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RE: building advice/ideas (Follow-Up #28)

posted by: mommyto4boys on 11.02.2012 at 02:45 pm in Building a Home Forum

In our case all the BIG ticket items we are billed for, the bank checks to see if they are complete and cuts us a check that day. For, framing, HVAC, rough plumbing, rough electrical, dry-wall, etc. Our lender has had the money for these items in plenty of time to pay the contractors. We did not need to pay and get reimburssed for them. We have not had any problems with the BIG items, but the smallerish items it can get tricky.

The lights, fixtures, etc. if you are using the construction loan for would need to charge and get reimburssed. For the most part we are paying cash for these items, but flooring, etc. we will be putting in the loan. For appliances, we opted to do a 2 year, no interest at a local store. Our construction loan has been very easy to work with us, for example...our cabinet maker requested $10K to get started and the lender cut a check and didn't have any issues with this at all. For another item, I gave the quote/bid and said I expect their bill to come in a few weeks (and asked for the money in advance).

Our lender will be out next week to check our progress...dry-wall and exterior complete, yeah! A sub working on our exterior, surprised us and asked for payment yesterday. So, we had to pull together all of our pennies to pay him until we get reimbursed for that next week. So, a lot of it is timing and how your lender works.

Seems the "bigger" the sub/company, the safer you are with having a little wiggle room to pay them. However, the small, one man operations...will want paid the day they start and the day they finish (so you need to be prepared for that).

It is critical to remember to have important documents signed by all subs too. We have a lean waiver signed by each sub at the time they accept payment for the work. AND, so very important...we use a form before each sub starts that spells out we DO NOT provide workers comp. insurance and they are responsible to provide their own (they must sign).


It is critical to remember to have important documents signed by all subs too. We have a lean waiver signed by each sub at the time they accept payment for the work. AND, so very important...we use a form before each sub starts that spells out we DO NOT provide workers comp. insurance and they are responsible to provide their own (they must sign).
clipped on: 04.12.2013 at 01:25 pm    last updated on: 04.12.2013 at 01:25 pm

RE: building advice/ideas (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: live_wire_oak on 10.30.2012 at 08:25 pm in Building a Home Forum

The banks do not really like working with owner builders. They will require much more money down, typically at least 40%. Most homes being built now cost more to build than they appraise for unless you are in a very hot area for real estate. Add the needed up front money, and the fact that that 40% or the cost of the build may only yield you 20% equity in the home because of the build cost, and you can see why many people choose to buy existing rather than build. Some states also require you to pass some educational courses to act as your own GC. It is VERY VERY time consuming. You cannot really do this and be on a typical time schedule if you are employed full time. And if you aren't employed full time, then no bank will really finance you.

You only have freedom to build the home that YOU want if you are doing an all cash build. Otherwise, every decision has to be weighed as to resale value and what it will bring to the appraisal. The appraiser and bank are the ones who need to be happy at the end of the build. If you've done all of your research, then hopefully, you are happy too!


clipped on: 04.12.2013 at 01:16 pm    last updated on: 04.12.2013 at 01:17 pm

RE: Building on a Budget $150K or less (Follow-Up #29)

posted by: arisonn on 03.27.2013 at 01:01 pm in Building a Home Forum

I too am a long time lurker (about 6 years now) and we’re finally in the process of building the house I’ve been working on (in my mind) all these years. For a long time it was hard to get a clear idea about whether or not we could afford to build. I needed to come in around $100 per square foot but everyone seemed to say that wasn’t really possible unless you were incredibly lucky or resourceful or had a lot of experience. I’m happy to say that our build (including everything but the land) is coming in around $107 per square foot and while we had to compromise on some things that we might have liked (i.e. going with laminate countertops), for the most part we are getting finishes that I am very happy with. You’re looking to come in under $83 per square foot, but you’re going to be doing a lot of the work while we’re not.


clipped on: 04.12.2013 at 11:31 am    last updated on: 04.12.2013 at 11:31 am

RE: Building on a Budget $150K or less (Follow-Up #26)

posted by: Ibewye on 03.27.2013 at 12:23 am in Building a Home Forum

We are getting ready to start building our home in upstate NY we were able to score family land and made a pretty big profit from our first fixer upper, so I'm fortunate enough to have a good start. We have a different philosophy and some ideas that you may find useful. We ended up using an architect, which was $5k but well worth it for us. We're aiming for putting bulk of our money towards the core of the house, meaning a geothermal system,radiant floor heating, and quality windows and and basically skimping on any eye candy that can be upgraded without too much headache later. We compensated by keeping the house simple in regards to shape and roof lines, basically a Greek revival farmhouse with a shed roof of the back. The roof is essentials a 3 gable ends with no dormers and a stand alone shed roof off the back. Keeping it simple has helped out alot, it's easier to estimate materials, labor is cheaper and faster without having many ins and outs to slow them down.
To save money we have a couple ideas, we're close to an Amish community that have some excellent builders available, they aren't always cheaper but they're reliable and can frame a house in 7-9 days, you pay them in cash daily. I also plan on tackling some of the work myself. I'm an electrician by trade and the brother in-law to a family of masons to install blocks in basement (cinder blocks saved a lot of $), I saw no need to go with icf's as its not a big deal to me to insulate basement walls myself. have no experience installing radiant floor heating but have put in several large ice melting systems commercially using the same method (will sub out the manifold connections. I also hope to install my own septic and dig the trenches for the geothermal, if all goes well this will save me roughly $15k.
Thankfully my wife has the same taste as I do and would rather plop a reclaimed sink into an antique dresser from a local salvage store than spend a fortune on vanities and fixtures. Old stair dowels and salvaged gutter hooks cost $12 and are stronger than a $40 brass towel bars. We went with a walk in pantry with open shelving at end of kitchen in order to reduce the linear footage of cabinets as I think they are extremely overpriced sometimes. I'm currently hoping to find a quality cabinet company to sell me their cabinets without doors and make our own using barnboard. I know better than to cheap out on a high quality cabinet when I have my 3 kids slamming them all day. Keeping my molding simple and light fixtures in check. I've saved some of the gas station fixtures I've removed from the factories to use in our kitchen (I liked the way they turned out in my last home) . Again many aesthetics can be swapped out down the road so I'm out to save in this area.
Sorry for long post, our way is not for everybody and if I had more resources maybe it'd be different, but hopefully it'll help you a little bit. Finally, I'm not a firefighter, but If the several members who mentioned they are married or related to one could give them a big "thanks" for putting their lives on the line day in and day out.


clipped on: 04.12.2013 at 11:29 am    last updated on: 04.12.2013 at 11:29 am

RE: Building on a Budget $150K or less (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: aporthole on 12.23.2012 at 10:45 am in Building a Home Forum

@EngineerChic: I probably should have mentioned that the market value of the lot is $110K, so because we are only paying $70K we have $40K equity in the land. We have talked with the bank already and they are fine with financing up to 80% of the estimated value of land + build combined. Bank has also said any labor done by DH, that is savings over subbing, will also count toward equity value. My parents used the same lender/loan officer for their build 3 years ago and had a really smooth process as far as drawing funds easily without questions/excessive paperwork.

@sweet.reverie: Wow, it sounds like we have a freakish amount in common, lol. As far as how the bids are coming back so far, I know we will be able to stay under the $150K but we'll see how much we can trim down. Only a few bids were higher than expected (drywall and HVAC) but so far we haven't been looking for the absolute best prices yet, just putting together preliminary numbers for the bank. We know we can cut down in some of the finishings if needed and hopefully we can get some other bids that will be a little less.

At this point I have my heart set on SmartStrand carpet, $6/sq ft hardwood, and slab granite counters, but those are all things where we could easily cut quite a bit of $ if needed towards the end.

Oh and we are in western WA about half way between Seattle and Canadian boarder.

Here is the plan that ours is very closely based on. It is being modified slightly by expanding the front entry and some small things in the interior we will change/customize, only 1 sink in kids' bathroom, adding exterior man door to exit garage on far right side, small changes in master bath.





*** Bank financing includes DIY labor
clipped on: 04.12.2013 at 11:17 am    last updated on: 04.12.2013 at 11:17 am

RE: Building on a Budget $150K or less (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: virgilcarter on 12.23.2012 at 09:21 am in Building a Home Forum

It's good to see small houses being planned and built. It can be done, but costs and labor prices vary greatly by geographical area.

Some folks can and are able to be their own GC, and some cant't. That's a very challenging, full-time job and not everyone has the personality, trade contacts, knowledge and skill to be their own GC, so it's not something for anyone to think they can do it on their own without the right contacts and skills.

There are a number of pre-designed small house sites on the Internet for reference for those looking to build small, and consider for ideas or for the actual plans.

When building small, some things to consider:

--Do the stair math and select stair design that best fits your age, health, family and functional preferences. Many stairs in stock plans are designed to code minimums and are very steep, as a means of saving floor space. This may be a false savings, depending on one's stair climbing abilities;
--Some rooms can't be minimized beyond a certain point, since their equipment and fixtures are standard sizes and proper space for human use and circulation is needed, ie, kitchens and baths, closet depth, door sizes, etc.
--That said, try to eliminate corridor space as much as possible by having circulation take place through other usable rooms
--Frank Lloyd Wright had a useful philosophy for many of his houses: he made the "living" spaces large, and the "sleeping and service" spaces (kitchens, baths, utility rooms, etc.) small. His reasoning, which is useful in today's high-priced houses, was to put the space where it is used by the most people for the most time.

Good luck on your projects.


clipped on: 04.12.2013 at 11:15 am    last updated on: 04.12.2013 at 11:15 am

Sneak peak at my custom Amish made kitchen (pic heavy)

posted by: ICFgreen on 11.23.2011 at 12:50 pm in Kitchens Forum

Yesterday, my family was able to see our kitchen cabinets being made. Our Amish cabinet maker is the brother-in-law of the foreman who framed our new two-story ICF house. He's worked for a cabinet company for the last 15 years or so, and is starting out on his own, so he gave us a GREAT deal to help build his portfolio. (We'll be taking photos throughout the process for him to give to his printer). It's been really fun for our family to get to know his, and especially seeing our toddler play with his boys.

I figured it was about time to share more that you'll ever want to know about my new kitchen.

Here's an older rendering of what the kitchen will look like:

Aerial view. We have removed the open shelving wall to allow more daylight from the dinette. The legless part of the counter is my open baking center/wheelchair friendly counter. Because I have a disability, we are building our house with as much universal design as possible: wide hallways and doors, rockers instead of switches, levers and pulls instead of knobs, even transitions between rooms, ICF walls and cork floors for sound proofing, etc.


View into the kitchen as you come in from the mudroom:

View into the kitchen from the entertainment/prep island.

Recycling center on the end of the prep island. It's touch controlled with Blum Servodrive. We original planned to get Hafale step opener, but he wanted to see how this works, so he upgrades us for free. It's a touch-sensitive, soft-close opener. Really really cool. In addition to the trash/recycle bins, there will be a drawer above for paper recycling and odd recycling (light bulbs, batteries, etc.)

My original inspiration for the recycling center (Ikea):

Future baking drawers. To the right of this will be my lowered baking counter/table.

Inspiration for my baking center. This is me at a kitchen showroom near my in-law's house in Holland:

We are so impressed with the quality

Starting to put the drawers together:

Fits like a glove:

The dovetails are perfectly smooth

All the drawers are soft close with Blumotion:

Lazy susan (and yes, Joe did give us permission to take his picture)

Cubbies for my cooking oils and wines. This will be to the left of the stove.

My little towel/supply shelf under the prep island.

No particle board in this kitchen:

My little cutie does a little quality inspection:

D and his friend:

Here's one finished slab with the cork floor, backsplash, counter and paint:

Close up of cork, counter, backsplash and paint

Close up of quartz: Hanstone specchio white. I love the recycled glass!

Close up of cork:

There's a command center off the prep island and a 9' x 9'10 pantry off the entertainment/clean up island.

No pictures of the command center yet.

The quote for custom trimwork in the pantry almost half the cost of our kitchen cabinets, so I decided to get creative.

Pantry layout. I found a cool site ( that lets you play around with furniture placement. This is what I came up with for now. It's not perfect, but it will be functional. There's open space in the middle so a wheelchair can maneuver around. The door is 36", from there, going clockwise: HomeCourt bookcase, full size freezer, 7' bookcase, 6' bookcase, 7' bookcase, 6' bookcase, HC chesser, HC dresser. At some point, I'd like to get a butcher block top to make the two dresser/chessers look like one unit.

Source: via Jen on Pinterest

I'm repurposing this wood bookshelves to hold bulk items. I actually have another 7' one not shown:

This is how I stuff my bulk goods, so I'm quite excited to expand my goods!

I found the next three pieces on clearance a local furniture store. They are actually part of a boy's bedroom set!




I'll put the first two together and cover with a slab of butcher block. The inside of the shelves will be painted the same green as the pantry and kitchen walls.

Pantry bookshelf inspiration. Similar green inside and natural maple finish outside, instead of white.

Last but not least, here are the pendants for the outer island:

Here is a link that might be useful: de Jong Dream House


recycling center with compost area above?
clipped on: 11.24.2011 at 07:53 am    last updated on: 11.24.2011 at 07:53 am

Finished: Traditional with copper pots, marble table, wood ctops

posted by: baligirl on 08.13.2011 at 12:47 am in Kitchens Forum

Thanks to all of you for inspiration on our kitchen remodel. While the trim and final paint coat aren't done, I figured it's time to post. I hope there are a few ideas here that help others as much as I was helped by all who went before me in their remodels. If you're interested to see what we started with (I feel we avoided a disaster) please visit the link below.

The house is a 1930 colonial in the Como Park neighborhood of Saint Paul, MN. A large addition was added to the house in 1995 but no thought was given to the flow between spaces. This remodel was done on what I consider to be a moderate budget and included a total gut of walls, floor and ceiling, the removal of two load bearing walls and installing two new beams, new red oak floors to match rest of house, all new appliances, and the addition of a very small powder room. It has completely changed the flow of the house for the better, and added a bathroom on the main floor of the house which was a huge improvement.

Here are a few details:

- semi-custom, frameless birch cabinets painted SW Dover White
- countertops: Ikea Numerar beech, stained slightly with minwax and three coats of waterlox original
- tile: Tile Shop, Lonsdale carrara marble in two sizes
- knobs: Martha Stewart from Home Depot
- pulls: Restoration Hardware, Lugarno in oil rubbed bronze
- marble topped island: Crate & Barrel
- pendants & pot rack: Creative Lighting in St. Paul, MN
- double-bowl, over-mount fireclay farmhouse sink: Ikea Domsjo (love it!)
- cooktop: GE Profile 36" induction (love, love, love it!)
- ovens: GE Profile 30" single/double oven
- hood: Kenmore, cheap but works fine
- dishwasher: Bosch
- fridge: Samsung
- microwave & faucet: our old ones that still work fine
- copper pots: my husband's grandmothers, now for decoration only due to induction cooktop

I know there has been interest in the past in issues such as soffits, beams, wood countertops, induction cooktops, copper pot racks, etc. Please ask follow-up questions, I'm happy to help.

Thanks again - I really appreciated all I learned here and the support I got in the process!


Kitchen from dining room:

From New kitchen

From great room addition:

From New kitchen

New fridge, old microwave:

From New kitchen

Ikea sink, two-tiered island:

From New kitchen

Dish drawer - great for getting small kids to help in kitchen:

From New kitchen

Pull-out spice racks, solved issue of a 36 inch cooktop over a 30 inch oven:

From New kitchen

Free-standing marble table from Crate & Barrel:

From New kitchen

Teeny-tiny powder-room we snuck into a hall space and built out over a stairwell:

From New kitchen

From New kitchen

Here is a link that might be useful: Before photos


Ikea beech counters with stain- MOM?
clipped on: 08.13.2011 at 07:37 am    last updated on: 08.13.2011 at 07:37 am

RE: Resurfacing marble at home -- can be done (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: sayde on 05.02.2011 at 08:51 pm in Kitchens Forum

Hi, just to clarify -- marble was polished when slabs came from Marble & Granite in Massachusetts to the fabricator. The fabricator "honed" them -- I suspect using just acid. The acid etched them very unevenly.

So they came to us matte but very rough in places with splotches, drip marks and swipe marks. I think one of the keys is to use the Abranet fiber disks that we used and to go over it lightly, again and again. I was just amazed that we could get all the swipe marks out and get it even. Go around and around, not back and forth, and keep the touch light.

I am ashamed to admit that I still cannot figure out how to post but I promise that once we get the backsplash and island done I will make pictures available -- may-be someone will post for me? I do have a few pictures from before we did the rehoning and you can see the ugly marks -- all gone now.


clipped on: 05.03.2011 at 07:30 am    last updated on: 05.03.2011 at 07:30 am

Resurfacing marble at home -- can be done

posted by: sayde on 05.02.2011 at 06:02 pm in Kitchens Forum

Our marble slabs were originally polished when they were received by the fabricator. Those who read previous threads know that when we received them they were horribly botched -- uneven rough patches and very visible swipe marks. Looked like acid was used, and a very poor job of it.

I had been wary of choosing marble because of the possibility of etching. Now, we were confronted with marble that had been unevenly and severely etched all over, and we had to decide how to proceed.

We did recover some funds from the fabricator.

And then DH rehoned the marble himself. He used 5 inch diameter 320 grit Abranet pads on an orbital sander. He followed by going over the surface with pumice. It took about an hour for the first pass and then we went over some of the areas again. The marble became silky smooth and even, while retaining the matte honed appearance. We finished with two coats of sealer.

I'm posting because I was one of many who feared getting marble in the first place because of the etching. There is no doubt that it will etch in future, but I wanted to share that it can be resurfaced.

I love the Danby marble. I feel much less worried going forward seeing how it can be brought back to a perfect smooth honed surface. Just wanted to share this with others who want marble but are concerned about etching.


clipped on: 05.02.2011 at 08:33 pm    last updated on: 05.02.2011 at 08:33 pm

RE: Relative cabinetry prices: brand vs. brand (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: oofasis on 03.29.2008 at 07:28 pm in Kitchens Forum

Schuler and Medalion are one and the same cabinets; Schuler is the name stocked at HD and/or Lowes. I would not rank Medallion as low as you're interpreting - definitely get more than the 3 Medallion-related responses in this thread before concluding that they're middle-of-the-road. Their quality control is far superior to KraftMaid with a beautiful finish and many, many options. Several KDs who post on this forum have consistently given Medalion very strong recommendations.

Of course, my opinions are not all related to the gorgeous Medallion cabinets gracing my kitchen.


clipped on: 10.27.2010 at 08:18 pm    last updated on: 10.27.2010 at 08:19 pm

RE: hand held showers, someone please help! (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: susanelewis on 07.19.2010 at 12:07 pm in Bathrooms Forum

I would steer clear of both Delta and Moen if you want to "ensure that I get a firm spray that will easily rinse soap/shampoo from the body and hair." For that you will have to dig out the flow restrictor from the handheld and when we did this with my Moen, it cracked the handheld because the integrity of the handheld was so poor that it couldn't withstand the extra volume. And now after about 15 years, the replacement handheld is not keeping its fixed position on the slide bar. I cannot wait to scrap it when we redo the master bath.

I'm a huge Grohe fan because as I've posted countless times, the flow restrictors are a piece of cake to remove. I have the Relaxa handheld system in my main bath and they are amazing. They are 15 years old and look as good as day one. I have the metal hose in there and no issues.

The problem is that you want a mount like we had when he had Water Pik Shower Massage (adding handheld to existing plumbing). I'm not sure it will be easy to find that type of setup with higher end brands. I would take a look at the WP Shower Massage. THey've come a long way since we installed on in the 80s with different finishes and styles. I cannot speak to their water flow however, but I suspect you might have the same issue with low water flow. I would contact them and ask if it is possible to remove the restrictor.


clipped on: 09.17.2010 at 12:10 pm    last updated on: 09.17.2010 at 12:11 pm

RE: Big Plant for Dense Dense Dense Shade (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: arbo_retum on 04.15.2010 at 01:15 am in New England Gardening Forum

what george said.(ego45). Plus:
persicaria lance corporal- fantastic plant

shrubs- lonicera and euonymus elata are tough as nails drought resistant/full shade tolerant.
maybe maidenhair and christmas ferns.

here is the section(not yet uploaded) on Dry Shade on our new website:


CAPTION- Dry Shade Wasteland to Shade Hut Woodland
Dry shade is the bain of existence for many gardeners. We didn't come up against it until we developed a previously untouched area of elevated woodland that was under four mature sugar maples. Did I say woodland? I meant wasteland. Dry powdery nutritionless silt. I am happy to report that it is now the area you see in the photo above, complete with pond and waterfall and very few inches of visible ground.
We began by removing all the brush and weeds. We left only the maples and the fence lined with some red winged euonymus and wild honeysuckle bushes. These shrubs were useful because they had the requisite 'tough as nails' constitution to survive in these dreadful conditions and they were a green backdrop, hiding the fence. We knew we would eventually replace them but for now, they were helpful. Next we brought in tons and tons of compost and aged manure, working it in with pitchforks and shovels. If we had had shredded leaves (awareness) at that time, we surely would have added them. We wanted a rich base in which to give our gladiators-to-be their best chance at survival. We then tackled the mental design. We began with where to place a bench? >>> Up against the fence, facing towards the back of the house. We knew we wanted the cool sound of water so we then dug, lined, and rock edged a pond with small waterfall. Then we began planting. Hiding the dirt, creating a lush green carpet, was our big goal. We knew that the maples would continue with their mapledom, meaning their moisture and nutrition- sucking ways. So nothing completely crazy like astilbes that need constant moisture to do well. After many years of experimenting, our dry shade workhorses include, as groundcovers: lamium, lamiastrum, epimedium, Allegheny pachysandra, vinca, geranium machrorhizum, variegated bamboo, and holly. Holly? Well, surprisingly, yes. When we planted the two Blue Maid hollies by the short stone wall, we were hoping that they would tolerate the dryness and rise to bush form. They did handle the dryness just fine, but the lack of sunlight was another thing. They responded by growing only 15' tall, and their branches all kept reaching out horizontally for that elusive light. This resulted in very long drooping glossy dark green branches making for a visually rich and unusual groundcover . For medium height we added leucothoe, variegated solomon seal, uvularia, dicentra, bergenia, trout lilies, kerria Moonlight, and hostas. ( Laurel and pieris are surviving but not thrilled to be there.)Yellow flag iris(unpotted, bare root! ) continues as the resident pond plant.
As of 2009, 'The Maple Bed' changed once again. Disease took most of the sugar maples , so sunlight was finally able to enter the scene. We have planted a grove of assorted Japanese maples in their place, with a few medium height open-canpoied trees like halesia and styrax. Cledastris lutea, our one new tall tree, will soon be covered with glorious pink panicles.Flowering hydrangea vines are climbing the remaining sugar maple and the shade hut.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Cotton-Arbo retum


clipped on: 04.16.2010 at 08:27 am    last updated on: 04.16.2010 at 08:27 am

RE: Question re: Vanity Top in Powder Rm/Laundry Area (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: brickton on 01.22.2010 at 09:42 am in Bathrooms Forum


If you want to replace out the vanity, I like the look of Sunnywood's vanities. They run about $300 without a top (which is right around big box price but they look nicer in my opinion). You can buy them from and have them shipped to your local hardware store for free. We're looking at this one for our laundry / first floor bathroom.

They also have a nice white cottage one:

All of them are located here:
Do it best - Sunnywood

Also you may want to search Craigslist for a vanity top, we were able to find a nice one 1/2 off sticker price still in box that was left over from a construction project. Though I don't even mind the look of these with the super budget cultured marble white tops, the vanities are interesting enough to hold their own (unlike builder grade big box types).


clipped on: 01.22.2010 at 03:26 pm    last updated on: 01.22.2010 at 03:27 pm

RE: Bathroom done - photos (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: monicae on 09.28.2009 at 10:19 am in Bathrooms Forum

Thank you for all of the great feedback. Truthfully, I still can't believe that bathroom is in my house. Everytime I walk by I have to sit and ponder it a little bit!

The floors are really neat. They are called Fibra Grey and look a bit like linen. The manufacturer is Atlas Concorde. Ann Sacks has a similar tile and a few times the cost. These were $8 a sq ft. Here's a link so you can see a bit more detail:

The wall tiles are Porcelanosa Cubica Blanco. I don't think I can photograph them to capture just how nifty they are. They almost look like a mosaic and have a faint metallic sheen to them.

The deco strip in the shower is a brushed stainless tile stick tile with varying sizes. That was my big splurge tile wise.

The shower floor is 1 x 1 tumbled carrera marble.


clipped on: 09.29.2009 at 08:01 am    last updated on: 09.29.2009 at 08:02 am

RE: Shower prep confusion (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: mongoct on 06.17.2009 at 11:33 pm in Bathrooms Forum

The exterior wall should have insulation and a vapor barrier of some sort.

The interior walls can be insulated if you like, but they should have a vapor barrier too.

If you want to install a new continuous vapor barrier everywhere, 6-mil poly sheeting is a good and inexpensive choice. Just use a knife and slice and dice the existing vapor barrier.

Durock over the vapor barrier and screwed to the studs is fine, 1/2" thickness for the durock.

The problem is with your floor. Over the subfloor you:
1) lay down a slip sheet, it can be a sheet of the 6-mil poly.
2) Over that nail down expanded diamond mesh.
3) Over that you need a layer of deck mud, sloped to the drain. The slope needs to be UNDER your membrane, not over it. And yes, that's required by code.
4) Over the sloped deckmud goes the membrane. Up the walls 10" is fine. And yes, it gets draped over the curb and only attached to the curb on the outside face of the curb. No fasteners go through the membrane on the inside face or the top of the curb.
5) Over the membrane goes another layer of mud, this will be your tiling base.
6) The curb. A lot of people use stacked 2x4s, that's okay. I make them out of mud. If wood is used, then the membrane is draped over the wood, then a piece of diamond mesh is bent into a "U", turned upside-down, and set over the curb. Again, no fasteners are used on the inside face or the top of the curb. The diamond mesh is then packed with mud to encase the wood/membrane in a layer of mud.

One other thing regarding the curb, you need 2" of elevation between the top of the tiled curb and the top of the shower drain. That's code.

The floor slope has to be a minimum of 1/4" per foot and a max of 1/2" per foot. Also code.

I think Harry Dunbar's photo essay may still be available. Lemme do a google...

Wow, I could have saved myself a lot of typing...but check this out:

Harry Dunbar preslope


clipped on: 09.25.2009 at 12:12 pm    last updated on: 09.25.2009 at 12:12 pm

RE: Finished master bathroom (photos) (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: kinshasa on 09.08.2009 at 10:29 am in Bathrooms Forum

The drop-in tub is Kohler K-1107-0, 60" x 32". The bottom is smooth. It's tough to find a tub faucet (not Roman tub faucet) that doesn't have a diverter for a shower. An upscale plumbing store suggested that tub model. I also ordered the valve trim and showerhead from them. I ordered several things online: toilet, sinks, sink faucets, towel bar, toilet tissue holder.

The shower glass was done locally by a company called Superior Shower. It was different because they had to angle it around the tub surround/bench.


clipped on: 09.23.2009 at 11:59 am    last updated on: 09.23.2009 at 11:59 am

Finished Master Bath

posted by: youngdeb on 09.10.2009 at 03:26 pm in Bathrooms Forum

This forum has been incredibly helpful, I am so grateful to all you regulars for answering the questions over and over! I rarely had to post here since the history on this board is a treasure trove. So here it is, our new master bath (part of a garage conversion) without art, since I know it will take months (years) to get around to it.

Details: custom bamboo cabinets (DH is very tall, so they are irregular heights), Nutone medicine cabinets, Daltile Glass Reflections tile, Victoria & Albert Sorrento tub.


clipped on: 09.23.2009 at 11:48 am    last updated on: 09.23.2009 at 11:48 am

RE: How much would radiant flooring cost? Mat vs. coil? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: weedyacres on 02.10.2009 at 03:36 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Our radiant heat floors are my singlemost favorite thing in our master bath. It's the sort of thing you could be oblivious to your whole life and once you experience them you never go back. A VERY worthwhile $300 investment for your bathroom. We lost power for 2 days in the ice storms a couple weeks ago, and warm-floor-withdrawal was tough! We loved it so much in our bathroom that we put it in our kitchen as well, and will be putting it in our new sunroom too.

They say it doesn't warm the room, but cold feet make you feel cold and warm feet make you feel warm. And our master bath is noticeably warmer in the mornings than our master bedroom is.

The mats are 3x the cost of the wire. The wire is simple to install...I did an entire kitchen floor myself in 4 hours. We used Warming Systems, which is $4/sq ft, plus $150 or so for the thermostat.


clipped on: 08.29.2009 at 12:38 pm    last updated on: 08.29.2009 at 12:39 pm

Soapstone, Marble & Butcherblock INSTALLED!

posted by: twogirlsbigtrouble on 06.01.2009 at 09:23 pm in Kitchens Forum

Got the tops installed today. Im loving all of them. The soapstone looks a little greener in these photos than it does in real life. Anyway, you get the idea. Dont mind the cardboard floor :-)

(island skirtboard and legs arent stained yet)











table legs and skirt!
clipped on: 06.02.2009 at 07:01 am    last updated on: 06.02.2009 at 07:02 am

RE: Seeking Guidance on Refacing Fireplace Wall (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: ventupete on 05.26.2009 at 02:12 pm in Fireplaces Forum

There's a few ways of doing it. You could use two layers of backer board (I assume by backer board you mean cement board as it must be non-combustible) remembering to take into account the thickness of the thinset (typically 1/8" to 1/4") which means at least one of the layers would be 3/8" rather than 1/2". You could also do it with one 1/2" layer and a thicker layer of thinset - it's a little tricky to do on a vertical surface, but can be done if you make the thinset mix a little thicker (less water). In any event make sure you use fortified thinset. Or, if you have experience using regular mortar you could make a mortar bed directly over the brick to the correct thickness. You are correct in that it won't look right if the tile is recessed from the dry wall, although I've seen installations where the tile is applied on top of cement board which matches the face of the drywall so that the tile face sticks further out - this looks okay. Of course, another way to do this is to build a vertical surround on each side in which case, since the tile is separated from the drywall by the surround, it doesn't matter if it matches. In addition, don't forget that you will have to trim (either with tile or mortar) the edges around the firebox opening since you won't want to see the edges of the cement board behind the tile facing.


clipped on: 05.29.2009 at 07:30 am    last updated on: 05.29.2009 at 07:30 am

RE: photoshop help please (Follow-Up #19)

posted by: blondelle on 04.10.2009 at 11:40 am in Kitchens Forum

Look at the Unicorn series carrera from Crossville in the 2 X 4 brick on mesh. It's a white marble with little veining and not much shade variation. If you use a grout without too much contrast it won't be too much at all. I have it next to a piece of Bianco Romano now and it works very well with it. A large 4 X 8 glass tile in clear which has a bit of a blue/green tone to it would also be stunning in your kitchen.


clipped on: 05.09.2009 at 09:13 am    last updated on: 05.09.2009 at 09:13 am

RE: Subway tile w/ cream cabinets?? (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: jen19083 on 02.18.2009 at 08:33 pm in Kitchens Forum

My backsplash went up today - it's arabasceta (sp?) honed marble. I liked that it had beigy undertones and was less grey. Although, now that the tile is up, there is a definite grey tone to them. I think it ties in the s/s of the appliances, but I'll definitely need to pick a wall color that ties everything together.

Annekendo - talk to me about the enhancing sealer . . . my tile place didn't mention that as an option. Do you think it would bring out the beige undertones better? Thanks (pics below)






clipped on: 05.01.2009 at 10:25 am    last updated on: 05.01.2009 at 10:26 am

RE: shaker-style drawers and cup pulls (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: positano on 04.16.2009 at 09:16 am in Kitchens Forum

I have them too and love the way they look.

From April 2009


clipped on: 04.20.2009 at 08:39 am    last updated on: 04.20.2009 at 08:39 am

RE: holligator- island size? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: holligator on 04.07.2009 at 03:46 am in Kitchens Forum

Anyone know where can I find the link to Holligator's finished kitchen?

Unfortunately, it's not finished yet! It has been very close for over a year, but it still needs a backsplash, among other things. However, here are a couple of pics in its "almost done" state.

Let me know if you're interested in something specific, and I'll try to get a better pic or answer your question.


clipped on: 04.07.2009 at 07:11 am    last updated on: 04.07.2009 at 07:11 am

RE: Positano- Are you still here? About your Costa Esmeralda? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: positano on 03.24.2009 at 12:46 pm in Kitchens Forum

Gglks- I do love my paint color!! It's Benjamin Moore Crown Point Sand. A great neutral that looks golden somtimes, green, and a sand color. It really warmed up my room, the pictures don't do it justice. In the last picture it even looks blueish... it's reallymore of a camel with great undertones.

Danielle- I haven't posted finished pictures yet, still a lot to do. Want to at least get the table, and window treatments up. We still need to paint all the trim too. Did you get your appliances and countertop yet?

Stacy- Your so lucky you have eggs that are that color. I just had a little party for dd so some of the decor was still up. I love that I have an area now to do some holiday decor!! Good luck with your project!


clipped on: 03.24.2009 at 01:26 pm    last updated on: 03.24.2009 at 01:26 pm

RE: shelf/nook behind range - love it? or not? (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: ccoombs1 on 03.12.2009 at 02:18 pm in Kitchens Forum

Staceyneil, it is the Grundtal shelf that IKEA sells for $14.99. It's 31 1/2" long and 10 1/2" deep. I didn't want the mounting brackets to show so I cut some large square holes in the drywall put some wood blocking inside the wall for the shelf to mount. Then I carved out the face of the drywall so the front side of the bracket is flush with the face of the drywall. Then I just tiled right over the brackets.


Here is a link that might be useful: Grundtal


clipped on: 03.24.2009 at 10:57 am    last updated on: 03.24.2009 at 10:58 am

RE: Positano- Are you still here? About your Costa Esmeralda? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: positano on 03.24.2009 at 09:38 am in Kitchens Forum

Hi there,
I originally wanted something honed also, I really don't like a super shiny granite. My Costa is medium toned, hides crumbs and fingerprints beautifully and doesn't seem shiny at all. I asked my fabricator about honing it and he did a sample. It seemed to loose a little umph when it was honed.
Now I love it just the way it is. Really a breeze to keep clean. I was worried that the honing would show more fingerprints or smudges.

It's a great neutral that goes with so much. Here are some new photos. Sometimes it reads grey and sometimes green.

Kitchen still needs a lot of finishing touches. Backsplash, table, chairs, window treatments.

Good luck with the decision.

From march 2009

From march 2009

From march 2009

From march 2009


clipped on: 03.24.2009 at 10:50 am    last updated on: 03.24.2009 at 10:51 am

RE: Come take a peak at my Costa Esmeralda! (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: positano on 01.16.2009 at 07:26 pm in Kitchens Forum

I went out and got some Clementines and orange flowers to see how it looked. I really love it...and I painted a swatch of the sag harbor gray.

From January 2009

From January 2009

Sag Harbor Gray

From January 2009


costa esmaralda
clipped on: 03.24.2009 at 07:30 am    last updated on: 03.24.2009 at 07:30 am

RE: Does anyone have a Kraftmaid Base Pots and Pan Pull Out? (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: sally123 on 03.22.2009 at 03:33 pm in Kitchens Forum

It might be better to put your glass in an upper cabinet with dividers. Stacking makes them a pain to put away. Most cabinets with dividers are used for baking sheets, etc., but I think glass pans could go in there just as well. This is a relatively short cabinet above my oven, but if you used a regular height upper cabinet you could divide it in half horizontally and have twice the space for the glass.


hardware!! email her if she does not respond to post?
clipped on: 03.22.2009 at 06:22 pm    last updated on: 03.22.2009 at 06:23 pm

RE: Is this light green subway tile too 'taste specific' for resa (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: nomorebluekitchen on 03.21.2009 at 03:21 pm in Kitchens Forum

I'm very biased because I have a ming green marble backsplash. It isn't subway but is a long skinny rectangle. I've gotten more compliments on my backsplash than anything else in the kitchen. Mine is more contemporary feeling because of the shape whereas I think your subway shape is more mainstream appealing. FWIW, here is a picture of mine:

Ming Green 2 x 12 backsplash:




clipped on: 03.22.2009 at 04:54 pm    last updated on: 03.22.2009 at 04:54 pm

RE: shelf/nook behind range - love it? or not? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: ccoombs1 on 03.12.2009 at 01:11 pm in Kitchens Forum

I have a shelf behind my cooktop and love it! My hood has warming lights towards the back and this shelf gives me a really handy place to put things I want to keep warm. It's a great place to rise dough also. My teapot sits up there a lot when not in use. This shelf is from IKEA.



IKEA shelf - yes!!!
clipped on: 03.12.2009 at 02:10 pm    last updated on: 03.12.2009 at 02:10 pm

RE: FAQ/Answers Bathroom Plumbing for dummies (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: mongoct on 06.26.2008 at 12:51 pm in Bathrooms Forum

How to get the water out of your walls:
A fixed shower head high on the wall, an adjustable hand held, an overhead rain shower head, or body sprays? Or all of them?

Normally 1/2" copper tubing is run from the valve or diverter body to carry the water to the location of the outlet. If you're going to install something permanently, or if you're going to make a connection in a sealed wall, then its normally a soldered fitting.

For things like showerhead arms, or body sprays, these are normally threaded connections. A threaded connection allows you to change out the shower head and arm for a different one if the old breaks, or for a new style if remodeling. When making up a threaded connection, you'll want to use something on the thread, either teflon tape, teflon pipe dope, or some other sort of thread sealer that will allow you to break the connection at a later date.

A common way to connect your outlet to your spray head is to run your copper tubing to the location of the outlet, then solder a 90 degree drop ear fitting to the copper tubing.

You can see that the fitting has a smooth inlet for the 1/2" supply tubing to be soldered to, two holes in the "ears" to nail or screw the fitting to the framing, and a threaded outlet where the water will come out of. These fittings are manufactured in different configurations for different applications.

That brass drop ear fitting will be buried in the wall or ceiling. If you are connecting a shower head, then the arm of the shower head gets screwed into the drop ear fitting and the shower head gets screwed on the other end of the arm. That works if it is a wall or ceiling mounted shower head. For a body spray, youll need a brass nipple like this:

One end of the nipple screws into the drop ear fitting, the other end gets screwed into your body spray. Nipples come in various lengths to compensate for varying wall thicknesses.

For a hand held shower, the outlet for the hand held is mounted just like a body spray head is mounted. I usually mount the outlet for a hand held down low near the bottom of the bar and offset to one side. That way when the head is hung on the bar, the hose hangs in a graceful "U", right up against the wall. Do a dry run with a piece of rope or string the same length as your hose, you don't want your hose laying on the shower floor.

Hand held shower are usually mounted in a vertical bar, the head can be slid up or down the bar to adjust the height of the head. If you dont want a bar, then there are wall brackets that the hand held head can be set into. You can use multiple bracket, one high for tall people, one lower for shorter folk, even one low on the wall to hold the head for the leg shaving crowd.

Both the bar and the brackets are surface mounted in the wall, they are held on the wall with screws. Youll normally drill a pilot hole, insert a plastic anchor into the pilot hole, then attach the bar or bracket by driving the screw into the plastic anchor. Its easier to drill a pilot hole through grout than it is to drill through tile. Prior to inserting the anchor or driving the screw, I always squirt a glop of sealer into the hole, it helps prevent water intrusion.

As to the hose for the hand held, some are plastic, some are metal. I prefer metal as they lay against the wall more consistently than plastic hoses. One end of the hose screws on to the outlet that you screwed into the wall. The other end snaps or screws onto the hand held shower head. Get a hose long enough so that it can reach all corners of your shower, and then some. It helps with rinsing and cleaning the shower, shaving legs, bathing young kids, or even the family dog.

For wall mounted handhelds, you can get everything in one kit, or you can mix and match. Just make sure that everything is compatible so that you don't end up with a head that won't attach to a bracket.

A good combination is a "standard" wall mounted shower head, OR a "standard" head as a hand held, combined with an overhead rainshower head. "Standard" heads give that nice spray that is strong enough to easily rinse your body or rinse shampoo out of your hair, they often have multiple spray patterns as well.

Rainshower heads give a much gentler flow of water. They provide a different experience than a standard spray head. A rainshower head's flow might not be adequate to quickly rinse shampoo from hair. Some manufacturers have rainshower heads designed to mount on a standard arm that comes out of the wall. Those might not be a good idea, as the rainshower heads work best when they are mounted level, not on a tilt. If the head is mounted on an angle, instead of the shower of raindrops, you might something more like a garden hose effect coming out of one side of the head. Since the water "drops" out of the head instead of spraying our of the head, it's better to not have them too close to the wall. I think rainshower heads work best when plumbed to a central location on the ceiling.

If you can only have one head in your shower, than a standard type head with adjustable spray patterns might be your best bet. When I was a kid, most of the hand held shower heads were of very poor quality. Hose fittings leaked or sprayed water everywhere, the multiple spray heads leaked or sprayed water all over. Today's handheld's are of much better construction.

Construction note: If in a freezing climate, try to keep supply plumbing tubing out of your exterior walls. And if running plumbing for an overhead rainshower in the ceiling, if it's unheated attic space above then you'll want to insulate above the plumbing in the ceiling. Also, pitch the horizontal run of plumbing downwards a bit as the plumbing goes towards the rainshower head, so that when you turn the water off, the water in horizontal run of tubing will flow out the rainshower head instead of pooling and being captured in that horizontal run of tubing.



clipped on: 03.11.2009 at 11:18 am    last updated on: 03.11.2009 at 11:18 am

Part Deux (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: mongoct on 06.26.2008 at 02:30 am in Bathrooms Forum

Part Deux:

Controls and Diverters
This may be almost impossible to thoroughly attack because there are so many variations in what people want and in what different manufacturers offer.

In general

You need a volume and temperature control. You can buy just the valve body, which is the chunk of expensive brass that gets buried in the wall, and buy a separate trim kit, or you can buy a package that includes the valve body and the trim kit. The trim kit is the bright sparkly metallic knob/lever/escutcheon bling that you overspend for so your friends and neighbors will go "oooooh" and "aaaaah".

If you buy a pressure balanced valve, the valve in and of itself will turn on the water and allow you to control the temperature. If you buy a thermostatic valve, most valve bodies have two controllers on them, one to control volume and one to control temperature. Read the fine print though, because some thermostatic bodies just control temperature. Youll need a separate valve body to provide volume control.

Stops. Some valves come with "stops" some do not. What are stops? Stops stop water flow at the valve itself so the valve can be taken apart without having to turn the water off to that branch circuit or to the whole house. They are normally incorporated onto the hot and cold water inlets on the valve body, and they can be opened or closed with a screw driver.

While Im on this, Ill also mention that some valves might mention having a "stop screw" to limit the maximum temperature. While a pressure balancing or a thermostatic valve will prevent you from being scalded if someone flushes a toilet, there is nothing to prevent someone from being scalded by setting the valve to allow 130 degree water to pass through it. Your first step is to lower the temperature on your water heater to about 120 degrees. For valves that have these stop screws, its then a simple matter of setting a screw that limits how far the temperature knob can be rotated. What you do is rotate the knob to set the water to the max temp that youd ever want out of the shower, then you turn the set screw until it bottoms out. It will now prevent the temperature knob from turning past (hotter than) its existing position.

Downstream of that volume/temp control is where things get dicey. You can have a simple setup where your V/T control just runs to a single shower head. Easy to do. You can have a standard tub setup with a shower head and a tub spigot, where the diverter can be a lever or push button that sends water either to the tub spigot below or to the shower head above. Also easy to do.

If you want to supply water to more than one shower head, to a shower head and body sprays, or to both, either simultaneously or one at a time, then youll need more chunks of expensive brass to bury in your wall.

If you want separate controls and the ability to have differing temperatures come out of differing fixtures, then its easiest to go with multiple V/T controllers. One V/T controller for the shower heads, for example, and a separate V/T controller for the body sprays. This allows you to run different volumes and different temperatures out of the different heads. Your shower head can be 105 degrees and your body sprays 110 degrees.

Remember, the more hot water that you want to come out of your shower, the larger your supply tubing and valve bodies need to be, and the larger your water heater has to be. For sizing purposes, most shower heads and body sprays have a gallon per minute rating applied to them. In theory and planning only, if your hand held shower head is, for example, rated at 3gpm, your rain shower head rated at 4gpm, and each of your 8 body spray heads is rated at 1gpm, and you want to run them all at the same timeyoure looking at a flow of 15gpm. You need a water heater that can supply you with 15gpm of hot water, then you need supply tubing that can get 15gpm of hot water from your water heater to your bathroom, and you need valve/diverter bodies that can pass the required amount of water through them so you get decent flow out of each fixture.

Typical plumbing is 1/2", typical valves are 1/2". For high volume situations, 3/4" tubing and 3/4" supply valves may be required. Out of the valves you can usually run 1/2" tubing to your shower heads and body spray heads.

Back to the hardware. If you want a shower head and body sprays, and want to run either or both off of one valve, then youll want a diverter valve.

Diverter valves can be anything and everything. They can be simple A/B valves, where you can run the water through the valve to only "A", your shower head, or only to "B", your body spray heads. But not both at the same time.

Which leads to the A/B/AB valve, where you can send water only to "A", your shower head, or only to "B", your body spray heads, or to "AB", simultaneously to both.

And from here things go wild. There are A/B/C/AB/AC/BC/ABC valves, and things just can go on and on from there.

Diverter valves are usually described as having a certain number of "ports". 3-port, 4-port, 5-port, etc. Realize that one port is where the water goes in to the valve, the other ports are where the water comes out. So an A/B/C valve that has three outlets might be listed as a "4-port valve", with the fourth port being the inlet.

Not all 4-port valves can do A/B/C/AB/AC/BC/ABC, youll need to look through the description to find out where it can send the water to. A 4-port valve might just be an A/B/C valve, or it might be a more versatile A/B/C/AB/AC/BC valve. Read its description.

If you cant get the customization you need from a single volume/temperature controller and a single diverter, you can run multiple diverters off of one V/T controller, or multiple diverters off of multiple V/T controllers. It all depends on how much brass you can afford, how much water you can supply, and if you have the space to hide all that brass in your walls.

Diverters can be knobs, levers, push buttons, the choice is yours. But do remember that you need to match up the valve body to the desired trim kit so that the bling that your neighbors can see will fit on the expensive chunk of brass that they cant see. You dont want your plumber to bury that expensive chunk of brass in your wall, then tile, then find out later that your bling wont fit. Very depressing.

Its all about reading the fine print.



clipped on: 03.11.2009 at 11:16 am    last updated on: 03.11.2009 at 11:16 am

RE: FAQ/Answers Bathroom Plumbing for dummies (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: mongoct on 06.25.2008 at 09:07 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Let me know if this is the sort of info you're looking for, if it's too basic, or not inclusive enough. It's a rough first draft and can be edited as required:

The sort of where, what, and why of pressure-balanced versus thermostatic:
Pressure-balanced or thermostatic temperature control valves are code-required in bathroom plumbing because they eliminate potential scalding and cold water shocks that can occur in a shower.

If you are using the shower and a toilet is flushed, as the toilet uses cold water to refill the tank, the pressure in the cold water line drops a bit below what it was when just the shower was running. If you had a non-balancing valve, youd still get the same amount of hot water that you originally were getting, but with the drop in pressure in the cold water line youd have less cold water coming out of your shower head, creating a potential for scalding. Vice-versa, if someone turns on a hot-water faucet elsewhere in the house, the hot water pressure drops and you get a shower of mostly cold water.

A pressure-balanced shower valve is designed to compensate for changes in water pressure. It has a mechanism inside that moves with a change in water pressure to immediately balance the pressure of the hot- and cold-water inputs. These valves keep water temperature within a couple degrees of the initial setting. They do it by reducing water flow through either the hot or cold supply as needed. Because pressure balanced valves control the temp by reducing the flow of water through the valve, if your plumbing supply is already struggling to keep up with the three shower heads and nine body sprays that you have running in your shower, if a pressure balancing valve kicks in and chokes down the water supply to keep you from getting scalded you could end up with insufficient water flow out of the heads in a multiple shower head setup. When it comes to volume control, in terms of being able to turn on the water a little or a lot, for the most part pressure-balanced valves are full-on when water is flowing or full-off when the valve is closed. Flow-wise, think of them as having no middle ground.

Where flow and volume control are important, as in a shower that requires a high volume of water, a thermostatic valve may be the better choice. They also control the temperature, but they do not reduce the amount of water flowing through the valve in doing so. Thermostatic valves are also common with 3/4" inlets and outlets, so they can pass more water through the valve than a 1/2" pressure balancing valve.

Which should you choose?
In a larger multi-outlet master shower, while a 1/2" thermostatic valve may suffice, a 3/4" thermostatic valve might be the better choice. But it does depend on the design of your shower and the volume of water that can be passed through your houses supply lines. In a secondary bathroom, or in a basic master where you have only one head, or the common shower head/tub spout diverter valve, a 1/2" pressure balancing valve would be fine.

If you want individual control and wanted multiple valves controlling multiple heads, then you could use multiple 1/2" valves instead of one 3/4" valve and all would be just fine.

What do the controls on the valve actually control?
While it may vary, a pressure balanced valve is normally an "all in one" valve with only one thing you can adjustthe temperature. The valve usually just has one rotating control (lever or knob) where you turn the water on, and by rotating it you set the water to a certain temperature. Each time you turn the valve on youll have to set it to the same spot to set it to your desired temperature. For the most part you really dont control the volume, just the temperature. With the valve spun a little bit, you'll get 100% flow but it will be all cold water. With the valve spun all the way, youll get 100% flow, but it will be all hot water. Somewhere int eh middle youll find that Goldilocks "just right" temperature, and itll be atyou guessed it100% flow. So with a pressure balancing valve, you control the temp, but when the valve is open, its open.

A thermostatic valve can be all inclusive in terms of control (volume and temp) or just be temperature controlling. If its just temperature controlling, you will need a separate control for volume or flow. Example, with an all inclusive youll have two "controllers" (knobs or levers) on the valve, one to set the temperature and a separate one to set the volume. In this case you can set the temp as you like it, then use the volume control lever to have just a trickle of Goldilocks water come out of the valve, or you can open it up and have full flow of Goldilocks water coming out of the valve. You can leave the temp where you like it when you turn the volume off after youre done showering. The next time you shower, turn the volume on, the temperature is already set. Some thermostatic valves are just temperature valves with no volume control. Youll need another valve/control to set the volume. Read the product description carefully to see what you're getting.

What size valve should I get?
Yes, valves actually come in different sizes. The size refers to the size of the inlet/outlet nipples on the valve. For a basic shower, a 1/2" valve will suffice. For a larger multi-head arrangement, a 3/4" valve would be better. Realize that youll need a water heater that can supply the volume of heated water you want coming out of the heads, so dont forget that when you build or remodel. Also realize that if youre remodeling and have 1/2" copper running to your shower, capping 1/2" copper supply tubing with a 3/4" valve provide you with much benefit as the 1/2" tubing is the limiting factor. You can, however, cap 3/4" supply tubing with a 1/2" valve or a 3/4" valve.

Is one better than another?
Thermostatic valves are "better" in that with them you can control both volume of flow and temperature, so you have more control, and they hold the temperature to a closer standard (+/- 1 degree). They also perform better if you are running multiple outlets in the shower, as they do not choke down the amount of water in order to control the temperature. But you pay for that added flow and added control. Pressure balancing valves can be had for about $100-$200, thermostatic valves can be twice that amount. And more.

Will I suffer with a pressure-balancing valve?
For what its worth, when I built my house over 10 years ago I put pressure-balancing valves in my own house. While I have two outlets in my shower (sliding bar mounted hand-held on the wall and an overhead 12" rain shower head on the ceiling), I have a two separate pressure-balancing valves, one valve for each head. With both heads going in the shower, I notice no loss of flow in the shower when the toilet is flushed and the sink faucet is turned on simultaneously. I also notice no change in temperature. So they work for me.

If you are remodeling, if you have your existing sink running and you flush the toilet and notice a drop in volume coming out of the sink, then a thermostatic valve might be the better choice even if you're not having a multi-head setup installed.

If, as part of the remodel, you plan on running new supply lines through your house to the new bath, then properly sized runs will take care of that flow restriction and you can probably do a pressure balancing valve instead of a thermostatic.

So in a house with tricky plumbing, or with a restricted water supply, or with multiple outlets running off of one supply valve, a thermostatic valve might be the safer choice.



clipped on: 03.11.2009 at 11:15 am    last updated on: 03.11.2009 at 11:16 am

RE: Need Advice For Remodel -Cabinet lights, Granite, Appliances, (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: caryscott on 03.03.2009 at 12:56 am in Kitchens Forum

My Mom went with Xenon and is very happy - she went with line voltage so they are dimmable (without any extra expense) and she hasn't found them to run hot. Hers are from Amertak.

The manufacturer makes all different kinds of which this is the least expensive (this product is plug in or direct wire):

Westek Under Cabinet Xenon Light


clipped on: 03.06.2009 at 12:15 pm    last updated on: 03.06.2009 at 12:16 pm

Mostly finished white/chocolate galley

posted by: smilingjudy on 03.02.2009 at 05:08 pm in Kitchens Forum

I re-oiled the countertop yesterday and got rid of all the stray paint splatters (no matter how careful I am, I always end up with strays). Figured this was a good time to take some pics and post my "finished" kitchen. There are a few things left to do, but who knows when they will be finished.

- Re-install dishwasher (waiting on a replacement part)
- Find and install lights (above sink and open counter area in the kitchen proper)
- Add the "pretty" stuff (window treatments, accessories, blah, blah, blah)

It'll happen when it happens. I'm not going to rush it and end up with things I don't like. Besides, I have a lot of other things to do and don't want to wait on more kitchen indecision!

My kitchen, like everything, was mostly DIY. Things I DIDN'T do myself:
- Drywall (because I believe you should always hire out drywall)
- Cabinet install (included with the build)
- Countertop
- I did most of the plumbing, but in order to enlarge the opening to the DR all pipes to the upstairs bath had to be moved. I hired that one out because I didn't want to mess with it and I'm glad I did! It took two plumbers a full 9-hour day.
- My HVAC guys custom fabricated the exhaust vent to maneuver around pipes in the ceiling. While they were here for that, I had them re-locate the HVAC vents to the kitchen and DR
- My boyfriend helped me remove the load-bearing wall between the DR and nature room beyond. Technically not part of the kitchen, but it allowed me eliminate a door and extend the cabinet run.

Sounds like I didn't do much! But as you all know, there are a LOT of other things involved in a gut remodel. I need to show the befores for anyone to appreciate the result, so here goes. I had started packing up (and in some cases tearing into walls) before I remembered to take pics. It was even messier than usual.


Used to lead to the basement; the original kitchen had FOUR doorways


Fridge used to be where the hole is


Filthy stove and stolen corner (yes, i cooked with the help of a shop light)


More filthy stove. Admittedly, it could have looked better, but I did not want to expend the time or effort to clean this pit. The worst part was the cabinets with too short shelves that were NOT adjustable.


I HATED this window. The divider was right in my line of sight. Note the neon-yellow mini-blind to match the countertop.


Other side of the pipes is the dining room; room to the left is the "nature room". Note the upper cabinet that would not close because it was too full!


What happens when you put carpet in a kitchen. DON'T DO IT!

And now for the mostly-after (click to embiggen)









(Do I have to take the 'Made in Italy' sticker off the range now? LOL)



I realized later that herringbone pattern is typically horizontal. Oops. I totally meant to do it this way. It's like flames coming off the stove. :)

cat door to the basement



window "sill" made by my countertop fabricator



Floor - Cork glue-down tiles from Duro-Design; pattern - Edipo; color - Cointreau
Cabinets - local custom shop; painted SW Snowbound SemiGloss. It's a crisp white with a tiny bit of warmth.
Countertop - Richlite in Chocolate Glacier
Backsplash - Landsdale Carrara from the Tile Shop
Vent Liner - Prestige
Range - Fratelli Onofri Double Evolution
Faucet - Moen Level
Dishwasher - Fisher Paykel dishdrawers
Sink - Kohler SmartDivide IronTones
Fridge - JennAir CD FD Floating Glass
Hardware - Asbury series from Restoration Hardware
Undercab Lights - Kichler 1" line-voltage xenon
Kept the old microwave and toaster oven. Ugly as they are, they're staying until they croak.

One minor lesson learned that I want to share because it bugs me.... I insisted on finding undercab lights that were not fluorescent because I wanted to be able to dim them. Well, you know what? If they're on, they're on high. I NEVER dim them. I wish I would've saved some $$ (now and in the future) and gone with fluorescent.

I still check in on the forum every once in a while, but not nearly as obsessive as I was during the thick of the work. You guys are like no other online community I've found. Thanks to everyone here for your inspirational remodels and helpful, patient advice.


Wow, amazing. Note catfood area and cat door to basement...
clipped on: 03.03.2009 at 07:34 am    last updated on: 03.03.2009 at 07:35 am

RE: Slate or travertine floors in kitchen - durable? too hard? (Follow-Up #21)

posted by: jtsgranite4us on 03.01.2009 at 02:37 am in Kitchens Forum

We went with limestone on our floor and are very happy with it. We do not find it too hard on our feet. We do use rugs at the range and sink.

It has been very easy to maintain and spills have cleaned up easily. We sealed it and have not had much problems with stains. The stains we did have from oily substances disappear over time.

Here is a picture:

Limestone 16x24 floor tiles


limestone floor tile
clipped on: 03.01.2009 at 08:13 am    last updated on: 03.01.2009 at 08:14 am

RE: Slate or travertine floors in kitchen - durable? too hard? (Follow-Up #19)

posted by: judydel on 02.28.2009 at 11:48 pm in Kitchens Forum

I've had this travertine in my mudroom and laundry room, and bathroom for about 9 months. I love it so much we will be carrying it through into the kitchen also. It doesn't show ANY dirt, grit, dog hair, etc. etc. It is amazing. I have to remember to vacuum and wash it.

It is Florida Tile's Pietra Art Chiselled Edge Travertine in the color Picasso. I love how each tile is unique.



travertine floor
clipped on: 03.01.2009 at 08:13 am    last updated on: 03.01.2009 at 08:13 am

Our New Catarina Coliseum White tile

posted by: gary1227 on 02.25.2009 at 12:02 am in Bathrooms Forum

We are just about to wrap our new construction build and our new master bath has turned out beautifully using the American Olean Catarina Coliseum white tiles.

We wanted the look of marble without the maintenance issues of real stone and we are very happy with this porcelain and ceramic product.

Here are are a few photos:





Materials used:

Floor Tile: AO Catarina Coliseum White Porcelain Matt Finish 12x12 Tiles

Wall Tile: AO Catarina Coliseum White Ceramic Polished 8x10 Tiles

Accent Tile: White Carrara Marble 12" Chair Rail

Vanity countertops and shower wall ledges: Caeserstone "Pebble" in polished finish

Faucets/Shower Heads: Danze

Shower Control: Hans Grohe

Hardware/Towel Bars/Lighting: Restoration Hardware

Tub: Toto 6ft AirJet Tub

Toilet: Toto


clipped on: 02.27.2009 at 08:07 am    last updated on: 02.27.2009 at 08:08 am

Mrs. Limestone Inspired Bathroom- Photos

posted by: flstella on 01.17.2009 at 10:09 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Here are some photos of our recently completed master bath. Thanks to all for the advice I received in this forum, and especially to Mrs. Limestone for the inspiration. I need some accessories - especially for the tub deck, feel free to make suggestions!

Here's my vanity and the tub. This view was taken from the shower, before the shower glass was installed. There is now an LCD TV above the towel rack, so I can watch the news while I get ready in the morning, and watch from the tub as well. If only they made a waterproof laptop, I would never leave the tub!

This is my husband's (smaller) vanity:

View of the tub as you're standing at the entrance to the bathroom- taken before the shower glass was put in. A glass wall now rests on the left side of the tub:

Here's the shower:

And this shot is looking at my husband's vanity and toilet from inside the shower:

Closer view of marble basketweave floor:

Faucets are all from the Moen Kingsley line
Vanities, sinks, sconces, towel bars & rings, and mirrors all from Restoration Hardware.
Tub is Jacuzzi Allusion. Toilet is Jacuzzi brand also.
Tub deck and vanity tops are Bianco Sevic Marble
Subway tile, pencil liner, and chair rail all from Lowe's.
Floor tile is Carrara Marble Basketweave from Classic Tile NY
Glass shower enclosure from K&K Glass
Wall paint: "Shore" (I think) from Restoration Hardware

Let me know what you think!


clipped on: 02.22.2009 at 05:14 pm    last updated on: 02.22.2009 at 05:14 pm

My finished 'glamour vintage' bathroom

posted by: mrslimestone on 02.09.2008 at 06:22 pm in Bathrooms Forum

My master bathroom is finally finished. I nearing the end of a long gut renovation and I wanted to share the sole completed room in the entire house! Size is approx 10x5ft in a 100 year old home.

Sorry about the lighting in these photos. I need to add bulbs in the sconces.

Floor tiles: Marble basketweave with ming dot accents
Wall tiles: The no name subway tile that was in stock at tile shop finished with victorian cap
Vanity, Medcine Cabinets, Lights, Shelves, Faucet, Towel Bar: Restoration Hardware
Toilet: Toto Promenade
Wall Color: Quiet Moments by Benjamin Moore
Shower: Sign of the Crab exposed with handheld

Im planning on adding some fluffy towels, a potted orchid, some photographs on the far wall and teak bench to finish it off. Any other suggestions appreciated.

Just wanted to thank everyone on this board for being such a great resource. I come here with questions and always leave with an answer from a simple search or posted question.

More photos:


clipped on: 02.22.2009 at 04:59 pm    last updated on: 02.22.2009 at 05:00 pm

Master Bath 'Minor' Remodel 99.9 complete

posted by: gbsim on 12.13.2008 at 09:19 am in Bathrooms Forum

Thanks for the help and advice (esp Bill and Mongo) when I had to start over with my Kerdi shower due to the tilesetter using adhesive.... It has taken a while to post the pics and I didn't take time to take any before pictures.

Basic story is we acted as GC when we built the house in 1985 and this is our first remodeling of any sort in the bedroom/bath areas of the house. I think if you do it right the first time, it can last. But the fiberglass shower had to go, so we updated it all. The original Kohler fixtures that were a sort of purplish brown color, wallpaper was okay but a little dated, faucets etc were brass and we never used any window treatments.
What was kept:
1. The floorplan and all cabinets and trim. When we built the house we used inexpensive stock that was really supposed to be painted and used Benjamin Moore Stays Clear tinted poly. This bath has a dark tint but the rest of the house is more of a honey color. I added another coat during the remodel to freshen it up.
2. Flooring. Kept the original sheet vinyl called Armstrong Custom Corlon. It is smooth with no texture and looks like Terrazo, I couldn't see pulling it up as it is perfectly neutral.
3. Original light fixtures above vanity (still classic) and recessed light locations above tub.

1. Countertops from a swirly cultured marble that was a brownish color to granite.
2. Sink AND tub became undermount Kohler and faucets etc brushed nickel.
3. Prefab acrylic shower that was a brownish purple with textured track doors was pulled out and a porcelain tile Kerdi shower with frameless french doors installed in the space.
So here we go: The tub is the same Kohler 6' Carribean as 24 years ago, just a different color and now undermount.

Added a handshower to the tub area and you can see the Thibault wallpaper that has a simple cream background with a silver swirl.

New undermount sink (I'd rather have the long counter than two sinks!!) and reflection in full wall mirror of the cabinets and shower:

Vanity, new knobs, edge of pocket door entering bathroom:

Porcelain tile shower, marble seat and shelves in niche, Hansgrohe faucets etc

Frameless french doors open fully in and out.

Niche detail: Marble top and bottom and center shelf (two pieces of marble with a "face plate" to hide seam on shelf)

Shower configuration:

Pocket door entrance (still need to frame the mirror!!)
Toilet area with new Toto Drake


clipped on: 02.22.2009 at 03:42 pm    last updated on: 02.22.2009 at 03:43 pm

RE: Cost of Frameless Shower Door (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: Jill_77 on 08.20.2005 at 12:42 pm in Bathrooms Forum

I have a 3/8" thick tempered enclosure (2 sides glass). One side is 4'w x 8' high, other is 6'6"w x 8' high. I have the heaviest duty (and therefore most expensive) hinges because the door is 34" wide, plus there's a working transom over the door. Installed price = $1600. (That does not include the handle, which I purchased elsewhere and they installed.) Other quotes ranged from $2500-$4000. Most all glass companies use the same supplier (CR Laurence) for the hardware. FWIW, I priced it out on, and it was much higher (although I did order the real chrome glass channel from them, and they are very nice to deal with.) Shop around, look for small glass companies that are maybe not in the best part of town, and you'll probably find a huge savings.
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clipped on: 02.22.2009 at 03:03 pm    last updated on: 02.22.2009 at 03:03 pm