Monday, February 8, 2010

1 Year Later

Still working on the Bathroom remodel, but I thought I would give you an update on the Kitchen and some little things that have "popped" up that some foresight might have helped with.

The Island Countertop: It's not a big deal, but the granite on the upper island countertop has separated and the epoxy filler used to close the gaps has opened up and left "cracks" that you can put a thin sheet of paper in. I saw one of my daughters doing this which brought it to my attention. I called the granite guys and they came back out and re-epoxied, free of charge, citing that expansion and contraction will sometimes cause this to happen. I am waiting to see if the fix stays or if I need to locate something that is more flexible for the island. If I had suspected there would be relative island movement (?) if that's what's causing the seperation, I could have "fused" the walls together with some metal strapping or something to help reduce this. I had never seen or heard of an issue like this. I also suspect it has something to do with the fact that my granite wasn't "attached" at the joint with anything but the epoxy. While that's industry practice, I think some sort of underneath support may have helped reduce this problem, also.

Counter Back Splash on Exterior Wall: I have one run of the counter that is on an exterior wall. At all my "transition" joints, I used a flexible caulk/grout that was sanded and matched the grout perfectly. I have used this product everywhere I have grouted in past projects and you have two adjoining planes (wall to wall, wall to floor, Etc.) and it has worked great every time. Unfortunately, a crack has opened up between the back splash and my counter top. I hate to simply caulk this joint as I think caulk alone looks really bad. However, I must have a lot of relative wall expansion/contraction in the winter months as the crack is about 1/16" of an inch. I am probably going to re-fill with the flexible grout and see how it lasts through another cycle before addressing seriously.

Lighting: I finally added a task light over the cook top. Easy purchase and we finally stopped looking and just bought one and installed. However, that made the issue apparent of the...

Cooktop: We couldn't possibly have known this prior to purchasing, but the GE Profile Gas Cook Top is extremely difficult to clean and care for. And being black gloss finish, it shows EVERYTHING. Had I thought this through, I may have opted for a stainless steel or matte finish that wouldn't show the streaks/dirt/grease etc. from every meal. I find myself removing the grills and cleaning the underneath surface pretty much after every session or meal. If you don't, it simply looks gross. So, when looking for cooktops, a matte finish with easy clean solutions should be a priority.

I still don't like having the trash - recylcing in the lower cabinets and my kids have proven me correct in the assumption that "not all the trash always makes the bag". However, I have had them clean the cabinet interior a couple of times now and the cleanliness is getting better. So, maybe it's really more of a control issue when disposing of waste.

Other than that, everything seems to be holding up well and the usefulness of the design is exceptional. I find that two, and sometimes three people can easily work in the kitchen and not get slowed down from either not having enough space or running into each other. And it works equally well when you're cooking by yourself.

My favorite feature, without question, is the prep sink - water near the cook top area. I use the prep sink for just about everything - cleaning vegetables, draining pasta, etc. and it's truly an add that's worth it if you can find it in your budget and can afford giving up a little cabinet space. However, we put all the cookie sheets, cutting boards and cooling racks in this space and it seems to work perfect for that, so we didn't really lose much at all, even though there is a disposal in this area, also. I tell my wife she needs to thank her general contractor-plumber for the tight installations on the plumbing under the sinks.

If anything else comes up, I will post.