Category Archives: Bathrooms

Range Hoods and Make-Up Air: The Case for Clean Air

In the kitchen and bathroom, it is widely known that proper ventilation is needed for the safety and health of your family and your home.  In the bathroom, vent fans, and in the kitchen, range hoods, are included in nearly all present-day remodels.  When bathrooms don’t have ventilation, steam builds up and not only does it make for annoying foggy mirrors, it can also lead to mold which can be both harmful and unsightly.  When kitchens don’t have proper ventilation, specifically a range hood above the stove, steam and grease blanket your kitchen and the moisture and oils can settle on the cabinets causing them to warp and/or wreck.  It has always seemed like an easy enough fix to just add a ventilation fan to suck the unwanted elements out of the home, but something you may never have thought of is: how is that air being replaced?  That is what we call make-up air, the air that replaces the “bad” air that has gotten sucked out by a fan or range hood.

In the old days, homeowners were instructed to “open a window” when cooking, which allowed for fresh air to come in and fill the void.  Also, homes were much less “air-tight”, or “energy-efficient”.  Picture older homes that have air passing under the doorways, sometimes enough room to slide a thin package under. Also the windows were drafty, and you could hear a slight whoosh if you got near.  In newer homes, doors have weather-stripping that seal out any airflow underneath, and windows are so tight you wonder how they were even able to fit them in the opening.  These things are great for saving money on your energy bill, but did you know a tightly-sealed home can actually be dangerous?

When a range-hood is employed while cooking, it sucks air at variable rates, depending on the size and model of your unit.  The rate that the air is sucked is measured in terms of CFM (cubic feet per minute).  Think about it, that is quite a lot of air!  Currently in Michigan, there is a code stating that if your range hood has a rating of 400 or more CFM, you must have a system in place to provide fresh make-up air.  Without it, the air will try to replace itself, and if no fresh air is available (no window open), it will sometimes draw in exhaust from furnaces and water heaters (backdrafting).

A make-up air damper is what is recommended.  This is a flap that lets fresh air in the home.  Imagine a duct that goes from your kitchen to any exterior wall of the home. When the range hood turns on, it sends a signal to the damper, which opens up and lets in fresh air.  When the range hood turns off, the damper flap closes.  This is a way to ensure that there is no negative air pressure created when you use your exhaust fans.

This is a relatively new code, and so it is very likely that you either have no exhaust system at all, or you do have a range hood but no make-up air system. If you fall into the former category, you may want to consider installing such a system in your kitchen.  This is what the National Kitchen and Bath Association has to say:

“The EPA has labeled the kitchen as the number one source of contaminants in the home and the majority of those contaminants relate to the cooking activity. And because cooking generates periodic large quantities of contaminants, it is more efficient to have a specialized ventilation device (range hood) capable of handling the localized need to prevent the infiltration into the rest of the home. Many older homes have wall fans rather than range hoods and while this does provide ventilation it does not adequately prevent the spread of cooking contaminants in the house. The reason is that the particles from cooking are hundreds of time smaller than the human hair…it is vapor. If these vapors are not captured within the cooking area they are very likely to stay air borne for up to 72 hours and spread throughout the home. A wall fan is not powerful enough to prevent this spread…it can help but it is not a good replacement for a hood.”  (Source: NKBA)

If you fall into the category of having a range hood but no make-up air system, you want to make sure that you have a window open while employing the fan.  In Bathrooms, make-up air is not as big of an issue, because no bathroom fans that I know of run at 400 CFM, but you still may want to open a window if possible when running your fan.

When you are ready to remodel your kitchen or add a ventilation system, give us a call at (586) 777-6633!

The A-Z Glossary of Home Remodeling Terms

Abatement
The encapsulation or removal of building materials containing pollutants (such as lead or asbestos) to prevent the release of or exposure to fibers.

Acclimation
The adjustment to changes in the climate or environment. Some materials may need time to acclimate before they are positioned in a kitchen or bath.

Accessories
Additional cabinetry items such as overlays, moldings, etc to enhance the appearance and quality of a project. Also includes towel bars, soap dishes, hardware, etc.

Apron
Trim attached below a tabletop or window sill

Backsplash
1)The portion of the exposed area between the bottom of the wall cabinets and the top of the countertop. 2) Also, an elevated section of counter material approximately 4″ high typically part of the countertop. Backsplashes are necessary to prevent water from seeping into the seam between the counter and drywall.

Banquette
A built-in table with chairs in an alcove.

Barn door
Hardware that allows the door to slide along a wall. Useful when a pocket door is too costly or not possible.

Base cabinets
Cabinetry used on the floor to provide countertop support and typically is 34 ½ inches tall and 24 inches deep.

Bearing wall
A wall designed and placed in a position to hold more of a load above it. Usually around the perimeter of a house and in strategic locations to support floor, ceiling, and roof beams.

Casing
An enclosed frame around a door or window opening. Also called trim.

CFM
Cubic feet per minute; used as a measure of the amount of air a fan can move

Chair rail
A trim piece that runs horizontally on a wall at the height of a chair back and is used to make the transition between a wainscot and upper wall. Originally used to prevent damage to a wall from the backs of chairs.

Crown Molding
Crown molding encapsulates a large family of moldings which are designed to gracefully flare out to a finished top edge. Crown molding is generally used for capping walls, pilasters, and cabinets, and is used extensively in the creation of interior and exterior cornice assemblies and door and window hoods.

In recent times, crown moldings have generally made their appearance as mostly decorated plaster or wooden trim where walls meet ceilings.

Clearance space
The space required for a safe and clear use of an appliance, cabinet doors and safe passage.

Color temperature
The color of the lamp itself as compared to the color of a black reference substance when heated to various temperatures Kelvin, and the effect the lamp color has on the color of an object being illuminated by it. Or an index of how the light source itself looks to us, measured in degrees Kelvin (K).

Compact fluorescent (CFL)
A type of fluorescent lamp with the fluorescent tube coiled into a compact shape in a size similar to an incandescent bulb.

Compartmentalized bathroom
A bathroom where individual activities, like toileting or showering, are separated by walls into individual compartments.

Concealed hinge
A hinge that is attached to the door and the inside end panel or stile of a cabinet, making it not visible from the exterior of the cabinet

Construction plan
A drawing that shows both the existing conditions of the structure and the changes to be made to achieve the design

Dormer
A structure built atop a roof to increase the usable space below or to contain windows. A window set vertically in a structure projecting through a sloping roof

Energy efficiency
Ratio of energy output of a conversion process or of a system to its energy input.

Farmhouse Sink
A deep sink that has a finished front. Set onto a countertop, the finished front of the sink remains exposed. This style of sink requires very little “reach-over” to access the sink.

Gable Vent
Vent openings mounted in the top of a gable of a house to allow the exchange of air in the attic.

Grab bars
Safety bars installed in bathtubs and showers to prevent falls. A device, usually installed on a wall, that provide support while rising from, sitting in, entering, or exiting a bathtub or shower.

HVAC
Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning.

I.L.T. (Integral Light Technology) Grilles
Grilles are permanently bonded to the inside and outside of your window glass. Nonglare foam spacer in between the grilles casts a realistic shadow like individual windowpanes would. Creates the most authentic look of true-divided-light windows.

Island
An area of cabinets and countertops which can be accessed and walked around from all sides. Considered free standing.

Laminate
Any thin material such as wood or plastic glued to the exterior of a cabinet, countertop or other surface.

Lazy Susan
A corner cabinet on which the shelves are mounted on a vertical axle such that items may be retrieved by pushing on the shelves to turn them may also be called a lazy Susan. This type is usually found in kitchens. Closed, this type of lazy Susan appears to be two normal cabinets at right angles to each other. When pushed on, the cabinet “doors” reveal the shelves, which are circular except for the ninety degree cutout where the doors are mounted.

Lead time
The time between when a product or item is purchased to the actual delivery date.

Linoleum
An all natural flooring material made of linseed oil, cork dust, wood flour, tree resins, ground limestone, and pigments; regarded as environmentally friendly flooring.

Low-E (Low Emissive)
Glass that reflect heat, not light, and therefore keeps spaces warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

Molding
An embellishment in strip form, made of wood or other structural material, that is used to decorate or finish a surface, such as the wall of a room or around a door or window

Muntin
A small vertical or horizontal strip that divides window panes from each other.

Oil-Rubbed Bronze
The Oil Rubbed Bronze finish is a chemically darkened surface designed to simulate aged bronze. This finish is very dark and varies from a deep chocolate brown to a dark gray and usually has copper undertones.

Particle Board
A panel product made from sawdust or wood particles, bonded with a resin under high heat and pressure.

Partition Wall
A wall that separates rooms, or divides a room. Partition walls are usually not load-bearing. Partition walls are constructed of many materials, including steel panels, bricks, blocks of clay, terra-cotta, concrete, or glass blocks.

Pedestal sink
A free-standing fixture with a wide top and narrow base that conceals the plumbing.

Pendant
A lighting fixture hung from the ceiling containing one or more lamps.

Peninsula
An area of cabinets or counter fastened on one side which can be accessed and walk up to on three sides.

Picture Rail
A horizontal trim piece installed high up on a wall as a means of hanging pictures without puncturing the wall with nails or brads.

Pocket door
A door that slides horizontally on a track and is typically moved inside a wall for storage.

Powder room
A small bathroom for guest near the public areas of the home. Consists of a sink and toilet.

R&R
Remove and Replace. A term describing simple remodeling project that involves removing and replacing cabinetry, fixtures and appliances without structural or mechanical changes.

Radiant Heating
An efficient heating system that warms cold objects, which then radiate heat into the surrounding space evenly.

R-Value
A measure of the thermal resistance of material, especially insulation.

Sconce
A light fixture that is fixed to a wall.

Scope
The sum of the products and services to be provided as a project.

Sheetrock™
A brand of drywall that is itself often used as a term for drywall.

Sight lines
The range or visual field in direct line with a person’s eyes, impacted by the position a person will be in when the space or product is being used. This is useful in planning heights of fixtures, fittings, lighting, windows, and more.

Sill
The portion of the door or window assembly at the bottom or floor, including the fixed and movable parts of the window or door and the fixed portion of the building into which the window or door mounts.

Site Plan (Mortgage Survey)
A drawing prepared to scale showing the placement of a proposed building(s), location of existing structures, and other lot development features — setback measurements, driveways, fencing, landscaping.

Soaking tub
Extra deep tub that allows the user to submerge to their neck.

Soffit
A lowered portion of a ceiling. The horizontal surface below the eave. A porch roof. The under surface of a lowered portion of the ceiling. A “bulkhead” in Canada. An enclosed area used to fill a space between the tops of the wall cabinets and the ceiling.

Solid Surfacing
A class of rigid surfacing materials made of acrylic and/or polyester resins mixed with alumina tryhydrate.

Studs
Framing members of the wall, usually 2x4s or 2x6s which the cabinets are fastened to.

Subcontractors
Contractors who will work specifically for another contractor or design firm

Sub-flooring
The flooring applied directly to the floor joist on top of which the finished floor rests.

Task lighting
Added lighting for specific tasks, like grooming, dressing, reading, etc. Lighting focused on an work area.

Toe kick
An indented space in cabinetry near the floor to accommodate the feet while standing next to a cabinetry.

Tongue and Groove
A method of fitting similar objects together, edge to edge, used mainly with wood, in flooring, parquetry, panelling, and similar constructions. Tongue and groove joints allow two flat pieces to be joined strongly together to make a single flat surface. Each piece has a slot (the groove) cut all along one edge, and a thin, deep ridge (the tongue) on the opposite edge. The tongue projects a little less than the depth of the groove. Two or more pieces thus fit together closely. The joint is not normally glued, as shrinkage would then pull the tongue off.

Traffic Patterns
The normal walkway or passage a person would go from one place to another.

Transom
A horizontal window set above a door or other windows.

Underlayment
A material placed over the subfloor plywood sheeting and under the finish covering to provide a smooth, even surface. A non-structural sheet material installed on a subfloor to provide a stable, level and smooth base for the floorcovering.

Updraft ventilation systems
A kitchen ventilation system that includes a hood over a cooking surface to capture the air borne by-products of cooking and a fan to pull air up; captured air is either exhausted to the outside or filtered and re-circulated into the room, depending on the system

Vanity
Bathroom cabinet with the sink on top.

Vapor Barrier
Any material used for damp proofing, typically a plastic or foil sheet, that resists diffusion of moisture through wall, ceiling and floor assemblies of buildings to prevent interstitial condensation.

Vessel sink
A sink bowl or basin that sits on top of the counter or ledge.

Wainscoting
An application of wood paneling up to the middle or lower half of a wall

Work Triangle
The distance between the three primary work centers (cooking surface, clean-up/prep primary sink, and refrigeration). Ideally between 12 and 26 feet in total length.

Source: Many of these definitions were obtained from the NKBA.

The Benefits of Visiting Our Showroom

The majority of our potential clients will initiate their contact with us by sending an email or calling us on the phone, and requesting a free in-home consultation. While we in no way discourage this, I would humbly suggest that the better route to take would be to first stop by our Showroom. We are open from 8:30 to 5:30 Monday through Friday, and from 10:00 to 3:00 on Saturday, which should accommodate almost any schedule.

The reason I see it most beneficial to visit our Showroom before making an in-home consultation appointment is, by visiting, you will have the opportunity to meet with multiple members of our staff, from design, to pricing, to production. Even potentially the installers who will be working on your job, the bookkeeper who can answer any questions related to financing, and the marketing team who will gift you with a promotional item or two! We might be having an employee’s birthday party and invite you in for a slice of ice cream cake. You will have an inside view into our company culture instead of one stranger appearing on your doorstep.

Sometimes a walk-in client will be greeted by one of our designers, begin a discussion about their project, and come to a technical question that that individual is not an expert on. We can easily grab the nearby expert, and answer your question for you right there. Have a question about how long your project will take to start? Ask our production department, who know their schedules better than anyone. You can even meet the owner and shake his hand. I think you are beginning to get my point.

Additionally, we have thousands of product samples here that will inspire you. You will have a much better direction of which samples you would like brought out to your home during the in-home consultation. You can even borrow some to take home with you!

I would sincerely suggest visiting us here, developing a rapport with a design consultant, and then making an appointment for him/her to meet with you at your home to proceed further. By visiting us you will have a much clearer picture of whether or not our company is a good fit for you. Call 596-777-6633 to make an appointment to come visit, or walk-ins are always welcome!

Our Favorite Bathroom Accessory: Showerfloss

This shower accessory takes flossing to the next level! I am sure you are familiar with the Waterpik, a dentist-recommended way to floss between your teeth, using a thin stream of water at high pressure. I don’t know about you, but this has always sounded like a disaster waiting to happen in my bathroom. Regular flossing never really managed to make the transition from “goal” to “habit” for me either. When our family discovered Showerfloss, however, our lives were changed!

We have installed the Showerfloss system in both bathrooms at my parents house, and at both mine and my sister’s houses. Our mouths look and feel cleaner, and we’ve even noticed a decline in the reprimanding from our Dentists. ????

We’d love to share this product with everyone. We just bought a case of them, and will be giving away a free Showerfloss with every Bathroom remodel until they are gone. How’s that for a fun surprise!

Have a bathroom that needs to be remodeled? Why not have us out for a free consultation. Call (596) 777-6633 to get the ball rolling today!

Why Can’t My Remodeling Project Be Done Sooner?

On 90% of our jobs, the customer makes changes to the scope during the install. This causes major problems with timing of manpower, scheduling of subcontractors, and ordering of materials. Every time an additional cabinet piece is needed, it adds 4 weeks to the job. Every time 1 or more pieces of tile are needed, it adds 3 – 30 days to the job. Granite and quartz tops take 10 days to make and install (after the cabinets are set).

If customers could make up their mind early, and make no changes, the jobs would go fast and efficiently. But that isn’t reality. And that’s okay! We want the finished project to be exactly right, so we don’t mind taking extra time to order the accent tile piece that came to you in your dream last night.

Additionally, there are inspections that cause delays. Almost all municipalities have gone to part time inspectors, so there will be gaps in the work while we wait for the inspections to take place. For example, we may call for an electrical inspection on Tuesday, but not get it until Friday or Monday, depending on the inspector’s backlog and or vacations / training / government holidays, etc. Unfortunately, virtually none of the municipalities are interested in making it easier for contractors to speed things up for the homeowners.

So, if you want things to go fast, then no changes and no permits – BAM… DONE.

Sink Options for Your Kitchen or Bathroom

Earlier this month, an article was published in the C&G Newspapers about everyone’s favourite basin, the sink! Several contractors were interviewed for the article, including our own Alan Seeley. Read the article here:

An undermount sink commonly is found in the kitchen and helps with food preparation, as everything may be wiped from the counter directly into the sink without getting caught in the sink lip. (Photo by Patricia O’Blenes)

METRO DETROIT — It may not be the sexiest topic when discussing a kitchen or bathroom remodel, but sinks have come a long way from function to fabulous.

Gone are the days when a divided sink was necessary. Multiple local experts agree that bigger is better when choosing a kitchen basin.

“It was primarily you would wash your dishes in one side and rinse them in the other,” said Alan Seeley, general manager of Kopke Remodeling & Design. “But because everybody has a dishwasher and garbage disposal underneath it now, they are getting away from the double bowl and going towards the bigger bowl now.”

Seeley said the biggest trend in the kitchen is a farmhouse-style sink…

Read the entire article on the C&G News Website