Posts Tagged 'John Allen'

Be Aware (And Beware) of Water in Your Kitchen

“Be Aware (and Beware) of Water in Your Kitchen”
by John Allen, Kitchen Views, Newton, MA

Water is an essential element to any kitchen. Cooking and cleaning are basically impossible without it. However, there are some considerations that need to be made regarding water when planning your kitchen.

Having a sink and faucet in close proximity to the stove is essential. You want to make sure that you are not constantly carrying a pot filled with a couple of gallons of water any farther than you have to. Some kitchens now have pot fillers at the stove and/or cooktop. This is a great help when filling a pot but there needs to be a sink somewhere near the stove to empty the pot once the pasta is done.

kitchen sink overflowing

Water infiltration also needs to be carefully considered in regards to your cabinets. While overflowing sinks and leaking pipes quickly come to mind, most of us will avoid these obvious disasters. However, there are more subtle way that cabinets can be damaged over time when exposed to water from other causes.

The most common ways that doors and drawer fronts are exposed to water are from cleaning and from runoff from the sink. If the front of the sink base gets wet when doing dishes, do your best to dry it immediately. It also helps to have enough countertop overhang that water dripping off the counter falls to the floor rather than onto the doors and drawer fronts. Cabinets need to be cleaned gently with a damp cloth. Be careful not to use a wet cloth. This will leave excess water on the cabinets which could, over time, compromise the finish.

A man scrubbing his shoulders though the shower door. Water drops are in focus.

Bathroom cabinetry has another enemy – steamy showers. We all love a hot shower, and we can continue to enjoy them. But the moisture naturally generated in bathrooms must be properly vented to avoid damage to cabinetry as well as walls and ceilings. Most new bathrooms are equipped with ceiling fans for this purpose. But homeowners must be diligent to be certain every member of their family remembers to use the ceiling fan. If you are a parent, you will know about this struggle.

The finishes that cabinet vendors apply, whether painted or stained and clear coated, are amazing. They can be applied smoother, cured faster with less waste and environmental impact than ever before. That said, they cannot protect a wood or MDF from water forever. Water will find its way to the wood and then the finish will begin to peel, chip and discolor. This is not a defect of the cabinet and is not covered under any cabinet manufacturer’s warranty.

Be mindful of your sources of water — how it is used, where it goes and how it is handled — and the experience of using your new kitchen will be even more satisfying.

John Allen, Showroom Manager
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
15 Needham Street, Newton, MA 02461
617-244-8020
Email: jallen@kitchenviews.com
Web: www.kitchenviews.com

Roll Out Trays: A Cautionary Tale

Base Cabinet with Roll Out Trays

Base Cabinet with Roll Out Trays

I have felt for a long time that the roll out tray is one of the best things to happen to a base cabinet. Recently, I have had some customers who have called or visited my showroom with cabinet doors that are cracked or broken along the hinge side of the door. After examining these doors, I noticed scuff marks on the backs of the doors. This helped me figure out what has created the issue.

Customers have been using their cabinet doors to push their roll out trays into their base cabinets. In doing so the doors experience a lot of pressure on the vertical joint, which is also called the rail-stile connection. The corner of the roll out tray creates a fulcrum and the leverage on that point stresses the door over  time and eventually leads to failure of the joint.

first-class-lever

First Class Lever

Cabinet doors were never designed to be part of the closing mechanism of a roll out tray. I strongly recommend that homeowners push their roll out trays all the way into their cabinets before closing the doors. If the roll out trays are equipped with soft close mechanisms and the two to three second wait as they finish retracting into the cabinet is too long, these mechanisms can usually be disabled. Investing a little extra effort and a few seconds of time will extend the life of the cabinet doors and save expense and lead time in getting cabinet doors replaced.

rail-stile-connection

Rail Stile Connection

John Allen, Showroom Manager
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
15 Needham Street, Newton, MA 02461
Phone: 617-244-8020
Email: jallen@kitchenviews.com
Web: www.kitchenviews.com

Kitchen Seating and Island Countertop Overhangs

Kitchen Island Seating

Kitchen seating areas, especially around islands, are becoming increasingly popular. Just be sure the countertop has proper support, as shown here.

Having an eating area as an integral part of the kitchen continues to gain in popularity. By adding a seating area, generally to an island or peninsula, homeowners create a relaxed and informal setting where family members can interact while they eat and prepare food.

There are a couple of items that need to be kept in mind regarding seating in the kitchen:

First, the standard table top is about six inches lower than a kitchen counter top height. Normal dining chairs will not work on a kitchen seating area unless the counter top drops down to table top height. Normally, people use stools designed for kitchen counter height (36”) or for bar height (42”).

Kitchen with peninsula island seating area

Great example of a kitchen seating area with a countertop overhang.

Second, island counter top overhangs need to be handled carefully. A countertop is held in place, for the most part, by gravity. The overhang for an island seating area needs to be properly supported. A 12” overhang will either need to have brackets supporting it, or have 24” of counter top that are resting securely on cabinets (this is called a cantilever). Without correct support, a counter top could be unstable and might even tip if someone were to sit on it.

Chatham, MA kitchen with countertop overhang for seating area

Another example of a kitchen seating area. Just don’t sit on the overhang!

Finally, the kitchen space itself should be considered. There not only needs to be enough room to accommodate the island or peninsula, but also the overhang and the seating. If people seated in the kitchen choke off one of the major routes of passage, then the kitchen has become more social, but is now less usable.

The kitchen has grown from a place of only food preparation to a social nexus. Adding seating to your kitchen can change the family dynamic in the room, provided the space can accommodate it.

John Allen, Showroom Manager
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
15 Needham Street, Newton, MA 02461
Phone: 617-244-8020
Email: jallen@kitchenviews.com
Web: www.kitchenviews.com

John Allen: Coping With An Uneven Ceiling When Crown Moulding and Cabinets

Ultracraft Tuscany - crown moulding below ceiling

Ultracraft Tuscany cabinets with crown moulding below ceiling

Most people may not realize this, but often the ceilings in their homes are not flat. They could be slightly sloped, have high and low spots or a combination of all of these.

This condition can be created as a house settles as it ages or the ceiling may have been made uneven to start with. Rolling or uneven ceilings go mostly unnoticed because light usually shines down in a room and does not highlight the flaws in a ceiling.

Uneven ceilings can create issues in kitchens when it comes to crown or other mouldings that finish out the tops of cabinets. Properly installed cabinets are flat and level. If the ceiling above the cabinets is not flat and level, crown moulding will touch the ceiling at one point and have significant gaps at others. Caulking the seam between the moulding and the ceiling is not advisable since the gap between the ceiling and molding will swell and shrink with the seasons and the caulk line will open up over time.

The two best solutions for dealing with this are having the crown moulding not extend all the way to the ceiling or using flat stock above the cabinets.

Stopping the moulding below the ceiling may not be as attractive as crown moulding that fills all the space above the cabinets, but it is an improvement over unsightly gaps.

Using flat stock as a moulding gives the installer the ability to scribe (cut away) portions of the moulding and bring it all the way to the ceiling. The flat face of the moulding still looks clean and attractive even if some of in needs to be cut down. Typical crown moulding has too much detail to trim part of it away without affecting the appearance.

Finding out if a ceiling has issues early in the design process can help address and solve problems before they become a major problem.

Working with the Kitchen Views Design Team provides you with a well-trained person trouble-shooting your particular situation and making the process go smoothly.

John Allen, Showroom Manager
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
15 Needham Street, Newton, MA 02461
617-244-8020
Email: jallen@kitchenviews.com
Web: www.kitchenviews.com

Get to Know Your Cabinet Sides

As our customers begin their kitchen design process they have numerous questions about what makes up cabinets. When it comes to the construction of the cabinet boxes themselves, the materials that I am asked about most frequently are plywood, furniture board (which is often called particle board), solid wood and MDF. Here are some brief descriptions of the strengths of these products:

Plywood, along with Furniture Board, is the most common of the materials used in the manufacture of a cabinet box. It is made by taking overlapping layers of wood veneers and glue and pressing them into sheets. The end product is comparatively light, very strong and long lasting. Plywood costs more than furniture board and can add to the price of a cabinet but it is still a very desirable product for cabinet construction.

Furniture Board is a modernized version of particle board. It is denser and made at higher pressure with better glues than its older cousin. Whereas particle board would have issues of swelling when exposed to moisture, the newer furniture board is stronger and more resistant to moisture. I was skeptical when I was initially told this by one of our sales reps. He stated that furniture board could survive direct contact with moisture without failing. I took a shelf from one of our displays and submerged it in my bathtub overnight. The next day the shelf was fine and once it dried out it went back into our display. Naturally, do not try this with your cabinets, but it does illustrate how far the material has come.

Some manufacturers will offer cabinet boxes that are made of solid wood. These are staves that have been glued up into panels and made into the sides, tops and bottoms of cabinets. This is not used as much because of the large amount of hardwood lumber it consumes and because of issues with cabinet stability. Solid hardwood still expands and contracts depending on the ambient humidity. A side panel on a base cabinet is 24 inches wide and can grow 3/8” to ½” in higher humidity and shrink the same amount in dry climes.

Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF), while an excellent material for wood and thermofoil laminate cabinet doors and center panels on painted doors, does not lend itself well to cabinet construction. It is considerably heavier than plywood, furniture board and hardwood. It also does not hold fasteners as well as the above materials. As a result, it is not offered as a material for cabinet boxes. Because they are both materials manufactured from wood residuals, MDF and Furniture Board are often confused with one another.

The vast majority of cabinets for the home are made from Furniture Board and Plywood. Each cabinet company manufactures their product with material that best meets their structural and budgetary specifications. Knowing the materials that make up cabinets will assist in making the best decisions for your design project.

John Allen, Showroom Manager
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
15 Needham St.
Newton, MA 02461
617-244-8020
Email: jallen@kitchenviews.com
Web: www.kitchenviews.com


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