Plumbing – Kitchen and Laundry

Make sure you have thought about all the following plumbing fittings:

Kitchen

There are a wide range of sinks the choice is a lot wider than one basin or two so you need to spend some time looking at various options.

Similarly there a wide range of mixers.

Boiled /Chilled Water Service used to be an office fitting but they are becoming more common in homes. (I think they can waste a fair bit of energy and are a scalding safety riskn so I can’t recomend them myself).

Dishwasher are normally installed as cold fill but there are some hot and cold fill machines around or you can just use the hot water.

If you like refrigerators with a chilled water you will need a water supply to the refridgerator location..

Butlers Pantry

In many larger houses a Butlers Pantry is included rather than a simple larder.

This is somewhere where the messy part of food preparation can be done when you are entertaining.

Depending on how much room you have these can be almost second kitchens so they may need a similar range of plumbing fittings

Laundry

Do you really want a laundry trough?…….. why not have a standard sink basin?

If you go for a trough why not think about a smaller size.

Whatever your choice you will need either a mixer or taps.

Washing machine – although you may only have a cold fill machine its always worth getting a hot water service installed.

People that do a lot of gardening like a toilet with wash basin off the laundry to avoid them going through the house with dirty boots.

Roof Water / Recycled Water

With roof water tanks and recycled water becoming more common in suburban properties you need to think about where you will use this supply, which has to be kept separate from the mains supply.

Will it be toilets only? or are you going to use it for the laundry?

Its simpler if you live on a rural block because it will be all roof water!…………. If so I would seriously think about a domestic water filter, although I wouldn’t bother for a suburban house with mains water.

Addititionally

My son is a concretor and I work for a drainage company so my wife prefers to wash our overalls in an old washing machine on the back veranda and keep the newer washing machine for her clothes and our non work outfits.

 

For similar posts see Plumbing

More plumbing information and 24 pages of Check Lists

in the ‘Selection / Pre-Start Guide’

 

Electrical Planning – Kitchen

I was walking around a ‘Good Guys’ electrical store last week looking at the kitchen equipment.

In addition to the items we have got there must have been 20 or 30 items we haven’t got.

For example appliances for making: bread, pies, crepes, yoghurt, popcorn, donuts, hot dogs, etc, etc.

Well here are the Appliances you will most likely need power for:

  • Oven and Hob. Even if they are gas you will probably need power to run the ignition system, warning lights and timers. If you go for one of those electrical commercial ranges you may need a heavy duty supply.
  • Range hood. Some people question them but I wouldn’t be without one, with extraction to outside!
  • Microwaves. We have got one but I have heard of people having two, and can understand why.
  • Dishwasher
  • Fridge
  • Freezer
  • Kettle, unless you have one of those boiling water taps
  • Toaster

Beyond these items its up to you what you think you will need.

In our case its:

  • George Foreman Grill
  • Slow Cooker
  • Coffee maker
  • Milk frother
  • Stick mixer

Non cooking items include:

  • Lap top charger (See Mission Control)
  • Phone charger
  • Cordless phone charger

For the worktop items you will need plenty of sockets either just under or just over the benchtops.

For fixed appliances its best to have the power inside the cupboards.

In addition to the power lighting is fairly important. We have the following:

  • Centrally mounted ceiling fitting for general lighting
  • Wall lights either side of the hob
  • LED downlights over the bench

What are your ‘must have items’ that’s not on my list?

For similar posts see Electrical

More Electrical Planning including 24 pages of Check Lists in the‘Selection / Pre-Start Guide’

 

How Much Longer For Artificial Stone?

Over the last 20 years artificial stone benchtops have become more and more popular. . . . but there is a dark side to this material.

There has been a massive rise in cases of Silicosis (260 in the last 3 years), a disease which has been linked to exposure to the dust when manufacturing and cutting stone benchtops.

What Is Silicosis?

Silicosis is lung disease which can be fatel, caused by breathing in small pieces of silica.

Silica is a mineral found in natural materials, including sand, rock, and ore.

When these materials are cut, ground, or blasted, the dust contains varying amounts of silica.

Compared to natural stone, many artificial stones contain over twice the amount of silica.

Cutting and grinding artificial stone to create benchtops thus massivly increases the risk of exposure to silica dust.

Acute silicosis can lead to weight loss and fatigue with just a few weeks of exposure.

Is A Ban Likely?

Australia has strict regulations for activities that generate silica dust.

They require the use of extraction fans, water spray systems, and respirators. helped severely reduce the prevalence of silicosis.

This sort of equipment is not however common on construction sites where the stone is installed!

Without stricter enforcement of health and safety regulations, Australia will  continue to see a rise in silicosis.

There already calls for the material to be banned.

As with the asbestos ban in the late 20th century, implementing a ban on engineered stone benchtops will help save Australian lives.

In the meantime increasing public awareness of the dangers of silica dust may reduce demand for engineered stone benchtops.

Conclusion

Silicosis ris a threat to thousands of workers throughout Australia.

Until a total ban occurs consumers and businesses can help reduce exposure by selecting other materials for their kitchens.

Benchtops

There are a wide range of different benchtops around………. so which benchtop should you buy.

Here are some thoughts about the options.

Laminex/Formica

Probably the most popular benchtop available in a wide range of colours and patterns and reasonably hardwearing.

Just don’t get one with a textured finish.

We made that mistake once, never again.

Tiles

Wide range of colours and sizes, a few problems are;

        • Uneven surface
        • Dealing with the exposed tile edges,
        • Keeping the grouted joints clean.

Wood

Can look good but will tend to suffer chips and dents.

Can stain easily especially around the sink.

Requires a lot of maintenance to keep its looks.

Marble

A natural stone which can look very attractive.

For kitchen benchtops its big problem is that it is porous and not very acid resistance.

Any breakdown of the surface sealant will result in staining which is nearly impossible to remove.

Granite

Available in a wide range of Colours including light greys.

Being less porous than marble staining is less of a problem.

Matching can be a problem if a piece is damaged during installation so its best installed by professionals to get the jointing right.

Engineered Stone

This covers a wide range of materials.

Basically it is consists of natural stone chips, which are mixed with some binding agent to form a stone like surface.

The binder can be anything from cement, to polymers, and epoxy resins.

Very resistant to stains and is available in a wide range of colours and can usually be easily matched.

Very durable, but usually more expensive than a natural stone like granite.

Keep away from the installation as the dust can cause major health problems.

Stainless Steel

The standard choice for commercial kitchens because its easy to clean.

Currently more of a fashion statement, which isn’t for everybody.

Will probably look dated as another look replaces the commercial look.

 

One issue I have found with the stone type products is that they are much noisier when you put plates down.

Not too good for me as the kitchen is next to the bedroom, and I get up over an hour before my wife.

Finally

On cost I would choose laminex but for a more classy look it would be either granite or one of the engineered stones.

Before you make a decision remember that you shouldn’t cut food directly on a benchtop.

Always cut it on either a wooden or plastic cutting board, other wise you will  damage your knives and/or the benchtop.

 

For similar posts see Selection

For more  information on choosing fittings for your new house see

 ‘Selection / Pre-Start Guide’

Induction Hobs

Why we wanted an induction hob

About a year ago we started thinking about going all electric.

We had previously gone from gas ducted air heating to reverse cycle units and installed photo voltaic solar panels.

After installing a heat pump hot water system the final stage was a kitchen refurbishment.

Although we liked the control ability of gas I had seen several good reports about induction cooking so we thought we would give it a try.

The Unit

We had a look around and found this white induction unit at Ikea for under $800 dollars.

For that price we got a high specification unit with several additional functions such as timers and bridging functions.

Our experience

After several weeks use we are very pleased with the hob, particularly:

  • It is more adjustable than gas.
  • It starts immediately, none of that trying to get the ring to light.
  • Minimal stray heat, it all goes directly into the pan.
  • Take a pan off the hob and it shuts down, it displays a ‘HOT‘ warning but its not really that hot.
  • It heats up our steel wok faster, and hotter than the gas ever did.
  • With the gas meter gone we are saving almost $6 a week in gas service charges.

Disclaimer: I have not been paid for this post and did not receive any other benefit or discount on the purchase of the hob.

 

Culinary Creativity – 6 Tips For Quickly Transforming a Lacklustre Kitchen

Guest post by Hubert Dwight

The kitchen is the heart of the home.

No matter how you spruce up your living room our outdoor spaces, people always gather in the kitchen.

Whether guests at a party, or hungry teenagers, the kitchen is the most natural gathering place in a home.

The design and functionality of the kitchen can make a huge difference when packing in people, or even just providing a meaningful meal for your family.

The word “remodel” can induce anxiety in some home owners, for it often means big budgets and long timelines, however, this doesn’t have to be the case.

With the right resources and support, you can transform your kitchen from a lacklustre room to your dream kitchen.
Read on for 6 tips to transform your kitchen.

1) Seek expert advice

It is easy to get lost in Pinterest boards and online blogs on how to remodel your kitchen.

Why not save yourself some time and begin your renovation journey with the experts?

Find a trusted company with good reviews and a lot of years in the business.

A favourite of mine is Brentwood Kitchens, a company with over 30 years in the business.

Here you will find the option to browse online, or visit a showroom.

Working with a trusted, experienced company from the beginning will save you time, energy and frustration and will ensure to get you that jaw-dropping dream kitchen.

2) Make the most of what you have

A kitchen transformation doesn’t have to mean tossing everything you have and starting from scratch.

That is often an expensive and wasteful way to approach a renovation.

Take some time in your kitchen, and see what you can bring with you into your new kitchen.

What can be spruced up? Repainted? Refurbished?  what will be able to transfer into the new style you are hoping to create?

Once you know what can stay and what must go, you can begin refurbishing, replacing and designing!

3) Refurbish cabinets

Before you go tossing out your cabinets, assess whether they are worth refurbishing.

Often, cabinets are made of high-quality wood, the style is just a bit dated.

With a good sand, prep, prime and paint, even the ugliest cabinets can become a tasteful centrepiece for a stunning kitchen.

4) Replace Hardware

One easy and surefire way to give your kitchen an immediate facelift is to replace the hardware on the cabinets.

If your cabinets are a bit outdated, chances are the hardware is even more so in addition to having a lot of wear and tear.

Replacing all pulls, handles and knobs can be a fun first step to testing a new design theme in your kitchen.

5) Embrace imperfections

If you need to replace your kitchen appliances, but your budget doesn’t allow the super high-end models, there is another option.

Often, appliance stores will run a “scratch and dent” special for appliances with mild cosmetic imperfections.
This is a great way to be able to go up a step in quality without paying the high price tag.

6) Lighting

The right lighting can be considered the jewelry of your kitchen.

Lighting offers the opportunity for style and function, acting as both a centrepiece and an accent.

Getting the lighting right in your kitchen will boost both your culinary and conversation experiences in this well used room.

The key to great lighting in a kitchen is to combine natural light with overhead and under cabinet lights.

As the sun moves through the kitchen and eventually sets, various lighting options can ensure everything well lit in a comfortable and functional style.

 

Try as you may to put all the snack trays in the living room, people will still gather in the kitchen.

The kitchen is the heart of a home where friends and family naturally gravitate.

You will never regret giving your kitchen a mild or wild transformation, and lucky for you there are options for all budgets and styles.

Before wasting too much time find a specialist that can help guide you in the direction of your dream kitchen and off you go!

Top reasons to give quartz benchtops a chance

Guest post by Hubert Dwight

Quartz has brought a revolution in the industry with its reasonable prices, huge variety of designs and patterns and stunning looks.

Granite and marble were always the excellent options in this respect, but Quartz has somehow taken over the monopoly and become one of the most popular benchtops.

You have a variety of choices to choose from which includes laminate, metal, granite, marble and wood.

If you are wondering what is so special about Quartz that you must even put a second of your thought into buying it, then here are five points to show you why quantum quartz in Melbourne makes a great kitchen benchtop.

1. Durability – Quartz is highly durable.
Quartz is one of nature’s strongest minerals.

The  combinations of 93% quartz with resins, provides an exceptionally hard surface which makes it a popular choice for households .

The will  be durable against chips, cracks, scratches and stains.

2. Non-porous
Another great trait of quartz stone is the fact that it is non-porous.

Non-porous materials do not get stained with any spillage and can be easily wiped or cleaned with detergent water to get rid of it.

However, quartz naturally is not stain resistant, but the type of polish and craftsmanship used on the stone makes a difference in its quality.

This factor allows the owner to use the benchtop for all sorts of cooking with every desirable ingredient without worrying about the after effects.

3. Variety of patterns and colours
Quartz is not completely a single piece of stone which means that it will not have a definitive pattern which cannot be altered or changed.

Quartz is made of resins which allow the manufacturers to modify the composition to design it in different patterns and varieties of colours.

Quartz provides numerous options in patterns, colours and designs which make it a more attractive option to be used for kitchen benchtops.

It also gives you the privilege of choosing a benchtop shade which matches the interior decor or theme of your house.

4. Worth your money
If you have to pay slightly more than a regular stone benchtop for an option which provides you with durability, versatility, style, heat and scratch resistance and various other benefits, will you be willing to pay for it?

Well, if yes, then quartz is certainly the best option for your household.

It provides you with a number of benefits at reasonable or a bit over the reasonable price which is worth the quality quartz is offering.

Not only will it look attractive and add a new feel to your kitchen, but it will also last for a longer time than what you might be expecting.

5. Easy cleaning
There is no requirement for heavy solvents, chemicals or specialised cleaning solutions to clean the surface of a quantum quartz in Melbourne.

Quartz comes with a durable surface which is stain resistant and therefore a regular detergent solution or washing with warm water can be used for cleaning all stains and spots.

 

A growing trend for quantum quartz in Melbourne has been observed over the past few years, for the reasons mentioned above.

Quartz has turned out to be the best and most popular stone benchtop option leaving marble and granite behind in the race.

Quartz is capable of inculcating elegance, style, beauty and uniqueness in your home decor.

For smart buyers, who focus on extracting as many benefits as they can from a material, quartz is the best option.

Why I Won’t Be Getting A Sink Waste Disposal Unit


You sometimes see Sink Waste Disposal Units (or Garbage disposal units )in top end kitchens but I won’t be getting one for a heap of reasons:

  • Initial Cost, several hundred dollars plus installation
  • Ongoing power cost, the unit in this picture uses about 0.5kwatts
  • Maintenance and replacement. I have even heard of them shaking the under sink plumbing apart.
  • High water use to wash the debris away.
  • Disposing of fats, and hard solids like bones, which makes sewer blockages more likely.
  • Taking easily compostable materials from the home and passing them to a sewer where they will be contaminated and become a difficult to treat waste at the sewerage treatment plant.

I sometimes see manufacturers claim they are an eco friendly solution. . . . but they are anything but!

It is not just my opinion they are banned in many places including Switzerland and many areas of the United States.

Why not just use the regular garbage bin for smaller amounts and a Skip Bin for larger amounts

How Using Skip Bin for Waste Disposal Can Help

A skip bin refers to a large open-topped waste container that is designed to load on a special type of lorry.

A skip is replaced or removed by an empty skip rather than emptied into a bin lorry.

It is then tipped at a transfer station or a landfill site.

A skip bin hire in Brookvale can help you clear your waste in your property, to ensure safe and convenient waste disposal.

When carrying out a home renovation such as a new kitchen, a skip bin provides a safe and clean way to store waste during the project.

Depending on the project and amount of work you’re undertaking, choosing the best skip bin for an unwanted waste removal job is a good idea.

Check out these other benefits of using skip bin:

  • Garden Waste Clearance: It commonly uses mini skip bins for garden clearing purposes from disposing of dead leaves, grass cuttings, twigs, small branches, and fence palings to other wastes found in your garden. Bulk bins are your best option for bigger gardens. Therefore, hiring a skip is highly recommended to get rid of unwanted garden waste.
  • Disposing of White Goods: Eliminate white goods, such as electronic appliances, using a skip bin. Because it’s not advisable to dispose of white goods with household rubbish, hiring a skip bin allows easy disposing of white goods.
  • Spring Cleaning: The perfect time to declutter your home is during spring. Rubbish can be difficult to manage, so it’s essential to hire reliable skip bins. All you have to do is to put waste items into the skip bin, and the rest will be taken care of by professionals. Skip bins come in various sizes, from mini-skip bins to medium-sized bins. Choose one based on your waste removal requirements.

 

7 Ways To Regain Control Of Your Overflowing Pantry

Guest post by Hubert Dwight

Source: Shutterstock

An overflowing, clumsy looking and completely disorganised pantry is unfortunately a nightmare that many people have to deal with everyday.

Whether you have a big family and huge grocery hauls every week, or are simply a cooking aficionado who has every ingredient under the sun from Saffron to Squid Ink, a messy pantry can easily cause anxiety levels to soar.

Here are 7 ways in which you can regain control of your overflowing pantry, leaving your life running just that little bit smoother.

It’s Time To Totally Detox!

If your cupboards are exploding with packets that have merely a handful of rice or pasta left, it may be time to completely purge your shelves and do a complete overhaul.

Go through all the items you have in your cupboards, throw anything that is expired into the bins and any ingredient that you may no longer need or want to use.

If you have had an ingredient that you’ve only used once and has been sitting there for years, it’s time to get rid of it.

This is also the perfect time to purchase nifty storage solutions from stores that sell homewares online in Australia to help you organise what is left of your pantry.

Get In The Zone

Once you have all your ingredients, spices, oils and vinegars sorted out, it may be time to keep them all in separate zones to avoid clutter and confusion.

Keeping similar items together will help you locate them in times of rush such as when you’re rushing to prepare breakfast or are looking to cook up a quick dinner in the evening when you’re feeling ravenous.

Store bottled items such as sauces, oils and vinegars together; other items such as crackers and biscuits should be kept in the same storage container or box and spices should be neatly stored in a spice containers which you can purchase online.

Label All Your Items

Every wondered if a jar was full of sugar or salt?

Instead of wasting your time having to taste or smell every ingredient before using it, easily identify your ingredients by labelling all bottles and jars with label stickers.

Whether it is long grained rice, sushi rice or bomba rice, you’ll never be confused again!   

Height Matters

Due to the nature of hot air rising to the top of the room, always remember that the coolest part of your pantry will be on the bottom shelves or drawers.

Lower drawers and shelves are a good place to store items that need to be kept cooler, such as Chocolates, Apples and Spreads.

Other more robust items can be stored on higher shelves – this way, you prevent wastage by having to throw out food items that have gone off due to improper storage

Light It Up!

There is nothing worse than having to fumble around a dark pantry, looking for ingredients you need and not knowing where they are because of the dim conditions of cupboards.

A great idea would be to install some lighting into your pantry or close by to your cupboards and drawers to avoid the need of rummaging through items and picking up the wrong thing.

Keep Check Of What You Do & Do Not Have

One of the reasons many people end up with exploding pantries is because they do not know whether they are out of a certain ingredient or not – thus, when at the supermarket, people end up buying duplicates of items they already have at home.

A great way to avoid this twin-magic scenario is to always keep a grocery list stuck up on the pantry door.

Every time you are out of an item, write it down.

This way, when you do go shopping, you know exactly what you need instead of trying to recall if you still have that packet of crisps from last week in the cupboard or not.

All It Takes Is 10 Minutes A Day

To further prevent disorganisation in a pantry, all you have to do at the end of the day is take 10 minutes to ensure that everything has been put back in its proper place.

Ensuring this on a daily basis will also help you fight the battle against a messy pantry.

The term that many chefs use, “clean as you go”, can be used as inspiration when it comes to organising your pantry and making sure that everything is in its place at the end of everyday.

________________

With these 7 ways to regain control of your overflowing pantry, the chaos that is your overflowing cupboards and over stuffed drawers will be nothing but a nightmare of the past.

The Block 2016

I’ve previously talked about the ‘unreality TV show’ The Block . . . . . . So what has got me shouting on the TV this Season?

It’s kitchens!

Generally the kitchen is the most expensive room in the house.

Are people suggesting having 3 expensive kitchens next to one another in a 3 bedroom apartment is sensible?

The Trophy Kitchen

This is an enormous kitchen / casual dining area full of fitted appliances,

Bigger than some commercial kitchens that I have worked in that can prepare 100s of meals a day.

But it’s not used for cooking because you have. . .

The Butlers Pantry

The butlers pantry used to be room in mansions to store and polish the silver wear.

In inner city apartments it seems it has now been transformed into the kitchen where you cook so you don’t mess up ‘the Trophy Kitchen’!

Not just sinks but ovens and Dishwashers!

But if you have friends round for a casual meal you won’t be using this because you will be using , , ,,

The Outdoor Kitchen

A simple gas barby on the balcony has always been good enough for me. . . but I must be behind the times.

You need fitted kitchen facilities in this area which is 3-4 steps away from the main kitchen.

 

The waste of all of this expensive equipment was summed up by one of the contestants who said “I don’t really cook myself.”

I wonder how true that will be of most of those who buy these pretentious apartments?