 am in Organizing the Home Forum

We're getting ready to build a new/final house and I'm trying to plan my choices of finishes and my organization so as to semi-retire from my lifelong career of tending the house. For years I've had a book titled Make Your House Do The Housework by Don Aslett and daughter Laura Simons. While I laugh at the title, I want to post his 7 basic principles here and see if anybody has examples of how they use them or would use them in a new house:

1) Simplify. (ex: one striking vase, not a collection of them.)

2) Camoflage (ex: a patterned rug rather than solid color)

3) Concentrate the cleaning. (ex: all your houseplants in one area, not all over the house)

4) Make things convenient. (ex: people set things on the nearest surface--plan accordingly)

5) Avoid high-maintenance materials. (ex: a gas rangetop with unsealed burners compared with a ceramic cooktop)

6) Avoid multiple surfaces. (ex: one floor covering is easier to care for than several different ones)

7) Keep things compatible (ex: use the same faucet in every bath and getting replacement parts is simpler)

I am quite willing to sacrifice a great deal of style for function and ease at this point in life. I've had it with pretty and demanding. So, if you have any tips in Aslett's categories--or outside of them--I'd love to have them before it's too late! TIA


clipped on: 09.13.2007 at 01:11 am    last updated on: 09.13.2007 at 01:12 am