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Kitchen Remodeling Tips And Advice

Why Remodel?

Kitchen remodels can be exciting and discouraging at the same time. There are many reasons why you may want to remodel. You may not have enough space and storage to work comfortably in your kitchen, or everything is so outdated that it is needed. Whatever the reason is, focus on your main reason so that your vision will be achieved. Also, take into consideration improving the value of your home and your budget. When it’s all said and done these two things will give you a piece of mind.

 

Questions to ask yourself

  1. What is your objective?
  2. How long do you plan to live in the home?
  3. Do you have children or pets?
  4. Do you have allergies or health issues to consider?
  5. Will you be living in your home during the renovation?
  6. What is your budget?
  7. What have people in similar homes accomplished, and what has been their limitations?
  8. Can you remove that wall to open up the kitchen?
  9. What’s behind those walls?
  10. When do you want to start?

Get A Professional Involved

It is very important to not take on a kitchen remodel without a professional because kitchens are one of the more complicated projects to tackle. It also provides a relief to know it will be taken care of and you won’t have to worry about it every time you have free time that you need to spend it on your remodel.

 

A Few Things To Ask A Contractor:

Are you licensed and insured?

Can you draw up a detailed proposal?

Do you have in-house workers or do you sub-contract jobs out?

Do you have a designer on hand?

How often do we meet to check-in on the renovation?

How is your warranty protocol?

 

How A Project Is Sectioned Out

  • 29% cabinets and hardware
  • 22% design and installation
  • 16% walls, ceiling, floors, doors, & windows
  • 14% appliances and ventilation
  • 9% electrical and plumbing

 

Ways To Save On Your Cabinets

Choose a manufacturer that offers the door style and finish you want as a standard option, with no up-charge. Don’t pay for factory-built or custom organizers. Aftermarket utensil dividers, rollout trays, and back-of-the-door spice racks are a fraction of the cost. Websites such as organize.com and cabinetparts.com are good ones to check out. Avoid custom configurations. You can often use stock wine organizers, cubby units, and even appliance panels to fill awkward spaces that might otherwise require you to buy a custom cabinet.

 

Think About The Details

  1. Installing multiple outlets along the backsplash or on the island is a detail that most forget. It helps to provide electricity wherever you need it.
  2. Having a cabinet for your garbage and recycle bin is very helpful in clearing space up in your kitchen and keeping the smell to a minimum, some cabinet companies are even designing a board to separate the drawer from the garbage pull-out to keep the smell contained even further.
  3. Newer cabinets are now being designed for organization and so you can find soft closing drawers, inserts for knives, pull out storage for large appliances and spice racks. Think about your lifestyle and how easy you want to make it when working in the kitchen.
  4. Another detail to think about is designing with future cleaning in mind. Find products that will keep cleaning minimal to save you time and energy in the long run. Flush-set or under-mount sinks don’t catch as much dirt and grime. Quartz countertops have way less maintenance than granite countertops.
  5. Designing wide pathways for your kitchen is important for easy traffic flow. The standard paths throughout the kitchen should be at least 36 inches wide and in the cooking-zone area should be about 42 inches wide. When planning makes sure your kitchen island or peninsulas have a good width for you to get around with ease.

 


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Feel free to Contact Us here at Retro Pro Kitchen and Bath and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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What To Do With A Galley Kitchen

What is a galley kitchen? A galley kitchen is a narrow usually small kitchen with one long aisle lined with countertops, cabinets, & appliances on either side. Below gives you a general idea of a galley kitchen layout.

 

 

Small kitchens aren’t necessarily a bad thing. If the space is designed correctly you will find a galley kitchen is functional. If your kitchen is an outdated galley kitchen then yes it was probably badly designed and creates a hectic workspace. Fear not remodeling your galley kitchen can help make the space more efficient and give you just as much storage as a large kitchen. It truly is an effective space and makes the most for a true chef as long as you have the right designer in place to give you what you are looking for. With the long aisle and parallel counters, this is designed exactly how the professional kitchens are in restaurants. The only thing you may not get in a galley kitchen that you do with a large kitchen is the open concept. When you entertain an open kitchen gives you a chance to mingle with your guests while still working in the kitchen, this is less likely to occur with a galley kitchen but isn’t impossible if it’s designed right.

Look at the positive side of a galley kitchen. If you love to cook this is an ideal way to control traffic flow in and out of the kitchen. It’s ideal for one person in the kitchen so it’s a great asset if there tends to be too many cooks in the kitchen. Tidying up a galley kitchen is usually easier because the design is minimal. It keeps the cook organized and utilizes the space around them. It also follows the design technique of the “kitchen triangle” which is an invisible line that is drawn between the sink, stove, and refrigerator creating optimal efficiency.

Getting ready for your galley kitchen remodel. The vertical cabinet is a great way to utilize space. Getting bins and baskets to store extra cooking tools and various accessories like cookbooks can be stored up higher while the necessities can be stored at arm’s length. Get rid of countertop appliances that you don’t use much and invest in multi-use appliances. Pot racks are another good addition to save on cabinet space and can add some style to the kitchen.

Choosing a style. Choosing the right style for a galley kitchen can be tricky, first of all, remember that galley kitchens can be dark and dungeon-like because of the space confinement. It is best to go light and bright when designing your galley kitchen. This will help make the kitchen feel open and spacious. Making sure to have a lot of natural light is important so, make a larger window or add skylights will help open up the kitchen. Choosing lighter paint colors will reflect the light in the space also. White is the trend for kitchens now so this will also add a timeless look if you are trying to sell. To add depth pick out colorful accents to make the space inviting. Under cabinet lighting is another nice feature especially for cooking.

Dining in a galley kitchen. It might be hard to dine in a galley kitchen but you can possibly create a breakfast bar or nook that will give you somewhat interaction with your guests. This is popular in large kitchens also but usually, it is an island in the middle of the kitchen.

 

 

 

Feel free to contact us here at Retro Pro Kitchen and Bath and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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Cabinets Of All Shapes And Sizes

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Cabinets are one of the biggest investments when remodeling a kitchen or bathroom. In a total budget, it can run up to half the cost depending on the size and quality you choose. If you want to have a good resale value on your home or you plan on living it in for a long time choosing a better quality of cabinetry is ideal. Here’s some information on what types of cabinets are on the market, their grades, and some new accessories out there that will make your guests want to remodel their space.

The Four Basic Types of Cabinets

Base- These come in a standard size of 24-inches deep and 36-inches tall. The depth may be increased to 27 inches on some semi-custom and custom applications. For ease of use, base cabinetry rests atop a 4-inch recessed riser called a toe kick.

Wall- Upper cabinetry is generally 12-inches deep but can be increased to 17-inches on some semi-custom and custom applications.

Tall- These cabinets are typically 83.5-inches in height, serving as pantry space and broom storage.

Specialty Units- Specialty units maximize square footage and organization efforts. They include corner cabinets, sink/cooktop fronts, suspended units, hutches, bottle racks and appliance holders/garages. An 18-inch backsplash creates usable workspace between countertops and the bottom edge of upper cabinets.

 

Cabinet Quality Grades

Cabinets are grouped into four grades based on the quality of construction. Decide up front the amount of money to be invested in cabinetry and then browse the lines and options within your budget. Cabinetry prices are measured in linear feet, ranging from around $50 per linear foot to $500 per linear foot, this is roughly about 29% of your budget. Installation is usually added to the total cost unless you go full custom then it is usually included.

Ready-to-Assemble

Readily available and constructed with cost in mind. These cabinets are purchased boxed from chain home stores like Homedepot or Lowes.  The selection is very minimum and usually, require assembly. If you’re skilled with do-it-yourself home improvement projects, you can save a significant amount of money on this type of cabinetry. However, long-term durability often results in trouble over time. Make sure you are well versed in constructing and installing cabinetry.

Stock 

Purchased pre-sized from their manufacturer, stock cabinets are a basic and economical option. Stock cabinets are mass-produced, available in fixed sizes and cannot be altered, making them less versatile for existing spaces. These cabinets are constructed on site from modular units. They are measured in 3-inch increments. The materials range from particle board covered with plastic laminate or melamine to solid wood, depending on the manufacturer. Melamine is a plastic used for laminated coatings, made by copolymerizing this compound with formaldehyde. These cabinets offer a limited range of accessories. While some stock materials only meet minimal standards and aren’t generated from valued woods, purchasing stock cabinets may offer attractive and affordable style without sacrificing quality. Just remember, installation is usually not included in the price.

Semi-Custom

This type of cabinetry has more of a selection in both style and material. This is considered the mid-range option in terms of price. It allows some size adjustments and offers better quality cabinets. They are typically special order cabinets and can take up to a 6wks for delivery. They’re standard in certain sizes but can be altered for increased depth. It also offers some changes but not all brands. They come with more extensive selections of styles, finishes, storage solutions, and decorative enhancements.

Custom

These are the most expensive cabinets. It is completely made-to-order and offers the most diversity in style, material, finishes, and accessories. These cabinets are one-of-a-kind of tailored sizes and innovative design solutions, suiting even the most unique spaces. Narrow measurements with exact increments down to the 32nd of an inch offer precision rivaling English imperial standards. While design options are limitless, these high-dollar cabinets can quickly exhaust the budget. With custom, you will get exactly what you want with the superior hand-built construction of a skilled artisan and is designed much like furniture. Usually, the price of custom cabinetry often includes installation and delivery.

Handy Cabinet Accessories with a Modern Touch:

  • Rollout drawer trays offer a continuous look and increase organization.
  • Swing-out shelving and pantry pull-outs maximize pantry storage.
  • Pull-out tables fully extend for increased work space.
  • Slide-out baskets and bins hide trashcans and recycling centers.
  • Cutlery and utensil dividers make putting away items easier.
  • Tilt paneled sink fronts conveniently store cleaning supplies.
  • Lazy Susans make efficient use of corners or “dead space.”
  • Spice drawers keep spices within eyesight.
  • Appliance garages house toasters, coffee makers, blenders and other small appliances beneath a door that functions similarly to a garage door. Items are kept out of sight and are easily stored away after use.

 

      

 

Different Door Frames:

Slab Doors. These doors are made of flat pieces of plywood or medium-density fiberboard (MDF) with a veneer flanking each side.

Plank Doors. Plank doors are flush and comprised of solid wood and may involve decorative patterns routed into their face.

Frame-and-Panel Doors. Frame-and-panel doors are manufactured with a frame around a central panel, which may be squared, arched or rounded at its upper edge. The central panel may be either recessed or raised. A recessed door has the central panel inset into the door. A raised panel offers an elevated central panel.

Frame-Only Doors. These have a rabbeted edge, which secures a glass pane. The pane may be a single light or subdivided with muntins, creating a pattern of separate lights. A muntin is a supporting strip between adjacent panes of glass.

 

Different Types of Hinges

Butt- This common type of hinge suits an authentic, period look. They’re inexpensive, consisting of two metal leaves secured by loose or tight pins. Butt hinges may be either mortised or non-mortised. Mortise butt hinges are set in routed or chiseled door gains for concealment and designed for flush front cabinetry.  With an outer leaf attached to the frame and the inner leaf to the door back. Non-mortised butt hinges are designed for flush overlay cabinet fronts or reveal overlays fronts with face frames. Butt hinges don’t function properly with inset doors and require separate locks or catches.

Concealed- This also known as a Euro hinge. This hidden hinge contains screws onto the arm, which may be altered for lateral and front to back placement. These hinges are strong and fit a 35mm hole. They’re fully adjustable in three planes and self-closing. Concealed hinges offer a sleek look and go hand-in-hand with full overlay cabinetry.

Lipped- Designed for rabetted doors, these hinges suit any style with a visible hinge pin. They are easily mounted and inexpensive.

Surface- Surface hinges are inexpensive, mount easily and non-adjustable. They require a latch to keep doors shut. With surface mounted hinges, style is of the essence.

Wrap-Around- These hinges have an extra flange inside doors, helping support for heavier inset doors. They require door and cabinet mortises. This can be difficult to adjust and require latches.

Adjustable- With oblate mounting holes, these hinges permit door adjustment. As the hinge is mounted, it may be relocated before the screw is fastened.

*Other conventional hinge types include: formed, pivot, pin, invisible, continuous and glass door hinge.

 

Cabinet Styles

  • Contemporary Kitchen Cabinets

Contemporary design is sleek and minimalist by nature, giving your home a streamlined and clean look. To achieve this effect, contemporary kitchen cabinets generally have flat surfaces and minimal ornamentation.

  • Modern Kitchen Cabinets

Modern design can mean different things to different people, but in general, if your design style is less traditional and more contemporary, you may favor using modern kitchen cabinets in your remodel.

  • Rustic Kitchen Cabinets

Rustic kitchen designs embody the country lifestyle with large cabinets, warm colors and lots of wood with interesting character. If you hope to create a country kitchen, start by choosing rustic kitchen cabinets to anchor your look.

  • Shaker Kitchen Cabinets

Shaker kitchen cabinets are a popular trend in current kitchen renovations because of the classic and simple look they give to either a traditional or contemporary design.

  • Country Kitchen Cabinets

Country kitchen cabinets are meant to be warm, comfortable and inviting with a timeless, natural appearance. They fall into the traditional kitchen design category and use specific cabinetry to complete the signature country look.

  • Mission-style Kitchen Cabinets

Mission-style kitchen cabinets feature a distinctive look that began in the United States around the turn of the 20th century. While mission style started with furniture, it quickly became a popular design for cabinet makers as well.

  • French Country Design

French country design mimics the beauty and charm of rural France. French country kitchen cabinets use natural materials such as wood, as well as earth-toned color schemes for a comfortable environment that favors serious cooking.

  • Retro Kitchen Cabinets

Retro kitchen cabinets have become increasingly popular as more and more homeowners seek to add nostalgic design elements from past decades to their home.

  • Tuscan Kitchen Cabinets

Tuscan kitchen design comes from the fabled Italian countryside, known for its natural beauty and culinary tradition. Traditional Tuscan kitchen cabinets evoke warmth and elegance, with an emphasis on the joys of cooking and eating.

  • Craftsman-Style Kitchen Cabinets

Craftsman-style kitchen cabinets are often defined by simple straight lines, quality construction, and minimal ornamentation. They originated with the Arts and Crafts movement, which began at the end of the 19th century in England.

 

Conclusion

When choosing your cabinets, look at all your options and research your products to make sure they will be a perfect match for you and your kitchen. There is so much to choose from that it can be overwhelming so I hope this information helps you understand the best options out there.

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Choosing A Kitchen Sink

When choosing a kitchen sink, it’s important to do your research so you can make a good decision on what’s best for your lifestyle and your family’s needs. Kitchen sinks come in so many varieties of styles, materials, and colors now that choosing one can be overwhelming. Whether you want the standard timeless look or be a little unique with your style below are some ideas of what’s on the market so you can make a better choice when the time comes.

Kitchen Sink Styles

Farmhouse Sink- One of the most trendy styles today. The front of the sink is exposed and typically is a rectangle shape. They are very deep and heavy which you want to make sure your cabinetry and countertop can support it. Farmhouse sinks can come in a variety of different materials and it is one of the more difficult sinks to install so a professional would be important when installing it.

 

Drop-In Sink- If you’re looking for an easier installation sink then these are number one. These sinks are mounted above the counter and are more affordable. This style comes in many varieties also.

 

Undermount Sink-This is the most popular sink because of the varieties of colors and materials. This type of sink is installed under the counter and creates a cleaner look. It is also a lot easier to keep up with everyday maintenance when cleaning it.

 

Bar Sink-This kind of sink is an addition to a regular sink and is usually used for entertaining. Good for prep work or a quick rinse. Usually, they come in round or square shaped.

 

Sink Basins- The way your kitchen functions is how you should consider what type of basin to get for your kitchen. They usually come in one, two, or three basin varieties. More basins don’t mean more room to wash. A single basin is the most versatile and can come in variations like a small compact drop-in sink or a farmhouse sink. These are perfect for large pots and pans. The most common is the double basin sink, which also comes in a variety of depths for your needs. Triple sinks are not as common for residential homes but are useful if you need multiple purposes. After choosing your style of sink now you have to make a choice of what your sink is made out of and the color choice.

 

Stainless Steel- For a more affordable choice and to keep a timeless kitchen look go with the popular stainless steel. This is a little more care when it comes to cleaning but now they come in a variety of finishes like brushed or mirrored to match your kitchen.

Cast Iron- These type of sinks are durable and affordable. They are heavier and require more care as they can chip over time. They are also easy to maintain and show fewer watermarks than other sinks.

 

Acrylic- Because the material is a lot lighter, Acrylic offers more affordability and ease of installing. It is unfortunately not very durable and scratches easily over time. It is best to sand it as a maintenance routine to keep the smooth look.

Fireclay- This is one of the most durable sinks out there. It is popular in the farmhouse style sinks to create the vintage look and is one of the most expensive sinks on the market but the maintaining of it is minimal.

Here are some different types, styles, and colors of sinks:

 

 

What “Fixer-Upper” Can’t Teach You About Home Remodeling

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Fixer-Upper! The show that is the greatest difference between showbiz and what really happens when remodeling your home. Why do they make it look so easy? Why do they make it seem so cheap? The real question is why do we believe the fantasy behind it but not the reality of remodeling a fixer-upper? HGTV implies to the viewer that remodeling is easy and gives a sense of having relief to what is expected during remodeling. It also dampens our moods when we realize that it is nothing like the real world and more issues arise during the process than we even dreamed of. Problems also equal to more money needed in the budget. From permits to inspections, to even product back orders, there are always things causing delays and costing money in the remodeling process. The more prepared you are as a homeowner the smoother things tend to go because you expect it.

 

 

 

 

Remodeling Times Are Often Rushed

Whenever you watch a home renovation show usually they always have a ridiculous turnaround time on a project. If you’re not aware of this when you go to hire someone, you will have a preconceived thought that you are being taken advantage of. On HGTV when you see a large project get finished quickly, you don’t really see all the scrambling that goes on behind the scenes to do the job and get it done on time. It may look like you see 3-5 people working but in reality, there are 30 people working to get things done in a short amount of time and they work around the clock which your normal contractor would never do that. Sometimes even details of the project are left undone for filming and then later finished up.

 

 

Renovation Budgets Aren’t Realistic

A long list of must-haves and a very tight budget doesn’t usually go well together in reality. The budgets made for TV are specifically designed for TV. Networks often partner with advertisers and they usually give materials away because of the free publicity. The contractors may also discount their services because of the publicity, which can cause a lack of workmanship on the project. Homeowners should be prepared when they see an estimate from contractors because some things they don’t tell you on TV. For example, some evaluations need to be done through county laws like testing for lead paint or asbestos which is standard for older homes. Usually, jobs can go from 3-4 wks to 3-4 months depending on how big the job is.

 

Storylines Are Embellished For TV

The stories that just seem so good to be true are usually the case. Not true or embellished enough to make it more interesting. For example, during a fixer-upper episode, they ended up picking the house that was the owner’s grandparent’s house. Well, what they don’t tell you is she had already purchased the house from her parents. So the story doesn’t sound as intriguing as you viewed it on the air but it does intrigue you hearing the made-up version. So the old saying “don’t believe everything you hear,” definitely goes the same for don’t believe everything you see on Tv.

 

Flipping A Fixer-Upper Isn’t As Easy As It Seems

In today’s housing market every dollar counts and lately flipping houses have decreased about 2% compared to 2013. Determining on which investments will sell your home quicker is more important than investing too much into a property just to watch it sit on the market for months. Do your research of your neighborhood, keep an eye on what’s selling and stick to a budget that is affordable. Make sure the updates you do is beneficial for the new homeowner not what you want. Keep everything neutral and create staging to create a more pleasing atmosphere for the future homeowner. Remember it is about selling your home as quickly as possible for the price you want.

 

Buying A House Is Never As Easy As On TV

Many shows make home-buying seem so simple and painless. What may seem like a day on TV most home-buying experiences take a least a few weeks but mostly it can take months depending on circumstances like if you have to sell an existing home or if you want to live in a specific community, can take longer. One of the biggest hurdles is getting approved for a mortgage loan. There is a significant amount of paperwork involved. What you don’t see is someone struggling for 60 days to get approved for a loan, only to be turned down because the criteria changed. When they are on the show they have already gone through this portion of home-buying maybe even already bought the home in some cases. So beware on the look of HGTV because they are just there to entertain you not give you valuable information concerning what your home-buying experience will be like.

 

 

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Smart fridge….is it not to be or is it?

By the early 2000’s, the idea of connecting home appliances to the internet was becoming popular. In June LG was the first to launch the world’s first refrigerator. It was unsuccessful because consumers had seen it as unnecessary and expensive, at that time it was set at $20,000.

Now we fast forward to 2018 and the smart fridge is back on the market. This time it is cheaper and is more necessary with consumers using this technology on an everyday basis.

The new age of technology has taken over the market to make consumers lives easier but is it really making your life easier or is it taking more money out of your pocket. Let’s take a deeper look at the pros and cons of owning a smart fridge.

 

Pros

Refrigerators are becoming smarter every year, some even assisting you with grocery shopping and making sure you have the ingredients for your next recipe in the fridge. One of the most popular models on the market is the Samsung Family Hub and it does all that and more. It comes with a touchscreen just like a tablet and allows you to do pretty much everything even controlling the temperature/humidity settings. The display can showcase your calendar, type in notes/reminders, and display photos or music. Some models even let you order groceries from a local store.

 

Cons

The most important con to mention is the price. Starting around $5,500 these fresh new features definitely come with a hefty price tag. It doesn’t stop after you purchase one, the repairs are just as expensive and you know how things are made nowadays. Made to break within a couple of years, so you will go out and buy a new one. With Wifi capabilities that means your smart fridge can be hacked or become infected with a virus, so if you give it access to your email or social media, you can be at risk. The other issue is with the extra features after a year or two the brand discontinues any security updates as they develop newer versions and turn their focus to those. 

 

 Features of the Smart Fridge

  • 21.5-inch touchscreen.
  • Wifi connectivity.
  • Built-in camera- to view contents in the fridge.
  • Four-door cooling system.
  • FlexZone compartment- settings include Soft Freeze, Frozen, Cheese/veggies, Meat/fish and white wine.
  • Metal/Cooling technology- to ensure effective humidity monitoring allowing quick adjustment in-case the door is left open.
  • Water dispenser- with ice cube machine.
  • White Board- to allow users to scribble notes and doodles.
  • Recipe organizer-This app files recipes for your convenience.
  • Club des Chefs- which offers videos with cooking instructions.
  • StickiBoard- which imports calendars from Google and Outlook apps.
  • Tuneln- which allows streaming of internet radio and podcasts.
  • Pandora- the music streaming app.
  • TV mirroring- this gives the fridge display access to Samsung Smart TVs.
  • Photo Album.
  • Groceries/InstaCart by Mastercard- which gives you the option to order groceries and schedule a delivery to your home.
  • Timer-Timing app also monitors chilling of foods and marinating times not just what’s cooking.
  • Fridge Manager- this feature allows the user to view and change temperature and settings in the different compartments.

 

Conclusion

The problem seems to lie in the business model of smart devices. It’s exciting to see and experience the possibilities of smart devices but these companies are rushing in to exploit this new possibility without any clear and actual vision for what real value a smart device like a fridge would bring to a user. All of the leading smart fridge vendors are hardware manufacturers. They make their money by selling more hardware to customers. Which means they don’t care about old devices the following year. When I think of a smart device I want to see a new product that actually introduces new concepts in our lives, a product that identifies most existing problems. I don’t see an added value in a smart fridge as I do on a smartphone.

 

 

 

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How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances

 

Stainless steel appliances are popular for kitchens in millions of homes across the U.S. They look amazing when they are new, so shiny and futuristic looking. Stainless steel can be a pain to keep clean! Everyone has their ideas as to the best way to clean it. There are tons of companies that claim their product is the best to use for the job, but which ones REALLY work! Sometimes the simplest solution is the right one! And it’s not all about the cleaning, it’s about understanding the material you are working with.

Cleaning solutions for your stainless steel appliances

Let’s start with the material, like wood, stainless steel has a grain direction. So when cleaning, it’s important to figure out the direction of the grain and be sure to wipe with the grain and not against the grain. These striations can be very faint, so you might have to look close. It’s possible for one appliance to have more than one grain direction, so be sure to pay attention when cleaning different parts like doors, handles etc. Cleaning with the grain will prevent cleaning residue from collecting in the tiny little crevices, and gives a better shine. Many stainless steel products have a fingerprint-proof finish, or will slowly show less fingerprints over time as the stainless conditions itself.

 

 

Cleaning products don’t always mix well, so try to find a solution that works for you and stick with it. Mixing products can actually make the cleaning harder over time. Try to avoid products that contain chloride, as this can damage the protective finish. Some of the better products are chloride free glass cleaner (this is great for the polished surfaces and mirror like surfaces), and the commercially manufactured pastes made for stainless steel.

 

For natural and DIY cleaners you have a few options. White vinegar is great for cleaning. Use a spray bottle to apply the white vinegar to a microfiber cloth or directly onto surface, allow it to sit for a moment, then wipe in the direction of the grain. You can apply as many times as needed to get the desired results. Vinegar contains a mild acid, called acetic acid.  It cuts through the oil left behind by fingers, rather than smearing it around like a lot of other products.

 

Good ol’ hot water! Yes, just hot water and a microfiber cloth does great for keeping appliances clean and the microfiber cloth won’t leave streaks. If you have stuck-on food or stains on the surface you may need to scrub a little longer. If you don’t feel like hot water is enough to clean, then add a little concentrated dish liquid like Dawn to a soft sponge (DO NOT USE ANYTHING ABRASIVE) or a lint-free cloth and and wipe in the same direction of the grain. Wipe again with hot water and dry immediately to prevent any mineral spots (if using regular tap water).

 

Another option is Windex and a soft cloth or paper towel to remove fingerprints. Glass cleaner works great on stainless steel, and can be a quick and easy fix to those annoying fingerprints and smudges. When using the glass cleaner spray it on to the cloth and then wipe onto the appliance, by doing this you wont have to worry about any drips or the cleaner drying and streaking before you are able to wipe it down.

 

For really tough stains or to get your appliances to really shine, you can always use the commercial stainless steel cleaners. These should be used as a last resort or just on occasion. Non-toxic solutions are always a better option, but commercial cleaners can come in handy! Just like everything else, be sure to always wipe and clean with the grain to prevent any scratching and build up in the tiny crevices.  The two best commercial cleaners are the 3M Stainless Steel Cleaner, and the Bar Keepers Friend Soft Cleanser. Both are non-abrasive and a great option for cleaning and polishing your stainless steel.

 

How to Prepare for a Kitchen or Bathroom Remodel

Lady Thinking

So you want to remodel your home. How do you prepare for a kitchen or bathroom remodel. Where do you start? What are things to consider? What is your budget? There are many things that should be thought out and determined before going to a remodeling company. By figuring out some of these question beforehand, it will make the consulting process much easier.

 

First, what is your plan, are you going to remodel one room, or multiple rooms. For instance, if you want to remodel your kitchen, how will the remodel affect the adjoining rooms? Make sure your kitchen design will keep within the flow of the rest of the home. Don’t go super modern on a kitchen design if the rest of the home is stuck in the 80’s! Bathrooms are a little more lenient with the design/style since the only room they are attached to is one bedroom (in most cases), and most likely only the homeowner will see it.

Also, consider your lifestyle and what kind of materials you think would work best, for flooring do you prefer tile, wood, or vinyl. Keep in mind the very different feels of each type of material. If you live in a colder environment, keep in mind that tile will be cold to walk on unless you want to install a floor heater. For counter tops, depending on if it’s a kitchen or bathroom, what type of daily use will they get? Do some light research to see which type of counter tops you like best. Also think about color options for everything, do you want dark colors, light colors, bold colors, and how everything will fit and flow together.

Next, understand what it takes to do a remodel. Depending on the space it can take anywhere from 2 weeks for a small bathroom to upwards of 4-6 weeks or more to complete a full kitchen remodel. During this time you will have people in and out of your home all day for several days per week. If you don’t deal with chaos and noise well, consider taking a vacation while the remodel is being done, or plan to be out of the home during the times the workers are there. However, keep in mind questions may come up during the process, so be sure to be available for those whether it’s over the phone or in person.

Also, decide if you want to manage and schedule all the various tradespeople yourself, or hire a remodeling company that employs all those people and can handle everything in-house. Hiring a remodeling company is usually the best choice, as you won’t have to worry about all the ordering, scheduling, and keeping everyone on the same page and on track. A remodeling company will make all these things effortless, and keep communication seamless throughout the process with a project manager.

Home value

Another good thing to figure out is what is your home worth, then determine if the remodel will increase that value enough to make it worth it? If your home is only worth $100,000 and your remodel is going to cost $50,000, it may not be worth it, especially if you don’t plan on staying in your home long term. So really think about what you want out of your remodel and if it’s worth the money. General rule of thumb for return on investment (ROI) is plan on spending around 10%-15% of the homes value on a kitchen remodel and a little less for a bathroom. However, keep in mind there are many factors that go into calculating out your ROI, so it’s not an exact science! So if you have a $100,000 home, you will want to spending right around $10,000 to $15,000 on a kitchen remodel (on average), and $5,000 to $10,000 on a bathroom remodel. Various factors come into play depending on kitchen or bathroom size, and what your remodel will entail, so costs involved can vary quite a bit!

A remodel can be a fun and exciting adventure, and this is your chance to let your personality shine through. Think outside the box, and get inspiration and design ideas from Pinterest, and browse pictures on remodeling websites, and company portfolios. Be sure you know what you want when it comes to the more “permanent” items such as flooring, shower tile etc. But have fun and take risks with things like paint, cabinet handles and those things that could always be easily fixed/replaced if you decide to later down the road. Don’t choose a style or design based on a current trend, trends come and go and you don’t want to be stuck with something you won’t be happy with for years to come.

Budget

Be sure to have a budget in mind that is reasonable for the work you want done. You will not be able to have a full remodel done on a master bathroom for $5,000. Be reasonable with your budget, but don’t overpay as well. You will pay for quality, so keep this in mind. If you think you found a great deal on a full bathroom remodel, be sure you check your sources, most likely you will “pay for what you get”, and when doing a remodel you don’t want to skimp on quality materials and craftsmanship! Remember this is permanent. Once you have a general budget in set, keep in mind you have have to make changes and forego some design aspects to stay in budget.

A good, reputable, remodeling company will help you work through your ideas and help you stay close to where you want to be, if it’s within reason. Also write down questions to ask during your consultation so you don’t forget! Find out if the company offers a warranty on their materials and work. Do they use any type of sealers or protectants on their products. If you hire their company, when will the work start on your remodel? Labor is usually around the same amount as the cost of materials, so be sure you calculate that when doing your budget. If you want flooring that is $1.50 per sq ft, most likely the labor costs to install will be about the same, so essentially you will be paying $3.00 per sq ft for materials and labor.

 

Once you have thought through all these steps, you are ready to find your remodeling contractor! Preparing will help during the consultation, and make it easier for you and the contractor to iron out details and ideas that suit your needs. There is always room for change so be sure you are open minded and listen to what your contractor and designer suggest. It’s also important that you choose the right design team, find someone that really listens to you and tries to understand who you are, your concept, and help you work through your ideas. You don’t want someone who tries to steer your in a different direction that you aren’t comfortable with! In the end, you will find the right match for you and get the kitchen or bathroom of your dreams!

Before and After Transformations

 

Before and After Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen Sink Buying Guide

Kitchen sinks consist of one or multiple bowls with a faucet, drain with a strainer and convenient accessories like sprayers and soap dispensers. Besides serving as a heavily used fixture for washing hands, preparing meals and cleaning up afterwards, kitchen sinks are a prominent focal point in your kitchen. From gleaming stainless steel to colorful sinks made of durable composite materials, kitchen sinks now come in more shapes, sizes, depths and materials than ever before. This buying guide explains the materials, configuration and mounting options available, so you can feel confident you’re selecting the sink that provides the perfect balance of form and function in your kitchen.

 

Factors to Consider

Consider these important factors when selecting your sink:

 

  • Material – Stainless steel, cast iron, composite granite, solid surface, cast acrylic, fireclay and copper.
  • Configuration – Shape, size, number of bowls, bowl orientation and number of holes (tappings).
  • Mounting – Drop-In, Undermount, Solid Surface and Tile-In.

 

Material

Choosing the material for your sink is a decision that is both practical and aesthetic. As a prominent fixture in your kitchen, you’ll want a sink that complements your décor and fixtures. At the same time, your sink will experience a lot of heavy usage so you’ll want one with a sturdy surface that maintains its appearance over a long period of time. Below are descriptions of some of the most popular kitchen sink materials to consider.

 

Stainless Steel
Stainless Steel offers an excellent balance of cost, usability, durability and ease of cleaning. Higher quality stainless steel sinks are made of 18 to 16 gauge or thicker steel to help prevent dents and scratches and reduce noise. Look for vibration-damping foam insulation on the underside of the bowls to deaden water drumming. Brushed satin finishes tend to hide water spots and scratches.

 

Cast Iron

Cast Iron sinks with enamel coatings have a layer of porcelain enamel that provides a hard, durable surface with a smooth, glossy finish that tends to hide water spots and streaks. Cast iron sinks retain heat well, making washing dishes easier. While the surface is very hard, if hit hard enough the surface can chip and expose the underlying black surface of the iron. Cast iron sinks are heavy and require a sturdy counter.
Composite GraniteComposite Granite sinks are made of a mixture of materials that provide a sturdy, low maintenance surface. Available in a range of composites, color and prices, they withstand hot cookware, although some materials are more durable than others. Composite sinks with high granite content are especially durable.

 

Solid Surface
Solid Surface sinks are reinforced with a high strength composite backing and have no ridges to collect grime. Their non-porous surface offers a sleek appearance, and because the color goes all the way through the material, these rimless and seamless sinks can be buffed to easily remove scratches. Seamless installation of solid surface sinks with countertops requires special fabrication and installation.

Cast AcrylicCast Acrylic sinks are made of plastic molded into the shape of the sink and reinforced with fiberglass. They are an inexpensive solution compared to other sink materials, providing a surface that’s resistant to stains and easy to clean and maintain. Scratches can be sanded and polished out.

 

Fireclay
Fireclay sinks are fired at an extremely high temperature to produce an exceptionally durable, hard and glossy, non-porous surface that won’t rust, fade or discolor. Resistant to chips, stains and scratches and available in an array of colors and sizes, these low maintenance sinks are highly resistant to bacteria associated with food preparation.

CopperCopper offers a unique blend of beauty and functionality. Copper is a highly durable metal which does not rust or tarnish and requires little maintenance. It’s an extraordinary match for natural surfaces, like wood and stone with a surface that takes on an attractive aged patina over time. Copper sinks are handcrafted and each is unique. Copper sinks also make living environments safer with strong anti-microbial properties that kill bacteria and viruses, including E. coli.

 

Configuration

Configuration options to consider for your sink include size; the number of bowls, how they are oriented, and the depth and the number of holes your sink requires for your fixtures and accessories.SizeThe interior width of the sink’s cabinet determines the maximum dimensions for your sink. Most base cabinets are 36”–42” high and 25-1/4”-26” wide. A typical 33” by 22” sink will fill a 36” base cabinet.
If you use your sink primarily for washing hands, light rinsing and garbage disposal, you may need a large sink. If you cook frequently and use the sink for cleaning vegetables or washing dishes by hand, you may need a wider sink deep enough to accommodate odd sized pots and pans.

If you are replacing a sink, select a sink that fits the existing sink cutout. If the cabinet allows, you may be able to install a larger sink by expanding the cutout.
If you are creating a new kitchen, the only limitations are the location and size of the cabinet in which the sink will be installed.
Number of Bowls

Deciding how many bowls you need is best determined by the size of your kitchen and your typical activities in it. Double-bowls of equal size can be an ideal solution if there are often multiple cooks in the kitchen. If one cook focuses on prep work, a 1-1/2 or 1-3/4 bowl design may be the best solution. For smaller kitchens, a large single bowl sink can fulfill most functions. While the most common sinks are double bowls of equal size, double and triple bowls offer their own unique advantages.

 

Single Bowl

Single Bowl sinks offer plenty of space for large-diameter dishes and oversized pots. Single-bowl designs take up less space than other bowls. They can be as wide as 33”.

 

Double Bowl

Double Bowl sinks provide room for separate tasks such as washing and rinsing dishes, food preparation and clean up. They can be as wide as 48”.

 

Triple Bowl

Triple Bowl sinks feature a small third bowl for use as a prep sink. They can be as wide as 60”.

 

 

Bowl Orientation

The most efficient sink configuration is often determined by the relationship between the sink, dishwasher and disposer.

The ideal dishwasher location depends on whether you’re right-handed or left-handed. The key is to be able to hold dirty dishes with one hand while rinsing with the other then placing them easily in the dishwasher.
For double sinks, having the garbage disposer installed on the same side as the dishwasher increases efficiency.
When the sink consists of a larger and smaller bowl, locating the disposer in the smaller sink with the smaller sink located on the same side as the dishwasher provides the greatest convenience.

 

Bowl Depth

How you use your sink determines the bowl depth that meets your requirements for function and comfort.

Average bowl depth is 8 to 10 inches.
If you cook with large pots and pans, 10-inch depth allows for easier soaking and scrubbing and reduces water splash.
Your height should be a consideration as well. Having your sink at the right depth helps you avoid fatigue and backaches. Rules of thumb for bowl depth and comfort when the countertop is 36” high are:

 

Holes

Sinks typically have between one and five holes, or tappings, on the deck behind the bowls for accessories like faucets, soap dispensers, spray hoses, hot filtered water and more.

The sink you choose should be able to accommodate the number and configuration of items you want.
The standard configuration for most sinks is four holes but you can purchase a sink with five or six holes, depending on the manufacturer.
If the sink you want has more holes than are needed, decorative covers are available to conceal them.
Refer to the examples below for how the holes can be configured for your sink fixtures and accessories.

Sink Hole Configurations

 

Mounting

How your countertop is constructed and the material your sink is made of play a large role in how your sink is installed.

 

Drop-In – Drop-in sinks, also known as topmount sinks, drop into a pre-cut hole in the countertop with the edge of the sink resting on the counter. This is typically the installation method for stainless steel sinks and can be used with virtually any countertop material. Drop-in sinks that use the same size cutout can be replaced without disturbing the countertop or relocating plumbing. They may be self-rimming or rimmed.
Self-rimming sinks are easy to install and work with almost any countertop. Heavy sinks, like those of cast iron are held in place by their weight while lighter sinks are fastened with clips and screws.
Rimmed sinks install in a similar manner but are more recessed into the countertop and the joint is covered by a metal rim.
Undermount – These sinks install under the counter and are ideal for use with solid surface and granite. They have a sophisticated look and, because they have no rim between the countertop and sink, clean up is easy—just brush crumbs and spills into the sink. Undermounting is not recommended for laminate countertops because the edge above the sink is exposed.
Integral– Integral sinks are built into the counter and constructed of the same material. They are flush-mounted, meaning the surface is even with the countertop. Integral sinks are very easy to clean and a popular solution when the entire countertop is being renovated.
Tile-In – Tile-in sinks have flat edges and square corners so they can mount evenly with a tiled surface with no visible separation between sink and countertop. This seamless installation makes countertop cleaning easy—brush any dirt or crumbs into the sink.

 

Specialty Sinks

Secondary Sinks provide added convenience in large kitchens or kitchens where there is more than one cook. Round bowls are ideal for prep sinks on a cooking island or as a high-capacity secondary sink for entertaining.

 

Bar sinks add convenience for basement remodels or rooms away from the kitchen used for entertaining.

 

Apron sinks, also known as farmhouse sinks, feature a wide base and deep basin for easier cleaning of large pots and pans. Mostly found in country-style kitchens, these sinks feature an exposed front that drops down in front of the sink instead of stopping at the edge of the counter.

 

Corner sinks are a popular solution for a U- or L-shaped counter. Placing the sink in the corner increases efficiency by having the sink be equidistant from work areas.

 

Features to Consider

Drain Position
Sinks with rear or offset drain positions feature pipes at the back of the unit, creating more cabinet space underneath for your trash can, cleaning supplies or other items you need to store.

 

Plumbing Depth
The depth of the sink bowls can affect available space for installation of accessories like a garbage disposer. When space beneath the cabinet is an issue for the disposer and plumbing, special needs can be accommodated by having a bowl with a shallow depth on one side.

 

Accessories
If you find yourself short of counter space, look for sinks with custom-fitted cutting boards. Some units are also specially designed to accommodate colanders and drain baskets, making it easier to drain food without tipping the container and spilling contents into the sink.

 

The original article can be found on the Home Depot site. http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/catalog/servlet/ContentView?pn=Kitchen_Sinks&storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053