Archive for October, 2007

Choosing Cabinets Requires Self-Education

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

Recommendations work well when choosing a contractor, so do they work equally well when it comes to choosing a line of cabinets?

This from a leading consumer advocacy and testing website:

Readers who chose cabinets based solely on the advice of contractors, designers, or architects were twice as likely to report a problem as those more involved.

There's an important difference between choosing contractors and choosing cabinets. Cabinets are a known quantity that can be objectively measured against other cabinets, so there's definitely a place for testing agencies in this process.

One shortcoming of the testing agency, though, is that they aren't actually putting the cabinets on the wall. I can tell you from experience that some cabinet lines have faults that no testing agency is aware of.

So, if you wanted the opinion of someone who really knows about the cabinets, skip the designers and architects and ask a kitchen cabinet installer.

Wood Decay Conditions

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

If wood is not pressure treated against decay, then it must be ventilated to keep its moisture content low. Here's why:

The organisms that actually do the work of decay are ever-present in the air and on the surface of the wood. They generally can survive at temperatures between 45 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the moisture content of the wood rises above 20% (which could be determined with moisture meter), these organisms go into action. Pressure treating effectively makes the wood toxic/poisonous to these little creatures.

So, if the wood may be getting damp and staying damp, make sure it is pressure treated. Most people know that PT lumber is available because that's what decks are made of. Less well known is the fact that pressure treated plywood is also available.

Getting Beyond the Just-So Magazine Pictures

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

I found a refreshingly honest article at the Nova Scotian Chronicle Herald. One weird thing is that, although the entire article is written in the first person, no author is listed on the page. Anyway, good stuff:

I tend to find the [glossy home] photographs misleading in some ways. Like how clothes look on runway models. Yes, you might be able to purchase the outfit, but what will it look like on a normal-sized body?

You’ll never be able to achieve a successful space by copying these design photographs if your room is a square box, so you are already at a disadvantage before you even begin.

Don't you hate that? But if there was a magazine that showed real solutions for normal homes, would anybody buy it? (more…)

Why not Color-Coated Heads for Cabinet Screws?

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

I've been noticing these nice deck screws with color-coated heads.

You can choose from around a dozen colors that match up well with typical wood or synthetic deck boards.

It's a great idea, and the obvious question is… (more…)

Why “Built like a tank” Makes an Easy Remodel

Friday, October 19th, 2007

I was doing research on the American Foursquare style today and came across this quote in Residential Architect from the Nov-Dec, 2004 issue in an article by Meghan Drueding:

And because it [the American Foursquare] was typically constructed around the turn of the century, when skilled labor was cheap and materials such as plaster walls and wood windows were standard, the foursquare has held up beautifully. “The more solidly a house is built, the easier it is to remodel,” says Minneapolis architect Robert Gerloff, AIA. “It stays truer and is easier to rework.”

Precautions for Soffit Removal

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

The kitchen soffit is the “filled-in” section above the cabinets, going up to the ceiling. If you're planning to tear out a kitchen built between 1950 and 1980, there's a good chance you'll also be tearing out a soffit.

Brace yourself: this could get ugly.