Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Contractors More Available

Here's an interesting article from the WSJ about remodeling contractors being more approachable lately. Particularly note the sentence about builders moving to remodeling.
These are NOT your best remodelers!
They are accustomed to being in CONTROL and not with dealing with homeowners who are living on THEIR jobsite.

"Finally, the Contractor Will Take Your Calls"
Wall Street Journal (10/12/06) P. D1;
Munoz, Sara Schaefer

The slowdown in housing construction will benefit homeowners interested in remodeling, as contractors now have plenty of time to take on new projects.
"Rather than saying 'call me next spring,' they'll be more likely to say 'I'll be over this week to talk about the project," says Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies senior research fellow Kermit Baker.

The drop in new-home building also has sparked declines in the prices of such materials as framing lumber, gypsum, and plastics, shaving anywhere from 5 percent to 10 percent off renovation costs, according to economists.
In an effort to generate business, custom and speculative builders increasingly are doing remodels, with experts underscoring the importance of hiring a contractor with actual remodeling experience.

In addition, experts are urging homeowners to put off renovations if they plan on moving in the near future, as they will not be able to recoup as much of their investment as they would have during the housing boom.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Farmhouse Sinks

Give us your thoughts on a farmhouse style undermount sink with apron 30" x 18 ½", 12" depth.

Thank you,

You may be surprised at how deep (13-1/2"D) that sink will be when it is undermounted.
In a standard 36" high counter installation the bottom of the sink will be 22-1/2" from the floor.

Stack up some books to make 22-1/2" high and see whether that will be a comfortable height for washing a pot or preparing vegetables, etc.
Run through the motion of scrubbing a pot.

Your garbage disposal will also hang pretty low in the cabinet below.

I suggest a shallower sink. A sink mounted under the counter should be 8-10" deep. Integral solid surface sinks ( like Corian) can be a bit deeper because they are mounted under a 1/2" or 3/4" thick countertop.

There is also something else about a farmhouse sink of which people are unaware until they use one:
The apron of the sink is at 34-1/2" from the floor rather than the usual 36" height we are used to leaning against as we work at the sink. This is because a farmhouse sink MUST be mounted under the countertop material to be leak proof at the edges.

It takes some getting used to. People with bad backs complain about the difference. And if you are bent over at your sink all the time you could develop a bad back even if you don't have one now.

Even though you might often see a romantic photo of a farmhouse sink in a magazine, mounted flush with the countertop; there is no way to waterproof such an installation (unless it's a seamed-in Corian sink and counter).
It WON'T last. Water will seep down the sides of the sink and ruin the cabinets and flooring and beyond.

So, before you fall in love with and invest in a farmhouse sink, try it on for size by finding one in a kitchen and bath or plumbing showroom. Then you won't curse yourself when you are tired and cleaning up after that long dinner party.