When Pipes Burst: Repairing the Damage

August 16th, 2008 § 6 Comments

Water, a great refresher when thirsty, not so great when it comes from a busted pipe inside your home.

I experienced this in my own rental home several years ago. After midnight I awoke from a deep sleep to the sound of a loud clap and the rushing sound of water. In a haze of sleep, one is not sure if this caused by gunfire, earthquake, or a pissed off rattler snake about to strike back. Running though my hall looking for the rushing noise, I plunged into the spongy soaking wet carpet in front of the bathroom door. I threw open the bathroom door, hit the lights and saw the vanity doors flung open and water shooting straight at my legs from a busted supply line under the sink.

I grabbed for the angle stops to turn them off to stop the flood of water. They were PAINTED over years ago and so stiff they would not turn off. The water flowing at over a gallon a minute, I cursed the landlord for not replacing them, and darted outside to turn the water off at the main in front of my house. Reaching through the dark and thick shrubs, feet planted in the mud and hoping I don’t tough a spider or slugs, I forced the water line OFF to stop the flood inside my house. Inside I had an inch of water on the bathroom floor and extended 4 feet into the hallway. I grabbed every single towel and soaked up the mess as quick as possible. The last thing you want to happen in case of a flood, is let water sit for a long time. Afterwards I photographed the damage and called in the landlord for repair.

Inconvenient as it was to happen in the middle of the night, I was happy that I was home to catch the damage immediately. It could have been a total disaster if I was away at work all day or on vacation. Water wears away mountains!

  1. The first step after water damage is clean up. Photograph the damage and get the water out as quick as possible. Be sure to take photographs of everything you can. Watermarks on walls, toe boards, carpet, the source of the water damage. Start drying out the area. Lift back carpets, move furniture and appliances out of the way. The drying out time is crucial.Scrub and disinfect while drying out. You do not want mold to take hold in damp areas.
  2. Inform your insurance company. Report the damage as soon as possible. However, if you think that you won the insurance lottery and are planning your dream kitchen with the money the insurance company will pay out, think again. Older kitchens, 15 year old and older, expect your policy to adjust downwards for wear and tear. The replacement cost will not cover the current market cost of a kitchen remodel. Insurance companies will be more inclined to pay for the repair of cabinets rather than replacing a kitchen in total if the water damage is limited to a portion of the cabinetry.
  3. The process of the repair/ replacement work. Typically an insurance company will send in a contractor that specializes in water damage to assess and quote the repair job. In the case of a water leak caused from corroded pipes, undetected within the walls for months, the probability of mold growth within the walls is high. Testing for mold is the next step. Drywall is cutaway and samples are sent back to the lab for testing. The damaged area is sealed with plastic to prevent possible mold spores from spreading.
    • Option 1: The homeowner may agree to the repair of the existing cabinets and get on with the work as quick as possible with the insurance company paying for the repair of the damage. This may or may not involve all the cabinets depending on the extent of the damage. In my experience most insurance claims involve only a portion of the kitchen, primarily at the kitchen sink or at an ice maker line behind the refrigerator. A repair involves the dismantling of the damaged cabinets and sending off to a cabinet shop to be rebuilt. The insurance company may have the rest of your cabinets refinished to match but I have yet to see a claim that covered the cost of an entire kitchen remodel. In the water damaged areas, drywall will be pulled of the walls, plastic barriers will be raised in the damaged rooms and the mold remediation specialists will be called in to test and remove the mold. Blowers/dryers and dehumidifiers will be brought in to dry out the room completely. This is encapsulated within the damaged area with plastic temporary walls.
    • Option 2: The homeowner may opt to replace the entire kitchen at owners expense. The insurance reimbursement will cover the water damage areas covered under the terms of the claim and beyond this, the homeowner will be responsible for covering the rest.
  4. Preventive maintenance tips:
    • Check connections.
      • Angle stops located inside sink bases in the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry room should be replaced if rusted or painted shut. Check the hoses for wear and tear. Braided hoses are excellent replacement options.
      • Ice maker lines: make sure galvanized connections are not hooked into copper lines. Corroded lines result causing pin prick leaks that can go on for years in the walls before detection.
      • Telling signs of a greater problem: rusted water coming out of the ice maker. If you have corroded pipes, you also have a leak.
      • Check the water filter connection lines inside your sink base. The small 1/4″ plastic hoses that connect to your water filter can pop loose from the connection and water will leak continually out into your sink base, floors and adjacent cabinets until you detect the leak.
      • Tile the sink base. A leak under the kitchen sink is the primary source of water damage in a kitchen. Tiling a sink base is a preventive measure to keep the cabinet floor from getting damaged.
      • Do you hear a drip? Don’t ignore the sound of water running.
###

When Pipes Burst: Repairing the Damage

August 16th, 2008 § 6 Comments

Water, a great refresher when thirsty, not so great when it comes from a busted pipe inside your home.

I experienced this in my own rental home several years ago. After midnight I awoke from a deep sleep to the sound of a loud clap and the rushing sound of water. In a haze of sleep, one is not sure if this caused by gunfire, earthquake, or a pissed off rattler snake about to strike back. Running though my hall looking for the rushing noise, I plunged into the spongy soaking wet carpet in front of the bathroom door. I threw open the bathroom door, hit the lights and saw the vanity doors flung open and water shooting straight at my legs from a busted supply line under the sink.

I grabbed for the angle stops to turn them off to stop the flood of water. They were PAINTED over years ago and so stiff they would not turn off. The water flowing at over a gallon a minute, I cursed the landlord for not replacing them, and darted outside to turn the water off at the main in front of my house. Reaching through the dark and thick shrubs, feet planted in the mud and hoping I don’t tough a spider or slugs, I forced the water line OFF to stop the flood inside my house. Inside I had an inch of water on the bathroom floor and extended 4 feet into the hallway. I grabbed every single towel and soaked up the mess as quick as possible. The last thing you want to happen in case of a flood, is let water sit for a long time. Afterwards I photographed the damage and called in the landlord for repair.

Inconvenient as it was to happen in the middle of the night, I was happy that I was home to catch the damage immediately. It could have been a total disaster if I was away at work all day or on vacation. Water wears away mountains!

  1. The first step after water damage is clean up. Photograph the damage and get the water out as quick as possible. Be sure to take photographs of everything you can. Watermarks on walls, toe boards, carpet, the source of the water damage. Start drying out the area. Lift back carpets, move furniture and appliances out of the way. The drying out time is crucial.Scrub and disinfect while drying out. You do not want mold to take hold in damp areas.
  2. Inform your insurance company. Report the damage as soon as possible. However, if you think that you won the insurance lottery and are planning your dream kitchen with the money the insurance company will pay out, think again. Older kitchens, 15 year old and older, expect your policy to adjust downwards for wear and tear. The replacement cost will not cover the current market cost of a kitchen remodel. Insurance companies will be more inclined to pay for the repair of cabinets rather than replacing a kitchen in total if the water damage is limited to a portion of the cabinetry.
  3. The process of the repair/ replacement work. Typically an insurance company will send in a contractor that specializes in water damage to assess and quote the repair job. In the case of a water leak caused from corroded pipes, undetected within the walls for months, the probability of mold growth within the walls is high. Testing for mold is the next step. Drywall is cutaway and samples are sent back to the lab for testing. The damaged area is sealed with plastic to prevent possible mold spores from spreading.
    • Option 1: The homeowner may agree to the repair of the existing cabinets and get on with the work as quick as possible with the insurance company paying for the repair of the damage. This may or may not involve all the cabinets depending on the extent of the damage. In my experience most insurance claims involve only a portion of the kitchen, primarily at the kitchen sink or at an ice maker line behind the refrigerator. A repair involves the dismantling of the damaged cabinets and sending off to a cabinet shop to be rebuilt. The insurance company may have the rest of your cabinets refinished to match but I have yet to see a claim that covered the cost of an entire kitchen remodel. In the water damaged areas, drywall will be pulled of the walls, plastic barriers will be raised in the damaged rooms and the mold remediation specialists will be called in to test and remove the mold. Blowers/dryers and dehumidifiers will be brought in to dry out the room completely. This is encapsulated within the damaged area with plastic temporary walls.
    • Option 2: The homeowner may opt to replace the entire kitchen at owners expense. The insurance reimbursement will cover the water damage areas covered under the terms of the claim and beyond this, the homeowner will be responsible for covering the rest.
  4. Preventive maintenance tips:
    • Check connections.
      • Angle stops located inside sink bases in the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry room should be replaced if rusted or painted shut. Check the hoses for wear and tear. Braided hoses are excellent replacement options.
      • Ice maker lines: make sure galvanized connections are not hooked into copper lines. Corroded lines result causing pin prick leaks that can go on for years in the walls before detection.
      • Telling signs of a greater problem: rusted water coming out of the ice maker. If you have corroded pipes, you also have a leak.
      • Check the water filter connection lines inside your sink base. The small 1/4″ plastic hoses that connect to your water filter can pop loose from the connection and water will leak continually out into your sink base, floors and adjacent cabinets until you detect the leak.
      • Tile the sink base. A leak under the kitchen sink is the primary source of water damage in a kitchen. Tiling a sink base is a preventive measure to keep the cabinet floor from getting damaged.
      • Do you hear a drip? Don’t ignore the sound of water running.
###

Verify everything in writing

July 6th, 2008 § 8 Comments

At the scene of an auto accident,
the one thing for certain is that there will be numerous versions of what lead up to the accident.

At the scene of an accident, every witness and every party involved in the accident has their own version of what took place. What is perceived as each persons truth will never really agree with the next persons story. Explaining what happened varies: speed of travel, weather, amount of cars on the road, color and type of cars involved all are subject to interpretation. The accident happens so fast, that everyones recollection will be weighted based on what they were doing at the time of the accident.

Don’t let your remodel become a scene of an accident.

A home improvement project can become an accident without proper documentation. I got a call today from my sister complaining about a home improvement project that is nearly completed. There was mold and water damage in the kitchen. The insurance company had a specialist come in to handle the mold remediation and repair the cabinetry. One of the workers promised, “a verbal promise”, that he would install all new roll out trays in the pantry.

Listening to this story, my red flag alert went off.

Does a a verbal agreement between an employee of a company constitute a valid

contract change order? No. Anything discussed verbally, requires a written change order detailing additional time, materials and labor that will be added to the project cost.
Should a company honor a verbal agreement? It becomes a problem at this point. There is the interpretation argument of what was promised versus what was in the contract.

The issue is, that this employee’s promise of roll outs was never written into the contract originally and a change order adding the roll outs was never submitted for her to sign off after that discussion of roll outs. An employee of the company can promise an item all he wants, but the homeowner must ask for this in writing so that there is no “he said/she said” dispute.

Imagine you were to explain your story in court, you are before the judge and you explain, “Your Honor, he told me he would install new roll outs for me. How was I supposed to know this was not in my contract , I was under the impression it was included based on what the salesperson said.” It is a homeowners responsibility to know what they are signing for, what they are buying, and if not, they need to ask questions and have it explained if they are unclear about anything. Whenever your sales person starts explaining what they will do in a contract, have them take the time to show you where this is in your contract. Signing a contract, no matter how much paperwork you have to read, and no matter how tedious it is to read, you cannot ignore this step and plead ignorance later.

Get it in writing.

Now that it is time for the project to end, she is asking for the roll outs installed based on a verbal promise made by an employee of the company. The owner of the company is saying this wasn’t billed into the contract and he will not do it. So the employee who made the promise is now denying he said that, the owner is not willing to supply the roll outs, and my sister is going to demand they be installed because they were discussed and requested originally. The whole reason she went with this company was he was the least expensive and the sales man said he would install roll outs where others who bid the project did not include them in the cost. The problem is that roll outs are not written anywhere in the contract. She is insisting it is the companies obligation to make good on that employees promise. If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. Get all promises in writing.

So who is right and who is wrong?

There is a customer belief that they would receive roll out trays because of a verbal promise. The problem is there is no documentation of roll outs in the contract. You can’t go on the assumption that a verbal agreement will be honored. Most likely, they were never included in the original charges. If the owner was willing to make amends for his employee promising items he had no authority to do without charging for it, he could split the cost or reduce the cost of the roll outs and install them to keep the customer satisfied. My sister is right to be upset, the employee was wrong, but all this could have been avoided if she checked her contract and got the change order in writing. If it sounds like I am taking sides with the owner of the company, I really do not want to, but my sister should have made sure to get the sales person’s verbal agreement in writing that it was included, she would be in a better position to ensure that work gets done. Saying she trusted the sales person is not good enough.

Put your wish list in writing and compare it to your written quote.
Question anything that is vague.

I put a bid on a project where the client had a cap on what she wanted to spend on her kitchen remodel. (Who doesn’t? Every one has a budget). We crunched the numbers and came up with a plan that accomplished what she wanted in her project with a few exceptions. We could not honor the whole wish list without breaking her budget; but we provided a very nice complete project for the budget.

To keep the project on budget, the wish list items that didn’t make it into the project were relocating the water heater and going tankless; adding an exterior door into the kitchen plan; adding a desk; adding a glaze to the cabinets; changing the door style to a more expensive door; adding custom cabinetry; adding more cabinetry and molding in general.

What I discovered was that the client was not willing to compromise on excluding anything from her wish list. Incidentally, she was not willing to expand her budget to include the wish list work.


The wish list made it’s way back into the plan.


In the end, the client added her whole wish list back into the project.

This was all detailed by me in writing with a change order form detailing the costs and additions to the project.

Drawings were resubmitted for approval, and explanations of where the additional charges were added. This was all explained to the client in detail, and was approved by the client and signed off. Now that all of this was approved in the last meeting, the cabinet purchase order was painstakingly reviewed and submitted to the factory for order processing.

After all of this, the client had a change of heart, admits she does not understand why these changes were not included in the original estimate and cannot justify spending the extra money on her wish list items. One aspect of this is that she could be getting more estimates from others who will down play the construction costs, underbid items only to throw change orders at her later, throw doubt into her mind. Someone can always do it cheaper. One thing I know is that I never have to apologize for quality.

Adding more construction and adding more materials costs more. If anything was not included in the original quote, it can not be assumed to be included.

What I know for sure is that my original budget friendly design gave her a great design for the budget. It was a perfectly doable project. It just could not include the fancier details.

The reality is that getting everything on your wish list will cost more.
If you are willing to add more details, be prepared it will cost more.

Managing a client’s expectations is probably the most challenging aspect of my job. Normally, my time with a client during a design meeting and a contract signing is very thorough and can last on average for two hours to make sure both husband and wife are very clear on what they are buying.

In managing your own expectations, write it down exactly what it is you want in your project, convey that to your contractor or designer. Then write down a separate list on what items you are willing to compromise if it won’t work with your budget. There has to be some give and take in what can be accomplished for the money.

In an auto accident, there is no time to think of all the details leading up to the accident. In a construction project, you have the opportunity to review and make sure you are clear about all the details in the project. Don’t rush the details. Read your estimate, read your contract. Have details explained if you don’t understand them. Taking the time now, prevents the problem later of dealing with the disappointment of what you thought was included, when it wasn’t.

Dish towels and sponges

February 3rd, 2008 § 1 Comment

One day apart a reader and a client asked where is the best place to keep the dishtowel and dish sponge. Alrighty then, here is my opportunity to sound off about the topic.

Dish towels and sponges must be absolutely clean each time one is used. Because the average sponge can host 7 billion bacteria, (namely E. coli or Staphylococus aureus), you could be doing more harm than good during a counter wipe down.

Follow the advice of cleaning experts and keep your sponges as sanitary and effective as possible.

Get in the habit of disinfecting your cellulose sponge or dish cloth. An article from RealSimple.com, “How to Keep Sponges Germ-Free: Sponge basics and tips for microbe-management”.
gives advice on this subject. “A damp, dirty sponge encourages bacteria growth. But it’s not enough to squeeze out the dishwater, says Richard Sparacio, cofounder of MaidPro, a nationwide housecleaning service. Once the soapy water has been released, rinse the sponge under hot water. Then press out the water (wringing will damage the fibers) and place the sponge on a rack, not under the sink. Allow it to dry fully before the next use.

A great tip, simply zap the sponge in the microwave for two minutes on high or run it through the dishwasher. Kim and Aggie, from the British TV series, “How Clean Is Your House?” recommended using a clean dish cloth soaked in hot, soapy water with a dash of bleach to keep them clean and bacteria free.

Where do I store my Dish Sponge?
The best thing for sponges, available in plastic or chrome with suction cups allows the sponge to have a home right in the sink bowl. Tuck it away from view by attaching it at the front of the bowl (nearest you). The sponge can drip dry in the sink and no one will be the wiser that it’s there. The sponge should have a chance to dry between use to keep it clean and bacteria free. I toss my sponge at least once a week even though the recommendation is at least once a month. I detest sink tilt out trays because it is a dark dank place for microbes to incubate on your sponge. Don’t neglect the suction cups. Keep them clean by scrubbing them with hot water and dish washing liquid, or pop it in the dishwasher once a week.

At Bed Bath and Beyond, my favorite is a little $6.99 item with suction cups. Here is the link: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/stylePage.asp?order_num=-1&RN=980

Since we are talking about sink organization, my favorite is from William Sonoma. I like their containers in these chrome containers. Very attractive. Although they need to make one for the dish washing liquid which sadly doesn’t fit in this grouping.

This is very handy for scrubbers for a mere $12.00 but look how ironic? the picture shows the wet soapy sponge is homeless. Stick the suction cup sponge holder in the sink and you are all set! http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/sku8907651/index.cfm?pkey=chkgkit&ckey=hkgkit

At the container store: I found something interesting. http://www.containerstore.com/browse/Product.jhtml?CATID=74098&PRODID=10019114
If you use both a dish cloth and a scrubbie sponge this is great for letting them dry out between use.

I had this one and chucked it afterwards. It gets goopy inside. Good looks at first, but not really. It says it is rustproof. Not! http://www.containerstore.com/browse/Product.jhtml?CATID=74098&PRODID=72292


This combo is not practical. Unless you are very, very careful about keeping this bone dry, water collects in the sponge cup creating a perfect opportunity for the sponge to collect millions of bacteria. I do not recommend this. http://www.containerstore.com/browse/Product.jhtml?CATID=74098&PRODID=72291

Where do I store my dishtowel?


I hang my working dishtowels on a tiered rack on the inside of my pantry door. They air dry and are out of site to keep my kitchen looking tidy. I use a clean dish towel everyday. One client even refuses to hang her towel. Tossing it in the laundry bag after every use she grabs for a fresh dish towel at every cooking session. And do not rehang a dirty towel, toss in the laundry bag and grab a fresh one. I recommend keeping freshly laundered dishtowels stay ready for work in a drawer near the sink. Use the tiered rack for keeping dishtowels and dish cloths out of site yet handy for work. This one is from Rev-A-Shelf # 563.


The worst place to keep a dishtowel is hanging off the range handle, the dishwasher handle or refrigerator handle. It is sloppy and unsightly. Buy a stack of dishcloths and dishtowels and change them often.

Before and after. Without the towels looks better.
This client keeps her sink tidy by keeping her tiered towel rack behind the sink door.
Cautionary note: do not hang wet dish rags near the door. The moisture and dark space is bad combination for bacteria growth and also moisture will ruin your cabinets. Lay your dish rag flat at the sink to air dry. Fold and hang dry towels in this space.

An alternate method for storing the dish towel, not wet dish cloths.
It is is more expensive and is planned with the design of the kitchen cabinet order.
The problem may be using 9″ or 12″ of valuable base cabinet real estate may make the “towel bar” cabinet impractical in a small kitchen.

An apron sink with the dish towel folded neatly over the sink is an alternate method.
Not recommended on sink bases with a standard wood or painted false front.
The moisture from the towel will ruin the stained or painted cabinet fronts.

This Rev-A-Shelf Base organizer with a stainless steel panel is a favorite of mine. These rubber coated hooks come in various configurations and are great for storage.
I would suggest the dish towel can be hung from a hook inside this stainless steel panel as well as extra paper towels, dish detergent, extra liquid soap, extra scrubbies.

Rev-A-Shelf makes this product in 3 sizes. 3″, 6″ and 12″. I love this!

Sinks: the simple truth on getting the best sink.

June 18th, 2007 § 7 Comments

The Bottom Line: No pretty pictures here: just chalk full of information you need to know before you buy a sink. See web site links for the photos and spec sheets.

  1. Before going shopping, observe your cooking habits. Measure your existing sink width; include outside dimensions and each bowls inside dimension including depth. How do you use your sink? Do you wash dishes in a double bowl sink? How many cooks? Two water stations are essential for two cooks or for that holiday dining. Do you have place to add a second small prep sink?
  2. Take measurements of what your new sink base cabinet will be. Subtract for the sides of the cabinet to determine what size sink will fit in your new cabinet. If you have any doubts consult your designer. Never order your kitchen cabinets until you are satisfied with the size of your new sink. You don’t want to be disappointed when your designer tells you can only buy a 33″ sink or smaller to fit your design when you were hoping for a bigger sink!
  3. Depth: bowls that have straight sides will net a bigger interior space. Look for Blanco Magnum Series, Blanco Steel Art Series.
  4. Shape: Round shapes net smaller interior space in comparison to its square counterparts. An example of this: Kohler‘s Brookside verses Kohler’s Clarity. If space is limited, Kohler’s Smart Divide is a great solution. Round shape or square shape, it’s all there!
  5. Built in stainless steel drain boards: I personally like this, because it gives a clean drip edge for water to drain into the sink. The draw back, hard water spots once the water dries and another area of stainless steel to wipe down to keep it looking new. See Kohler Prologue Elkay Gourmet series or Oliveri Euroform or Petite or New Petite.
  6. Waste Disposer Compartment: If you are ordering a single bowl sink, you will want to get the food waste disposer located in the far corner and not in the middle of the bowl. If you are ordering a triple bowl sink with the garbage disposal in the middle, much of the feed back from homeowners has been negative and no one has told me they want to replace them with a new one. The biggest complaint is that the extra bowl for the garbage disposal takes away from the size of the usable sink. Secondly, these dedicated bowls for the waste are higher up in the sink and food debris can be whirred right back up at you.
  7. Pick you faucet at the same time you pick your sink. How many holes are on the back ledge of the sink? Count out how many holes you will need to see if it will work with your sink. This is the biggest area of compromise for most people. What will be on your deck? A faucet, a side spray, a hot water dispenser, an air gap for the dishwasher, soap dispenser. Most cast iron sink are pre-drilled for four holes. Drilling holes in cast iron is not a viable option in some cases. Ceco Sinks carry many identical styles to Kohler, American Standard and Eljer, and the appeal is that they may be able to custom drill the holes at an additional fee. Adding holes in a stainless steel sink is much easier. In solid surface sinks, for example, Corian , the holes are drilled in the counter top deck so the number and placement is flexible.
  8. Composting: Do you want a chute in the deck? They are available. Check with the sink manufacturers. An alternate method I prefer that takes up less space is a separate composting bin kept on the counter or under the sink for immediate removal to the composting bin. Remember to remove daily to avoid the fruit fly party that will soon appear even if you forget.
  9. Sink Strainer. Do not order it in plastic. For best wear order a stainless steel strainer. I don’t care if it matches your white, oil rubbed bronze or satin nickel faucet. I am going to be insistent on this point. You will pay more for quality but you will wish you had when you see your powder coated strainer peeling away in a very short time, these cheap plastic powder coated strainers will “ugly out” before they wear out. Stainless steel!
  10. Get a faucet that is proportional to the width of the sink. Make sure when you specify a large sink and a side spray, that the spray reaches onto the far reaches of both bowls.
  11. To under mount or not: You may be fastidious but your spouse or kids not. An under mount sink will have the faucets mounted on the granite or solid surface. This means water will run off onto the counters easier. Especially if someone leaves a wet sponge on the counter. Get a $6.00 suction cup sponge holder mounted to the inside of the stainless sink to resolve this. Stay away from sponge tilt out trays. They rust, won’t close properly overtime, and wet sponges left in close proximity to wood is not a good idea.
  12. Single bowl under mounts side by side with a granite or solid surface rim. If you specify this make sure you recess the solid surface ledge between the two bowls at least 1/4″ inch. You will want to avoid water run off between the two bowls, across the counter and down the floor. “Water wears away mountains” and please do not make your cabinets the victim of water damage. Wipe down spills off your wood surfaces to protect the longevity of your cabinets.
  13. Tile in sinks: This is a great alternative to contain the water on your deck. The faucet gear is mounted on the cast iron or stainless surface. Most people are opting for under mount because of the look with granite counters. But don’t overlook the tile in if you think your family is going to run into problems described in item #11.
  14. Self rimming: pretty upon first site. Problems: several. Wiping down counters into the sink is harder because of the self rim. The rim has a visible caulking joint all around the sink. Tends to be a crumb collector area. Most plumbers will specify a white caulk unless you make sure to specify a matching caulk color. Cast iron rims can show chips more so than other types of sinks.
  15. Corner sinks: They can be the most awkward sinks if not placed close to the front edge. Place no more than 2-3 inches from the front edge of the counter top.
  16. Apron front sinks: Beautiful? Yes. Practical, I have my reservations. Water is my first concern. There is more chance for water roll off onto the face of cabinets, causing what else, but warranty issues on your cabinets. Peeling paint, cracked paint is a result of water damage. Protect your cabinets by wiping them down, be observant of water. Design options: Recess the cabinet doors. Install a ledge between the bottom of the sink and the cabinet doors to catch the water before it drops on your cabinet. Belt buckles can scratch the apron too, scratches on cast iron can be rubbed off but scratches on stainless steel are there forever. Deep apron sinks can give you a back ache. They are mounted 3/4″ or lower depending on the thickness of your counter top and cause the user to reach deeper. Working at the kitchen sink for extended times, you’ll feel the difference.
  17. Faucets: watch out for the following: a) handle rotation front to back. Watch out for clearance: Window ledges or a wall could interfere with the lever in the hot water position. B) handle attached to the side of the spout, could interfere with the next item in the deck. Check the hole spacing available on your sink. Extra thick countertops could pose problems for the plumber. The faucet shank length needs to accommodate the counter thickness. C) Bridge faucets or two handles faucets, watch out to make sure they are accessible for both bowls. With a side spray, you need to make sure it reaches into the far end of the opposite bowl. Swivel Goose neck faucets with a pull down handle are my favorite for ergonomics. The high arc spout makes moving large stock pots in and out of the sink easy. The pull out sprays is longer and the braided hoses are the most durable. Plastic hoses wear down quicker at the connector than do the braided hoses.
  18. New ideas: If you are short in space for a second sink and you and your spouse can benefit from two water sources, consider a large double bowl sink and install two faucets, one for each bowl. This can be handy when you need to drain your pasta water and your spouse is rinsing the lettuce.
  19. Accessories not to overlook: Stainless steel grids protect the sink surface. A good design has the hole built to match the disposal hole. Stainless steel grids last longer than the plastic coated wire grids which tend to rust out and ugly out quicker. The plastic ones are not as expensive to replace if you find your’s has uglied out. Soap dispensers are not high on my list, actually on the bottom of my list. It is the first think to go bad. Once the spring action pump gets gumped and goey, it breaks. By the way, to fill them you remove the spout. I heard of one homeowner who never refilled hers because she thought she needed to unscrew the bottle form the bottom from underneath the sink. Colanders and cutting boards that fit the sink are ingenious for easy prep work! Most of this information can be found in NKBA‘s Professionl Resource Library , Kitchen Planning Volume. Product references and comments are from years of discussions about sinks with my customers.

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